Contemplating my time in Bosnia is difficult, as it has been filled with so much information and so many different emotions. I think of the quote, “To see it is to understand it”, and while it seeing it has provided me so much insight into the genocide, I don’t think I will truly ever understand how an atrocity of such magnitude was committed. However, seeing the faces and hearing the stories of people who have survived provided me with such a better understanding of resilience in the face of unimaginable violence. However, I’ve also noticed how many similarities the beginning of the Bosnian Genocide has to what is currently happening in American, under the Trump administration.
Perhaps what is so baffling is the deniers of genocide. I know I’ve mentioned this previously on our blog posts, but it is still shocking to me that people deny a genocide that has been so well documented and has so much physical evidence.
My favorite part of Bosnia has been the people that we’ve met during our time here. I have met some of the most remarkable, kind people. While we were here, I became sick, and while it was frustrating, I was able to witness how kind and supportive people here are.
Many of the people we met here were also survivors of genocide and had lost their loved ones to imaginable horrors. Yet they demonstrated resilience and resistance to hate. On multiple occasions we were told by survivors that they do not have ill wishes towards the children of genocide perpetrators, one even stated they would give candy to the children of Serbian Bosnian Army members.
For me, the largest take away from this trip is how important it is to tell the stories of genocide, and how to honor those who died by making sure that their stories are not forgotten. I believe the retelling of their stories is essential to preventing future genocides.