ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Can you read, listen and try to make it never happen again...?

My previous post highlights Christine Toomey's harrowing report "A cradle of Inhumanity". It tells the shocking story of the many children born as a result of their mothers being subjected to what is now recognised in international law as mass genocidal rape by soldiers, paramilitaries and police - most of them Serbs - during the savage conflict that gripped the Balkans throughout the first half of the 1990s.

Today, with a direct link to that report, I am copying here - in full - a post by Danah Boyd:

"After many years of working for V-Day, I can never forget the look on Eve's face back in 1998 when she told us about her visits to Bosnian refuge camps. There were six of us, all students, all determined to carry on the V-Day spirit and the second-hand look of incomprehension, horror and loss still sticks in my head, particularly since it came from one of the most vibrant and passionate women I've ever met.

This morning, through the blog world, I was given a pointer to "a cradle of inhumanity". It's a heartbreaking feature story, echoing the pain that I always saw in second-hand form from Eve. The struggle of women who give birth to children after having been raped. The inequalities of being raped as a systematic tactic of war... not being recognized as a victim, not being given any level of economic or social support. The inequalities, the pain.

It's hard to hear about this level of pain second-hand. I cannot imagine having a child that way. I cannot imagine the horrors that these women go through. But I can read, I can listen and I can try to make it never happen again.

I ask you to do the same."

Danah Boyd is a PhD student with Peter Lyman at SIMS (Berkeley). Currently, she is researching Friendster and other social networks tools, trying to understand how people present their digital identity, negotiate social contexts and articulate their relationships. Danah is also the Digital Director for V-Day (an organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide).
_ _ _
Perfect monsters

The few surviving relatives of the murdered inhabitants of the villages of Klisa, Đulići and Šetići searched the area of the mass graveyard at Crni Vrh in the hope of finding traces of six hundred of their family members. The author of this report "the most massive of all graveyards" written just three years ago by Hasan Hadžic, joined them, looking for his wartime friends.

The following extract is part of the horrifying story that Fedahija Hasanović, a native of Šetić who survived his own execution at the start of June 1992, told Hasan Hadžic, soon after he had managed, though severely wounded, to reach the free territory of Tuzla. Extracts of his testimony were published a few days later in The New York Times.

"They shut us up in the building of the technical college in Karakaj. We were suffocating from fear and heat, and from the rising stench of sweat, urine and faeces. One group of our neighbours was forced to eat a kilogram of salt apiece, then given water. As they drank it they quickly died, simply perished. That is how Hrustan Avdić, head of the Petkovci primary school, died - along with dozens of others. They forced us to pass in groups through a double row of torturers who hit us with metal bars. The bloodied people fell to the ground... They started to take away one group after another in trucks. Though the canvas flap was in place, judging by the length of the journey and the flatness of the ground I concluded that the execution place was located in a field close to the Drina. In no time at all we were facing the guns. It was all over! We were in such a state of shock that no one was able to cry out. I exchanged glances with my uncle Sejdo and firmly shook his hand, for the last time. And then I lost consciousness. I don't know how long I heard or saw nothing. When I regained consciousness, there was silence all around. I was covered by twisted dead bodies."

Further reading about Bosnia courtesy of The Bosnian Institute.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 11/19/2003
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