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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Srebrenica Peace March Comes to Boston: UMass Boston student runs the Boston marathon to commemorate the Srebrenica Massacre

Emir Ikanović ran the 2012 Boston Marathon to commemorate the Srebrenica Massacre, where he lost his father and other relatives.

In July 1995, during the Bosnian War, more than 8,000 Bosnian muslims (Bosniaks) were massacred by the Army of Reublika Srpska in the town of Srebrenica, Bosnia, and its surrounding areas. To commemorate these events, thousands of people participate in the Srebrenica March for Peace, which takes place every July on the anniversary of the massacre. The march lasts three days and covers over 110 kilmoeters (68 miles), along the same path taken in 1995 by thosands of Bosniaks who tried to escape the massacre. The following article was written in Croation and published online in several Bosnian media outlets. 

Emir Ikanović, 23, from Srebrenica, is an economics major at UMass Boston.

In the Srebrenica genocide the Chetniks killed his father, Omer Ikanović. They also killed three uncles on his father’s side, Aziz Ikanović, Ilijaz Ikanović and Mehmed Mehmedović, and his father’s father, Zuhdija Ikanović. On his mother’s side, her father, Hasan Memišević, and uncles Nedžad Memiševic and Husein Džafić were killed.

And just as thousands of people participate in the exhausting Peace March that takes place in Bosnia and Herzegovina to commemorate the Srebrenica genocide victims, so Emir decided this year to run in the Boston Marathon for his father, Omer, for all the members of his family who were killed, and for all victims of genocide.

On the front of Emir’s T-shirt were the words “Srebrenica, 1995,” and under that was his father’s name “Omer.” On the back it said “Ikanović, Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Emir ran the entire marathon, which was the most challenging in the race’s long history this year because of temperatures reaching 87 degrees Farenheit. Because of this year’s unusually high temperatures, 215 runers were kept in Boston hospitals over night to be treated for heat exhaustion, and two days after the race there were still 15 runners in critical condition, though fortunately their condition is not life-threatening.

This marathon was Emir’s Peace March, his way of honoring the innocent Bosniaks killed in the Srebrenica genocide. He made excellent time for an amateur, about four hours. Elated, Emir told me that Srebrenica has not been forgotten in America. He concluded this from the fact that during the race at a number of places along the route he heard onlookers chanting “Go Srebrenica! Go Srebrenica!”

Emir has sworn to run the Boston Marathon every year as long as he has the strength to honor those in his family who were killed in Srebrenica. Next year he’ll run wearing the flag of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina with golden lilies.