Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update on Srebrenica Memorial Quilt

[I received this update on the progress of the Srebrenica Memorial Quilt collaboration between The Advocacy Project and BOSFAM. I am pleased to note that the quilt has continued to gain sponsors, and has grown in size, since I saw it at the Bosnian embassy in Washington, DC recently.]

The Srebrenica Memorial Quilt – an Update

September 2008: The Bosnian Family (Bosfam) and the Advocacy Project (AP) wish to thank you for your support of the Srebrenica Memorial Quilt project. Interest in the Quilt has grown steadily in Bosnia and North America since the quilt was first launched in St Louis on July 11, 2007. It is with great pleasure that we send you this brief report on what has been achieved, with your help.

The Bosnian weavers. Fourteen weavers are now working on the Srebrenica Memorial Quilt at the Bosfam headquarters in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. All of them endured incredible hardships during the war in Bosnia, and over half were forced to leave Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. Several lost close relatives in the massacre. You can read about them on newly-updated web pages.

The quilt panels. Eighty-five panels have been produced, and each commemorates a single victim of the massacre. Together, the panels make up four separate quilts. Three quilts are currently used for outreach in the United States and Canada. The fourth quilt remains at the Bosfam office in Tuzla. A fifth quilt will soon be completed. Each panel has its own unique design, decided by a Bosfam weaver. The quilts may be viewed online.

Sponsors and funds. Over seventy individuals, clubs, and diaspora groups have sponsored panels and donated to the project. Sponsors have given $950 for panels commemorating a relative or friend. Donors have given another $1,800 in un-earmarked contributions. This has covered the cost of raw materials, and allowed the Bosfam weavers to continue making panels.

Outreach: The Quilt project seeks to keep the memory of the Srebrenica massacre alive and give diaspora communities a tangible way to support civil society and reconstruction in Bosnia. This is succeeding beyond our expectations. The Quilt has been displayed twelve times since July 2007. Hundreds of people have viewed the Quilt and engaged in a lively discussion about Srebrenica, in St. Louis, Boston, Detroit, Washington DC, New York, Toronto, and Utica. These events have also been covered in the local press. Several more events are planned for the fall and Bosfam and the Advocacy Project hope you will be able to join us. For more information on past and upcoming events visit the Outreach page.

Training: The Advocacy Project and Bosfam have exciting plans for this project. Bosfam is developing a training program for weavers which will benefit minority (Bosniak) returnees to Srebrenica and the surrounding villages. This program will provide women with skills and an income and promote refugee returns to one of the most economically-depressed areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A team from AP visited Srebrenica this summer to develop the program with Bosfam. Read the blogs of Iain Guest, Executive Director of the Advocacy Project visit to Bosnia.

Social change and impunity: The Srebrenica Memorial Quilt is proving to be an effective tool for advocacy in the United States and Canada, and Bosfam and AP hope to expand outreach efforts to Europe, including the Balkans itself, in 2009. The quilt serves as a reminder of the massacre and keeps the memory of the victims alive. Over 40,000 individuals attended the memorial services at Potocari this summer. In addition, one of the two architects of the massacre, Radovan Karadzic, was arrested on July 21, 2008. Of course, much remains to be done. But the quilt is playing an important role in seeking justice for the thousands of innocent victims who died in July 1995.

The Advocacy Project and Bosfam are extremely grateful for your support of this important project. Thank you!


Beba Hadzic (Bosfam) and Iain Guest (AP)

Tuzla and Washington DC. September 16, 2008


Anonymous said...

this project is really interesting; I think its the most interesting of all of the projects that i know of, because it has both a deep symbolic meaning and practical purpose

Anonymous said...

Hey, I received an update on this quilt today! They asked me to send more info about the dead children I commemorated. I sent them in the past, but now I found more info and will be responding to their letter with another donation!

Anonymous said...

Kirk, I can't remember whether I posted these links before, excuse me if they're a repeat. Shweta Dewan was an Advocacy Project intern with the Bosfam weavers this summer. She did a blog while she was there that's at the AP site with :
which gives a human face to the project.
Also Iain Guest of AP visited the project this summer and his posts provided a rounded picture of the circumstances in which the project works: