Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances

At GSSW, we discuss the theoretical concept of person in environmen when trying to gain a better understanding of what influences people to make the decisions they make and what shapes who they are as an individual. In all the meetings of special individuals we have met, each has shared their personal experiences of resiliency in maintaining their dignity and worth regardless of their circustance. More specifically, the survivors (that we know of) like Saliha, Hasan, Ramis, and Jadranka and our drivers to Srebrenica have opened my eyes to what humanity looks like throughout traumatic events like the Bosnian genocide and after. To me, these individuals have probably carried themselves in a similar fashion and it shows in the way they presented themselves and in how they treated us (others). It makes me wonder if I would be able to open myself up to being vulnerable or retain any semblance of sanitylet alone humanity towards those who had not shared in the same experiences as me. I found myself feeling cynical towards the faceless oppressors, as if these survivors needed me to be angry for them. Then, I found myself checking my thoughts and trying to take a step back to see what it could be that was keeping these survivors honorable people. This isnt about me, it is about them, about their ways of individualizing their processing in whatever ways work for them. It made me feel as if a small part of me had started to listen to their words and then aomewhere along the way I had stopped really taking it in and making my own processing take over for them. I was reminded of this very Westernized perception I have when Almer at OSCE spoke about prosecuting war crimes on an individual basis as that is something that is tangible and can be accounted for. There may not be a way to hold everyone accountable or get every conviction, however, bringing the real possibility and reality of convicting those who can be found accountable is maybe in some ways powerful as well. We were told ad reminded that mosr survivors look to speak their truth and get closure in finding all the members of their family that may have been missing. In my mind, I was on a rampage and had this overwhelmingly strong desire to find everyone that could remotely be ties to the cause of the genocide and convict them. Is that only my agenda I speak for now? What do the survivors and their families really want? Yet again, meeting several staff members of the US embassy reinforced my westernization in the way that the spoke about representing the US diplomacy and morality. Given the context of their positions, I went in with heaitation about what we would hear and I left feeking very cynical of what we were told. The language was very US/western-oriented, in my mind, and I felt there was little integration or empowermentof the locals and the people of Bosnia invested in what I heard. I think some of the oher girls shared my perspective. I would be interested to see how much interaction there is between these staff membera and the locals and whatbthe dialogue looks like if the US embassy is providing a sorce of funding. I know that I hear more words of truth and macro reality from those who live in the country and are natives versus those in higher positions of authority with education/degrees of foreign diplomacy.


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