Today Gallery 11/07/95 was visited by Swanee Hunt, former US ambassador in Vienna of the Women and Public Policy program at Harvard University, author of the book ”This Was Not Our War – Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace”. Ambassador Hunt and a group of women from Srebrenica reconnected at Gallery 11/07/95, after not having seen each other for almost twenty years, since the Bosnian War. The group reminisced on the horrors and struggles they faced during the war and the ways in which they’ve rebuilt their lives and community over the past two decades. Ambassador Hunt explained how meeting this group of women so long ago was a pinnacle moment in her life, and helped her realize how important it was for her to work promoting women in peace and security globally.
“I sometimes think if there had not been a Srebrenica, there might have been another 100,000 people dead. It (the genocide/war) had been happening here and there, but nothing was a big enough motivation to stop the war. It was never intense enough for the US, or France, or the UN to get involved. And then, there was Srebrenica, and everything changed”, said Hunt.
“It’s very hard to go back to the place where all of your loved ones were killed. We live in the city of the dead. I have family, friends, neighbors who are dead. But we have succeeded. We will never let the criminals who killed our loved ones have peace. Our biggest problem right now is the negation of genocide, and great women like you are our hope. Our steps have not been wasted; we have the truth, not our emotion but our truth. But we still need that kind of support. As long as we have people like you pushing us we will never stop,” said one woman from Srebrenica.
During her political and social engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the time of the war and after the war, ambassador Hunt was and still is a friend of all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, primarily of the women whom she was trying to help and empower in different ways – not only with individual donations to women’s organizations and their projects, but with numerous conversations, constant support and advice that she has selflessly shared.
“I want to take this opportunity to welcome you back to your Bosnia, we know it’s your home here. On behalf of our movement, and we are strong women of Srebrenica, almost everything that happened to us in the 90’s, to get up on our own two feet, to fight for those of us who survived to survive, to return to our prewar homes and start our life again – that’s the strength we got from you many years ago,” said another woman from Srebrenica.
Because of boundless support and contribution to acknowledgement of the truth about the genocide in Srebrenica, because of the selfless involvement, understanding and empathy she demonstrated during the past years, especially towards the women of Srebrenica, Tarik Samarah awarded her special recognition on behalf of Gallery 11/07/95.