Bosniaks protest pro-genocide Serb education curriculum

March 19, 2012, Monday/ 16:00:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Bosniak students in Srebrenica, where 8,000 Bosniaks were massacred during the Bosnian war in 1995, have been protesting a pro-genocide educational curriculum of a Serb school in the city for over a week.

A total of 201 Bosniak students, who have not been attending class for over a week, are concerned about the school's educational curriculum, which legitimize the Srebrenica massacre in which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed in 1995, and the discriminative policies pursued by the predominantly Serb school management.

According to the Anatolia news agency, the administration refused to change the school's discriminative policy, curriculum and name despite the protest. The school is named after a Serb Orthodox prince and bishop, Petar II Petrovic-Njegos.

Defending the rights of the Bosniak children, Alija Tabakovic, the president of the Association of Parents of Bosniak Children, told Anatolia that Bosniaks have been exposed to discriminative behavior ever since they returned to the city at the conclusion of the war.

Tabakovic noted that Bosniaks constituted 75 percent of the population prior to the war, but that these numbers dropped significantly after the Srebrenica massacre.

Tabakovic said the education curriculum, which was prepared by the Serbs after the war, portray the Srebrenica massacre as a justifiable act, meaning that the Bosniak student have to listen to how the murder of their grandfathers, fathers and uncles was “justifiable” and took place during the so-called Serb War of Independence and added that the students will continue to protest the curriculum until it is changed.

Tabakovic also said that Serb language and history are taught at the school despite the fact that 201 of the 405 students are Bosniaks. He added that the curriculum should also take the Bosniak students into consideration and that the predominantly Serb school management should be changed to allow Bosniaks to hold posts in the school's management in order to prevent any discrimination against Bosniak students.

Stating that he met with Anton Kasipovic, the minister of education and culture of Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tabakovic said the minister had promised to address the problem.

Association of Srebrenica Mothers President Hatidza Mehmedovic said, “The Srebrenica massacre is a disgrace to the world, but the planners and implementers of the massacre are still being permitted to make decisions that affect our future.”

Srebrenica had a Muslim majority population before the Bosnian war. It was declared a UN safe haven but besieged by Serb forces throughout the 1992-95 war for Serb domination in Bosnia.

The Srebrenica massacre, later recognized as genocide by the UN, stands out as Europe's worst massacre since World War II. At the time, some 30,000 Bosnian Muslims had flocked to the UN military base in Srebrenica's suburb of Potocari for refuge. But when Serb forces came, outnumbered Dutch troops opened the gates. The Serbs took men and boys, put them in trucks and carted them away, the vast majority never to be seen again.

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