Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 13: Freedom to Move

13. Freedom to Move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish. 

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written, many people were not free to move about their own country.  They were tied down not by debt or obligations or jobs, but by governments that didn’t allow free movement within their own country.  The freedom to move, to search for a better life, or to stay where you are and not be forcible relocated are clearly stated by this declaration.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 12 The Right to Privacy

12. The Right to Privacy.  Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a good reason. 

We, as human beings, are granted our personal spaces; free from the invasion of government, physically or electronically, into our homes and spaces, without good reason.  The Right to Privacy is granted to protect all people , because we all need a place to feel safe and inviolate.  In Medieval Times your home or your possessions were subject to inspection for no reason.  Today the UN and its members have pledged to protect the privacy of their citizens from unreasonable searches.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 10 Right to a Trial

10. The Right to Trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do. 

Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
   The right to pass judgment has, in the course of human history, variously fallen to rich, the powerful, the elite and the royals.  The writers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights held that the right to judgment should be reserved to a trail based on laws and standards. This right has moved quickly from being an aberration, to being a basic assumption.  An open and fair trail is the cornerstone of the rule of law.

The right to pass judgment has, in the course of human history, variously fallen to rich, the powerful, the elite and the royals.  The writers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights held that the right to judgment should be reserved to a trail based on laws and standards. This right has moved quickly from being an aberration, to being a basic assumption.  An open and fair trail is the cornerstone of the rule of law.


Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: No Unfair Detainment

9. No Unfair Detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country. 

At the time the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written, the realities of World War II were just coming to light.  The detainment (and murder) of the Jews, Roma and others in Europe, the massive relocation camps in Asia and the Japanese interment camps in America - these were shocking on a level unseen historically.  No government, no persons have the right to detain people with just cause and reason.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 8 Human Rights Are Protected By Law

8. Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly. 

The founding members of the United Nations, and all of those that have joined since, have pledged that these rights are entitled to all of their citizens and non-citizens alike.  Your rights are protected by the law and allow recourse when they are abused or ignored.  Every nation that is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and member states of the United Nations has tasked themselves to enshrine these rights as law.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 7 We Are All Equal Before the Law

7. We’re All Equal Before the Law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly. 

Equality is often a difficult thing to measure or address.  But Equality of Justice is not.  Within a country or society every person is ruled by the same laws as every other person.  Whether rich or poor, majority or minority, Muslim or Orthodox - each of us is subject to the same laws and must be allowed the same rights as any other. No person should be subject to unfair legal treatment; the law must be impartial.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 6 You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go

6. You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go. I am a person just like you! 

The laws of your country or your state don't necessarily follow you when you travel or are relocated, but these 30 Universal Human Rights do.  These are basic pillars of Humanity and it is incumbent on all of us - and all nations to respect them.  Project1948 was founded, in part, to address the loss of those rights during the forced resettlement of the Bosnian War.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 5 No Torture

5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us. 

Not only do people have the Right to Life, they have the basic Right to be Free from Torture.  This Human Right was manifest after World War II, when the full disclosure of torture was revealed.  The United States and the founding nations of the UN agreed that torture would never be allowed again in the civilized world.  Straw-man arguments, justifications and "24 Hours" melodrama aside, the United States and other allies led the fight for the Universal Human Right that prohibits the use of torture.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 4 No Slavery

4. No Slavery. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave. 

For most of us, slavery is an atrocity that is consigned to history and can never happen again.  For the founders of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was something that can never be condoned, no matter the reason.  No one has the right to treat others like property.  Slavery must be condemned wherever we find it.

Comment

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: The Right to Life

3. The Right to Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety. 

Most people reading this have access to freedom and safety.  We take the Right to Life for granted. At the same time, we can find too many examples of people who cavalierly ignore that Right of Life for others.  Reducing entire groups of people to a faceless definition of "the other", or "the enemy" or "collateral damage" is used by tyrants to justify death and repression.  But every person has a Right to Life.

