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A tribute to the Bosnian Srebrenica Martyrs-on the arrest of Serbian General Ratko Mladic


Ratko Mladic was arrested in Serbia, he led the armed forces of the Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian War. Accused of ordering Europe’s worst massacre since World War II, he was the world’s most wanted fugitive for the atrocities committed during the conflict . He faces genocide charges over the killing of about 7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. After spending 16 years on the run, he was found in the village of Lazarevo, about 80km (50 miles) north of Belgrade, living under the assumed name, Milorad Komodic.

“For all those years this monster was hidden by Serbia and they knew where he was,” she said. “Now they are handing him over to justice. Well, better late than never. But I’m afraid of another trial without a verdict.” a victim who lost all her male family members in the massacre.

There may be political reasons for his capture at this time as the NYT reports Mladic Arrest Opens Door to Serbia’s Long-Sought European Union Membership. This is a blog entry at King’s Of War (Department of War Studies, King’s College London) :Mladic: the price of EU membership.

From the New YorkTimes:

With video cameras capturing the moment, Gen. Ratko Mladic‘s bodyguards handed out chocolates to Bosnian Muslim children, promising terrified women that the violence was over.“No one will be harmed,” the Bosnian Serb commander said on July 12, 1995, gently patting a young boy on the head. “You have nothing to fear. You will all be evacuated.”  As he spoke, thousands of his soldiers formed a vast cordon around the town of Srebrenica, a United Nations protected “safe area” that had just fallen to General Mladic’s forces. Over the next 10 days, his soldiers hunted down, captured and summarily executed 8,000 men and boys from the town. Women were raped. And pleas for restraint from the international community were mocked.


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This is a great historical fictional piece written by Brother Amad more than a decade ago, when the Bosnian genocide was ongoing at its apex, his comments from a post in 2008 strike harder in 2011:

We have to be mindful of  history. People don’t become animals overnight. There is a slow and systematic process of brainwashing and fear-mongering.Do we think that Serbs or the German Nazis or the Russian army in Chechnya or the Gujarati Hindus became beasts overnight? No, rather, the process of inculcating hate and bias kept on going for years, decades and eventually when the opportunity came, this hatred was unleashed. Why is this relevant? What is happening in America, in terms of Islamophobia, is not at the proportion of Nazi Germany or other centers of pre-genocide. But, it is a slow process. And we cannot let that hate reach such a boiling point, such that when there is an opportunity or an incident that sparks anti-Muslim sentiment; that this hatred isn’t suddenly unleashed upon Muslims in America. If we don’t stop this train of Islamophobia, in American, and worse in Europe, then we will be left to wonder later on what happened!!


bosnia-genocide.jpgThe stars and the moon were in their hideout- the night was very dark indeed. A grim sense of fear lurked around every soul that dared to walk upon the desolated street.

He stepped out of his devastated house onto the rubble that welcomed him— the rubble that once was an attractively adorned street. A chilled, hideous wind greeted his snow—white face. He knew it, everyone did— no mortal being was safe on this hell on earth. He screwed his dark muffler over his naked ears and started to walk briskly.

The cruel silence of the darkness was brutally shattered by the familiar sound of gun shots and then a dying scream.Now him, next me- he contemplated. But this thought had long ceased to disturb him, let alone scare him. The plain truth was that there was no escape, no optimism; the future was as dead as the land beneath the remains of the shoes he was wearing. He knew one thing though— the land could become alive if there was rain. But then again, there was no rain in sight. Clouds had long forgotten the way to this forbidden land. Tears streamed out of his jaded eyes. They surprised him- he was quite sure that they too had deserted him. He wiped them off with his scarred hands.

Almost suddenly, pictures of the pre-war period flashed in front of his damp eyes:

The streets lights flashing, couples and families, hand in hand, strolling around the glittering shops with their decorated showrooms. There was no fear, a hand shake here and there, a hug, a smile, a petty argument… it was beautiful.

He smiled, then laughed and finally cried. Maybe he couldn’t recognize emotion any more, it all seemed the same now. He did recognize though that his life was a hapless journey; a trip through hell into the grapples of death and probably as futile as the dried leaf that falls down and never gets up.

