The Stories We Hear

There is something strange about walking down a seemingly inconspicuous road knowing that over 20 years ago tens of thousands of people were fleeing for their lives. As I walked along the road in Srebrenicia leading to the genocide memorial, their stories were the ones that I was carrying with me. I have seen countless images of people running down the same road that I walked carrying with them all of their possessions. All along the sides of the roads are reminders of the siege. Buildings stand empty, ruins of a violent past. The feelings that came up for me as I made this walk were those of sadness and disbelief. I was walking in the footsteps of people fleeing for their lives to an area where they believed they believed they would be safe, the UN Safe Zone. The Dutch military role in this story should not go unmentioned. How is it possible to be mandated to keep the peace when they openly watched men and boys be separated from the rest of the population? What does it mean to come into another country and degrade its people? Here is where I feel that I must pause and talk about the resiliency that I had the honor to bear witness too. Resiliency is written on the faces and within the stories of the survivors who shared their experiences in the hope that this past will not be forgotten. How will I honor these stories? I came to Bosnia with DU not knowing what this experience would be like, nor how would it impact me. I am a storyteller myself, as is my mother and grandmother before her. In Mexican culture, when you listen to a story you listen to it with your whole heart, not just your ears. As my grandmother would say, to listen with only your ears is as if you were not listening at all.




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