Kapija : a case study of a Bosnian community's initiative for re-building peace : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
During 1992-95 the Serbian establishment in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina executed a policy of ethnic-cleansing against the Muslim and Croat population in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On 25 May 1995 the town square in Tuzla was shelled by a Bosnian Serb artillery unit killing seventy-one people and injuring many others. The aim was to divide the Muslim, Croat and Serb community of Tuzla into taking sides in a conflict that saw atrocities committed on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War. This study is about peace and conflict and gives some insight into how this community dealt with violence. The decision to bury those killed together in a common burial site irrespective of ethnic background was made in the face of external religious and political opposition. In taking this action, these families reinforced the long-held tradition in Tuzla of being a tolerant multi-ethnic community. Those buried together were buried as friends not divided by religion and nationalism. As such, the burial site is the single most important symbol of peace in this community. Other key findings from this study show the enormity of personal loss and grief for the families of those killed; the impact of this incident on the whole community; questions about justice; trans-generational trauma; ethnic identity; mixed-marriages; and a changed demographic make-up of the town's population due to an increase of displaced persons.