I watched as they comforted each other, their unashamed sobs echoing throughout the sparse interior, their hands reaching out to the black and white photograph of a weathered-looking man. What was I doing here? I backed away from the display and turned, finding myself face to face with devastating images from the day that made the small site of Srebrenica in Bosnia so infamous.
An hour before I had never even heard of the place, let alone knew what it represented. But in an instant I knew too much. The thousands of Bosnian deaths at the hands of the Serbian army was too much to digest. And now I was face to face with the reality of what had happened as I intruded on this private moment between two young girls who had brutally lost their father.
Mesmerised, but hating myself for being so, I forced my legs to remove me from the scene of the crime. Once outside in the sticky afternoon air, I paced backwards and forwards along the length of the building which had once held and protected so many Bosnians. Tentatively, I placed my fingertips against the cool, steel exterior willing myself to feel something; anything.
“Are you okay?” It was George. He had lost his twin brother and father in the massacre and now channelled his energy into educating visitors to the site. I searched his kind face for anger, for some trace of retribution but came up with a blank.
“I didn’t know…” I feebly replied, my eyes wandering around the eerily empty surroundings. It was all I could manage. He softened and faintly nodded his head. Now it was his turn to search my face; my stupidly oblivious and uneducated face. Then, he broke into a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
He faltered for a second, then “It’s okay. No one really does.”
About the author: Lizzie is a full time marketing assistant and part-time travel blogger promoting the ways to get the most out of grab-it-when-you-can travel. She spends her time creatively thinking of ways to plan trips around her job and advocating the idea that you don’t have to be ‘homeless’ to enjoy the perks of frequent travel. Aside from this, Lizzie likes questioning why people travel and the psychology behind it, watching crap American TV programmes, and drinking too much tea (cider). You can find out more about Lizzie here (go on – I know you want to see what’s behind the melon…)