Where am I?

Story of Bosnian genocide heard in Washington, D.C.

By Megan Myers

“We don’t have a dog in that fight,” said James Baker, secretary of state under former president George H.W. Bush. He was talking about the emerging conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the time Baker and many others in Washington advocated a US policy of non-intervention in conflict, allowing the Serbs’ campaign of ethnic cleansing to claim the lives of more than 100,000 Bosnians, mainly Muslims, and displace millions more.

On Feb. 26, however, the horrors of the genocide that engulfed Bosnia from 1992-95 could not be ignored in Washington, as the graphic images and detailed accounts of its victims and survivors were displayed in the nation’s capitol.

“Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” is a 32-panel multimedia exhibit created in part by collaborators with Fontbonne University’s Bosnia Memory Project, which is directed by Dr. Ben Moore. Many of the exhibit’s testimonies and artifacts were collected by a class which Moore taught with colleague Dr. Jack Luzkow titled “The Bosnian Immigration Narrative, Memory and Identity.”

Congressman Russ Carnahan attended the opening ceremony for the exhibit in Washington, which was first presented to thousands of visitors – many of them Bosnian Americans – in St. Louis at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in 2007.

Carnahan, who co-founded and co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Congress for Bosnia, represents the Greater St. Louis area of Missouri, which comprises the largest population of Bosnian immigrants in the US.

Amir Karadzic, former leader of the Union of Citizens of the Municipality of Prijedor in St. Louis and a collaborator on the exhibit, spoke at the opening ceremony, along with Moore, Luzkow and Elmina Kulasic, executive director of the Bosniak-American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina.