One Million Bones in Washington, DC

Washington, DC (TFC– One million bones were placed on the lawn of the National Mall as a sort of visual petition asking the United States government to take action against the genocides that are occurring all over the world. The bones used in the symbolic mass grave were handmade by activists in every state of the US and dozens of foreign countries.

One million bones in DC. Image Source: Elvert Barnes, Flickr, Creative Commons

One million bones in DC.
Image Source: Elvert Barnes, Flickr, Creative Commons

While the US government seems far too entrenched in negotiating international trade deals that will keep the current system in place to even consider acting on the demonstration, a group of activists in Bosnia has taken the idea and made it their own.

The Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC), an organization founded “to cultivate an environment for sustainable peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the greater Balkans region using creative multimedia projects that foster tolerance, moral courage, mutual understanding, and positive change,” picked up the project and will carrying it to to the Balkans. The Balkans saw genocide on a massive level 20 years ago.

Starting on July 8th, the PCRC will begin laying 100,000 bones in Srebrenica. That location witnessed a brutal genocide occur 20 years ago.

July 1995: 400 Dutch peacekeepers under the command of the United Nations Protection Force lost control of Srebrenica after being pushed out or captured by advancing Serbian forces. The Dutch forces on the ground never directly engaged the Serbs, who were assisted by Greek volunteers. The Dutch commander made repeated requests for assistance to NATO on July 10th. The requests were ignored with the exception of 2 Dutch F-16s that flew in to attack Serb tanks. There is a persistent rumor that those two planes conducted their attack without full approval.

By July 11th, Serbian Generals were walking through the streets of Srebrenica without a care in the world. They even had drinks with a Dutch commander. The largest mass murder in Europe since World War II started the next day. Unsettling descriptions of those events follow in the next two paragraphs. The links contained in those paragraphs source the testimony of survivors. Those sources are more graphic in detail. There is a reason the description of these events are included. 

The next morning, men and boys were separated from the women and girls. The men and boys were taken to an area the Serbs dubbed “the White House.” The executions began. Most of the males killed early in the genocide were fortunate enough to be killed with a single gunshot to the head. The executions were conducted about every two minutes for hours. By that evening, flood lights were set up to allow the murders to continue and a bulldozer was used to push bodies into mass graves. As the hours passed, the brutality increased. Serbs began cutting off the lips, noses, and limps of adults after forcing them to watch their children’s executions. Some were burned alive. More than 8,000 were killed.

The women and girls were publicly raped, sometimes the young girls were raped in front of their mothers. The Serbs forced young boys to have intercourse with their sisters. They made mothers hold their children while they were beheaded. Infants that cried had their throats slit and then were handed back to their mothers. These scenes were witnessed by Dutch soldiers who remained in the area. Some simply ignored it. At least one watched the public rapes “with a walkman on his head”

This is the location where the PCRC will be laying the bones. The bones will be on display for the 20th commemoration event on July 11th.

In the United States, we tend to believe that this sort of thing could never happen here. Certainly, those in Bosnia believed the same. It was a relatively stable European country with a substantial tourist industry just a few years before these massacres began. The next knee-jerk reaction we have in the US is to believe that this had to be the work of one of those bizarre religions. The beheadings will certainly lead many American to assume that Muslims were involved. They were. They were the victims. The Serbian perpetrators were predominately Christian. The events in Bosnia need to serve as a reminder to the world that no country, ethnicity, or religion is beyond the reach of genocide. This sort of thing could easily happen in the United States. It is happening all over the world as you read this.

To firmly destroy every stereotype about genocide: This happened 20 years ago in an economically-viable, predominantly white country in Europe and the perpetrators were Christian. It’s not ancient history. It’s not poor people. It’s not brown people. It’s not in Africa. It’s not a backwards religion. These acts are the child of blind nationalism and obedience.

14 comments for “One Million Bones in Washington, DC

  1. Emir
    July 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Boris Epstein, the only difference was that the Serbs had yugoslavia army arsenal and thousands of convict mercenaries from Serbia to execute the plan of ethnic cleansing. Similar to cleansing of Jewish people in ww2 they had lists of Muslim intelectuals, wealthy and successful people to get rid of. Yes,there was killings on all 3 sides but reaction was not even close to what Serbs tried to do. In so called serbian Republic all the mosques and Catholic churches were blown up where in cities like Sarajevo ortodox church, Cathedral and synagogue are sheltered and never touched. Peace

  2. Ned
    July 8, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    What about 3.500 Serbs that were killed bi naser oric around Srebrenica? How many villages were burned down by oric’s thugs? What about mass killings on Serbian easter committed by Oric and the muslims? Srebrenica demilitarized zone, what joke. How many Serbs were beheaded by el mujahideen foreign fighters? You thought Serbs would do nothing? Miscalculation, thats why you got Srebrenica

  3. Ned
    July 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    P.s. Talking about Orthodox Church in Sarajevo, how many Sebs lived in Sarajevo before the war and how many are there living now? Close to none, and then you talk about genocide, you people make me sick!!

