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While I Wait: A Journey of Recovery

Memories of Life in a Besieged City

Copyright W.C.Turck 1994

Sarajevo Library 1994

There are moments in my life when I regret not keeping a journal; the kind whose pages are filled with mundane details, only seldom interrupted by fragments of insightful thought. At the beginning of the war, in my early teens, I tried this exercise in self-awareness. Quickly, I faltered after realizing that the journal turned into lists of meals, obsessive ramblings about unrequited love and frustrations over schoolwork. Realizing the ordinary nature of my teen angst, I stopped writing and turned to reading instead.

During the war I refused to write; partly due to my inability to focus on anything more than survival, but also as a form of resistance to the conditions of my life. I refused to be just another person writing a war journal and creating an iconography of a horrific existence. Committing the words to a journal would sharpen the picture of the events in progress, eliminating the safety offered by the foggy, unfocused immediate experiences of war.

After the war I wanted to escape and forget. I wanted to distance myself from anything that reminded me of those terrible days and years. Keeping a journal was not an option since words would keep me alive and all I wanted to do was to disappear.

Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that I do not posses a primary document, other than my memory and the memories of others close to me that help me recount the Bosnian war. There is a part of me that regrets not having this first account of the events past, filtered through the soul of a sixteen year old, whose sensitivity created a fertile ground for drama. As I am trying to piece together the emotionally charged anti-war protests and the quickly unfolding events of the first attacks on the city, I am reminded  that there is more to history than factual accounts of events. There is the emotional memory, colored by one’s soul and the promise of healing.


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