Most people reading this have access to freedom and safety.  We take the Right to Life for granted. At the same time, we can find too many examples of people who cavalierly ignore that Right of Life for others.  Reducing entire groups of people to a faceless definition of "the other", or "the enemy" or "collateral damage" is used by tyrants to justify death and repression.  But every person has a Right to Life.

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 2 Don't Discriminate

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 2 Don't Discriminate

2. Don’t Discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.

Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
     Differences are inevitable.  Some, like skin color, height or weight might be visible.  Others, like nationality, religion, or sexual orientation may not be.  But differences can be a blessing.  We recognize that differences in skill sets are necessary for completing a project.  We recognize that differences in attitude and believes can open minds and change hearts.  We must recognize that these Human Rights are applicable to each person, regardless of our superficial differences.    #30DaysofHumanRights #Project1948

Differences are inevitable.  Some, like skin color, height or weight might be visible.  Others, like nationality, religion, or sexual orientation may not be.  But differences can be a blessing.  We recognize that differences in skill sets are necessary for completing a project.  We recognize that differences in attitude and believes can open minds and change hearts.  We must recognize that these Human Rights are applicable to each person, regardless of our superficial differences.

#30DaysofHumanRights #Project1948

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 1. We Are All Born Free and Equal

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights: Article 1. We Are All Born Free and Equal

We Are All Born Free & Equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.

The First Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The First Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Each child may be born into poverty or luxury, in a hospital room surrounded by a loving family or on the roadside along an escape path from war.  And while the circumstances matter, opportunities available are often unfair and the paths those children have to take may differ every child is born free and equal.  Every parent wants the best for their child and every child deserves the freedom of their own lives.

#30daysofHumanRights #Project1948

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights Begins

Comment

30 Days of Human Rights Begins

30 Days of Human Rights. Through the United Nations, the world has recognized a set of rights afford to each person.  Project 1948 celebrates these rights to remind each of us that every life is valuable and unique.

During World War II, the Allies defined the Four Freedoms - Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want as their basic war aims.  Not just the overthrow of the enemy regimes, but a basic foundation of Freedom that every person deserved.  Immediately after the war, the United Nations was created to bind the nations into the spirit of the Four Freedoms.  One of the first acts of the fledging group of statesmen was to create a Commission on Human Rights.  Out of this pioneering work, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, came the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  That is what we at Project1948.ngo are celebrating for the next 30 days.

#30daysofHumanRights #Project1948

Comment

Peace of dream

Comment

Peace of dream

"Live your dreams"

Is it the child's fault that he or she is found on the street ? Of course not, and every individual who thinks otherwise lacks empathy and humanity. This is the first picture in a series of photographs with a goal of showing the suffering of the people in my country Bosnia-Herzegovina (especially kids and older folks) from the social welfare category.

Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian

"Ostvarite svoje snove"

Da li se ovo dijete svojom krivicom našlo na ulici ? Naravno da nije, i svakom pojedincu koji misli drugačije fali empatije i ljudskosti. Ovo je prva fotografija u seriji fotografija kojima će cilj biti da ukažu na patnju kroz koju prolaze ljudi (a posebno djeca i stariji) iz socijalno ugrožene kategorije stanovništva.

Potrudit ću se da svaki dan objavim barem jednu fotografiju.

-Adnan

 

Comment

Peace of Home

Comment

Peace of Home

Hooray! We made it back to Oklahoma safely! Although we are happy to be back, Project 1948’s heart will always remain in Sarajevo. These last two weeks have been an incredibly eye opening experience to say the least.  There is only so much one can learn about a different culture by reading books, or watching documentaries.  Being "on ground" in Bosnia and Herzegovina, gave direct insight and an opportunity to gain knowledge of functioning foreign NGOs, as well as receiving the chance to implement part of the “Cup of Peace” curriculum. To be given the ability to personally hear of the conflict resolution, and life changing stories provided me with an inspired heart to better serve the Bosnian community.  With a more realistic understanding of how to further construct peace building relationships, we plan to collaborate with many organizations in the future.  This could potentially be teaming up in workshops, conferences, or projects; however the possibilities are just beginning. Because this trip mainly consisted on administrative and developmental work, Project 1948 plans to head back to Sarajevo in October to finish the curriculum with the remaining university students. Project 1948 is excited for the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, and we hope that you will continue to support our journey!