The damned wind seemed to get cooler every minute. Or maybe his tattered clothes had given up on him. After all, the world had given up on his homeland. After all, the world had been reduced to being mere spectators to yet another genocide. After all, they had other more important things to deal with. After all, after all…

The man dragged on. He stumbled over dead flesh. Part of a cat lay spluttered in front of him. “Those beasts, ba**rds didn’t even leave the cat alive,” he mumbled. Of course they didn’t; cats were just animals but humans. He changed his mind…we are animals too. He kicked away the intruding creature with a loud thud. No, he wasn’t always so insensitive. He had just grown out it. In fact, he had grown out of many other feelings, too, like love for instance. They were just old traditions that everybody had to grow out of. Honestly, most already had.

Lost in paradoxical thoughts, he came across a dried up well, a preserved ‘antiquity’. He remembered how people had crowded around it, throwing away their coins, wishing for so many things. How stupid, he thought. If only they had known better, they’d spend their money elsewhere. If only it wasn’t a wishing well, if only it had some fortune in it, like oil perhaps…The thought amused him but he didn‘t smile. It just seemed so honest, so really true. He buried his eyes in his hands and went back…

It was eight in the evening and he had just come back home after a hard, laborious day. Not that he was the only one who worked hard. Back then everybody did but at least everyone was allowed to live. His wife had just cooked the daily rice and beans. Life was difficult and ends barely met. Suddenly, his daughter barged into the room and instinctively he realized how beautiful she had become- his little girl had flowered into a beautiful woman. He held her close and wept. I

t was a hard life, if only he could give his daughter more… His son followed in next and they came together for a big bear hug. This had become a daily ritual, a sort of family endearment and how sure he was that his strength lay in this. They sat down for food and gobbled down their inadequate daily rations but they were happy to be alive, to be together. No one complained and this hurt him more. Sometimes, he wished that they would argue, that they would be angry, but like his other wishes; these too vanished into thin air.

He shook his head to disperse the snow that had collected over it and wiped off his tears. Suddenly, he started running, fell down and then sprinted again. But he knew that it would catch him, it always did. Surely, the pictures swept in front of him and he became witness to yet another hallucination.

It was eight in the evening and he had just come home. He heard the sound of loud barking and before he had time to make sense of it, a sharp blow hit across his forehead and he crashed down. Adem woke up to a nightmare— only that he wasn’t sleeping. He was tied to the door. His daughter lay in the bed in front of him, she was stark naked. He closed his eyes and screamed and cried.

A tight slap hit across his face. It opened his eyes and forced him to witness. The soldier climbed into the bed, encouraged on by fits of laughter and cheers. Adem looked on in disbelief. He had stopped screaming. The man raped his daughter. She wept, begged for mercy, begged for help…The dogs had started to bark even louder and their barking seemed to be drowning her voice and her strength. Adem wished for respite, wished for death. He’d gladly accept either. Moments later, another soldier entered the scene and repeatedly raped his daughter. Adem fainted. Not much later, he was awakened by boiling water poured over his head but it didn’t hurt at all. Physical pain seemed so minute…

This time his wife was the centerpiece. Besides her lay his daughter, apparently dead. His wife was screaming too but Adem didn’t flinch, he didn’t cry. He watched quietly as his wife became another toy for the animals. Next his son was brought in. It was a procession of death and he was the chief guest. The little child’s hands were placed on the table and severed, one by one.

The child had fainted after the first blow but the savages systematically continued to mutilate him, one bit at a time. The remains of the innocent human beings were gathered and then thrown in front of the beasts’ beasts. Throughout the ordeal, Adem had fainted several times but the butchers made sure that he didn’t miss any of the action. They didn’t kill him, though. It was too easy an escape.

Adem was now screaming and hammering his head into the barren ground. He kicked, he shouted, he cried…Why couldn’t these thoughts leave him alone? He raised his hands to the heavens and begged for mercy.

The mirage of his thoughts had barely subsided when he heard Serb words behind him.

He smiled and looked back.

A shot whizzed past his ear but the second one was more accurate.

The old man fell down with a thud.

He was dead and so too seemed hope.

-By Amad Shaikh

For background information and eye-witness accounts, pls visit these links:

  1. General Information On Wikipedia on Bosnian Genocide and Srebrenica Massacre
  2. Eye-witness accounts and more on PBS
  3. Case Study: The Srebrenica Massacre
  4. Eyewitness to Gendercide: A Critical Feminist Analysis of Rape as a Tool of War in Bosnia and Rwanda
  5. Robert Fisk: Our shame over Srebrenica
  6. Memorialization of the Srebrenica Massacre (Photos)
  7. Srebrenica Survivors Sue Netherlands, United Nations
  8. Srebrenica, An Orchestrated Tragedy (a Documentary)
  9. (Tons of information and photos)


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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.



