Olivera Simic


In this personal narrative I aim to describe internal struggles I endure for one day in Srebrenica on my visit to a mass exhumation site. The narrative discusses and raises a series of questions related to human motivations, actions and disturbing traumatic experiences. In an attempt to bring attention and value to our personal experiences, my essay is a critical reflection on some common concerns facing all post conflict societies; that is, making sense of the past horrors and the ways we pay tribute to them. This essay intends to talk about the things and feelings often left unspoken, and, although quite specific in its focus on Srebrenica, contains universal themes that cross countries and continents. Written only a few days after my visit to the site of genocide, the narrative brings with it many humbling and vivid details that are imprinted on my memory. Although I am excited at the prospect of sharing my memories with the world, at the same time I am reluctant to give a revisionist account of this day as I am aware of ethical dilemmas whenever one tries to challenge values and aims of the post genocide tours. The narratives of women from Bosnia and Herzegovina are making an important contribution to history and warn future generations to learn lessons from the past atrocities. This is my contribution to it.

Author Biography

Olivera Simic has an LLM in International Human Rights Law (Essex University, UK) and MA in Gender and Peacebuilding (University for Peace, Costa Rica). She is currently at the Law School, University of Melbourne, researching for a PhD thesis entitled ‘Is the zero tolerance approach to sex between UN peacekeeping personnel and local people in the context of UN peacekeeping operations the best way to prevent “sexual exploitation” in the future?’