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  • EASTERN BOSNIA - APRIL 2001: This are my grandmother’s hands. She survived two wars. 2nd World War and the Bosnian war for independence. Most of her family was exterminated in 2nd world war. Pretty much the offspring of the people that killed her family in 2nd world war committed atrocities in Bosnia in early 90’s. Eastern Bosnia is on the border with neighboring Serbia with river Drina as a natural border. Through the history Bosnia was always a border country between East and West, during the Ottoman period it was the border post towards Austrian empire, before that it was border between Eastern and Western Empire. This position made Bosnia quite a unique conglomerat of ckutures,traditions,religions. Other than that it didn't bring us too much good. When the war was over, a foreign journalist came to interview my professor of poetry, Marko Vesovic. Entering his appartment, the journalist noticed my professor's dog who was lying in a corner. 'What remarkable blue eyes he has,' the journalist said. 'Well, you see,' explained my professor, 'the dog used to eat the same food we ate during the war. Now he is blind. Dogs are ageing seven times faster than we do, so with us it is different. We still have to wait for the effects on us. I never witnessed a mortar shell exploding in front of the people in the market place or a sniper shooting someone in front of my high school. I was always a couple of seconds or minutes late, or I would pass by the market place just before the shell exploded and killed more than sixty people waiting to buy groceries, or I would be running in a dark street with broken glass falling on me. But I've seen people cleaning the streets after shelling, I've seen what was left of a young man after a thirty-kilo shell exploded near him, and I've also seen the face of woman who survived this unhurt. Lately, when I was in Jerusalem for the first time, I wanted to visit the Al-Aksa mosque. At the entrance I was stopped by an Israeli soldier, a native Russian, and an Arab guard of the mosque. 'You are not allowed to enter,' said the soldier. 'You are not Muslim.' 'But I am!' I insisted. They wouldn't believe me. In Italy, I told an acquaintance of mine that I was a Muslim. He was irritated. 'But then,' he said, 'you cannot be a European.' 'But I am!' I replied. The Turks have left us with an unsolved national question. Religion and culture have always been strongly intermingled in our country. When the Ottoman Empire conquered Bosnia in 1453, the strategy it used to establish its rule was Roman: Divide et impera. Religion was the vehicle. Favouring the Muslims helped the Turks run the country, but it divided the Bosnians. In the 19th century, during the era of Romanticism, when Central Europeans began to build up their ideas of nationhood based on concepts of cultural uniqueness, Bosnians developed their own cultural identities out of religious affiliations. But these cultural identities failed to develop into the idea of a Bosnian nation: Bosnian Catholics and Bosnian Orthodox were seduced by the ideas of a Great Serbia or a Great Croatia. Today Bosnia is a resort of moderate, autonomous European Islam. Actually most of the population are Christians: Orthodox and Catholics. The Arab countries were not too impressed by the Bosnian version of Islam and their help wasn't sufficient to help us defend ourselves against the former Yugoslav Army, one of the strongest armies in Europe. The body count in the recent war was almost all Bosnian Muslim, but for the first time in the last two hundred years we have a state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a language that is recognized….We've never been closer to a nation. I'm afraid that the fact that Bosnians are white helped us a lot. Probably that's why it took only four years for NATO to intervene in Bosnia. Before the fall of Srebrenica, the UN safe haven zone, foreign involvement was on the level of bringing humanitarian aid, mostly only where the Serbian Army allowed, and counting the shells and bombs falling on Bosnian cities. Then after the fall of Srebrenica and the massacre of Bosnian Muslims that followed it, NATO bombed the Serbian positions and brought peace. The first shelling of their positions around Sarajevo came at night. I remember our windows, covered with humanitarian nylon sheeting with UN signs instead of glass, opening because of the detonations, this time on the Serbian side. My mother cooked a pie to celebrate it. Our lives during the war were reduced to the basics. Having a bath with five-litre canisters and then using the water for the toilet. Making meat pie without meat. We became experts at peeing in the dark. The  path to happiness was very short, and the learning curve was steep. Once we all adopted these vital skills, and even got used to our little limbo and for a moment stopped talking about peace, our politicians signed the peace agreement. We have a new anthem now. We also have a new flag. It shows a dark blue ground on which is placed a golden triangle, a row of golden stars on one side. The triangle is meant to represent Bosnia and the row of stars I guess imply the European Union. Today we have to stand in a queue to get a visa for every European country. The writer Ivo Andric, one of two Bosnian Nobel Prize winners, described Bosnia in one of his novels as a 'valley of darkness'. The valley is surely dark; it is dark with Bosnian blood, it is darkened by American ignorance and European impotence, it is dark because of the clouds above. Yet it is our valley (Photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)

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Međunarodni dan borbe protiv seksualnog nasilja u konfliktu ne smije biti obilježen samo deklarativnim izjavama podrške za preživjele. Gotovo tri decenije od završetka rata, krajnje je poražavajuće da BiH i dalje nije omogućila efikasan sistem reparacija za sve žrtve ratnog seksualnog nasilja. Potrebni su konkretni koraci ka unapređenju njihovih prava i i položaja kako od strane nadležnih vlasti, tako i od strane cjelokupnog društva.

Protok vremena nije umanjio brojne psihološke, fizičke, ekonomske i društvene posljedice koje je ratno seksualno nasilje ostavilo po preživjele. Uz to, BiH i dalje nema adekvatan odgovor na potrebe preživjelih za reparacijama, te se mnoge od njih da osjećaju zapostavljeno i zaboravljeno”, kazala je Amina Hujdur, saradnica za komunikacije organizacije TRIAL International.

Stigma koju nameće društvo, posljedice nezaliječenih ratnih trauma, nedostatak informacija o tome kako da postupaju kroz pravni proces i pristupe pravima, nedostatak sredstava da plate pravnu pomoć, činjenica da počinitelji zločina još uvijek uživaju slobodu te fragmentiran i kompleksan pravni okvir koji uređuje njihova prava samo su neke od prepreka koje odvraćaju preživjele od toga da govore o zločinima koje su pretrpjele, kao i da ih prijave ili traže podršku. Tome svjedoči i poražavajući podatak da na svakih 15 do 20 slučajeva ratnog seksualnog nasilja samo jedan slučaj bude prijavljen.

Dok nisam shvatila da je to njihova sramota, a ne naša, nisam govorila o tome. Tada smo mi bile posramljene, ali kako je vrijeme prolazilo, počinioci su postali posramljeni. Trebalo je dosta vremena dok se nisam odlučila otići u Tužilaštvo BiH i pokrenuti postupak, navela je preživjela ratnog seksualnog nasilja.

Mnogi/e od preživjelih nisu dozvolili i ne žele da ih se predstavlja kao žrtve obilježene tim zločinom.

Mi smo preživjele. Stojimo hrabro, gordo i ponosno. Osobe koje su odlučile podijeliti svoju priču s drugima žele ohrabriti sve one koji nisu progovorili. Naša riječ ima težinu da se zlo ne bi ponovilo“, kazala je Midheta Kaloper, predstavnica Udruženja žrtava rata “Foča 92-95”.