Episode 39 – Cinema Srebrenica with Alma Mustafic and Emir Suljagic

Emir Suljagić and Alma Mustafić speak with Stephanie and Janet

The Srebrenica genocide is the atrocity the most extensively dealt with by international justice and by domestic courts both in Bosnia and the Netherlands. It’s also the subject of a highly acclaimed movie Quo vadis, Aida? by Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić which is in the running for an Oscar.

We discuss with Alma Mustafić and Emir Suljagić, who were both therein the run up to the genocide, how such a film helps define the image we have of a mass atrocity.

Emir was an interpreter for the UN In Srebrenica at the time of the massacre, like the protagonist of Quo vadis, Aida? and survived because of his UN employee status. Alma was one of the refugees who flocked to Dutch peacekeepers in Potoćari in hopes of protection. She survived. Her brother and father were both killed.

Emir is now the director of the Srebrenica Memorial Centre set up at the former Dutch base. Check out their website for the Genocide Papers research we talk about in the podcast.

Alma who came to the Netherlands as a refugee after the fall of Srebrenica has campaigned for a full history of the Bosnian conflict to be taught in Dutch schools. She is in the play Gevaarlijke Namen (Dangerous Names) which will be shown in Dutch theaters again when Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Their reading choices are very on point. Alma is reading a Dutch tome on nationalism and genocide in the context of Yugoslavia. Emir is writing about the break up of the former Yugoslavia and mentions this theory of the factors that led to secession.

But for light relief (and maybe because he’s got a new baby, we couldn’t possibly speculate) he recommends the comedy, Breeders. Here’s the trailer. He is also watching Snowfall and Snowpiercer if you like your binge series more dystopian.