Right now I’m in Zurich International Airport awaiting a series of connecting flights that will basically take me through every capital in Western Europe. Once I arrive in Srebrenica, I quite frankly am not sure what to expect. “Terrified” is too strong of a word, but “uncertain” really doesn’t capture what I am feeling. My job description is to help put on a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the 1995 srebrenica massacre where up to 10,000 Bosnian muslims lost their lives. I`ll be helping as well with donor networking and hopefully get a glimpse of how efforts at refugee repatriation are conducted. The number one thought on my mind is the hope that I can be of some help to Drina and the other organizations putting these events on.
To prepare, I began by having a friend of mine who works at the Kosovo desk at the State Department give me a crash course over drinks in Balkan history, and have begun reading several books for the plane: “Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation”, “Endgame” (the story of the Srebrenica massacre), and “To End a War” (an account of the Balkan wars by Richard Holbrooke). There are also reports by AP’s Peter Lippman to continue looking at.
I will be staying with Zulfo, who runs the organization Drina, for the duration of my stay. The deal is that I help him with English in return. It was a very generous offer, and I hope to be able to repay Drina in kind.
For now, it’s off to Vienna!
Posted By Sabri Ben-Achour (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Posted Jun 4th, 2005