Genocide – the cruelest thing that humans can do to one another. And yet we tend to quickly forget about the genocide. We are only reminded of him by numbers; how many victims there were, when it took place, how long ago it was. But sometimes we get the opportunity to deal with him in a different way.
“Europe – Bosnia, July 1995” stands at the beginning of this film, which is about justice. About the fact that there can be no justice when words and deeds are misused to cover up intentions, to rape and to destroy. When the human is no longer human, but monster. If he wants to wipe out the other. Europe, 1995, that means: Look here, it took place among us, the greatest genocide since the end of the Second World War. As if we had to care about those who raped just because of that and were murdered because they lived near us; which have been dug up again and again with excavators and thrown into primary, secondary and tertiary mass graves so that they cannot be identified later.
Patient chronicler of the Bosnian war
As if the 8,372 dead in Srebrenica should mean something to us. But they don’t, no matter how close or far the ground is to us they fell on when they were massacred because they belonged to the wrong ethnic group. We secretly wonder if the question of guilt is really that clear. We think of Peter Handke and his ilk, who demand justice for Serbia, and we wonder with them who the first aggressor was. Blinded by their big words, we fail to see that they justify, minimize, or even deny entirely, genocide, the greatest crime against humanity.
Jasmila Žbanić, the patient chronicler of the Bosnian War, whose first film “Esma’s Secret – Grbavica”, which was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, was about the rape of Bosnian women, now tells about Srebrenica. To be more precise, she doesn’t just tell, she accuses. She indicts those who still deny what happened 26 years ago, of which there are quite a few in the Balkans. And it indicts those who did nothing to prevent the genocide: the United Nations.
“Quo vadis, Aida?” – “Where are you going, Aida?” Is the title of her new work, which was nominated for an Oscar this year and won several prizes, and in fact we always see the eponymous character Aida moving. The extent of her agitation increases continuously until she finally runs around like a headless chicken, fully aware of the fact that she has lost the fight, that she will lose her two sons and her husband. She only keeps quiet in the first scene, in the proverbial calm before the storm, where she sits in her apartment and stares in front of herself, a teacher whose face tells the story of a whole sad and beautiful life. Already in the second scene this face is in a state of turmoil, it is now the face of a chain smoker who works as a translator for the UN during the war, i.e. mediates linguistically between the Bosniaks and the Dutch blue helmet soldiers – as the only woman among all the men.