As Bosnia & Herzegovina commemorates its 20 Years of Independence, the Start of War, and its Admission to the United Nations, a member of the diaspora, Naida Sekic contributed a story calling to mind that the world cannot profess ignorance, cannot forget the horrors of war -- its deaths, its torture, and the consequences of systematic rape. There were children borne. These children deserve our mutual love and respect. They, too, are the future of Bosnia & Herzegovina and the World.
--- Brought to you by Susan Sacirbey and Diplomatically Incorrect
“STRIVE ALWAYS TO EXCEL IN VIRTUE AND TRUTH” By, Naida Sekic
“My son - a child of rape and despair. I try so very hard to recall who he resembles, but all to no avail. There were too many of them. How do I tell my child that his biological father is an ethnic cleanser, a man of torture? Omer is all he knows of. I fear the day when I must explain to Emir that he is the result of systematic sexual savagery. I was close to giving him up when I knew about my pregnancy. The pain was too much as I knew that every time I would lay my eyes on him I would be reminded of evil. But Omer taught me the only way I was to stand victorious before my foes was to love my child beyond measure and raise him to be a man of good. “Love him for who he is as I love you just as you are.”
The first few years were the hardest. Frustration and anxiety were part of everyday and I had to fight so hard not to break. Still I loved him in all the ways that I could. People tell me I keep strong and forget. Some are even bored with me thinking I want their pity. But they do not understand. They will never understand. Twenty winters have passed yet the hurt remains just the same. I suppose the ache will never leave me be. I fear sleep, for when I close my eyes, I am left alone with myself and the qualms of war. Thinking has become a disease, and despite a thousand desperate attempts to flee my past, my mind cannot escape the shrieks and horrors of yesterday. The shame of the world has defined the new me and I must play as the world dictates.
I am not stupid. I know how the world works. Justice is merely an idea as greed stands superior to humanity. My perpetrators are free men, treated like lords while indulging the good life. Ultimately, the law sides with them and they shall die as heroes. I cannot decide what is worse; to suffer rape or to experience the defiance and disrespect of the international community day in and day out for as long as I shall be? Since the aggression I have repeatedly asked myself, why does no one care? What can I do to make them care? Will their hearts ever turn humane? But I cry no more. There are no more tears to cry. Instead I let silence be my voice for never again shall I underestimate the power of silence. The world has taught me a valuable lesson, something that can only be taught in times of slaughter and injustice. Sometimes, I look to old photos to teach myself how to be myself again. I look to a young Esma filled with love and passion, a character I vaguely remember. Now, she only lives in my memories. Someday, I shall search for her again. Perhaps she is waiting for me in a distant place. I pray to find her smiling at me and saying, “You are now at peace with yourself. Open to love and become who you ought to be. Let your pen be your heart and let your heart be your guidance.”
In the words of Alexandra Stiglmayer in “Mass Rape – The War against Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” “This [book] is dedicated to all the women who lived through the tragedy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially those who found the strength to tell about the personal anguish they suffered. I am saddened that their willingness to come forward was to no avail, for it is unlikely that they will ever experience justice, as the world has chosen to close its eyes to what has happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” Ignorance is a choice. Choose to know and choose to act for freedom!
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