Author Kermal Pervanic discusses genocide



By Nini Edwards

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Author Kermal Pervanic talked about his life and survival of the Bosnian Genocide on Monday at the Student Center.

Pervanic spent two and a half months living in a Serbian concentration camp during the Bosnian War in 1992.

“It became real in May of 1992 when my village was attacked. Nothing has ever been the same after that.” Pervanic said. “We were all put into concentration camps.”

He recounts the time when he was forced to stand in a room stuffed with around 500 people with nowhere to rest.

“If I wanted to rest I had to lean on the person standing next to me,” Pervanic said.

The only time there was a room to lie down was when people were cycled out of the room and killed, Pervanic said.

He was released from the concentration camp because three journalists revealed the camp to the public.

After he was released, he went to England to readjust to the real world.

I did not have the opportunity to ask ‘Why?’ while I was in the concentration camp. My only thoughts were filled with how to survive,” Pervanic said.

“It was not until I moved away that I started feeling resentment and hatred toward the other country.”

Pervanic said that many of his neighbors and people in his country are in denial that the genocide ever took place.

“People are still mentally in 1992, but they are walking around today like they are zombies,” he said.

His organization, Most Mira (Bridge of Peace), is designed to help children accept peers from other countries.

Pervanic wants to talk openly about the genocide and help children understand that peace is the answer.

“It has been seventeen years since the war ended and the peace agreement signed, and kids are still speaking of it (the war) today,” he said.

Pervanic talked about his rough recovery, accepting his past and forgiving those who wanted to kill him.

“I did not want to believe that people were going to turn on me,” he said.

Pervanic described how his friends would no longer speak to him one year prior to the war due to political tension.

Most Mira has given him the opportunity to come face to face with people who are still in denial that the genocide ever happened.

“My mother told me not to hate those who have killed, and I love her for that,” Pervanic said.

“Forgiveness is the greatest gift we all have.”