Re-entry

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Just a girl

“Meddling is the only way to stay relevant.” — Heinrich Böll “In high school I was always like my dad: I’m very loud. I always knew there was something wrong with being treated as less because I’m a woman.” Marija Vuletić, proud feminist, vegan, CrossFit trainee, and project coordinator at ...

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Getting Mostari

Hop on the road southwest from Sarajevo and the rolling, green landscape dries up, becoming something rockier and more reminiscent of Colorado. The Neretva snakes under and alongside the highway. Vineyards emerge. You’d think the sun grew a thousand times larger, the heat is so magnified. Mostar seems older than the ...

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Srebrenica, Part II (AKA “Don’t Lose Your Watermelon”)

The following is an excerpt of my brain on genocide. Anger. Grief. Shock. They crossed paths in my chest. Then, shots fired on screen, a dozen civilians drop dead in a ditch, wrists crudely bound with wire. In that instant, the tears I’d been stifling froze. I snapped back to ...

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The sky bleeds, too.

I’m not certain I can explain this photo, but I’ll try. Srebrenica was difficult. “Difficult?” Difficult, adj. “needing much effort or skill to accomplish, deal with, or understand.” Hardly captures the overwhelming emotion, crippling sense of gravity, or powerful message of resilience the survivors we met impressed upon us. I ...

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“And missiles…they were the road trips that we launched, tripping across this island, starting missions at the break of dawn.”

Mar Adriatico, how long I have dreamed of reaching you. When I began studying Italian my first year in college, I picked up a map of Italy and fell deep in love with Lecce, nel tacco dello stivale (“at the heel of the boot”). Cobalt blue water, Baroque architecture, squid ...

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From darkness, light will always shine.

Passed out with my mouth hanging open—true Zareen style—my plane approaches Sarajevo. I wake, irritated, groggy, already homesick, emotional and physical energy wasted from my first ever international flight. And then I look out the window. As we dip below the clouds, I think, “Holy $%&, they airdropped Oregon in ...

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“We are still here.”

Amra Begić is the Chief of Department at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potočari. When Amra heard that I wished to interview her, she, in the typical, exceedingly gracious Bosnian fashion, invited me to her home to have dinner with her and her family. If Amra has taught me anything, ...

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From Orlando to Sarajevo, hate is not welcome here.

Today I had the pleasure of representing Heinrich Böll Foundation at a conference at the EU Delegation to Bosnia & Herzegovina entitled “Enhancing LGBTI Rights in BiH in Line with EU Standards,” hosted by Sarajevo Open Center (Sarajevski Otvoreni Centar, SOC). We heard from some epic human rights warriors, Massimo ...

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