blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff
By Sierra Kraft (GYC Bosnia Delegate from NYC, July 2014)
As we walked the 30 minutes under a hot sun to the Reflection-Sejkovaca Identification Center in Sanski Most, I was trying to prepare myself for what we were about to see and experience, but nothing could have prepared me to see the look on the family’s face who had just finished identifying their loved ones. It was difficult to hold back my tears of empathy, and I knew Srebrenica would only be more difficult since we would be face to face with the families mourning the loss of their loved ones. We were given masks, but they did not mask the smell of the remains and the constant reminder of the evil that still exists in the world.
The forensic anthropologist was gracious enough to answer our questions about the identification and recovery process; the work they did was simply incredible. To think that they could piece together human remains from mass grave sites spread throughout the country and bring closure to so many families is astounding. To me, that was one of the most powerful moments of the trip because it was such a sensory overload. The fact that we were standing so close to the skeletons that were once the flesh and blood of able-bodied men whose lives were taken so abruptly; I was overcome with a feeling of anger, but mostly a duty to do everything in my power to prevent future massacres.
There were no photos allowed out of respect for the families. Photographers such as Bosnia’s Ziyah Gafic have captured elements of the identification process in their body of work.