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Letter from Bosnia

Categorized in these topics: Women in Collaboration

Column Article
June 2003

Dayana Marija Anderson, North Thurston Senior-Activist, Apprenticeship- trip to Bosnia - "Peaceful Dimensions Against Gender Violence Conference," June 2004

Dear Colin, or anyone… Jenny, Jhaleh, Chelsea, anyone I've been longing to share this with…

I miss you so much at this moment. Curled up with a CD player, in a bed, next to a window that looks out on Bosnia and bombed out buildings at 10:15 pm. I want to show you the rolling hills, the beautiful trees, the little cars, the eternally sad faces and skeletal shells of houses that litter the landscape.

I'm grounded by the music while I'm here… I'm connected to the land by bars of melody and harmony in a place that survives around disharmony and festering hatred for the culprit. That faceless perpetrator that lives in everyone's sons and fathers and brothers. They're all guilty of the rape, the death, and the destruction. I still can't comprehend how they live with this… the mothers who know that their son has done to others what some savage has done to them. I want you to hear the ghost of songs that Brahim sang when he spoke of playing his instruments in the wake of bullets and under the eyes of snipers.

These people don't get to escape this despair. I do. I don't have to face, day after day, waking up to the same soul-less, torn-up structures that are outside every neighbor's windows. I get solace in knowing that I can escape, that I can take care of the puppies in my house… I don't have to see the poor dogs with their babies starve every day and year. Worst of all, I don't have to look in to the faces of my dearest friends and family and know that they have suffered through the most disgusting of events… I don't have to know that my loves have shivered in corners as ominous men (the sons, brothers, and fathers of long lost sisters) tore up their homes and devalued their lives with the mud that works itself mercilessly into the hand-made carpets of their grandmothers. I don't have to wallow in the despair of being forgotten. I don't have to rouse in the middle of the night from horrible nightmares and realize that the help I have prayed and screamed for will most likely not come. I do not posses an anger within me that I can do nothing about. Why does anybody have that? Why does this exist in some but not in me? Why are there people who do not and will never understand this?

I can hear the screams… the whizzing of bullets and whistles of dropping bombs. It's like a movie in my head. A sick, fucked up film that white Americans shake their heads at and say, " What a shame!" It's like having the Pianist as a memory and not some external visual being fed through your senses… and you have it. The setting is prim and free; given to you while your imagination provides the tiny details of some ones' sparse and traumatizing story. Like your brain became a film-projector.

Religion is both their enemy and their healer… Politics use it as a weapon of mass-destruction while the people… well the people use their voices to fill the sky with prayer. The Muslim mosque sings Islam so rich that it silences the city in a comforting blanket of beautiful song.

I'm done for now. I cannot write anymore at the moment.

Dayo Anderson


Dayana Marija Anderson, having her hair braided by a Bosnian Woman


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