Srebrenica Memorial Center is sharing the stories of the survivors under the name “12 days of remembrance”.
This story is a personal story by: Saliha Osmanović
Let us never forget!
Saliha was born in the village of Zalužje. When she was two, her father died and her mother took care of her and her four siblings. Saliha’s life was hard. She got married in the village of Dobrak. With her husband Ramo, she had two sons, Nermin and Edin. They built a beautiful house in which they lived happily until the beginning of the war. Her village of Dobrak was attacked from Serbia, but also from the surrounding Serb villages in Bosnia.
Saliha and her family fled to Srebrenica, where they spent another three and a half years without food, clothing, footwear, adequate accommodation or security. Still, her family was happier than the others because they were all together. With the arrival of UN forces, Saliha thought that Srebrenica would be protected. Soon, however, tragedy struck. Her youngest son Edin was killed by a grenade on July 6, 1995. Since that day, Saliha’s multiple sufferings started. Her world collapsed. She lost a child. Only five days later, Srebrenica fell. Saliha took refuge in Potočari, while Ramo and Nermin headed through the forest, towards Tuzla. She hoped to survive and be together again with her family. In Potočari, Saliha heard and saw all the horror; she even found herself close to Ratko Mladić and heard him addressing refugees.
She later testified against him in The Hague where she wanted to look him in the eye as she testified. The criminal did not say a word to her at the trial. As a refugee, Saliha moved frequently and finally returned to her village of Dobrak, to live where her sons and husband once lived, to alleviate the pain with memories, to be a burden to no one. Her heart pounded when she saw the video of her husband Ramo calling her son Nermin, but even then she hoped they were still alive. Unfortunately, the criminals killed them. They were found in mass graves, and Saliha buried them in the Memorial Center in Potočari. She endured everything with dignity and lives today so that we can learn from her. She has been living alone for 25 years. She has no one to talk to. Everything around her is reminiscent of her family members who were killed, every minute of every day. There is no way to measure all those years of pain and no punishment is enough for the perpetrators of this evil. Saliha, like every other mother with a similar fate, trusts in complete punishment for criminals in the afterlife.