What The March Of Peace Marš Mira Tells

Written by TR Dergisi

The March of Peace, organized in Bosnia-Herzegovina in recent days with the name “Marš  Mira”, growing each year with increased international participation, is repeated for those who lost their lives on this route.

Alija Izetbegović’s words express the Marš  Mira spirit eloquently: “We will not seek our future in the past. We will not seek revenge and hold grudge…” Let us briefly recall the events that led to the march that aims to give messages of peace and fraternity to mankind. During the Bosnian War, the United Nations designated six “safe areas” including Srebrenica. Srebrenica under internationally guaranteed protection, was left vulnerable on July 11th 1995 without any reason. Upon realizing that they could not stay in the city, nearly 15 thousand Bosnians headed for the mountains and forests to escape to safe areas. Only 5,000 people could escape from the group that tried to reach Tuzla, a liberated area, by walking day and night in harsh geographical conditions and under heavy attack. The march, referred to as “The March of Death” for many years, is now called “Marš  Mira” (The March of Peace) and growing with international participation each year, March is repeated every year in summer months to commemorate those who lost their lives on this route.


Participation in this meaningful organization is free… You may participate either individually or through foundations or institutions. I moved in concert with my friends in the Marš Mira Turkey Group this year. We left for Sarajevo a week ahead of the march. Sarajevo where culture and art flourished side by side in former Yugoslavia, is in fact a European city that hosted three great empires. This historical city that remained under Ottoman rule for nearly 400 years from 15th century on, is considered an ancestral heirloom for Turks. Numerous Ottoman monuments, particularly Bascarsija, culturally enriches the city. There are other destinations in Sarajevo worth visiting and appreciating. For example, the museums where you can get information about the Bosnian War,  the buildings and roads that still bear traces of war… This is a spot where you can visit the tunnels dug under the houses around the airport, where you can feel the historical events that took place in all their heat.


Now we leisurely prepare for the march. But first of all, we prepare sweet packs for children who will welcome us at the mountain villages and towns we will pass along the route with the leading team from Turkey. Before departing, Turkish flags we had made in Turkey are set aside to be gifted to beautiful people who walk with us or open their homes to us expecting nothing in return. One comprehends the supreme meaning behind the Turkish flag once again in those lands… Bosnia-Herzegovina is the land of people who love and value this flag as much as Turkish people. One day before the march, we leave for the campsite in Nezuk, located in Tuzla region in buses. In the evening, we meet with hikers like us from different regions of the world and build our tents. The weather here is quite hot and humid… The storm that broke out as soon as we settle in our tents, and hours of rain are signs that the march will not be very easy…


It is in fact a ceaseless journey that lasts for three days in total… In other words, it is a resistance of ordinary people like us against nature and own bodies. The forests passed, the rivers crossed and the roads covered with dust exerts the human body seriously and Marš  Mira is a clear indicator of how exhausted your soul is when you listen to the stories and think about the people who passed through this route during the days of war… Beautiful souls from Turkey come across people with big hearts on village or town roads. We encounter hundreds of people who offer tea or coffee in their gardens, who offer food, who want to walk alongside us hiding their pain. This is the land of people who open their houses near camp grounds, who share their food, water, even their beds… The swollen feet, the tired bodies are insignificant compared to the troubles and hardships faced in war years. The journey that started in Nezuk camp ground, ends at the cemetery in Potočari. July 11th becomes the day of new greetings and farewells every year. This three-day arduous march is completed by taking the forest road next to the cemetery.


Mothers and aunts who shared their food with us, and who opened their homes along the way, wait at the cemetery gate this time to welcome the walkers under the sweltering heat. In the battery factory where despicable things happened, 71 bodies await for burial this year. Thousands of people pray and cry in an incredible silence. Thousands of people from all over the world who came to Bosnia to share this moment, meet with the Bosnians who live there. All they want is to live in peace. Bosnia-Herzegovina is a heavenly country with its mountains, forests, rivers and hundreds of years of cultural background. One can neither remain indifferent nor forget this human tragedy that took place in recent past, in the heart of Europe. In this march, you make brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers. No matter where you are from, you come across people who smile at you and embrace you. When you lose your hope, you see someone you do not know by your side and you gather your strength. In this land of suffering, you become someone who truly seeks peace and calm. In short, Marš  Mira is the march of peace… Above all Marš Mira for me is an emigration where one finds and listens to one’s self and realizes how much humanity and peace are missed. It is a march I want to do over and over, and the path of a teaching that will teach me something new about humanity each time. See you next year then…

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TR Dergisi

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