  4. Bosna
    July 8, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    You people? It is clear you have no education on Bosnia what so ever. There are plenty of Serbs who still live in Sarajevo who were against Serbia invading it, who saw it for what it was – a power trip and for what? Now we have families disbursed all over the country, we have veterans who will have life long ptsd, we have grandparents and parents who still yearn for the closure of a loved one whose body they never found. Why don’t you go educate yourself and after that go fuck your self for being a insensitive piece of shit. You are the kind of “you people” that make this place so full of hatred. Uneducated follower.

  5. Soul
    July 9, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Po svemu sudeći ti si jedan obični četnik, koji je jak samo na riječima. Širiš mržnju i laži u korist svog naroda. A ovo što pričaš o srbima u Sarajevu, ako nisi znao ima ih dosta, i onih koju su branili svoju zemlju, a ne kao ti, kukavica četnička, pobjegao u kanadu. Nisi kompetentan da išta pričas jadniče jadni… A doći će tvoja pravda ne brini…

  6. Maya
    July 9, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Ned, my mother is Serb, my grandma, my grandpa, they are Serbs, and they still living in Sarajevo. godmother of my daughter is also Serb, and she also live in Sarajevo. And what exactly you trying to say? You trying to justify killing? What kind of person you are? Do you have children? if someone do harm or kills your child, would you accept any excuse? You trying to make excuse to killing muslims with history, that is disgusting!And, if you know “your history”, then why you typing on english? Govori na svom jeziku. I da, kažeš koliko srba živi u Sarajevu. Reci mi, koliko muslimana živi u Banja Luci? Čitaj druže, i ne budi zaslijepljen propagandom.
    Moja baka davno reče: srbi su uvjek vodili oslobodilačke ratove, i dobijali ih. Jedini put kad su izgubili bilo je to ovaj put, kada ni Bog nije bio na njihovj strani jer su ubijali nedužne, klali silovali i palili, iskoristivši oružje JNA.
    Statistika za tebe, u dalekoj lijepoj dijaspori odakle siješ patriotizam:
    Nacionalni sastav stanovništva – Grad Banja Luka, popis 1991.
    ukupno: 143.079

    Srbi – 70.155 (49,03%)
    Bošnjaci – 27.689 (19,35%)
    Hrvati – 15.700 (10,97%)
    Jugoslaveni – 22.645 (15,82%)
    ostali, neopredijeljeni i nepoznato – 6.890 (4,83%)

  7. Ilija Čvorović
    July 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Bolesni i naivni, nabijem vas na kurac sve u paketu: ustaše, četnike, balije iSve ostale smradove koji dalje od nosa ne vide, aL će englezi, rusi i ameri opet da vas zavade da se bijete medju sobom aOni sa strane da navijaju!

    Zavadi pa vladaj – bitna vam je reč – zločin aL TO nije dovoljno, mora da bude engleskpg porekla massacre, genocide?!

    Pa majku iOca bolesnog da vam jebem, pogledajte iVidecete da ti englezi u svojoj povjesti samo 21 državu nisu napali od mogućih 246 koliko ih na kugli zemaljskoj ima.

    Ako, ako – dok ima ovaca biće i vune, smrdite marvo!!

  8. Isidor
    July 10, 2015 at 7:10 am

    “all the mosques and catholic churches blown up” …. “no catholic church ever touches” …. do you notice something?

  9. Zahid Sarwar Nizam
    July 13, 2015 at 1:35 am

    It is sad to see how blind people can be when they are religious. Witnesses, forensic evidences, photographs and videos all prove beyond any doubt that Serbia carried out a genoside in Bosnia with the aim of having a Greater Serbia to replace earstwhile Yogoslavia with active and passive assistance of many other Europeans, mainly the Dutch who ensured that no weapons came to Bosnians for them to defend themselves but allowed Serbs free access to all the weapons they needed. The record of the Dutch people in Indonesia and their other former colonies speak volumes about them. During this war a Bangladeshi senior military officer overheard a discussion of Nato officers – the Dutch General said openly that “Muslims should not be there in Europe”. Many other Europeans believe the same. A French President once said about Turkey’s membership “What would Turkey do in a a Chritian Club like EU.”

