War Deaths – A Vital Distinction

I spent Monday at the International Conference on the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide held at Royal Holloway.  A particular highlight was the presentation of Kathryn Bomberger of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) describing their extraordinary work documenting the killing and subsequent reburial (in a foiled attempt to cover up the war crime) of about 7,000 out of an estimated  8,000 direct victims of the massacre.

The picture below shows a deeply moved woman in front of the memorial listing the names of the people murdered at Srebrenica.

memorial460x276

The next picture, from the same memorial complex, emphasizes the number of people killed or missing rather than their names.

 Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari 8372 Victims

Here is a video that is well-intentioned but, in my opinion, makes a fetish out of the number of deaths while trying to memorialize the victims (the music doesn’t help either.)

Recording every human victim one by one is very different from counting their number.  Both are important but we shouldn’t mix them up.

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