Our hearts have been wounded, but we have raised our heads


[wzslider]By Tiffani McCoy

Relaxing over freshly made burek, caymak and coffee, survivor Bida Osmanović recounted a question she has been repeatedly asked: ˝how can you cry and laugh at the same time?˝ We had just finished a Press Conference where the Cinema for Peace Foundation (where I intern) presented 500 survivor personal testimonies recorded for the Genocide Film Library to the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center. A handful of survivors, returnees to Srebrenica and Bratunac, who recorded their testimonies were present to show their support.

After, the staff of the Cinema for Peace Foundation accompanied Bida to Bratunac where a young returnee couple opened up their restaurant to provide us a homemade lunch. This was my first trip to Srebrenica and I know very basic phrases of the Bosnian Language, but I could not have felt more welcome. As we sat in this cabin-style restaurant overlooking the Drina River, enjoying the homemade food, we were pleasantly surprised to learn it was Bida’s birthday. I had been fortunate to witness her testimony and distinctly remembered her response to her neigbor’s inquiry as to why she returned: ˝Defiance. That’s what sustains me. I am here.˝ In her testimony, Bida believes that life goes on. She takes things day by day, and continues the search for her missing sons´ remains so that she may gain closure. After enjoying lunch with this charismatic woman, we were invited to her house where I met her husband, who also recorded his testimony.

They have rebuilt their house, cleared away overgrowth and replanted crops. Enveloped by the warm sun, the green landscape and the peaceful sight of the Drina, I recognized that one cannot judge the present situation in Bratunac-Srebrenica until you experience it. Bida can laugh and cry at the same time because life is still worth living, there are moments of joy, but the trauma of the genocide will forever remain.

You can view Bida’s testimony at: http://cinemaforpeace.ba/en/testimony/bida-osmanovic/5

Leave a Comment