On the second day we had the privilege of visiting Medica Zenica, a women therapy center for survivors of war and rape victims and meeting the wonderful Director, Dr. Sabiha Husić who manages this very special place. The NGOs we met with are very prominent organizations that work with women victims of war trauma and domestic violence. They included Snaga Zene, Nas Glas, and Vive Zene.
Medica Zenica is where they support the rape victims from the Bosnian war providing them with invaluable service, safe environment where they can express their feelings and emotions. The center provides a very holistic approach for victims of rape and trauma. Doctor Sabiha’s work has earned her huge respect internationally. An amazing lady, doing an amazing job! We watched a film about some of the rape victims and their harrowing experiences.
This is what we learnt. 20,000-50,000 women suffered sexual torture in the Bosnia war. In 1992 the UN Security Council declared the “massive, organized and systematic detention and rape of women, in particular Muslim women, in Bosnia and Herzegovina” an international crime that must be addressed. As a direct result of what happened to women in Bosnia, international law began to recognize sexual violence against women as a Crime Against Humanity. In remembering what happened in the genocide, we have to hear the voices of the women who suffered in their gender-specific ways.
The center is on top of a hill and there was a lot of panting while we climbed the steep icy path as you can imagine. We also had a chance to meet some of the women who have benefited from the service, for example learning new skills in tailoring and art. I presented a copy of my novel ‘Typhoon’ to Dr Sabiha. In this novel I portray the trauma of a woman who has been raped in her youth.
Quotes by Dr Sabiha:
We all (Bosnian and Serbs) respected each other, celebrated Eid and Christmas together. Politics ruined everything.
Still telling grand daughters not to hate the Serbs who killed their grandfathers. Nor stop them from making new friends.
Never mention race, color or religion just concentrate on good people.
Meeting Munira – the wonderful women awarded Peace Prize in 2015.
some photos by Aisha
We also had the privilege of meeting Munira who shared with us her terrible experience of life during the war and the loss of her beloved family.
Quotes by the wonderful Munira:
We as mothers are asking for justice for what happened to our men and our children. We want the world to know what happened no matter who the victim is the perpetrated should be punished.
We are proud that there is no vengeance and hatred.
Women who were the housewives now the pillars of family are the true heroes of our society. They have struggled.
The world brought injustice to Bosnia and it should engage again to sort it out.
No religion proclaims killing or murder. If you kill one person it’s like killing a whole nation.
All governments failed to react while the genocide was happening. We can’t get our loved ones back but want our grand children to live a better future.
We can’t judge people by faith, language or color of skin but as human beings.
We, as mothers, can be used as role models as survivors of the genocide.
Two things must never be forgotten, the holocaust and the genocide in SREBRENICA.
President Bill Clinton opened the center. He stood in silence and cried, we said to him, “We don’t want your grief we want truth, justice and our country”. President Clinton supported the center and became a true & passionate ambassador for us.
Visit to International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) HQ in Sarajevo
We had a lecture at the ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons) Headquarters in Sarajevo. We learnt about the process and the challenges of tracing the missing victims and the identification of their bodies including through the use of DNA testing.
Meeting with the British Ambassador
It was also delightful for us to be hosted by our British Ambassador, his excellency Edward Ferguson. He’s a man with a lot of knowledge, skill and highly sensitive to the needs of the local Bosnian community. We enjoyed listening to him very much including about his experiences in Bosnia.
As always we enjoyed our meals together. Time for strengthening our friendships and learning about each other’s lives’ and backgrounds.
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