Friday, July 11, 2008


'Do Never Forget Srebenica'

This was a large grafitti I spotted on the Glavni Pošt this morning coming into town today.

Despite the poor grammar the message was clear! We must not forget Srebenica. Hasan Nuhanović was on T.V. several times. As was a neighbor of mine she lives close enough to ride the same bus regularly. She lost a son and a husband in the massacre, her son's name was Nermin. I knew the lady's face was familiar. She was shown in 'Cry from the Grave' as well as another documentary shown last night.

Today is an official Day of Mourning for the victims of the massacre.

My Baščaršija friends are back from Turkey. They stayed in a hotel uncomfortably close to the American Consulate and heard the attack. I suggested they not stay so close to anything American if they went there again. A lot of their stock comes from India, but by way of Turkey. So trips to Istanbul are a regular feature of their lives.

I thought of them when I heard the news and sent up an immediate prayer for their safety. Apparently, the first information that it had to do with Al Qaida was inaccurate. None of the guys had ever been out of Turkey. One guy had a father that had some Hezbolla contacts though. In any case, very un-nerving and it was front page news here in BiH.

Charles English the American ambassador here went on part of the Marš Mir! He was on the news, he walked some distance with the marchers. I felt a moment of pride seeing him there.

It is hot today, but not as miserably hot as other days.

The grammar may not be perfect but the message still goes right to the heart of the matter.

Is your neighbour Mrs Osmanovic? It is grim listening to her busband being forced to call out to his son Nermin to trust the Serbs and come down from the hill with his companions. Utter barbarism. If Mladic is ever sentenced at The Hague he should be forced to listen to a loop of that tape being played continuously for the rest of his life.
@Owen, yes, that is her, I recognized her as being vaguely familiar, she actually lives sort of up the hill, but uses the same bus regularly. It is a very small world here in Sarajevo, my landlady's brother actually knows Mr. Nuhanovic personally, quite well in fact.
That image of the father being forced to lure his son down from the hill into the trap is such a terrible one, the moment I think about it I can hear his voice in my mind calling out "Nermin. Nermin." Cry from the Grave is a truly terrible film, in the proper sense of the word terrible.

Living in London you're always astonished when someone you don't expect to know someone else does, but I guess in smaller cities, particularly ones where people have been thrown together by events, it's a lot more common.
With me it isn't just that events have thrown together a surprising number of people, but somehow, I ended up knowing people higher on the Food Chain than I would have back in the Yakima Gulag, and I was actually sort of well known there too, so it's not like I don't know how that works, it's sort of astonishing that I am in a world city, a capitol, and have this experience.
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