Srebrenica

It’s been difficult for me to arrange my thoughts into anything resembling coherence this week. It’s been a long seven days. We were barely home from the beach before we left Sarajevo at 5 AM on Thursday for the bus ride to Srebrenica. When we rolled out of the bus that morning, the sky was gray and people were already milling around the memorial site. Waking up so early in the morning to get to the memorial service made the entire experience surreal. We had hardly eaten, and here we were surrounded by ambassadors and reporters and mourning families. It was an odd mix of people and an odd mix of emotions.

I’ve been to plenty of funerals, but this was nothing like a funeral I’d ever been to. People were wearing custom t-shirts that read “Srebrenica 2013” or listed their family members’ names. It was a mix between a press conference, a street fair, and a memorial service. It was nothing like I expected it to be. 

Throughout our time in Bosnia, we have all struggled with our role as observers and outsiders. The war was almost 20 years ago, but it’s not ancient history. I’m very conscious of the gap between the past and the present in Bosnia, and the connections that bridge that gap. The memorial service at Potocari really exemplified this for me. I haven’t drawn any grand conclusions yet, but I’m thinking on it. Maybe I’ll have it figured out by the end of the summer.

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