The Current

'United Nations didn't do anything': Genocide survivors relate to Aleppo

After Rwanda, Bosnia, WWII — the world has vowed never to let such atrocities happen again. Yet, the killing in Syria continues. Two survivors of Srebrenica, and Rwanda, share their perspectives on the failure to respond, once more.
'The moment the genocide erupted, we didn't see them,' says Rwanda genocide survivor Dada Gasirabo on the lack of help from the United Nations. (CBC)

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As thousands of Syrians flee the ruins of eastern Aleppo, survivors of atrocities like the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre watch in dismay.

"I'm in the best place really to see, to imagine what those people are going through," says Dada Gasirabo, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide.

"I don't think other people should go through what we went through."

Gasirabo tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that images from Syria take her back to a time when she too fled for her life, knowing that the international community and the United Nations would not arrive to save her friends and family from death.

"In Rwanda, the UN were there even before the genocide because there was a conflict. But the moment the genocide erupted, we didn't see them," she says.

"You would think they would do something. In three months, almost a million people were killed [in Rwanda] and the UN was there. After that we heard sorry and sorry."

Here I am now telling the story and hoping that people would learn from our stories- Hasan Hasanović , Srebrenica massacre survivor 
Srebrenica massacre survivor Hasan Hasanović shares Gasirabo's disappointment with the international community's lack of action. 
Hasan Hasanovic lived in Srebrenica under siege for three and a half years with no food, no water. He said when the town was being bombarded, the UN did nothing. (Twitter)

Hasanović remembers living under siege in Srebrenica with access to little food and water during the Bosnian war. Eventually the United Nations intervened, declaring Srebrenica a de-militarized safe haven.

He tells Tremonti he recalls feeling hopeful.

"We were all hoping that the UN would make sure that we were safe until the end of war. Eventually the town was attacked again. And the United Nations didn't do anything."

Hasanović says it's important for people to remember the 8,000 boys and men who were executed.

"And here I am now telling the story and hoping that people would learn from our stories but it looks like the politicians never learn."

For Hasanović, Aleppo's fate is hard to bear.

"I don't even dare to look at the photos of people suffering ... It brings me back to what I had survived."

Listen to the full segment at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Ines Colabrese.

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