Work in Progress: "Life After Genocide" in Srebrenica, Bosnia Herzegovina, Rwanda and Iraq.


Bosnia

On this page, I will show my continued and edited work on my long term project where I focus on the survivors of the genocide that took place in Srebrenica in July 1995. I showed a version of this project at the Foto 8 gallery in London (my foto 8 page). The project has also been on display at the FIFDH Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights and Nikon Pro Magazine recently selected part of this story to be featured in their magazine. The story on the Yazidi people in northern Iraq was featured in Global Geneva. Stories are available through Keystone, Switzerland.

Every year, there is a peace march (Mars Mira) between Tuzla and Potocari, near Srebrenica. This is a following the route taken by men and some women when they tried to escape to safety, after Srebrenica fell to Ratko Mladic on July 11th 1995. Only this time, it goes in opposite direction, honouring the 8000 or so who died during this one week period. upon arrival in Potocari (The walk takes 3 days and covers about 120 km), the memorial ceremony takes place and the burial of the dead will happen. Every year the remains of the identified bodies are laid to rest. There are still more then 2500 bodies that have not been buried. Some are still not discovered.

Bellow is a picture of Advija who buried her father on July 11th 2012. Read her story here.
The burial of the dead.

Potocari July 9th 2012. 520 coffins are being carried into the old car battery factory/ UN Dutch Bat HQ near Srebrenica.

175 bodies were laid to rest during the ceremonial burial in Potocari, near Srebrenica on July 11th 2014
175 bodies were laid to rest during the ceremonial burial in Potocari, near Srebrenica on July 11th 2014
July 10th, it marks the day before Srebrenica fell to Mladic's troops 22 years ago in 1995. Today, coffins with the remains of identified victims of the genocide in Srebrenica will be carried out too the memorial cemetery in Potocari. Tomorrow, 71 victims will be laid to rest. Over 8000 men, boys and some women were killed during the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.
175 bodies were laid to rest during the ceremonial burial in Potocari, near Srebrenica on July 11th 2014. Approximately 8000 people were murdered in a week during July 1995 in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
A man is praying at the burial of the dead at the Potocari memorial cemetery on July 11th 2014
Thousands of family and friends came to help and to pay respect that memorial funeral that took place in Potocari, near Srebrenica, on July 11th this year.
After the rainfall, the graves were full of water. this man is preparing the grave for a relative who can finaly be laid to rest, 19 years after the genocide which took place in Srebrenica in July 1995.
Bill Clinton arrived for the 20th commemoration in Potocari, just as he did for the opening of the memorial.  136 bodies were laied to rest this July, on July 11th in Potocari.

The massacre sites.

Survivors visiting the massacre sites in July 2014, praying for the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica July 11th 1995).
Nedzad Avdic, a Srebrenica genocide survivor, talking to survivors on July 13th 2014. 
Survivors visiting on of the the massacre sites in July 2014, 19 years after the genocide in Srebrenica.
Survivors visiting on of the the massacre sites in July 2014, 19 years after the genocide in Srebrenica.
Hasan Hasanovic and Nedzad Avdic, Srebrenica genocide survivors, visiting masscre sites near Srebrenica on July 13th 2014.
Survivors visiting the massacre sites in July 2014, praying for the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica (July 11th 1995).
Hasan Hasanovic inside the culture centre in Pilica where 500 men got killed, including his twin brother.
Survivors praying for the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica at the culture centre in Pilica in July 2014. 500 men got killed there during the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995. 
This lady is serving tea from her house to the participants of the Peace March/ Mars Mira. Near Nova Kasaba.
The Peace March goes through mayn small villages that still carry marks from the war, near Nova Kasaba.
The new Bosnian flag is being caried for the 120 km, 3 days long throughout the Peace March. 
Participants of Mars Mira, the 120 km Peace March, that takes place between Nzuk and Potocari have arrived in Lipije after one day of walking, on July 8th 2017, 22 years after the genocide in Srebrenica. The march follows the route that men, boys and some women took in order to escape the genocide. Over 8000 men, boys and some women were killed during the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

