Several weeks ago I took a group of DU social work students to Srebrenica. I had been there several times before. A few days ago I returned with students from Project Bosnia. Each time I go to Srebrenica the experience is a bit different from the time before. This time, however, my reaction was so similar to that of several weeks ago that I am reposting my blog.
Shortly before I left the U.S. for Bosnia, I had the proudest of moments–my son graduated from college. Today, while at Srebrenica (the sight of the worst genocide since WWII) I was reminded again of how much mothers love their sons. In the documentary film shown as part of the Srebrenica Memorial several survivors tell their stories about those horrifying days in July 1995. Several women talk about their husbands, brothers, sons and fathers who were slaughtered during the several- day genocide. All of the stories are horrible and haunting yet important to hear. One of the women describes how she tried to hold on tightly to her son, tried to save him, tried to wave goodbye in the crowd of thousands. This many years later she continues to ask herself if she could have held on tighter or yelled for help or something…. anything that might have saved him. The last she ever saw of him was his terrified young face as he was herded away with the other men. He had green eyes. She says it several times. She describes the color. She had a son with green eyes. All of the stories cut deeply into those watching the movie. Why did this woman’s story cut the deepest for me? As a mother watching another mother’s unspeakable sorrow, I couldn’t help but think….my son has green eyes too.