Hevel and Kayin in Srebrenica

According to some polls only 10 per cent of citizens in Serbia recognize the fact that genocide was committed in Srebrenica.

It is important to learn what makes some people, who otherwise look "normal" to hate others, who take part in crimes or simply stand by and witness systematic killing and elimination of others. The core teachings of our holy books seem to provide clues of this primordial sin of human from the very beginning of our existence on earth.


(One of thousands of "Mothers of Srebrenica" reads Qur'an in the Memorial of Potočari where victims of Srebrenica genocide are burried. Photo: M. Kovač)

"Now Hevel became a shepherd of flocks, and Kayin became a worker of the soil . . . But then it was, when they were out in the field that Kayin rose up against Hevel his brotherand he killed him.YHWH said to Kayin: Where is Hevel your brother?He said:I do not know. Am I the watcher of my brother?Now he said:What have you done!Hark - your brother's blood cries out to me from the soil!"

(GENESIS 4: 2, 8-10.)

"But the other's passion drove him to slaying his brother; and he slew him: and thus he became one of the lost. Thereupon God sent forth a raven, which scratched the earth to show him how he might conceal nakedness of his brother's body. [And Kayin] cried out: "Oh, woe is me! Am I then too weak to do what this raven did, and to conceal the nakedness of my brother's body?" - and was thereupon smitten with remorse."

(QUR'AN, 5:30-31.)

As everyone can notice these two narratives from Bible and Qur'an are fully corresponding. Those who follow Abrahamic faiths know they are coming from the same source. Those who don't believe in scriptures can understand the meaning and messages from these universal calls. Qur'an, the holy book of Muslims goes even further after the story of first human killing to illustrate how Almighty God treats the killing of a fellow human being. It is equalized with the killing of all humanity.

"Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. And, indeed, there came unto them Our apostles with all evidence of the truth: yet, behold, notwithstanding all this, many of them go on committing all manner of excesses on earth."

(QUR'AN, 5:31-32.)

This Monday on July 11th we will again remember the crime of genocide in Srebrenica, the crime that happened in the courtyard of Europe, after it had already vowed "Never again". We will have again to face with the crime that was committed under the full lights of world attention and in the supposed UN "Safe heaven".


(This year bodies of 127 victims of Srebrenica genocide will be buried in Potočari Memorial Photo: M. Kovač)

And still today we face the challenge in the Balkans that this horrible crime is being denied, even by those who should lead their people to facing the crimes committed in their names. According to some polls only 10 per cent of citizens in Serbia recognize the fact that genocide was committed in Srebrenica. Sadly, the vast majority of Serbs rejects even the verdicts of international institutions of justice. Situation in Serb entity within Bosnia is even worse - leading politicians openly deny the crime and continue to work on further divides between peoples of Bosnia. That is not the way towards the future since according to scholars of genocide the denial of this crime leads into its repetition. According to Gregory H. Stanton the crime of genocide has eight stages: classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and denial. The last, eight stage of genocide is according to him "the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres."

"The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims," concludes Stanton his explanation of 8 stages of genocide.

Bosnia and Herzegovina today is clearly in its 8 stage of genocide and this cannot bring any hope for the future. The roads to reconciliation are blocked and the outlook for justice is bleak. The great powers failed in the Balkans as history of this turbulent region did not teach us a lesson.

The only hope lies in justice as only earthly virtue that is great and godlike, as English politician and writer Joseph Addison once concluded. But who will bring the justice to mothers who lost their complete male members of families?

With the blood of Hevel still crying from the soil of Srebrenica and his brother Kayin still denying his crime we are left only to pray that Almighty saves our souls from future genocides. We are left to Srebrenica Prayer that is being read every year on the day of genocide - July 11th:

Oh God Do not let success deceive us Nor failure takes us to despair! Always remind us that failure is a temptation That precedes success! Oh God Teach us that tolerance Is the highest degree of power And the desire for revenge The first sign of weakness! Oh God If you deprive us of our property, Give us hope! If you grant us with success, Give us also the will to overcome defeat! If you take from us the blessing of health, Provide us with the blessing of faith! Oh God If we sin against people, Give us the strength of apology! And if people sin against us, Give us the strength of forgiveness! Oh God If we forget Thee, Do not forget us! Oh God May grief become hope! May revenge become justice! May mother's tears become prayers! That Srebrenica never happens again! To anyone, anywhere!