Being a part of such an indescribable experience, I’m finding it very difficult to form coherent and chronological sentences about the immense event that is Marš Mira.
Solution for the time being: I’m just going to let my stream of consciousness take it away…
Peace March. Peaceful. Birds chirping. Butterflies fluttering. Bees buzzing. Rolling green hills. Small distant villages. Quaint countryside. Wildflowers. Bursts of laughter. Thousands of feet moving as one. Solidarity. Walking. Buildings riddled with bullet holes. Mass grave. Up a mountain, down a hill. Under the cool cover of forest. Walking. At the height of the clouds. Walking. Stifling heat. Walking. Dangerously un-shaded asphalt for miles. Sunscreen. Difficult. Uneven rocky gravel, dry dirt paths. Dust on my eyelashes. Steep angles. Slippery muddy slopes. Strangers offering a helping hand. Walking. Yellow caution tape- “Pozor Mine!” Sunscreen. Pauza. How far is the camp? Just over the hill. Generous homes open up to marchers. Bananas, apples, coffee, tea, apricots, nuts. Mass grave. Water trucks. Walking. Flags. Chants. Men. Boys. Hello? How are you? Amerikanka? Girls. Friendship. Silly conversations. Enlightening self-discoveries. Somber thoughts about the men who paved the very same route twenty years ago. Walking. How far is the camp? Just another hour. Tired. Collective pee breaks in strategically chosen hideouts. Has anyone seen (input any one of our names)? How many miles has it been? Walking.
Camp. Mama Ann! Hasan Hasanović. Call to the General. Privilege. Military. Tent. Hvala. “Showers”? Waiting in a clump of women for 20 minutes in order to use the port-a-potty. Realizing you miss your secluded spots along the walk. Peace March puppy! Sleeping bags. Chocolate. Strangely disturbing dreams. 5am wake-up calls. Chilly mornings. Wet sneakers. Wet socks. Wet clothes. Walking. New friends. Bosnians. French. Canadians. Australians. What’s the best burger place? What’s the best burger? Describing the burger. Drooling while thinking about burgers. Slowly shuffling shoulder-to-shoulder through bottlenecked passageways. Striding along on a wide empty road. Walking. Watermelon! Burek! Watch out for the car coming through. Water truck. Mass grave. Walking. Walking. Walking. Tired. Walking. Walking. Walking. Angry feet. Blisters. Band-Aids. Sore shoulders. I would very much like to stop walking. Just keep walking.
Potočari. Whispers. Quiet. Silence. Light patter of a thousand footsteps. A sea of white pillars. Memorial. Lines of faces on either side. Tears. Smiles. Both observer and participant. Overwhelmed. Accomplished. Exhausted. The carrying of the coffins. Hundreds of green boxes. Each green box a body. Each body once a living, breathing person. Each person beloved by family and friends who are now grieving mourners. A final resting place for a loved one after an agonizing two decades. Reality setting in. This is what genocide looks like. This was an escape route. A march for survival that ended the lives of 8,372 men. This is Srebrenica.
I could keep walking.