Not much to report on the internship front. After the WARM (War Art Reporting and Memory) Festival concluded, I spent a couple of days compiling notes from the Why Remember conference sessions and film panel discussions I’d attended and then rolled into working on a Peace March reflections piece.
However, what I feel has been significant was our group hike to Lukumir this past Friday. I had expected a nice hike to quaint mountain village, but ended up with much more than I bargained for on the trek. While I recall the rugged beauty of much of the Bosnian mountains with clarity from my time here years ago, interacting with it in this up-close and personal way unveiled the majesty of the Balkans in a whole new light; the fresh mountain air carrying the faint scent of wildflowers, quiet tree-lined paths replete with the sounds rustling leaves and fresh mountain streams, and the stark relief of rugged wind-swept hills poking above tree line seeming raw and untamed. As someone who admires the anthropologic aspects to history , I was struck by the medieval stecci calling forth the memories of peoples long departed from the Bosnian consciousness, the mosque which served as a covert home to the Sarajevo Haddadah during Nazi occupation demonstrating the complimentary and supporting nature of a diverse religious milieu, and the 16th Century Ottoman era tombstones next to the trail greeting the passerby with an invitation to pause and share the eternal view of grandeur where the grave’s residents rest. This certainly emphasizes an appreciation of the country’s storied past much more than simply viewing history through the lens of a static museum exhibit. The viewer becomes an active and living participant playing a role in what continues to unfold before them; just as the small village itself continues to serve not only as a witness to the past, but a vital link to the future.