I have not been in Srebrenica since 1992. For the most part this is my fault but I have been postponing this trip for 15 years now. My parents and my brother have been in Srebrenica two times since the end of the war but I have been a coward every time. Not once have I managed to overcome this fear and anxiety that I feel deep inside, even though I am fully aware that it is perfectly safe in Srebrenica now. This fear and extreme nervousness keep bothering me to such an extent that I am beginning to wonder will I ever be able to make this trip to Srebrenica. Chris Daughtry’s incredible song Home best describes my nostalgia.
I asked my brother to describe his first impression of Srebrenica after the end of the war and he said that everything had changed. The town appeared to be much smaller than before the war and our house was barely recognizable. The people seemed unfriendly and hostile and the tension was omnipresent. I have been thinking about why all the survivors of the Bosnian carnage upon their return to Srebrenica get similar impressions as the one offered by my brother. I do not know why this is the case and it is by no means a simple question. However, I do know beyond any doubt that even the people who had not been in Srebrenica during the war have been deeply traumatized by the events. My family and I were constantly worrying about my grandparents who had stayed behind. Plagued by these gruesome memories the people who have been in a post-war Srebrenica view everything differently. Everything suddenly appears much smaller than it actually is. I theorize that this is simply some kind of a defense mechanism that helps people cope with traumatic events. Needless to say, it is in one way a traumatic event to return to Srebrenica knowing that my grandfather was killed there and that the remains of many victims are scattered in the surrounding forests.
I intend to videotape my first visit to a post war Srebrenica and to post the video to my blog. Hopefully some of my readers will appreciate this.