The return of 12 former Dutch soldiers to Srebrenica this week turned out to be far more traumatic than expected, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.
In 1995, the men were part of the ‘Dutchbat’ UN batallion protecting the Bosnian-Muslim enclave. But they were overrun, and more than 8,000 men and boys were murdered by the Serbs in a genocidal act of ethnic-cleansing.
The plan had been to meet three local women, but instead they were greeted by 80 angry widows, demanding to know why they had been betrayed and why the deaths of their husbands and sons could not have been avoided.
‘It was chaos,’ one Dutch veteran told the Volkskrant. ‘The women surrounded us and their emotions came pouring out. It was the first time they could look us in the eyes and tell us what they felt. They were angry, for example, that we had received medals.’
‘We tried to tell them there was nothing we could have done. And that the medals were not a reward, but a reminder of a disaster that must never be forgotten.’
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation