|Search ON THIS DAY by date|
1995: 'A town of death'Award-winning director Leslie Woodhead has made two films about Srebrenica.
His second documentary - Srebrenica: Never Again? - attempts to judge what has happened since the massacre in 1995.
He described his experience of making the film to On This Day.
I wasn't looking forward to my return to Srebrenica.
I had made a film about the Srebrenica massacre half a dozen years ago for BBC's Storyville series, and from time to time it still haunted my nightmares.
The horror which overwhelmed the little town in Eastern Bosnia in July 1995 when 8,000 men and boys were slaughtered by the Bosnian Serb Army refuses to fade for me.
'Belly of the beast'
Going back now to make another film for the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, I felt as though I was stuck in a bad dream.
Driving through the steep valleys which close in as you approach the town, I recalled that an American aid worker had told me he always thought of the area as "the belly of the beast" - the heartland of brooding ethnic tensions which spilled out during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.
I wanted to track down four people I had come to know in 1999, people whose lives had been overturned by what happened here to them and their families.
I wanted to find out how they were faring now, in the 10th year since the massacre, and to discover if any kind of reconciliation had been possible for them.
I drove into Srebrenica on a raw winter afternoon. The town still looked wounded, many buildings still pock-marked by shellfire, many houses still roofless, plastic sheets flapping in empty windows.
There was little sign of life returning to the place.
Just outside the town, though, I found something new. A vast memorial cemetery has been created, a final resting place for more than 1,500 victims of the massacre who have so far been exhumed from mass graves and identified.
Under a dusting of snow, ranks of green wooden grave markers bore witness to a genocide.
I finally found my people and, over a hard year, I have followed the stories of their lives.
Saliha Osmanovic who had lost her husband and two sons in July 1995, was trying desperately to put a roof on her ruined house, and to start her life again in her old village.
Zumra Sehomerovic, who has heard nothing of her husband since he was taken from her side as the men were separated for slaughter, is campaigning for justice with the Women of Srebrenica. She is also planning to return to her old house in the town.
I filmed his anguished return to Srebrenica where he was born - "a town of death" he called it.
"There's still hatred between people," he told me. "People are only living through their emotions and memories, as I do."
Hasan Nuhanovic watched his father, mother and brother being led away from the UN base to their deaths in July 1995.
I filmed him as he pursued his obsessive legal campaign against the Dutch peacekeepers he accuses of abandoning his family.
"It's my duty to demand justice," he told me.
The stories of those survivors of genocide are at the heart of my film.
BBC Four's Srebrenica: Never Again? will be broadcast on Monday, 11 July, 2005, at 2200 BST.
|Search ON THIS DAY by date|
|^^ back to top|
|Front Page | Years | Themes | Witness|
|©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy