On our way to Srebrenica, our driver, Hasim, was a quiet fellow but yet said so much through his actions. I sat in the back of the van in the middle seat where I was able to see his eyes through the rear view mirror. I often wondered how it felt for him to drive to Srebrenica. I would occasionally look into the mirror and would see his eyes as he looked at the mountains and with his eyes alone, he said so much. He didn’t have to say anything.
If those mountains could speak…
The moment we entered Srebrenica, it was an intense feeling. Similar to Hasim’s eyes, the mountains didn’t have to speak to explain what had happened there too.
“A place of beauty becomes a place of fear.” -Hassan
I will never forget these words coming from Hassan as he reminisced while overlooking the mountains when visiting the Bone Man. Nothing had the potential to prepare me for this trip to Srebrenica. It’s different to learn about the genocide through readings and videos. I was given the opportunity to listen to Saliha, Hassan, and Hasim stories that I couldn’t help but break down. I was feeling several emotions all at once. It was hard for me to sort out what I was truly feeling.
I felt anger, sadness, empathy, and lost as I was imagining the chaos when closing my eyes while taking a few breaths. I learned about their resilience through their stories. That day…I learned about the truth. I learned about forgiveness. I learned about love. I learned about living.