Best Wishes, 

Josie

Comment

Peace of Ćevapi

Comment

Peace of Ćevapi

Hello from Sarajevo!

…Or dobar dan (good afternoon) as we should say! We have eagerly been learning the Bosnian language during our stay!  Project 1948 is about halfway through our journey in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the time we have spent here so far has been incredible! Over the past week, Project 1948 has been processing how to effectively reach Bosnian young adults, while handling the developmental and administrative work of a foreign NGO.  This process has allowed us to cross paths with other working NGOs that are located here, while building relationships with foundations that have worked in the Sarajevo area for many years.  This knowledge has given Project 1948 an insight into the advancements that need to be put in place for our Project to be implemented efficiently.  Project 1948 has had the opportunity to collaborate with the UNDP (United Nations Developmental Programme), the PCRC (Post Conflict Research Center), and SHL House of Sarajevo.  These organizations have seen the Bosnian young adults’ struggle first-hand, and have developed practical ways to create awareness, cultivate reconciliation, and provide opportunities for their stories to be heard.  Project 1948’s future status as a year-round functioning NGO in Bosnia will hopefully be put into motion in the upcoming year with a Bosnian office space, continued paperwork, and cultivating relationships with Bosnian partners. 

With the productive week we have left planned in Sarajevo, Project 1948 is now turning to focus more on maintaining connections with the Bosnian young adults, as well as implementing the “Cup of Peace” curriculum.  These interviews will allow us to get a grasp on the how to continue to build future peace within the community, and give an opportunity for the students to be recognized as essential pieces in the future of Bosnia.  Wish us the best as our adventures of gelato, Ćevapi (traditional Bosnian dish), and building peace continue!

Josie Halsmer

Comment

Peace of PreDeparture Thoughts.

Comment

Peace of PreDeparture Thoughts.

Who a person is, is often described as what they have experienced, what they may believe in, or where they come from.   However, I believe what makes a person unique is the ability to share life experiences.  It is not the struggles we face, but how we let the struggles shape us into the people we are meant to be.  One week from today, I have the opportunity to listen and observe untold stories that have left a untold mark on the next generation of Bosnia’s young adults.  

Project 1948 will utilize photography as well as other forms of artistic expression to capture the truth of growing up in a war-torn community, and begin the conversation of how these cultures can nurture an atmosphere of trust once more.  Arts-based activities have the potential to foster reconciliation between young adults from different religions, nationalities, and cultures. While living in the aftermath of the war between Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia, next generational trauma is a real concern. The Bosnian War ended nearly 20 years ago, and changed the culture of the Bosnian community forever.  To be a part of this peace building program, means I’ll gain a better understanding of young adults in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and how the experience of growing up in a post-war community has influenced their perspectives.  My hope is to hear their stories, build relationships, and encourage peace that was once established between Balkan communities.

It all starts with an opportunity given to future of Bosnia, and when people are willing to take the time to listen to voices that are desiring to be heard.  This experience has the potential to reunite a lost peace that was once thriving between communities.  Humans were created to live together in interdependent relationships, while thriving together as a community. This is the vision for the Bosnian community and Project 1948 is privileged to have a part in facilitating this peace around the world.

With hopeful expectations, 

Josie Halsmer, Intern for Project 1948

Comment

Inverting Independence Day || Marko Lucic

Comment

Inverting Independence Day || Marko Lucic

Independence is a pretty powerful word these days, with communism laying at its deathbed, gasping its last breaths, and really only holding on by the red slimmer that is Cuba (Laos and Vietnam are inching towards capitalism and China's only communist on Fox nowadays) the West has truly established itself as a beacon that smaller, developing countries look to as their guiding light. There are few words, in my humble opinion, that will conjure up an American flag faster than independence and it is hardly arguable that no one makes a larger point of celebrating independence than the Americans, with customary associations of fireworks, flags and barbeques springing to mind just at the mention of the word.

