QUEEN’S ROAD: To mark the 20th anniversary of one of the most dastardly atrocities after the Second World War, British journalist Myriam François-Cerrah travelled to Bosnia to document the lives of those affected by a genocide.
She was just retracing the story to that time in July 1995, when in the midst of a war in former Yugoslavia, roughly 8000 Muslim men and teenage boys were massacred in Srebrenica.
Myriam travelled with a group of people who were all born in the year of the genocide. In an often emotional trip, they learnt first-hand just how prejudice can easily destroy people and why this story still carries weight in today’s day and life.
Srebrenica Revisited, the documentary by Myriam François-Cerra, will be screened by BBC World News on Saturday, July 18 at 7 am and Sunday, July 19 at 8 pm. Excepts from an interview:
Why have you chosen to do a documentary on an event that happened 20 years ago?
Although the genocide at Srebrenica occurred 20 years ago, it is still a raw and ongoing issue. For a start, the Serbs continue to deny the genocide and in so doing, deny the victims a recognition of the true depth of their suffering. Secondly, bodies and mass graves are still being discovered. People are still missing.
Finally, prosecutions for war crimes are still ongoing. And despite all this, many people know very little about this worst atrocity in Europe since World War 2.
Could you tell us more about the documentary?
The documentary features a group of young people all born in the same year as the genocide who came to Srebrenica as part of the “Remembering Srebrenica” organisation.
They find out about the massacre, meet survivors and the mothers of Srebrenica who have lost their children and loved ones. They also visit the Srebrenica memorial site and meet with a Serb official to hear his side of the story.
The documentary is about the impact that learning about the genocide has on the young people, but it also includes shocking footage of the genocide itself.
What were the difficulties you faced in the process of making this documentary?
The main difficulty was cutting down all the material we had - we filmed for a week and had so much to say and so little time sadly to cover it in.
What kind of feelings you hope to evoke in the viewers? What is the main aim of the documentary?
The aim of the documentary is to investigate lost stories and how unearthing them can change the perspective of a new generation. How learning about the details of a genocide can impact minds and the lessons they can take home with them.
What are your personal views on the massacre? Have they been reflected in your work?
My personal views are that this was, as the International Court has recognised, a genocide as part of a broader campaign of ethnic cleansing in the region.
I also believe it is important to recognise this genocide in Europe, a mere 20 years ago, and hopefully learn some lessons about the dangers of division, hatred and ultimately, political inaction.
The least the victims deserve is for us to gravely consider how we in Europe let this happen right at our doorstep.