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Trnopolje - A forgotten summer

De Taina Tervonen et Zabou Carrière


"What can one say about all of this ?
It is still a double-edged sword here.
Society is not ready yet."
Nedzad - A Forgotten Summer

To be able to forget, one must first remember.
To be able to forgive, one must first be recognized as a victim.

May 1992. War begins in Bosnia. The village school of Trnopolje is turned into a concentration camp. Approximately 25 000 people, all non-Serbs, will be made prisoners in the camp during that summer. In a few months, as a result of methodical ethnic cleansing, this multiethnic region is transformed into an exclusively Serb enclave.

Twenty years later, the school of Trnopolje is a school again, with both Serb and Bosniak pupils. Bosniak families deported during the war have returned, rebuilt their houses and enrolled their children in the school. There is no trace of the camp, neither in the school books nor in the village.

The camp exists only in the words and memories of the victims and witnesses, like Nedzad, detained in the camp and now employed at the school, like Rasma, mother of a prisoner - or Mirela who was a little girl during the war.

Is silence the price to be paid to go on living together ? How many years, how many generations must pass before words can be set free - or before the story of the camp disappears into silence ?

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