Muhamed is a forester and wanted to show sympathy with the survivors of the genocide. He regularly finds old mines as well as grenades and other weapons while working in the woods. Only two years ago did he find a new mine while inspecting the forrest near Tuzla.  He has also stepped on land mines, luckily, so far it has gone well.
Long walk- time for a rest, one day to go. 120 km is a long way to walk, particularily through the hills and the woods with temperatures passing 40C.
It gets hot in Bosnia in July. Every day of the march saw temperatures of at least 40C. Water was distributed via trucks. A meeting place for survivors. 
Long walk-  one day to go. 120 km is a long way to walk, particularly through
the hills and woods with temperatures passing 40C, with plenty of sun.
The participants of Mars Mira either bring therir own tents or stay in one of the
tents provided by the Bosnian military. First come first served.
These guys were getting ready for the evening prayers after the second day of walking.
Young people taking part in the Mars Mira Peace March.
Evening Prayers during Mars Mira/ Peace March.
Muhammed Smailhodzic (R) is helping preparing for the last day. Being a forester, his skills comes in handy. 
For three nights, the walkers are camping outside, on locations where genocide took place in July 1995.
People from around the world take part in Mars Mira
Some participants walks bare foot- all 120 km. 
As th etemperature reached 44C- it is interesting to witness the local farmers working as if nothing was a problem. We needed a break.
Lots of evidence is still littering the landscape along the route of Mars Mira. Mines are a real problem, even more then 20 years after the war.
The Mars Mira or Peace Walk is following the footsteps of the Death March- 120km, 3 days between Nzuk and Potocari.
This young man is likely carying his father or another relative as he is walking with the casket.
30000 people gathered for the annual "Burial of the Dead" at Potocari Memorial cemetery. 617 identified bodies was laid to rest on this July 11th 2011.
Arriving on the first day in Nzuk, these people are preparing to take part in the
120km long march which commemorates the Srebrenica genocide of July 1995.
These young men had already walked for 4 days before participating in the 120km, 3 day long peace march between Nzuk (Tuzla) and Potocari near Srebrenica.
Family supporting the Mars Mira, peace walk, that follows the foot steps in reverse based on the route of the "Death March". This is the march that men and boys took in order to try to escape being killed during the genocide.
Teenagers showing support for the Mars Mira at the starting point.
This guy is relaxing after having walked the frst day of the Peace March- one day aftter having walked from Nzuk.
Every evening, survivors will tell the walkers about their experiences from the genocide.
The Imam in Srebrenica welcoms the coffins for the burial the following day. The remains arrives after having been identified during the last year.
Advija  (Krdzic) Tiric can finally lay her father to rest. He is one of 520 people being buried on July 11th 2012.
Marizela lives in Srebrenica. She is studying to become a nurse, she does not want to continue like her mother and to run the family farm.
There are many stray dogs in Srebrenica- during the war, it was a problem as they contained diseases.
Hasan Nuhanovic was a translator working for the Dutch Bat. in Potocari during the war. He later sued the Holland for their unwillingness to help his family in July 1995. He won the case in the Dutch high Court, 9 years later. He is still waiting for compensation.
Students from Webster University in Geneva visiting the ICMP (Body Identification Center) in Tuzla.
Bodies from a recently found mass grave near the former Dutch bat Potocari HQ was opened late summer 2012. They are being identified at the ICMP (Body Identification Center) in Tuzla.
Everything is political in Bosnia. The tension is always high around election time. Here from Tuzla.
Fatima was 26 years old in July 1995. She had two and a half years earlier graduated from University as a medical doctor. She was pleased she could work at the hospital in Srebrenica as it had earned a very good reputation. In in 1995 things had dramatically changed and she ended up being a very young doctor working in extremely difficult situations with almost no equipment. The worst wartime situation in Europe since the second world war was happening outside the hospital and they were only a hand full of doctors working. When the genocide really started, Fatima as well as the other medical staff decide to walk with around 10000 others to Tuzla, 120 km away in order to reach the other "safe area". Fatima was one of only a handful of women to walk and to survive. Today, she works a gynaecologist and deliver babies at the University Hospital in Tuzla. She feels blessed that she can now bring life to the world, rather then work with death... She is married and has two children.
Nedzad Avdic, Srebrenica genocide survivor, with his children at his home in Potocari.
Hasan Hasanovic, Srebrenica genocide survivor, works as a curator at the Potocari memorial.
Saliah Osmanovic lives about an hour outside of Srebrenica. She lost both sons and her husband during the Srebrenica Genocide in July 1994- it is extraordinary to still posses the spirit, energy and will power that she has. She tells me that she uses work to keep her going. To produce what she needs is hard work- and she enjoys it- makes her not think too much about the sad things in life.
Saliah Osmanovic lives about an hour outside of Srebrenica. She lost both sons and her husband during the Srebrenica Genocide in July 1994- it is extraordinary to still posses the spirit, energy and will power that she has. She tells me that she uses work to keep her going. To produce what she needs is hard work- and she enjoys it- makes her not think too much about the sad things in life. 
Advija got married last year and is now the mother of a little baby boy. Such a contrsast to lasttime I saw her when she burried her father after he was identified 18 years after the genocide in Srebrenica. 
Advija got married last year and is now the mother of a little baby boy. Such a contrsast to lasttime I saw her when she burried her father after he was identified 18 years after the genocide in Srebrenica. 