  1. Amad

    May 26, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Alhamdulilah for the capture of the butcher

    Lives he took will never be returned.

    But at least families will have an opportunity to see justice take place.

    • Hamida

      May 27, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      Yes, they have captured the monster whose name I choose not to mention here, BUT will this serve us justice?? When you are conscious that he has been freely having a normal life all these years, while the bones of the innocent lay scattered over numerous mass graves, makes me nothing else but SICK! Those lost won’t be brought back to life and that’s for sure but how just his trial will turn out is uncertain!!! Now that he is captured he will be treated right – he will have his meals on time, he will have dental services, medical services and no one will touch him so he will be treated like a king in prison…

      I am just so upset that this is all the justice we get… its heartbreaking.. and no punishment this world could bring would even begin to touch the sides of what he deserves. I usually bury my head in the sand when these monsters are captured because I know that I’ll just be dissapointed and upset by the trial, comments, his treatment, his denial etc etc etc, not worth it…. We all know what he did… and his real punishment awaits him after this life

    • Tariq Nisar Ahmed

      May 28, 2011 at 4:07 AM

      No matter what happens or does not happen, every single victim will witness when Allah calls the murderers and rapists to account.

      Justice that Day will fully satisfy and will be complete.

      So much so that even a perpetrator of genocide could attain pardon in the next life by submitting fully and sincerely to Allah in this life. And while such a pardon in this life would leave victims in pain, it is easy for Allah to pardon the worst sin while more than making whole every victim. SubhanAllah. When one appreciates what Allah offers, it is only amazing that Hell will have so much fuel.

  2. Shuaib Mansoori

    May 27, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    May Allah exact retribution from those beasts.

    SubhanAllah Amad Bhai, your piece left my eyes welled with tears, an infinitesimal fraction of what the victims endured. May Allah grant them Sabr and grant Jannah to those who were killed.

    Shaykh Yaser Birjas would have tons of memories from that place…

    • Amad

      May 27, 2011 at 6:00 AM

      Yes, indeed Sh. Yaser has lots of memories…

    • Mirza Shahebaz Baig

      May 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM


      Those were some tearful stories we heard from Shaykh Yaser during his stay in the balcons as youth instructor. Allahul Musta’an. Appreciate Allah’s bounties more that he kept us in such comfort than what people around the world had to go through. TO each his/her own and Allah does not test anyone beyond their limits.

      I was told of a couple of men I know mash Allah were able to go to Bosnia with the intention of help the victims during the war. Alhamdulillah, one was able to host some refugees for few days and the other mash Allah was able to support one single mother by marrying her. may Allah bless their families with abundance good. Ameen.

      Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi rajioon.

  3. UmmSarah

    May 27, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    In one of his lectures, Ustad Nouman Ali Khan makes a great point; a guy who kills one person and one who kills thousands are given the same punishment. Is that justice?
    True justice only belongs to Allah SW. By the time this guy is served death penalty (which I doubt he would) he’d already lived his life and was going to die anyways.

  4. F

    May 27, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Alhumdulillah for this capture. May he get the worst of punishments in this life and the next for his actions.

  5. Hena Zuberi

    May 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    One of my students asked me why they had never heard of his name? A man who was responsible for killing so many humans- (he is a freshman in high school), yet OBL is a household name all over the world.

    From a piece by Greenwald in Salon-
    The NYT says that, for Europe, Mladic’s arrest “has a resonance on the magnitude of the killing of Osama bin Laden for Americans.” That’s understandable, as the crimes of which Mladic is accused are at least as grave and serious as those bin Laden allegedly committed. Mladic is almost certainly responsible for more deaths than the Al Qaeda leader was. There is probably less doubt about his guilt worldwide than there was (and is) about bin Laden’s. And when he was found, Mladic “had two pistols with him” (though “he made no attempt to use” them).

    In light of all that, what’s the point of arresting Mladic and putting him on trial? Why is that considered “bringing him to justice”? Why not just pump his skull full of bullets and dump his corpse into the ocean, and then proclaim that “justice has been done”?

  6. kishwar

    May 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    its so hard to even imagine the horrible things that had happened with all our muslim brothers and sisters there. But for sure Allah is Just and He is the Witness to all evil that these hounds committed. May ALlah disgrace them, may Allah avenge them for every bit of injustice that they committed. May we witness all of these criminals burning in Hell.
    the article was heart breaking, it has left me depressed and absolutely speechless…..thanks for sharing though.

  7. Carlos

    May 27, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Glad that jerk has been caught.

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