Ever wondered how the Srebrenica massacre, the worst
atrocity in Europe since 1945, has lost a fair bit of its symbolic power in
mere sixteen years, with decent Bosnians sometimes rolling their eyes at its mention?
Here is how.

Three weeks ago, the minister of education and sport in the
Canton of Sarajevo abolished a decision by his predecessor that included grades
from religious instruction in the overall grade average of primary state school
pupils. The motivation of Minister Emir Suljagic, who comes from the Social
Democratic Party, is self-evident for those who care for the separation of
church and state. Many would, in fact, argue against any form of religious
instruction in state schools.

Unsurprisingly, the leader of the Islamic Community in
Bosnia, Musafa Ceric, disagrees with Suljagic, and rather strongly. In a public
address, he likened Suljagic’s move to the Srebrenica genocide. “They want us
again to give our children to the godless, so that they are again unprepared
for defence when it comes to ethnic cleaning, Those who can’t make Sarajevo of
Srebrenica now wish to make Srebrenica out of Sarajevo,” Ceric said.

Yes, you read this right, dear parents! By not having their
religious education brilliance count toward their overall grades, your kids are
risking exposure to genocide in later life.

There is no big news here. Ceric is only being Ceric. Except
this time there was an venomous personal aspect to his abuse of Srebrenica. Suljagic
is possibly the best known Srebrenica survivor, whose book on Srebrenica is an
important first-hand insight into the events surrounding the 1995 executions.
His family members were among those killed in the massacre.

Tihomir Loza

Tihomir Loza is deputy director of Transitions Online. Email: tihomir.loza@tol.org

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