When we walked into the room with all the unidentified bodies, it all became very real. The body bags and bags filled with the clothes of those who have not had a proper burial hit me hard. These people have been sitting in that room, some of them for the last 20 years, not having contact with their loved ones who may still be alive; that’s so horrible. Learning about the genocide and how many people who have not been identified or found is one things, seeing the bodies in person is a completely different story. I was sad watching some of the videos in class and on our own, but as soon as I looked around that room it was a completely different feeling. Some anger, disgust, guilt, and many more I’m not sure I can name. How can people be so evil? How can surrounding countries not step in and help? How can they just stand back and watch all these innocent lives be taken? I really do not know how to wrap my head around why this continues to happen around the world.
Also seeing the memorial in Srebrenica was hard, all of those names listed out next to one another, seeing entire families listed, and all of those graves; it’s not fair. Hassan was such an amazing guide, opening his story and life to us was such an honor! Being in the places he took us and hearing his story, I can’t imagine how hard that is for him, but all he wants is for us to learn and for his stories to be heard and shared. And for him and Saliha to not be mad at the people who killed their families amazes me. To have such strength to separate yourself from the hatred and put it in God’s hands is incredible.
This place, these people and their stories have touched me so deeply, and opened my eyes to so many different perspectives, it is going to be hard to go home. I will no longer look at certain situations in the same way.