GYC Village

blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff

Bosnia is Rwanda. Rwanda is Bosnia.

By Maja Pecanac (Bosnian delegate to Rwanda)

Everything I saw and experienced in Rwanda was garbled in my head. Genocide. Poverty. Reconciliation. Post-war development of the country. Progress. At one point I asked myself why do I feel so natural, so acclimated to a country that is located on a different continent from that upon which my country lies. Is Rwanda my alter ego African country? Is Rwanda another name for Bosnia?

And then I realized. Rwanda is Bosnia, Bosnia is Rwanda. Two genocides, but in fact one.

Maja's delegation visited the Nyamata Memorial Church, where the Tutsi had sought refuge in 1994, believing that they would be saved as they had been in years past when similar threats had occurred.

Maja’s delegation visited the Nyamata Memorial Church, where the Tutsi had sought refuge in 1994, believing that they would be saved as they had been in years past when similar threats had occurred.

History is so similar that at times I felt an even physical connection to that country — that dust, those dead bodies to whose skulls and bones we paid our respect at memorial centers. Although I have never been in Srebrenica[1] and Potocari[2] in Bosnia-Herzegovina — now, after a visit to the tombs of Rwanda, I have been. Because – how many mass graves has one to visit in order to understand that there is no number that can count those souls? How many to realize that it is not the number 8372, it is not the number of 800,000, it is not six million, it’s not 11,541, but it is one man, after another one, after another one, after another one. …

That is the principal lesson that societies like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Rwanda have to learn. That such dreadfulness cannot happen again. Ever! Us, young human rights activists have to make sure that it stays that way!

Maja Pecanac signs the visitors' reflections book on behalf of the GYC Delegation at the Bisesero Memorial in Karongi District, Rwanda

Maja signs the visitors’ reflections book on behalf of the GYC Delegation at the Bisesero Memorial in Karongi District, Rwanda

***

On one side sat 19-year-old from Kigali, on the other side myself, a 28-year-old from Sarajevo. And we cried. As soon as we met, we were pushed into the abyss of the fate of a million people killed in a hundred days. We stood in Kigali memorial center dedicated to 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. And we carried and embraced eachother, walking together further. Next to every picture of people killed in the Rwandan genocide, I saw pictures of Srebrenica, Sarajevo, Bosnia. We were talking to each other about the horrors we have witnessed, horrors of we have heard about. Continuing our sad procession, we came to the part of the memorial center dedicated to genocides throughout history that was repeating in the world. Aisles devoted to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Armenia, Darfur, Bosnia and Herzegovina … Pictures of my hometown sprinkled with blood, images of war criminals, the image of my country ruined and raped. In Kigali, capital of Rwanda in East Africa, I stood and wondered how far I have to go away to leave these images behind …

Murakoze cyane Rwanda!


[1] The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, was the July 1995 killing of more than 8,000Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War

[2] The Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, officially known as the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide,[1] is the memorial-cemetery complex in Srebrenica set up to honor the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.

A light moment during a stop by the side of the dusty road. One of the words is Amahoro/Peace.

A light moment during a stop by the side of the dusty road. One of the words is Amahoro/Peace.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

We’re on Twitter!

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DISCLAIMER:

The Global Youth Connect Village blog and most of the social media content are created by GYC alumni, staff and board members working in conjunction with GYC. Views expressed on this blog and social media comments by individuals are not necessarily the opinion of GYC itself and should not be taken as such. GYC also reserves the right to monitor and delete comments not contributing to the spirit of social media etiquette, human dignity and respect. All Contributors to this gycvillage.org have accepted to operate under a creative common's license. Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
%d bloggers like this: