In 1995, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the midst of Europe, the ongoing and systematic crimes reached their abhorrent heights through the crime of genocide committed against the population of Srebrenica, a small town in Eastern Bosnia. In less than a week more than 8000 Bosnian Muslims were exterminated solely for being of different ethnicity and bearing different names. The Srebrenica genocide was committed on the very threshold of the European civilization, with the entire international community observing, and the world hardly caring at all.
Located in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Srebrenica genocide was committed exactly fifty years after the liberation of Auschwitz when the world promised “never again.” Today, we remember this genocide and recognize the patterns of discrimination that still, everyday, lead to unspeakable crimes all around the world.
In 2004 Tarik Samarah photographed a mother from Srebrenica standing and looking at the photo depicting Anne Frank and her sister. The girls in the photo have their backs turned and the focus of the mother is not apparent to the observer. The European contemporary history and its restless narratives are symbolically united in this photograph. Knowing how easy it is to be pushed beyond the limit of what is considered civilization, it becomes impossible not to ask who will be observed next and whom will we remember in the unknowable future and in the unfathomable present? Will there be someone or is someone already there to observe our backs in the same solemn manner?
© Tarik Samarah
Gallery 11/07/95, Memorial Centre Srebrenica
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