Bosnia 2011

Bosnia 2011


Journey to Bosnia 20-27 may 2011

In may 2011 a group of 7 of us traveled to Bosnia to join a yearly peace-conference of ‘from heart to peace’, which some of the group had been supporting and attending to for 18 years since the start of the Bosnian war in 1992. This dedicated group led and inspired by Gillian Kean and Anabel Farnel Watson had gone into Sarajevo in the middle of the war into places of danger and unrest to support those at the effect of the war and to bring hope, friendship and solidarity, where the nature of this war of ‘ethnic cleansing’ was the opposite. I felt privileged to be a part of this group allowed to contribute with music and sound as we journeyed.

At the conference met several people who had survived the horrendous concentration camps, where there had been systematic torture, rape, mutilation and killing in the most horrendous ways imaginable. I learnt about the incredible human creativity in its most distorted form. Most survivors have lost most or all of their families and still to this day suffer discrimination and hurdles at every corner, having to face the reality of people who murdered and tortured them and their families live freely and even in positions of power and authority. 

I was moved by the incredible resilience and strength of the beautiful people we met, their ability to be in joy, burst into song and stay positive in the midst still rampant discrimination against them.
It became clear to me that they felt deeply supported and strengthened by the regular yearly visits from this dedicated group of friends from England who had stood in solidarity, support and friendship through thick and thin since the war began.

It seemed that because of this ongoing support over the years trust had been built and there was space for stories of incredible horror to be shared, so that they weren’t carried alone. As our group listened, held space, provided new perspectives, ears, recognition and acknowledgement of the incredible journeys shared, allow spontaneous joy and celebration as well as bring sound to honour and transform some of the very painful patterns and trauma held in people’s psyche, bodies and in the land itself.

One of the most rewarding moments of the trip for me personally were when two of the camp survivors whose nervous system was so distraught that they could only manage to live with daily valium pills said on the 3rd day that something about the music we had created had facilitated such peace inside them that they hadn’t needed their pills for the last two days.

Following the conference we journeyed through other parts of Bosnia, where we had guidance to go. Another highlight of our journey was our visit to the Bosnian Pyramids and underground labyrinths that had only recently been discovered.

The landscape of Bosnia is truly beautiful – Bosnia Herzegovna being part of the heartland of Europe.

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