I love when stumble across my travel notes and they’re actually not incoherent ramblings! I just read an article on Newsweek about Angelina Jolie’s work with survivors of mass rapes in Bosnia and it inspired me to finish my series about visiting Bosnia Herzegovina. Part I here. This country is fascinating.
In Croatia I know there was a war because people talk about it but in Bosnia I know there was a war because I can see it.
In Croatia, the war is mentioned casually and patiently — every tourist must say the same things — “But that’s so recent! Do you remember it?” They all answer yes, yes, they remember it — bombs and sirens in the middle of the night. You learn how to sleep through anything.
In Bosnia they say all there is to say with silence and mistrusting stares.
My mom’s best friend and cousin growing up came to this region and worked in disaster relief management right after the war. What does that even mean? It got me wondering. Are there expats living here? There must be! Do they have their version of Chilespouses? Maybe. But I bet it’s not 800 gringas and growing strong, like the group here.
All the buildings away from the main city center looked like what is called “bloques” in Santiago. Very Soviet Union style. Very un-expat style.
(Picture above: Jesus I love you)
And what about this war? What about it now? People killing people because of religion.
Did the whole army that slaughtered 8,000 Muslims and Srebrenica go to jail? I don’t think so. They’re still out there, many of them working now as policeman or working in other such positions of power and “protection”.
Is the female Muslim population supposed to forget that these are the very men who murdered their brothers, fathers, husbands and sons? Are these men going to forget their hatred for the Muslims? Let it go. As if it were easy. Just like that.
As they were gunning down 8,000 men and boys did any of them think, “This is wrong, how do we stop? I can’t do this”? It scares me to think in these terms and I understand why the Bosnian population is so guarded. One eye always watching, always on edge, with no trust of one another. How are they supposed to live together now? How did the Germans and Jews do it after the holocaust?
Who ever decided it was a good idea to arm people anyways? Even just now (and by “just now” I mean last September when I wrote this) sitting at the SJJ airport I am eyeing the police and army men milling around. I don’t like armed men anywhere. They scare me.
This is only an example, I don’t mean anyone was anti-U.S.A., I’m just pointing out the power held in one individual’s hands — At any minute one of these guys might have a screw loose and decide he hates Americans and see me sitting here in my hot pink Adidas tennis shoes and my blond hair, writing about him on my iPhone, and he’s got a gun. He could be crazy and he’s got a gun and then I’d be a statistic, a news story, probably a pretty big one, and then I’d be gone.
There seems to be an exorbitant amount of armed men here for such a tiny “aerodrome” that’s not much bigger than the one in Temuco. As yet another guard walks by I watch him and I wonder, “Were you at Srebrenica? Even if you weren’t, whose side were you on?” And I find it hard to look him in eye and smile.