Rwanda

Having done a lot of work in Bosnia, I was curious to understand better what had happened in Rwanda in 1994, only one year before the genocide in Srebrenica.  For this part of the work, the focus was on how people are dealing with their lives after having lived through the 1994 genocide where more then 800000 people were killed. A version of this project at the Foto 8 gallery in London (my foto 8 page). The project has also been on display at the FIFDH Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights and Nikon Pro Magazine recently selected part of this story to be featured in their magazine. The story on the Yazidi people in northern Iraq was featured in Global Geneva. Stories are available through Keystone, Switzerland.
Marie-Jeanne lives with her twin daughters. Her husband tried to kill them during the 1994 genocide, as they were not "pure".
Marie-Jeanne Yankurije and her twins were taking care of a neighbour girl.
Marie-Jeanne lives in the middle of a banana plantation, near Kibuye. It was here, while hiding and pregnant, her ex husband tried to kill her.
Janvier Munanira walks through the fields where he was left to die 20 years ago, at the age of 12. His scar in the head from the machete is still very much visible, even in this picture.
John tends to get home pretty late everyday, 7 days a week. Once at home though, the welcome committee consisting of Libie and her friend is always welcomed.
John Musha tends to get home late everyday, 7 days a week. He lives around 10 minutes walk from his café and hopes, in the future, to be able to run "Landmark" Tearoom with his girlfriend.
John in his Kitchen
After arriving a few days late for work, it is not easy to agree on everything. The carpenters are disagreing on who's fault it is not to be ready.
Carpenter working on the furniture in John's tea room.
At the computer repair store in Kigali
John lending his phone to children
A street in the city center in Kigali is car free in the evening and offers free wifi to all. People are sitting taking adavntage of teh offer. Kigali, Rwanda.

Walking home from work. Kigali 2017.
Arriving at a commemoration service in a village near Musha, outside Kigali in April 2017.
The kids came running as we arrived in Bisesero for the 20th commemoration of the genocide in Bisesero on April 7th 2014. The Bisesero area is where the resistance managed to fight back for longer during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Still approximately 50000 people got killed during the 100 days between April and July 1994.
With the hills and lake Kivu as a backdrop, Aaron Mukomeza (the son of Aminadabu Birara, the chief of the civilian resistance against the genocide) can be seen leaving the Bisesero Memorial after the day program was finished.
Mucyo shows shows how the caskets are full own remains from the approximatrely 50000 people who were killed in the Bisesero area during the genocide in 1994. They were to be reburied for the 20th comemoration in 2014.
If you ever travel and visit the little village Bisesero in Rwanda, then you will find amazing views of the (1000) hills in the surrounding area. You will also see the beautiful lake Kivu with Congo (DRC) in the background. This is also where resistance was stronger during the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
The people here are preparing for the eveing part of the commemoratin taking place on April 7th.
Hundreds of thousands of men participated in the killings during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Raphaël says that "he did what he was told to do". The tools were a machette and a club. He has spent 12 years and six months in prison for what he did. Today, he works as a peasent near Kibuye, not far from the border of Congo (DRC).
I met up with Révérien at his place in Switzerland. He tells me that, his place, his home, is here, in Switzerland. On April 20th 1994, 43 members of his closest family was brutally murdered in the Rwandan genocide, in front of his eyes. Just luck, perhaps, saved him from dying. He did lose an arm, an eye and was stabbed in the face, at the back of his head, in the chest, on the shoulder and some other places.
I met up with Révérien Rurangwa at his place in Switzerland. His book 'My stolen Rwanda' describes his experiences during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Reverien with friends at Chez Lando, discussing the next few days on his arrival back to Rwanda.
Just opposite the church where all of Reveriens family got killed, together with several thousand others, there is a graden. As Reverien was still alive, he crawled there, on top of them, in order to get some fruits. The grounds were full of dead people and he had to walk accross them. As he met some of the killers, he begged them to kill him too. They laughed and cut his eye out.
Coming home revives a lot of memories. The aunt of Reverien now lives in what was the family house. She is now looking after the place.
Reverien still have some family left. Here, he is visiting his uncle and aunt as well as some other friends.
Janvier met Reverien when both were at the same red cross hosppital in 1994. She was 11. She had been thrown into a very pit. As a result, she is paralysed from neck and down. Still, she greeted us with a massive smile, make up and new nails. Still, life is not easy. She has been 20 years in bed and can not move at all. Not even to be take outside.
From her bed, Janvier can see the corridor in the house where she lives. The little girl ofte come to play. Janvier was 11 in 1994, this girl is younger, but one can only imagine how different her life would have been without her injuries.
Teta Angela helping to unbox a new bed for her paralysed friend Janviere.
Janviere looking at a picture of her friend Reverien.
Finally, new hospital bed delivered to Janviere. Theodore, Reverien's uncle is standing to the left.
It gets cold in the winter in Switzerland, although the landscape can resemble the mountainous Rwanda, the snow filled terrain is definately very different then what Reverien grew up with in Mugiuna, Rwanda.

This project has been part funded  by 

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