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8,372 pair of shoes for 8,372 massacred men

July 11 marks the 16th anniversary of the genocide perpetrated by Serbs in Srebrenica, a town in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A protest has been held in İstanbul by the Young Bosnians Association to condemn th

Thousands of Bosnians were massacred by Serbs on 11 July 1995 in Srebrenica, which was declared a safe area by the United Nations and was under the official supervision of Dutch peacekeeping forces. The UN allowed the Serbs to carry out the massacre by remaining silent in the wake of their brutalities. Thanks to the efforts of the Young Bosnians’ Association, 8,372 pairs of shoes, representing the exact number of people killed in Srebrenica, were collected for the memory of the Srebrenica victims and they were put on display in the Gezi Park in Taksim Square. A monument was made out of thousands of shoes which were placed around the UN logo. So, the Serbians who perpetrated the massacre and the Dutch who failed to intervene to stop the massacre were condemned in the level of the UN.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, former Education Minister Nimet Çubukçu, novelist Ayse Kulin, film director Semih Kaplanoğlu, singers Sezen Aksu, Alişan, Yeşim Salkım, Murat Dalkılıç, Berksan and Gece Yolcuları, TV presenters Vatan Şaşmaz and İkbal Gürpınar, screenwriter Gani Müjde and many football and basketball players have supported the project by sending their shoes. President of the Young Bosnians Association Enisa Kezo said: “The people who supported this protest by sending their shoes are people who are not afraid to raise their voices for justice, people who love peace and stability. Shoes have not only explained the genocide but they have also established a bridge between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

Kezo said a genocide was perpetrated in Srebrenica before the very eyes of the world. “Genocide means systematic killing. A genocide has levels such as mass murder and rape. Now, there is the 8th level in question which is denial. Serbians deny having carried out such a genocide. They establish strong lobbies to support their denial claims. There was only one reason for the ethnic cleansing and genocide and it was our nation’s being different and being Muslim,” she said.

The people who came to the Gezi Park in Taksim condemned the massacre by leaving their shoes in the commemoration area. The celebrities who visited the area also condemned the Srebrenica genocide while praying God that such genocides not to take place again. Singer Haluk Levent who recalled that many massacres and genocides took place in the world throughout the history, said that the Srebrenica massacre was perpetrated in front of the eyes of the world.

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