News Bulletin 110

Srebrenica Memorial Quilt Unites Massacre Survivors in Bosnia and  

July 10, 2007, St. Louis, United States: Survivors of the 1995  Srebrenica
massacre in Bosnia and the United States have joined forces to launch a  large,
hand-woven quilt in memory of more than 8,000 men and boys who were  killed in
the massacre.

The quilt was unveiled in public for the first time on Sunday at a  religious
ceremony in St. Louis, which is home to more than 45,000 Bosnian  refugees,
including around 5,000 former inhabitants of Srebrenica. Men, women and
children paused in silence at the quilt, and many laid flowers.

The quilt measures around two square meters and comprises 20 panels,  each
carrying the name of a massacre victim. The panels were hand-woven by  five
women weavers from Bosfam, a women's organization in Bosnia that brings
together women who lost relatives in the massacre. One weaver, Nura  Suljic,
lost her brother, brother-in-law, father-in-law and cousin in the  massacre.
Her husband is also missing.

The Bosfam weavers are using the quilt to reach out to the large,  Bosnian
diaspora in the US, in the hope of keeping the message of Srebrenica  alive.
They have also offered to make new panels for any Bosnian family that  lost a
relative in the massacre. This way, they hope that the quilt can move  around
diaspora communities outside Bosnia, growing in size and generating  publicity.

"It's a great idea," said Rusmin Topalovic, Vice President of the  
Association for the Survivors of Genocide in Srebrenica, a community group in
St.  Louis.
"I'm sure plenty of relatives will want to commission panels."

The quilt was brought to St. Louis on behalf of Bosfam by The Advocacy  Project
(AP), which has supported Bosfam's advocacy since 2002. Alison Morse, a
graduate student at Tufts University is volunteering with Bosfam this  summer
as an AP Peace Fellow and is helping Bosfam to manage the quilt.

Meanwhile, in Bosnia itself, thousands of Srebrenica relatives and  survivors
will gather tomorrow at the site of the massacre to mark the 12th  anniversary
and rebury around 460 massacre victims who have been identified during  the
past year. Among those attending will be the Bosfam weavers and several
families from St. Louis who lost relatives.

Srebrenica is the largest mass killing to have taken place on European  soil
since the end of World War II. The town was besieged by the Bosnian  Serbs for
three years before finally falling on July 11, 1995. All men and boys  over the
age of 15 were separated from the women, and taken off to be killed.  The women
and children were bussed to territory held by Bosnian Muslims.

Memories of Srebrenica remain vivid for many of the survivors in St.  Louis.
Nihad Sinanovic was 11 when he escaped the town in 1993, at the height  of the
Bosnian siege. His father, Resid, was among thousands who set off  through the
woods in July 1995 in an attempt to reach safety, only to be captured  and

"Every year it's the same," said Mr Sinanovic, who today runs a  
successful business in St. Louis. "We meet and ask the same questions. What
actually happened? How come the killers are still free? It's impossible to put
it to rest and move on."

Also on Sunday, at a reception in St. Louis, 210 Bosnian refugees  signed a new
petition calling for the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko  Mladic,
the two former Bosnian Serb leaders held most responsible for the  massacre.
Both men have been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal in  The
Hague, but remain at large.

The arrest petition has been drawn up by the Center for Balkan  Development,
and co-signed by The Advocacy Project, Physicians for Human Rights, the
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, and the Congress of North
American Bosniaks, which lobbies from Washington on behalf of grassroots
advocates like the St. Louis survivors.

Nihad Sinanovic was one of those who appealed for signatures on Sunday  in St.
Louis. "Help us heal the wounds of the many relatives who lost their  loved
ones. Help us bring the perpetrators to justice and bring closure to the
families," he said, to loud applause.   

* For media coverage of the quilt launch in St. Louis, visit
* For background on the quilt project, including a map of those  
and profiles of the weavers, visit http://advocacynet.org/page/quilt
* To sign the arrest petition, visit
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/arrest_mladic_karadzic/index.html or  
the CBD website http://www.balkandevelopment.org/timeforjustice/
* For Alison Morse's blogs, visit

AdvocacyNet is a service of The Advocacy Project (AP) that is offered to
advocates working for human rights and social justice at the community  
AP is based in Washington, DC. Phone +1 202 332 3900; fax +1 202 332  
4600. For
more information visit our webiste www.advocacynet.org or email us at
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