So I've been dwelling on the matter of independence with regards to my former communist state of a country, and while dwelling on the matter of independence I also asked others to dwell on it with me, and as we dwelled on it together, we all (well, most of us) realized that we didn't particularly care for our independence, which must seem like a rather baffling thing to put into writing, knowing what nationality the majority of my readers are going to be.

Now, this is where I’d like to draw a distinction between the US and Bosnia, while a modern American might not care about the meaning of Independence Day he or she still meets the date with excitement and a positive attitude, which they probably relate to friends or family, usually in association with the aforementioned barbeques, fireworks and parades. But here it's a little different; our indifference is a different sort of beast, and a rather dreary one at that. For starters, it isn’t actually even a national holiday, it's only celebrated by half of the country (the half that liberated itself), and while I suppose we should be happy that it doesn't stir up vast amounts of nationalistic fervor in that half, the occasion is still only really universally met with a collective, national shrug, which is one way to unite a nation I suppose.

You might think it strange, that most of the people I asked to describe their sentiments regarding independence day said they were generally indifferent to the matter (remember, we gained independence 20-odd years ago, can you envision the average citizen in the age of Americas forefathers as completely indifferent to their liberation?), but Bosnia’s kind of weird that way. See, the drive for independence (as we traditionally know it, i.e. the severance of a newly formed state from an existing one, generally motivated by distinct cultural and ethnic differences; oppression being optional, though somewhat of a staple in such matters) is something that Bosnia has experienced, like every other newly-formed independent state, but it isn’t something that has had as much of a sustained impact on its people or their beliefs.

What I mean to say is that Independence Days usually represent the triumph of a culture or a people against their former rulers or oppressors, with varying degrees of distaste usually left over, although even these thankfully fade, given time and space between the groups that were previously in conflict. But Bosnia is different in this regard, unlike Americas resolution of its conflict of independence, Bosnia’s war was “mitigated” in such a way that no one came out of it feeling like they’d accomplished what they set out to do (the Bosniaks didn’t end up with their own state, and the Serbs didn’t reclaim Bosnia, with either of these presenting a clearer path to a resolution than the compromise we’re living now), with part of the problem being that some people still think those are the goals they should be trying to accomplish.

So what does this mean for us? Well, I'd venture a guess that you aren’t going to have the nation rally behind this particular holiday or what it represents to us, seeing as the best thing anyone says about it is that they don't have to go to school or work (nope, no parades, fireworks or barbeques, just atrocious weather). This isn’t surprising however, as very few associate it with the severance of ties with an oppressor and the ascension of political autonomy, which is usually how such remembrances gain ideological or political traction; in addition to the unifying effects that grow out of such moments. Though even if that was the case, it wouldn’t present the solution to our problems, as we need all the people to actually join together with those some would call their former oppressors, not band together against them (We are, quite literally, stuck with each other with no other (legal) way out).

So where does this leave us? Well, since our independence, the public's primary association to the word "oppressor" is not a nebulous outside threat, but rather an internal pack of opportunistic parasites, ones we usually call our government. I think that, when changes come, they won't be the result of us banding together on a national/ethnic basis as we do now (which is actually the way we discriminate against each other), but will rather represent the forging of a new national identity, one that is inherently tolerant and encompassing* (Which it is not today, regardless of the fact that Sarajevo is trying to be sold as this cultural gem; case in point, a couple of days ago I've seen it referred to as “Europe’s cultural capital”, which frankly, made me gag, since we are painfully lacking in culture at the moment). This new identity will not be based on religion and historical hatred, but rather on a sense of common purpose and necessity, even if this probably means we still haven’t hit rock bottom yet, which is holding us back, ironically (I’d only refer to the riots last year as a false start and a vent for frustrations.)

Ultimately, though we have failed to tread the path others have walked before us, I’m hopeful that, through forging our new national identity; one which would abandon its reliance on nationalism and ethnocentrism in favor of a sense of purpose and tolerance, we will, as a people, be able to forge a path that will allow us to transcend old hatreds, if not because we should, then because we must.