  10. Desiree Overree
    July 21, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Hello, the information in Mr. King’s article is not entirely correct. The intent is somewhat correct but persons involved, and call to attention is a bit skewed. The intent was to call attention to the killings in Africa, not the travesties in Europe. People involved included art students from all over the globe, not activists. I was vacationing in DC during the time the exhibit was supposedly there (I would have gone!) and the mall is under construction (rebedding soil) and the dome is undergoing restorations. The picture is dated, as neither of those landmarks look like this right now. The embedded video also has the correct date of two years ago. Here are two resources that cover the event, and the embedded video does have accurate dates and information.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackie-bezos/one-million-bones-on-the-_b_3427247.html

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/one-million-bones-to-transform-the-mall-into-a-symbolic-mass-grave-95370693/

  11. korekcija
    July 22, 2015 at 6:30 am

    U silnom nastojanju da se pokaže i izvrtanjem činjenica i podataka dokaže neka zamišljena priča, propagatori prave grške koje su ponekad toliko banalne da vrijeđaju zdrav razum. Pročitavši komentare čovjek bi pomislio da su Srbi nagrnuli iz Srbije na neke goloruke i jadne Bošnjake u namjeri da osvoje neke teritorije i da genocidom unište stanovništvo koje im se nađe na putu. Priča je toliko nerealna da je prosto nevjerovatno da i oni koji je pričaju ne skontaju da je to čista fantazija.
    Kao prvo Maya – podaci o popisu iz 91′ u Banja Luci su ti netačni iz prostog razloga – Bošnjaci kao nacija nisu postojali 91′ pa je nemoguće da o njima postoji statistički podatak.
    Priča o jednostranom etničkom čišćenju od strane Srba je totalna glupost, jer su svi krajevi u Federaciji počevši od Sarajeva, Zenice, Mostara…da ne pominjem potpuno uništena i razorena sela, takođe etnički očišćeni u istim ili sličnim razmjerama kao i područja u RS.
    Neprestano se pominju Srbi iz Srbije koji su ratovali u BiH kao da su to vanzemaljci, a ne ljudi koji su krvnim vezama vezani za narod u BiH. Mnogi od njih imaju familije i porodice u BiH, što se nikako ne bi moglo reći za preko 2000 mudžahedina koji su ratovali na strani Armije BiH, a koje niko od Bošnjaka koji daju komentare ne pominje iako i oni znaju kakva zlodjela su ti monstrumi počinili.
    Srbi u BiH su zastupljeni teritorijalno i brojčano u značajnoj mjeri i tu žive od pamtivjeka, a nisu doseljeni nekom smišljenom metodom da bi osvajali teritorije.kako to pišu neki od komentatora. Naprotiv mnogi žitelji BiH su naseljeni u Srbiji posebno Vojvodini u bližoj istoriji (čuvena 8. ofanziva)
    I na kraju pitanje svih pitanja : Šta je to što Bošnjaci, koji pišu ovakve komentare i propagiraju ovakvu politiku koja je sveprisutna, žele još u vezi sa ratom u BiH, kad je ogromna većina Srba koji su sumnjičeni privedena i sudjena što u Hagu što po drugim sudovima, a da se pri tome u širokom luku zaobileze i pokušaji da se osude počinioci zlodjela koji se medju Bošnjacima i dan danas slave kao heroji? Da li stvarno komentatori koji ovdje pišu žele reći da tih zlodjela nije bilo? Da li je konačni cilj ovakve mržnje i hajke da se svi Srbi osude?
    Ljudi moji prizovite se pameti i zdravom razumu. Ako pokušavate optužiti cijeli narod kao genocidan, ako uporno osporavate nevine žrtve koje je taj narod pretrpio ističući samo svoje žrtve, ako ispoljavate mržnju prema svemu što je vezano za taj narod gurate i onaj dobri znatno veći dio tog naroda daleko od sebe i vučete ga u razdor i netrpeljivost pa čak i u mržnju. Čemu to u konačnici vodi vidjeli smo prije 20ak godina. Takvim postupcima samo pravite plodno tlo da oni koji su loši i željni krvi imaju širom otvorena vrata da svoje ludačke ideje s lakoćom plasiraju na sva zvona.
    U gradjanskom ratu u BiH su postradali svi narodi i to je neosporno. Nevinih žrtava je bilo svuda i to je neosporno. Bošnjaci jesu imali najviše žrtava i to niko ne spori. Takođe je i činjenica da su se guzonje na svim stranama smo obogatili i niko od njih nije stradao.
    Ne dozvolite da manipulatori opet dovedu do krvoprolića i budite svjesni da su u velikoj većini svi narodi DOBRI LJUDI, a da ovakvom pričom, pisanjem i politikom pretvarate i mnoge dobre ljude u neprijatelje, jer se prosto rečeno svrstavate u one loše.
    Na kraju krajeva ako već kopamo po istoriji i odemo dovoljno daleko sve je to jedan te isti narod podjeljen isključivo religijski.
    U PAMET SE DOBRI LJUDI!

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