The Trip to Srebrenica

I have opened a word document about 5 or 6 times trying to write something that did not sound trite and which expressed exactly my feelings after the weekend in Srebrenica. Returning to Srebrenica two weeks after the Peace March (and adding a quick trip to the ICMP in Tuzla) was an experience, one that is difficult to process and I am not entirely sure that I will ever be able to put it together into words satisfactorily. I keep trying to make sense of things, but answers are sometimes given and yet do not seem to be logical. I guess, therein lies the problem. These things are never logical (how many times in the past few weeks have I tried to figure out minute details hoping they held the key to some sort of understanding). However, I must find a way to put it altogether not only because of the my commitment to the program, etc. but also to avoid experiencing the past few weeks like BiH is some sort of zoo (feeling the pain then moving onto the next without gleaning from the experiences and others stories any kind of message).

It has been clear that this the goal, in a way, of those we were able to meet in the few days we were there. First, we were given the opportunity to speak to Fatima Klempić Dautbašić. It was a honor to get to hear her story, especially as she took time out of her daily life and work at the hospital to come and speak to us.

A young doctor at the time, she was one six doctors for 60,000 people in the town leading up to July 11, 1995. Her story of is one of strength, ingenuity, and humanity. During that time she lived in her flat with 42 others until they were forces to flee. Instead of heading to the Dutchbat, she joined the men heading into the woods to find their way into free territory, expressing her belief that the Dutchbat would not be able to protect her including from gender-based violence.

Hers, like the others (not discussed here simply due to space) becomes a story of the future, not forgetting, but moving forward. This goes beyond a simply story of survival and ingenuity. There is a desire for remembrance to keep similar tragedies from happening in the future. There is a desire to have this acknowledged in order to fix the failures of the international system. This is a fight for peace and a fight for happiness.

Theirs are stories that will stay with me forever. They will guide my future work. This consumption of stories fraught with pain will not be viewed only as such. Their message has been heard and will be used to work towards the peace and happiness that Fatima speaks


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