As we talked about the experiences we would have in both Tuzla and Srebencia I thought I would be able to remain in control of my emotions based on the reading and research I did prior to the overnight. Unfortunately, it was an intensely rude awakening.
I thought I had done enough psychological preparation, but hearing Saliha, Hassan, and the Bone Man talk about their stories both horrified and intrigued me. I still struggle how to wrap my head around the massacre of men and boys and in some cases entire families…especially when I have now seen footage of an execution. My heart aches and I feel sick to my stomach after the past two days and while under standard experiences I would be worried for my own self, I just feel that this history needs to continue to be shared. This way, the genocide of Srebencia, the siege of Sarajevo and all of Bosnia is seen for the truth; an attempt at power, control and the rebuilding of the former Yugoslavia.
Walking through the ICMP where remains were being identified and then to the DNA identification office was so strong left me a feeling of curiosity so that I could better understand the process. I felt so honored to see how hard people work to help solve the mystery of those still waiting to find their loved ones.
I am forever grateful for this opportunity to learn from three survivors of the genocide and who are acting as advocates for what happened by sharing their stories so the history which took place here would never be forgotten. Every sight, sound, smell, touch of this experience has left a more profound impact on me I could have hoped for…I feel that I am forever changed and I can only hope and pray the world learns from Bosnia and acts on such atrocities in the future…before they reach catastrophic results. As a world, we need to stop waiting and watching and start acting and showing strength in numbers and unification for positive growth in a world ravaged by war.