Guest Blog,

Marko Lucic

Photo Credit: Harun Brkovic

Comment

Tri-Cultural Peace

Comment

Tri-Cultural Peace

As the famous maxim goes: peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is far far more and although it is measurable quantitatively e.g. nuclear disarmament rates, it behooves one to qualitatively understand what peace means in different cultures. As an International Psychologist, my realm of influence and contact covers a triangular area of Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India, all three which are considered home alongside academic training focused on Africa. Though conventionally not far apart, the longest side of my home triangle is a 4.5-hour plane ride between India and Malaysia with all three countries accomplishing and viewing peace both in distinct and similar ways.

India by virtue of being the world’s largest democracy gives some credence to its moniker of being the birth place of two major world religions (Buddhism and Hinduism) and its soil spiritually rich. The sheer diversity of India is mind boggling, even to an Indian like myself. There are over 1,000 dialects with 23 languages spoken changing as you cross over from one state to another and though we have a gamut of problems including deep gender disparity and crippling poverty, the fact that violence in some ways is more stemmed than other first world countries is something to be exalted. With a population of 1 billion that is as heterogeneous as can be with Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Jewish juxtaposed with the caste system and added layers of polarized SES living in a diversity of geopolitical regions (Himalayas, wetlands, the Thar desert, the Arabian Sea) we fair relatively well and that is peace as you know it in India.

Sri Lanka has long been pegged as India’s younger brother and the heir to an unfortunate blood bath, steeped in Asia’s most costly civil war (26 years) between two warring ethnic groups: The Sinhalese and Tamil.  Here in Sri Lanka the peace is an uneasy brokered one. Understanding and dialogue in Sri Lanka is especially the key to peace, if more people outside also had an understanding of Sri Lanka through its’ complex history and acknowledging that inhabitants have a very different reality than what is portrayed in CondeNast and National Geographic (Sri Lanka! Country of the year 2013!) that could be described as peace in the making. I would encourage people to practice ethical tourism and realise that often there is more that meets the eye than delicious coconut water and pristine beaches as Sri Lankan’s threefold increase in tourism would indicate. Peace in Sri Lanka is fragile but a new breath of hope has been cast with the new president and government coming into office recently, cutting short what many viewed as an increasing despotic reign of the former government. Paradoxically, all ethnicities and political parties united in the face of increasing corruption thereby demonstrating the potentiality of coming together and having a more fully formed and transparent peace for the future.

Malaysia is an example of unity in diversity by fostering a community consisting in some parts Indian, mostly Malaysian and largely Chinese. Yet often actual experience bears difference to what a constitution might declare or what a press release read out loud by the head of state might sound like. It brings into question the proverbial gap between theory and application. Many people complain of the perception that indigenous Malay known as Bumi Putra are unduly favoured via rules and regulations. Malaysia is one of the only countries in the world to not be a signatory on the UN document for refugee reparation and one that is consistently cited for human rights violations regarding homosexuality. My husband and I are intimately involved in the World Economic Forum that releases an annual corruption index where Malaysia ranks high. In fact the issue of corruption is cited often through tears and grief of unimaginable proportions regarding transparency of what really happened to the missing MH370 flight.

Each of the countries I call home are not actively in war like Syria or other parts of the Middle East yet the unease and restlessness India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka radiate creates a chasm between reality and peace. As a psychologist and spiritualist I would say we are far from being at peace in any place and that most countries echo a disenchantment. Not only does peace start from within through individual human revolution, it is also a call to take unrelenting unceasing action for the greater good. Amusingly, even countries are not immune to envy where there is often a mentality of “the grass is greener on the other side”. Countless Indians cite Malaysia’s strict drug enforcement and death penalty as positives to combat a rape crisis whereas Malaysia envies Sri Lanka’s power on the world stage despite its small geographical stature and where Sri Lanka consigns itself to being in India’s shadow in terms of cricket!

I have the privilege of experiencing each country intimately and will continue to contribute, help empower and most importantly listen to each one as a unique part contributing to the sum of humanity. As Nicholas Kristoff once summed up, ‘the media focuses solely on plane crashes and by reporting only crashes it distorts the true picture of how many thousands and thousands of planes take off and land successfully each day’. I view each country in the same manner and though the world is filled with myriad problems, it does not ever alienate a hope and striving towards peace.

