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Unfortunately, Srebrenica and Potočari is the most known place in this part of Europe after 1995. And right here, where according to official statistics was killed 8372 Bosnians, it seemed that coexistence will never become a reality. But it is!
Formerly an industrial zone, now a memorial. A few kilometers from Srebrenica to Bratunac, Potocari today shared the fate of many similar pre-war in which life is starting from the beggining. In the mainly agricultural region, near the border with Serbia, a population usually grows raspberries.
For foreigners it is nothing strange, but when you mention it to someone in Bosnia and Herzegovina that Radenko Simic and Senad Jusic are working together, the story gets another dimension. They got into the bussines together,because, as they say,to show everyone that they can and should live together.
” Over the past year we have planted about 15 thousand seedlings of raspberries. There are two families included, on the one hand the Jusics and on the other the Simics. Beside this business area, our goal is to work on trust, mutual coexistence. Of course we should not forget what happened, but we should look to the future ”, said the two farmers.
In a city where, in comparison to the time before the war, live 23 thousand inhabitants less, the life must go on. There are not many events for young people to do in free time, so they are mainly centered around cultural clubs or sports clubs.
Football club ” Guber ” is an example of post-war multi-ethnicity. It trained both Serbs and Bosnian people. Samir Mujicic,who was a player for many years and who is a coach now, says that the situation is immeasurably better and that there are no problems. ” The situation is quite normal. Serbs and Muslims live together without any problems. There are problems with the work, because young people are moving out into larger spaces. The club has all nationalities, players hang out with each other, socialize and spend time together ,there are no fights and tension. ”
The largest enemy of Bosnian and Serbian people in Srebrenica today is unemployment. In the city there is no bakery, pharmacy, or some other institution that other cities have. Many people rely on the advice of religious leaders.
The muslim priest Damir Pestalic became ” popular ” two years ago when he refused to go to England because his friends the Serbs, led by the priest Alexander Mladjenovic with which he should travel, did not get a British visa. For him is quite normal moral and religious act that, if something id arranged together, must be done together,too.
“People work together, go to school together, together we do sports, drink coffee together. Complications arise when politics get involved and I pray to God that Srebrenica ceases to be a training ground for politicians. In every sense it is the phenomenon that we, the ordinary people, live with each others, “says Pestalic. For the first time after the war, Head of Srebrenica is Serb, Mladen Grujicic. At that time Bosnian people expressed fear, but as Grujicic says, completely unjustified” .
Of course, that citizens have no reason to fear, because the ‘Mladen became head’. If someone leaves, it will be because of the difficult situation or transaction. I will do everything in my power to make it better. People in Srebrenica are reconciled, we only should work on economic development, to employ people and for young people to stay here and start their own family, ” said Grujicic.
Author: Aleksandra Tolj
This text was written as a part of Divided Past – Joint Future project and it does not represent nor reflects attitudes and viewpoints of the European Union, its institutions and bodies. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the text lies entirely with the author.