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Tuesday, September 17: Day 148 – Déjà vu

We leave Split today by bus. They often have two bus drivers. That makes sense. Someone to deal with tickets. Also, the extra driver can keep the other awake or switch off on these long drives.

Trash collectors come around the city squares, stop in front of a business and honk, and they either wave him away or bring out their trash. He moves about 20 feet and repeats. No trash is left out.

Every Balkan town no matter how large or small has a high bell tower. That must be analogous to cell towers today as it was used for communication back in the day.

We had to cross borders and then change buses. I have a dental splint that I wear at night to stop the effects of subconscience nocturnal teeth grinding! Rob was making sure that nothing was left behind and brought what he thought was my splint. Apparently, he had someone else’s splint. I feel sad that someone somewhere no longer has this tailor-made mouth guard. It kind of looked like my daughter’s case! Hmmm. I can’t remember if she lost it on her backpacking trip. Wouldn’t that be funny if we found hers!!

We finished the documentary on “The Death of Yugoslavia” as we are now in Bosnia and Herzegovina where much of the war atrocities occurred. As one tries to understand what happened in war, one always comes away with “why?”

War is a horrible word in all languages. And war everywhere has so many commonalities. Keep reading!

In 1991, before the war started and unknown at the time, President Slobodan Milošević of Serbia and President Franjo Tuđman of Croatia decided to divide up Bosnia between them. (In WWII, Hitler and Stalin divided up Poland.)

Serbs and then Croatians leveled East Mostar. (In WWII, Hitler leveled Warsaw, Poland.)

People were expelled from their homes. (In WWII, it happened one evening – Night of Broken Glass in Warsaw.)

Five hundred fifty detention and concentration camps were set up in the former Yugoslavia. (In WWII, the Germans had numerous concentration and extermination camps throughout Europe.

Ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims occurred so that Croatians and Serbians could move in. (In WWII, Jews and other non-Aryans were forcibly removed from their homes, and Germans then lived there.)

Srebrenica was deemed a safe city by the UN so Bosnian refugees traveled there. The inhabitants were killed by the Serbian army. (It was like the Warsaw ghetto and Auschwitz combined.)

Bosnian Muslims were told to mark themselves with arm bands and mark their homes with blankets to ensure their safety. This act served to target them and their houses. (In WWII, Jewish stars meant harrassment and eventually imprisonment and possible death.)

Mass graves are common in Bosnia. People are still unaccounted for. (Mass graves were common in WWII and are still being found.)

It took much time for the USA to get involved in the Bosnian war. (It took time and eventually Pearl Harbor for the USA to wage war in WWII.)

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indicted 161 war criminals. (In WWII, the Nuremberg trials sentenced war criminals.)

Twelve to twenty thousand woman were raped. Approximately 150 children were a result. I find it most disturbing that the men who raped the woman were never charged for this crime, and it isn’t unusual for the women to pass them in the street today. The perpetrators of these crimes can be found out by DNA testing. I am assuming that its use was not generally known at the time.

The terms ethnic cleansing and genocide are not synonymous, yet both are assaults on nations or religion-ethnic groups. Ethnic cleansing is forced deportation or population transfer. Genocide is the intentional murder of part or all of a particular ethnic, religious, or national group.

Ethnic cleansing can rapidly become genocide as mass murder is committed in order to rid the land of a people. One could call it murderous ethnic cleansing.

This question begs…do we ever learn from history? Will we always repeat it? I can only come to the conclusion that sinful humans are at war with God and with each other.

Jesus speaks the truth which is the exact opposite…

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:38-39

This tells me that when I have made peace with God, I will have peace with my neighbor. He will be treated like I want to be treated…with loving kindness.

That is my prayer.

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