Photo caption: Dialogue is the Key to peace: Anjhula Mya Singh Bais & Dr. Vimla S. Lalbhai, educational reformist and Gandhian Activist.

Anjhula Mya Singh Bais,

International Psychologist

Bais-Selvanathan Foundation

Comment

Peace of truth.

Comment

Peace of truth.

One truth, three versions of it.

Drama! That's the word most often used to describe life in post war Bosnia. For me it was dramatic from the very beginning.

When my mother went into labor with me, she drove to the hospital in a bus filled with the enemy army. Three months latter...I was a refugee. That's why my generation and me were branded as "94 children." I've titled this text as: "One truth, three versions of it" because of the overall separation of pretty much everything in Bosnia. It's either Bosniak, Croatian or Serbian.

Funny thing is...I became aware of that last year when I came to study in Sarajevo. I come from part of Bosnia where there was no fight between Muslims and Serbs or Muslims and Croatians, but there was a war, unfortunately. It was between Muslims and Muslims.

Consequence of that is a true picture of Bosnia, perhaps Balkan- if there's blood to be shed, let it flow in streams. This sounds quite dark and horrible, well it is. That's the fundamental truth, It's just that everyone has their own version of it. By everyone, I mean the three constitutional people of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bosnians, Croatians and Serbs. Instead of taking responsibility for past actions, they find that it's more productive to pass the blame for the bloodshed to one another that happened twenty years ago.

You can imagine how bright Bosnia's future is?! Especially when all the hate and rage that caused the war is now floating through the young people of Bosnia, just like poison. When I was just a kid, there wasn't nationalities just people, citizens. That's more to my upbringing, it was based on communistic principals. And, I live in a town where grand majority are Muslims. But as I grew older, society changed my point of view. I became witness of religious division, the consequences of war became real to me, words like treason, genocide and war criminals occupied the media and with them also the everyday life of an average citizen of Bosnia. So...I like, the rest of Bosnia started to divide people by it's nationality and religion.The question why was inevitable. But that's the question that no one could answer. Even today, I have no answer. I study psychology, and I try really hard to find some explanation.

Why do people do unimaginable things to each other? 

What in us drives us to kill and torture other human beings? Children? Is that truly in our nature?

No religion preaches that. I guess Miligram partially explained that.

But, I still find it hard to believe that in fact we are cold blooded animals. That's what war reveals about us better than any experiment. I don't even know what to tell about people that stand by and watch mass killings and do nothing, like the International Community did during Bosniak Spring, Arab Spring and in Africa. I may not be able to understand people when it comes to war, but if I have learned anything in my education is how much education influences on people especially in young age. I understood why all of a sudden I blended with the rest of the country.

As it turns out it wasn't so sudden. It was a product of doctrine that predates war.

It's the same doctrine that keeps the war going.

One example: Mostar! It's pearl of Bosnia, beautiful emerald water of Neretva, old core of the town and of course Old Bridge in Mostar that is listed in UNESCO's National Heritage list. But there's a dark reality behind that Southern beauty. Mostar is divided in two parts; Eastern where Muslims live and Western side where Croatians live. They don't cross to each other's side. But the highlight of this situation is the news that went viral few days ago, about a boy born and raised in Mostar (West-Croatian side) and he has never seen the Old Bridge which is on the Eastern (Muslim) side. Angelina Jolie and Ronlado have. That is just sad, but it paint's perfectly picture of situation in Bosnia. Because that is the case in Central and Southern Bosnia. Our capital city isn't dis-included. With appearance of social media, hate language that is passed through generations is more present then ever. It's a common thing for Bosniak youth. It's part of our parent's heritage, that's the language our society stands for, it's the language that keeps the war going on. But don't be mistaken, it's not the language of truth. Truth frightens us, because it's very simple.

But...is it enough to reconcile post-war Bosnia? The simple fact is before we all lived together in peace! 

Respectfully,

Ajka Muzaferović 

Comment