For my one picture I choose this picture at the Jewish cemetery because it has been on my mind a lot over the past couple of days. To me it sort of sums up much of our experiences here in Bosnia. This is an amazingly beautiful country filled with beautiful, kind-hearted people. The people are gracious and open to everyone. Some lost everything in the war but yet everything they have they offer to others. On several occasions we have commented to locals about the beauty of the city and the country, receiving a response that we should have seen it before the war.
Just as you see in the background the view of the city surrounded by hills is an incredible view. But if you look closely, there are bullet holes in many of the surrounding buildings as well as these gravestones. They are marked by this war, as are the people as this wasn’t a war hundreds of years ago, or sixty years, but only twenty. For those who do not know, Sarajevo was under siege for almost four years during the war. The city is in a valley surrounded by hills making it easier for the Serbs to surround the city and shoot down upon civilians. This spot was, according to our guide, a nest of Serbs, where the Bosnian-Serb army shot down upon the city from behind these gravestones. As one of my classmates put it, even those who were dead were not safe.
However, while the city is marked by this past there is a resiliency shown here too as they build toward a new future. I wish the picture showed this as accurately as it does in person but if you look closely in the city scene there are also buildings that have been rebuilt and new modern buildings in the horizon as the country moves on into the future. Younger people who I have spent time with here have commented how happy they are that we are here to experience Bosnia. Many people around the world and specifically in the United States see Bosnia as this country that has been defined by war, but if you look closer it is so much more.