The Poly Vagal nervous system is found in the trunk of bodies, U-shaped with branches. The Kolo (circle or folk round dance) has this tacit knowledge of how the ventral nerve branch is about equilibrium, peace and true safety found in social engagement and collectives. According to Porges, he wrote, “the Polyvagal theory provides neurobiological narratives that focus on the importance of safety and adaptive consequences of detecting risk on a physiological state, social behavior, psychological experience, and health.” I ask how did our ancestors know that women create the culture and corresponding oral memory traditions that align with our neural platform?

Blood & Honey: Secret Herstory of Women

Center to oral memory practices is recall and recitation that for South Slavic peoples evokes long-buried ancestral memories pertinent to their present life experiences. Within the judicial systems, the recall of traumatic events is constantly demanded to be only the facts of the criminal act. In fact, all justice systems are founded on factual recall that requires an instant replay found in our technological media forms such as videos and movies. The Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal records victim’s recall and memories into trial transcripts, remarkably detailed, dated and cataloged line by line. Memory and the neurobiological process, however, is not the same recall defined in the rule of law or judicial proceedings. The neurobiological process of memory is not one that has a line by line vivid factual recount of events. No matter how hard we try to point to any South Slavic memory in the Dayton Accord during the Clinton Administration for the Balkan War (1991-93) eradicating former Yugoslavia into separate entities and states, the agreement is without the inclusion of South Slav’s memory narratives and its respective culture.

For the Sotu Slavs, especially Muslims who suffered horrendous genocides, the dismantling of their ages’ long ancestral memories continues to add to their state of confusion and befuddlement of memory. The neurobiological process involved and the immediate appearance of Post Traumatic Stress, we view how the reconsolidation memory process embedded in all our neurobiological sequencing becomes more pronouncedly jagged and disrupted within the judicial and helping aid policies.

For instance, within the Dayton Accord, the Bosnian city and town of Tulsa and Srebrenica are placed in the dotted lines of the Republic of Srpska as opposed to hundreds of years being referred to as Bosnia. The slaughter and deaths of Srebrenica male relatives during the Balkan War known as Bosnia prior to 1991 were committed by the Serbs of the Republic of Srpska. Families that remembered their Bosnian genealogy now are disenfranchised or dislocated from their mythic narratives, cultural memory pertaining to geographical narratives with the new Dayton Accord geographic carving up of former Yugoslavia. What was Bosnian prior to 1991 now is recounted to be the Republic of Srpska or Serbian. A Muslim war survivor from Novi Travnik, Fatima quipped after the release of three Croatian war criminals responsible for the Ahmica/Vittez war criminals in 2001,” now they have us killing ourselves,” to point to the manipulation of judicial systems or governing policies. The same can be said for the Srebrenica war crimes survivors, mostly women and children who at one point could say their ages long Bosnian origins as Serbs attacking and killing Bosnian Muslims but now according to the Dayton Accord, it was Serbs murdering Serbs.

Dr. Danica Anderson
Social Scientist, Trauma Expert
The Kolo: Women’s Cross-Cultural Collaboration