It's been quite a while since I last posted. So much has changed for me personally, and for our world.
Some dear family members have passed; people who have had a profound influence on my life. I take their lessons with me as I march forward seeking to continue to be of generous heart and spirit. I am not always successful at doing so, but no matter what age, each new step provides me with reflective moments that allow for personal growth. We have also had joyous celebrations that serve to reinforce the good that life has to offer.
All of this is the stuff that life is made of. None of this is different from what oppressed people throughout world wish for themselves and their loved ones.
On November 1, my book, "And Still We Rise: A Novel about the Genocide in Bosnia," will be a year old. In the book, I tried to portray, as accurately as I could, what it was like for one family in Prijedor, a lesser-known place that saw tremendous pain and heartache. I spoke with many people who had survived and lost, and their stories became a composite of the characters in the book.
I write to tell the stories of the atrocities committed against Bosniaks and Catholic Croats as perpetrated by the nationalist Serbs in Bosnia in the early 1990s. I write to help us unravel the evil that human beings can thrust upon other human beings in the name of nationalist fervor and hateful rhetoric. My goal is to share these stories to bring about awareness, so that similar horrific events can be pre-emptied whether here in the U.S. or abroad.
After I published my book, Russia invaded Ukraine. The playbook is no different for the authoritarian Putin. Lie, Attack. Persecute. Murder, rape, and torture innocent victims Those stories will eventually come out in memoir or other genres, and we will, once again, be scratching out heads as to how this can continue to occur. For Bosnians, many are retraumatized. And they know that they were shunned by the West, and subsequently had to fend for itself. For Ukraine, fortunately the West has responded by giving weapons and training to its military.
I ask that, if you haven't, pick up a copy of my book. It is not an easy read, but it is an enlightening one (Amazon and other booksellers). I am soon to submit a manuscript for a third book that contains interviews of survivors from different parts of Bosnia, who now live in the United States. I will keep you posted when It is published.
I am currently working with groups to advocate for peace and democracy in Bosnia, which continues to be a goal of many in the country itself, and its allies worldwide. Since the war ended, and the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in 1995, only physical war has ceased. The political war continues with the existence of Republika Srpska, the entity that arose out of Dayton; an area within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina that is close allies with Russia, Serbia, Croatia, and others that wish for Bosnia to quietly (or not so quietly) to disappear, so that it becomes an extension of Serbia, while Croatia grows, too.
Over the past year, I have had the honor to give numerous presentations on Bosnia past and present. My book serves only as the backdrop for the bigger picture. I will continue to advocate and to enlighten wherever anyone will listen.