Srebrenica and Ramadan converge: Procession 2013

Every year around this date, the annual procession of the newly identified remains of victims of the Srebrenica Genocide takes place.  It begins, officially, outside the Office of the Presidency of BiH here in Sarajevo, just down the street from our hotel.  Officials gather - religious leaders (you'll find the Grand Mufti in the crowd below), members of Parliament, and TWO of the THREE Presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  No surprise, the President representing Republika Srpska failed to show up today (as he has failed in previous years) - why?  He can't come out, like most Sarajevans and Bosnians and Herzegovians to honor the dead?  No.  He can't.  (Presumably it would be tantamount to acknowledging that SOME Bosnian Serbs once upon a time were horrible creatures and committed Genocide, which Bosnian Serbs cannot acknowledge even occurred.)

Politics aside (is it ever aside??), humanity did indeed come out today to honor the 409 sets of remains that have been identified over the past year, and will be buried in Potocari Cemetery at Srebrenica (see post from Sunday, July 7 below).

Our students and we professors (Will, Mladen, and me) gathered in the sunny yet overcast mid-day (we gathered at 11 am and the procession arrived at 12:00 noon).  As we tried to keep hydrated in the heat of the day, we also recognized that Ramadan begins today and we felt we should hide our water bottles.  Yet, we also found some people smoking, some drinking water, and some even eating.  Most likely these are non-Muslims, or at least non-fasting Muslims.  Either way, here in multi-cultural Sarajevo, whoever showed up today, from whatever faiths, we all shared one humanity and one common spirituality: remembering the dead, honoring their spirits, respecting their remains, and especially supporting the mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, and whatever fortunate male relatives who survived the Genocide and who gathered today to honor THEIR loved ones, and OUR brothers who will be laid to rest this week.

Below, 3 semi-trucks - carrying the 409 caskets - arrive at the Presidency.

 Loved ones place roses and other flowers along the bottom portion of the draped caskets:
 Office of the Presidency, "blocked" with the flag-draped truck, leading the procession:
 Below, the Grand Mufti is among the dignitaries greeting the Procession:
 The Procession continues through the rest of the city ... enroute to Potocari and Srebrenica:


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