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Bullets in Bosnia

Before traversing the gorgeous, fairytale Bosnian countryside, my imaginings of Bosnia consisted of the horrific images of burning buildings and massacres flickering across television screens in the early 90’s. Thus far we had seen little evidence of those tragedies, but as we drew closer to the city of Mostar the pristine mountains and clear rivers gave way to bullet-ridden churches, crumbling ruins of bombed homes, store fronts marred with scars from mortar rounds.

One three story home caught my eye. The bottom and top floors were completely gutted, shattered by artillery of some kind, but the middle floor was mostly intact and there was laundry billowing in the warm spring winds.

What horrors had these people lived through? Where do you go when your homes, offices and churches are being fired on? How do you start rebuilding when the war finally ends after four long years? What manner of person comes home to a bombed out house and immediately sets about making it homey again by stringing laundry, cooking dinner? I fuss when my power goes out or the hot water is gone, yet this person had an entire wall missing and used it as the ideal place to catch a breeze to dry their laundry.

I am grateful for my intact walls today.

We entered Mostar mid-afternoon, wending our way towards the Old Town when we turned a corner and saw the remains of a synagogue. The walls were riddled with pockmarks left by thousands of bullets. It is closed now, the windows bricked up, the courtyard overgrown with weeds. I wished I could see laundry billowing from a balcony.

Here and there were signs of hope, life, and renewal as Bosnians mended broken houses of worship, restored shattered homes, and raised new buildings where old ones could not be redeemed. It was peaceful, calm, but I felt anxious somehow, wondering if that same mending and restoration could heal the families and communities shattered by that devastating conflict. I hope so.

Next week I’ll take you to wonderful Old Town Mostar with the delightful self-appointed guide we found in a parking lot. πŸ™‚

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RamblingTart - I wish for peace for your part of the world, Joumana. I’m so glad you’re safe and hope things get better in Lebanon.

RamblingTart - Oh, I can imagine, Joumana. So much devastation over and over again.

tasteofbeirut - These photos ring a bell; we have these landscapes in Lebanon as well; sadly they are hard to erase because war there is a recurrent calamity.

tasteofbeirut - These photos are familiar in my neck of the woods; there are still a lot of buildings showing the passage of war especially because there war is recurrent every few years sadly.

RamblingTart - I’m so glad you feel that way too, Debi. I had been feeling hard done by this week, and revisiting Bosnia in this way snapped me right out of it and filled me with gratitude.

RamblingTart - That is so interesting, Iko. I had no idea about the history and culture surrounding the “star of David”. Thank you for sharing!!

RamblingTart - Thank you very much, Paradis. I LOVE your Maui posts. I love all your posts, for that matter. πŸ™‚ The color in your pictures is an absolute delight. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - Thank you so much, Mary. I’m really glad you enjoy them. πŸ™‚

Debi Shawcross - It’s so easy to take for granted all that we have. Your photos are a reminder that we all need to take a step back and appreciate the things that matter most.

iko - Just a little note- the ‘star of David’ on the gate in Mostar you may have also noticed on many older houses and even in the mosques as it is a Semitic symbol and Moslems and Jews share it as a common symbol of identity- this is rare for most Moslem centres elsewhere in the world, but in Bosnia they never shied from sharing common symbols. Admittedly the gate was a Jewish site given the menorah symbol and admittedly other Bosnians didn’t share the same awareness of common identity, hence the pocked marked buildings that sadly still stand, barely, throughout Mostar and other Bosnian places.

mlle paradis - Wonderful, wonderful post Krista, so sensitive and thoughtful and such stunning pictures, Very expressive. We can tell that you were really affected by your visit. A beautiful way of reminding us how fragile human fortunes and security are.

Glad you liked the Maui posts too. Always nice to have you stopping by at Passage Paradis…….

Mary - There are thoughtful eyes behind that camera lens. Your photos are wonderful. Blessings…Mary

RamblingTart - I feel the same way, Lorraine. Stunned, sobered, haunted, inspired.

RamblingTart - It’s staggering for me too, Elra.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - Very haunting and poetic photos Krista. You’ve captured a part of the world that I haven’t seen before and it’s quite sobering and stunning at the same time.

elra - Oh my ….

RamblingTart - Thank you, Tracy. This journey really impacted me.

Tracy - Tart, you make such brave journeys. I loved hearing about the laundry.

RamblingTart - You’re welcome, Duchess. I’m glad it touched you too.

RamblingTart - You’re so welcome, Valerie. I know what you mean. I felt sick at heart yet deeply inspired and humbled at the same time.

Duchess - truly haunting, thank you.

Valerie - Thank you for sharing these ‘real’ pictures. Sometimes I think that we are too far removed from chronic acts of violence, what we see on t.v. seems more like a movie. It’s good to hear from someone, first-hand, about what these places are like.

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