I believe genocide is more that a word, it’s an experience.

Adis - Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
Entered on February 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem, war

I was carried threw the blood filled trenches of Bosnia as a child, lived in a refugee camp for over three months, and coped with posttraumatic stress. Despite all of it, I am able to hold my head up high without sorrow or regret. I believe genocide is more than a word to me.

It was May of 1992 in the country side of Bosnia and Herzegovina that my entire life changed forever. I heard a knock at the door. It was my uncle covered in blood yelling at my mom and me to take the eight mile trip through the thick mud and blood filled trenches to my grandmother’s house. He threw me over his shoulders, and he ran as fast as he could while bombs were being dropped two miles away from our house. Tanks were approaching us, and houses were being raided. I saw my dad stay behind; he stood in the doorway holding nothing more than a hunting knife, but I had a gut feeling that he would be okay.

The next thing I remember is waking up in a huge room on a dusty army bed. My grandmother was by my side, but my mother hadn’t arrived yet. She arrived two days later on the fifth convoy to the camp. There were roughly three hundred other people just like me in the room. The world labeled us refugees, but no country ever sent us food. I was given a half a loaf of bread once a day. I prayed every day that someone in the world cared enough to help us establish a new life. Red Cross was given permission three months later to help us relocate to Germany. They tracked my father to a prisoner’s camp; they helped free the over three thousand men that were held captive against their own will.

I was coping with the effects of the war until New Years. We were placed in a hotel room that had two beds and a community bathroom. I went downstairs to the lobby with my grandmother because she told me that she had a surprise for me. As soon as I steep outside, I covered my ears because the sound of the fireworks. I ran back into the lobby, and I hid under a check-in counter. I cried and screamed because I was so afraid. The fireworks sparked a fuse in my brain that I tried to suppress after we reached Germany. I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Every time I turn the television on to the news, I feel the pain that people in Darfur and other African countries are experiencing because of genocide. I saw armies with tanks, people with murdered family members, and the effects of genocide. I believe genocide is much more than a word that means the eradication of a group of people. It is the reason I live my life like tomorrow might be my last day.