Tuzla - and a Tale of Memory

I didn't go there on purpose. It was a few hour's stop on a long bus ride in 2006. Walking around I noticed construction works all over the place, activities like in a beehive. My head and stomach still numb from a hilarious wedding I looked for a place to sit down. A newly opened fast-food restaurant with young couples holding hands was not exactly the place I was looking for, so I stopped in a simple inn.

When I had nearly finished my coffee the party at the next table invited me friendly to come over, asking where I was from. “Weimar!” exclaimed the gentleman, who seemed to be the most talkative of them. “We adore your culture. Franz List! Brentano! Der Lindenbaum!” and started humming a romantic folk-song. “We are friends here”, he went on pointing to the other men. “He is a doctor, this is the pharmacist. I am a violinist. We have always been friends. This one is Croatian. Most of us are Bosniaks. But we do not have problems.” He must have noticed my puzzled look and went on: “And the woman in the kitchen is a Serb. We speak the same language, we are all the same.”

These words reverberated in my head as I was walking to the bus station. International money had rebuild the city after the destruction. The victims did not express any anger. But I feel guilty. My nation is an offender. In the place where I live the brightest light of culture is intertwined with the utmost darkness. My Bosnian host reminded me of the light. But I cannot forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Widget by LinkWithin