Written by – Edina Karic ( a student in Professor Melissa Boyd’s SPC2608 – Fundamentals of Public Speaking class)
To this day I cannot understand why the war in Bosnia happened. What was so wrong with my people that it was decided they should all be eradicated? This is a question that so many people, including myself, struggle to find an answer to. After countless genocides and wars, I wonder why we continue to group people by their religion, race, or ethnicity and why we haven’t realized that at the end of the day we are all human. In the “Bosnia List”, Kenan Trebincevic writes about his struggle to understand why the Serbians decided to start a war against our people and his struggle to understand why deeply resonated with me. At the end of the book Trebincevic wrote, “The war was an open-ended, ongoing disaster, with no point, no positive outcome, no conclusive wisdom, no closure”, and I think that quote effectively summarizes the cost of continuing to perpetuate hatred of others in society. Continuous hatred costs countless lives while at the end there was nothing gained. This continuous hatred is a serious problem in today’s society as more and more people are speaking out about the inequalities they face on a daily basis and this time many have begun movements to ensure that their voices will be heard. This is a problem that needs to be solved but I do know that a solution will not happen overnight or without properly educating the people on our differences. An article in the Huffington Post by Bethany St. James touches on prejudices that still exist today despite the progress we have made. St. James begins the article by listing some of the most common prejudices that still exist: “All Muslims are terrorists. All White people are racist. All Gay Men are feminine. All Christians are bible thumping, gay bashers. All African Americans are on welfare”. Those five sentences show that we still have a ways to go before we can begin to accept others as they are. I wonder why these prejudices still exist. Is it for the power or notion that one group of people is better than the rest or because we do not fully understand our differences? When I found out we were reading about the war in Bosnia, I was glad because it is not something many people know about. I can still see the lingering impacts of the war on my family. I see my mother and think of how she lost her first love to the war and of the grandfather I’ll never be able to meet. I hear my little brother’s name and am constantly reminded of the uncle I will never know and the pain that my father feels when he looks at him and is reminded of the brother he has lost. And every July 11th I see the pain of thousands of Bosnians as they relive the horrors of war and as we lay the bodies found that year to rest. Seeing the constant pain and reminders of what my people had to endure, I know that differences such as race or religion shouldn’t matter today. Society as a whole needs to take massive strides in order to ensure that another event like the Bosnian war does not happen again. We need to be more proactive in educating people about our differences in race and religion rather than judging them for it. We need to teach our children from an early age that it is okay to have a different religion or to have a different skin color because they learn by observing the adults around them and if those adults show hatred towards those different than them then ultimately that child will grow up to do the same. Through proper education of our differences and by teaching our children to accept these differences, I believe that we can help prevent another tragedy from occurring.