The beauty of Bosnia-Herzegovina can surprise someone visiting for the first time. These are the colors of life, of culture, of dignity and humanity, quietly reasserted after the genocidal war on Bosnia.
When I look at these images, love overwhelms me and turns, Janus-faced, to anger. I wonder: who wrecks this, shells, burns, starves, rapes, tortures, murders, and scatters this — and then celebrates his monstrosity at home, while denying it abroad?
What to do with the anger. I may never know. Best, perhaps, to follow the lead of the Bosnians who still, somehow, tenderly water the flowers, till the soil, bake the bread, pour the coffee, comfort the wounded, and welcome the stranger.
Many thanks to my hosts — my friends, my teachers — in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar, and Bihac. My thoughts, and my heart, have also been affected powerfully by the work of Vive Žene (pictured above), a center in Tuzla for women who have survived war, rape, and torture; the “Sto Te Nema” project of Aida Sehovic; Beba Hadzic and the women weavers of BOSFAM; and the Al Jazeera film Women Who Refuse to Die, about those who survived the genocidal Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys on July 11, 1995. All photographs by the author.