Today is Saturday and I write this on the bus to Srebrencia. The days have blended together. Yesterday we walked to the U.S. Embassy. We spent an hour with the Ambassador, a very humble man. Sitting at the conference table for which many diplopmats, presidents and ministers have sat. Sunshine, the Assistant to the Ambassador talked of her experience as a member of the foreign service. As I listened to her story of working with the students here who are organized to go to the U.S. for several months to study as well as her experiences. I saw a vision for my son Clinton…..????? The embassy in Sarajevo is 17 years old and their presence in Sarajevo is respected. To understand their mission to the community, is an interesting balance and very clearly requires a negotiating ability with perseverance, patience and ongoing ambiguity. Three separate governments with many agenda’s Two steps forward and sometimes one step back or all the way back to start.
It is clear now that the locals are often quiet of the recent history of war. As Yasmina (shop keeper) states “we have moved forward, our activities are of other things.” We met the students last evening from the University of Sarajevo Social Work School, my son’s age or a couple years older. There is a sense of maturity, too young to recall the war yet the wounds remain. Manila, one of the students father, shot in the war and was taken to the U.S. in 1994 via Germany, France, Italy and finally to the U.S. where he received the necessary “medicine” now in a wheel chair. They returned to Sarajevo “where we came to stay.” In the small towns surrounding most houses are gardens and cords of wood also stacked at each home. I can’t help but think they are preparing for another conflict.
Srebrenica, a very difficult day and the guide was 16 1/2 when he walked for over five days after the young boys and fathers were separated by the dutch. His father and his twin brother did not survive. It places me in silence and deep deep contemplation today with nothing but tears of sorrow of the regret that I was unaware of this conflict, its magnitude and guilt that I have not felt the compassion of my fathers sacrifices that he made in WWII as a bomber, shot down 7 times and still alive to tell his story. I am lucky he survived and is still alive for me to appreciate the many sacrifices he made and the perseverance he has. I am also so lucky to have my son at home waiting for me, as many many mothers in this war do not have this luxury……… I am very lucky to have this opportunity to learn what I have missed for so many years…….