Hatred lingers, but local residents are mainly having to cope with poverty, unemployment

On top of all the pain, hatred and suspicion there is poverty. More than half the residents of Srebrenica and its villages are unemployed, while others get occasional work repairing houses that were destroyed during the war. «There is hatred, of course, but the big problem now is the return of the refugees and poverty,» Marinko Sekoulic told Kathimerini, the Deutsche Welle correspondent in Srebrenica and president of the local citizens’ union. Lack of work A Serb married to a Muslim, he left for Skopje before the disaster, fearing that he would find himself in difficulties on account of his mixed marriage. «People are still leaving, because there aren’t any jobs,» said Sekoulic. «Before the war we had the mines, timber, the spa and a large furniture factory that employed 1,500 workers. Now there’s nothing. «International aid is limited to a 12-million-euro program for agriculture. But here we have mountains and forests; this isn’t a place where agriculture can develop. «Apart from that, half the money has been spent on staff salaries and motor vehicle maintenance. «The international community’s investments are made only for the eyes of the media, and not in reality. «They tell a joke here that says there are no pigeons or beggars in Srebrenica because the people are so poor they haven’t even got crumbs to give them.» Do you discuss the events of July 11 at all at the citizens’ union?» we asked him. «Oh, no. Once there was a discussion about the war, but we got nowhere and we left it. Besides, there’s no point for us Serbs, since whatever we say the international community reacts negatively in advance.» Everyone in Srebrenica knows – as does the international community – what happened on the night of July 11 at Potucari, but it is hard for Serbs and Muslims to start talking again and express their view of the events. It does not mean they have forgotten; rather, harsh issues of survival now take priority for these people, Bosnian Muslims and Serbs alike. Yesterday attention focused again for a while on the cemetery at Potucari, where tens of thousands of people arrived to mourn on the 10th anniversary of the massacre. Among those present was Serbian President Boris Tadic. But after the prayers and the speeches, Srebrenica will return to its isolation. The accumulated hatred, combined with misfortune and the lack of future prospects, create an ideal atmosphere for a resurgence of nationalist passions. In this respect, the issue does not end for the international community with the arrest and trial of those who instigated the genocide, no matter how urgent that is.

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