Why did Bosnian Genocide Survivor Hung Herself?
The Last Rational Act in Bosnia
By Sue Reisinger
Miami Herald, p.A6
26 July 1995.
The Miami Herald’s wire services late last week sent us the picture of a woman about 20 who had hanged herself in a grove of trees in Bosnia.
Some editors found the picture in poor taste, and another said, “Well, we don’t really know why the woman hanged herself, do we?” Besides, several concluded, it was an irrational act.
Let’s look at what we do know: The woman was one of tens of thousands of terrorized Muslims [Bosniaks] who had fled to an emergency camp after the Serbs overran their United Nations-guarded “safe haven” [Srebrenica].
They sat all day in a blistering sun, with little to no food or water, washing in and drinking from the same stream used for latrines.
By their tearful accounts, they had witnessed horrible cruelties. They watched as Serbs slit the throats of friends, neighbors and relatives; as Muslim women were dragged away and raped; as mostly women and children were stripped of their possessions, packed into buses, and taken away as part of the Serbs’ “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnia.
The road that they traveled was lined with the bound bodies of their male loved ones, their fathers, husbands and son, most dead, a few struggling to stay alive.
Egads! These people have been pushed to the farthest limits of rationality. The world for them has gone mad. And they are powerless.
Just as we seem to be powerless to decide what is the right thing to do for Bosnia.
Growing up after World War II, whenever I asked why the United States didn’t do something much earlier about the horrors suffered by the Jews in Germany, the answer was always: We didn’t know.
There were isolated stories, but we didn’t really know until it was too late.
Well, look at this picture. Fellow refugees said that the woman slipped into the woods sometime during the night and hanged herself in despair. They did not know her name [later it was revealed, her name was Ferida Osmanovic].
We may not know exactly who she is, or what specifically happened to her and her family. But, God help us, we really know what is happening in Bosnia.
This woman’s death crystallize the insanity of it all for the whole world to see. The picture could not be any clearer.
This may well have been the last rational human being in Bosnia.