I didn’t realize that after spending only one night away from Sarajevo and Hotel Kovaci, coming back would feel like coming home. Last night Ann said something about a sense of guilt upon leaving Srebrenica, and I definitely empathize with that now. I am relieved that we have completed that part of the trip, and then I feel guilty for being relieved. It reminds me of everything we learn in PPO about white privilege: I have the privilege to be able to and to choose to step away and disengage from everything we heard and learned in Srebrenica. For people who were so directly impacted by the war, this isn’t an option.
I’ve always been really good at hiding my feelings, and usually I don’t talk about how I’m feeling in general, especially if it’s really intense. I don’t do well with strong emotions and sometimes I find myself avoiding situations and relationships where I know people will be overtly emotional. I couldn’t do this is Srebrenica, and I’m glad. It is much more difficult to confront your negative feelings than it is to just focus on the positive ones, which is typically what I choose to do. It is still hard for me to put what I felt into words. I think it would be a disservice to the stories I heard and the people I met to try to do that at this point.
I don’t use the word “blessed” or “blessing” lightly, but I will do it here. Meeting Hassan and Saliha and Rames and witnessing their lives and hearing about their pasts was a blessing and a responsibility. I am blessed to have been here.