12.18.2020

“Quo Vadis, Aida?,” A New Film About the Bosnian War

25 years ago, the Dayton Accords brought peace to Bosnia after a river of blood flowed through the Balkans. A crucial trigger for that negotiation was the 1995 massacre of an estimated 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, under the noses of UN peacekeeping troops who were sent to protect them. Now, a highly acclaimed new movie tells the story of a local translator who bore witness to it all.

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SO I WAS 20 WHEN I -- 17 WHEN THE WAR STARTED, 20 WHEN THIS HAPPENED.

WE ALL BELIEVED THAT IT WAS A SAFE AREA, PROTECTED BY U.N.

WHEN IT WAS TAKEN BY SERBIAN ARMY, SUDDENLY THE WHOLE SYSTEM FELL APART.

YOU KNOW, IF VIOLENCE IS WINNING OVER UNITED NATIONS, IF IT'S WINNING OVER ALL HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE, IF IT'S WINNING AFTER WE SAID NEVER AGAIN AFTER HOLOCAUST, THEN WHAT IS LEFT?

THIS SHOCKED ME FOR YEARS.

I WAS NOT AWARE IMMEDIATELY THAT I WANTED TO MAKE A FILM, BUT IT WAS ALWAYS LIKE A FIRE IN ME THAT I WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

LATER ON WE FOUND OUT HOW MANY PEOPLE GOT KILLED, IN WHICH WAY, THEY WERE BURIED IN MASS GRAVES, THEN TAKEN FROM THESE MASS GRAVES TO OTHER MASS GRAVES IN ORDER TO HIDE THE CRIMES.

I MET MOTHERS WHOSE STORY WAS UNBEARABLY PAINFUL, AND THEIR DIGNITY WAS SUCH INSPIRATION, HOW THEY WERE GOING THROUGH LIFE WITH THIS PAIN, HOW THEY WERE TRYING TO BUILD SOCIETY NEVER BASED ON REVENGE OR -- JUST SEEKING FOR JUSTICE AND FOR THE BODIES OF THEIR SONS, HUSBANDS, FAMILIES.

THAT'S WHAT MY INSPIRATION, HOW EVERYTHING.

INDEED.

THE MOTHERS FORCED THIS ISSUE TO STAY IN THE SPOTLIGHT, UNTIL FINALLY THEY WOULD GET JUSTICE.

IT IS TRUE NOW THAT THE MAIN PERPETRATORS OF THAT WAR AND THE GENOCIDAL CRIME OF THE MASSACRE ARE BEHIND BARS AT THE HAGUE.

THEY DID SEE THEIR DAY IN COURT, THEY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED.

BEFORE WE GET INTO THE FILM, ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT?

LOOK, WHENEVER OBSERVING THE TRIAL, WHEN HE WAS SENTENCED, I THOUGHT I WOULD FEEL A KIND OF CLOSING OF THE CHAPTER.

IT WAS, YOU KNOW -- HALF OF MY LIFE WAS SOMEHOW CONNECTED WITH THIS POST-WAR SITUATION, THE STRESS OF IT, THE TRAUMA OF IT.

I FELT, OKAY, I WILL BE HAPPY BECAUSE SOMETHING IS OVER.

BUT I WASN'T.

I WAS THINKING NOT THAT I WAS NOT SATISFIED WITH THE TRIAL AND EVERYTHING, THAT WAS FINE.

BUT I WAS THINKING, WHAT IS THE -- WHAT WAS LEFT AFTER HIS ACT?

SERBS ARE UNHAPPY.

THEY LIVE VERY POORLY.

SO MANY DEAD PEOPLE.

SO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE THEIR LOVED ONES ARE KILLED.

WHAT IS LEFT AFTER THIS MAN?

ONLY MISERY.

I FELT REALLY, REALLY MISERABLE THAT THESE KIND OF FORCES MADE MY COUNTRY SO UNHAPPY.

About This Episode EXPAND

A vaccine update from Moderna Co-founder and Chairman Noubar Afeyan. Plus, women’s freediving world record holder Alenka Artnik and discussions on two films about human rights.

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