Starting today, this six-day special series inspired by the Flower of Srebrenica will look at six floral iconographies that have come to define war, revolution and resistance.
Flower of Srebrenica
In 1995, during the final stages of the three year-long Bosnian war, the town of Srebrenica in south-eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina turned into a graveyard. A ‘safe area’ placed under United Nations protection since 1993, Srebrenica saw mass executions by Bosnian Serb forces of thousands of civilian Bosniaks (predominantly men and boys) and the rape and torture of others being deported from the area. It has been 26 years but the dead continue to be discovered. On 11th July this month, the remains of 19 newly identified victims were laid to rest.
This small crocheted flower is known as Flower of Srebrenica. It was developed in Bosnia by a crocheting association, Gračaničko keranje (“Gračanica Crochet”), established in 2006 for conserving Bosnia’s traditional crocheting techniques. The conceptual design was made by Jasmina Čamdžić, who accepted the offer to make a symbol for the victims. Eleven petals symbolize the day the genocide began, i.e. 11th of July. The flower also represents the reburial of the remains of the victims in Potocari memorial and cemetery where caskets draped in green are laid to rest surrounded by mourning women in white. The makers of these memory flowers are mostly survivors or related to the victims of the war. Along with a timeless artistry, the Flower of Srebrenica is also keeping a collective memory alive.