Moja djeca, gdje duša nađe mi smiraj – Alma Omerhodzic


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Uvijek to počne tako nekako, iznenada, bez najave i pravo u najdublje niti moje srži.  Nekad je to miris, nekad ukus, a nekad nisam ni sigurna kako i zašto.  Desi se da me neka riječ pogodi u dubinu duše, u dubinu duše za koju nisam znala ni da postoji.

Prije nekoliko godina, prijateljica, Jevrejka, otišla je na putovanje Evropom.  Ona, kćerka Jevreja koji su preživjeli holokaust, obišla je neka od najzloglasnijih mjesta iz Jevrejske istorije.  Mjesta gdje su u halokastu nestali milioni evropskih Jevreja.  Naravno to je izazvalo puno pitanja u njenoj glavi.  Pozvala me jedan dan na ručak.  Željela je sa mnom, koja sam preživjela bosanski genocid, da pokuša razumjeti kako se nešto tako stravično može desiti.  Htjela je da zna kako počne istrijebljenje jednog naroda.  Nažalost, ni sama nisam imala puno odgovora, osim onog što smo zajedno zaključile, da se prije nekog ovako gnusnog akta, namjerno, nastoji uništiti čovječanstvo jednog naroda.  Ako se taj narod može proglasiti manje “ljudskim” onda ih je lakše istrijebiti, a da niko ne stane na stranu onih nad kojima se genocid čini.

Tokom našeg razgovora pričala mi je kako postoji naučno istraživanje koje je došlo do zaključka da se trauma može genetički prenijeti iz generacije na generaciju.  Kako ona izgovara tu rečenicu pred mojim očima se stvaraju slike mojih pranana Kane i Safije, mojih nana Alme i Hajre, moje majke Selme.  Sebe, po običaju, preskočih, kao i uvijek, jer ja sam snažna, ne može meni trauma ništa, dok se napokon ne smirih na licima mojih kćerki.  Glasan krik, bar u mojoj glavi, se pusti iz mojih grudi.  U sebi tiho izgovorih: “Preklinjem te Bože da mi djecu zaštitiš.”

Jednom su me pitali kako to da mi, bosanske žene, možemo biti istovremeno snažne i tako osjetljive. U tom trenutku sinulo mi je da dolazim iz generacija udovica i žena koje su pretrpjele velike traume. Moja nana Hajra je imala samo dvadeset godina kada je postala udovica za vrijeme Drugog svjetskog rata.  Moja majka Selma je bila u tridesetim kada je moj babo mučki ubijen u zloglasnom rogatičkom koncentracionom logoru.  On je bio jedna od žrtava bosanskog genocida. Odgojena sam da nikada ne odustajem, da uvijek izgledam kao da se ne bojim, čak i kad se svaka ćelija u mom tijelu prestrašila onoga što me čeka. Pokazano mi je kako da uvijek gledam ispred sebe i ne dopustim da mi išta stane na put, posebno ne ono što je već iza mene. Tako to rade Bosanke, učena sam!

Kako to da me sad ova jedna rečenica baci na koljena?!  Dok sam jecala sa svojom prijateljicom, ironično u restoranu koji pripada afričkim izbjeglicama, koji su nas obje, odjednom uplakane, s nevjericom gledali, polahko sam shvatala da se moja “kula od karata” da ja nemam traume, ruši pred mojim očima.  Moj mozak nije više imao moć nad mojim srcem i dušom.  Oni su odlučili da je u redu da jednom pokažu svu bol skrivenu duboko negdje.  Kanina, Safijina, Almina, Hajrina, Selmina i moja trauma su se slijevale niz moje lice dok sam u sebi, kao što su i one generacijama prije mene, neprestano dovila: “Gospodaru, čuvaj mi djecu!”

I was once asked how is it that we, Bosnian women, can be so strong and sensitive at the same time. At that moment, it dawned on me that I come from many generations of widows and women who suffered great traumas.

Alma Omerhodzic
My Children: Where My Soul Finds Peace

Translation from the Bosnian by Alma Omerhodzic:

My Children: Where My Soul Finds Peace by Alma Omerhodzic

It always starts this way. Suddenly, without warning, and right in the deepest core of my being. Sometimes it is a smell, sometimes a taste, and other times, I am not even sure why, but a word will hit me in the depths of my soul, depths that I didn’t know existed.

A few years ago, a Jewish friend went on a trip to Europe. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, she visited some of the most infamous places in Jewish history where millions of European Jews perished in the Holocaust. Of course, it raised a lot of questions in her mind, so she invited me to lunch one day, in order to discuss more. She wanted to try to understand from me, a Bosnian genocide survivor, how something so horrible could happen to a nation. She wanted to try to understand how the extermination of a people begins. Unfortunately, I myself did not have any good answers, except for what we jointly concluded, that before such heinous acts happen, there is a deliberate attempt to destroy the humanity of the targeted group. If people can be declared something less than “human”, then it is easier to exterminate them without anyone standing up for the victims.

During our conversation, she told me that there is scientific research which suggests that trauma can be transmitted genetically, from generation to generation. As she uttered those words, I saw images of my great-grandmothers Kana and Safija, my grandmothers Alma and Hajra, and my mother Selma. I skipped myself, as usual, because I am strong, I cannot be traumatized by anything. Until my mind’s eye finally settled on my daughters’ faces. I felt a crushing tightness in my chest, as if a loud sob were unlocked and finally unleashed. I whispered to myself, “I beg you God, please protect my children.”

I was once asked how is it that we, Bosnian women, can be so strong and sensitive at the same time. At that moment, it dawned on me that I came from many generations of widows and women who had suffered great traumas. My grandmother Hajra was only twenty years old when she became a widow during World War II, and my mother Selma was in her thirties when my father was martyred by being tortured to death in a concentration camp in Rogatica. He was one of the victims of the Bosnian genocide.

I was raised to never give up, to always look like I was not afraid, even when every cell in my body was terrified of what lay ahead. I was shown how to look to the future and not let anything stand in my way, especially not what was already behind us. That is just the “Bosnian woman way,” I was told.

How come this one sentence now brought me to my knees? As I cried with my friend, fittingly at a restaurant owned by African refugees, who looked in disbelief at both of us sobbing. I finally realized that this “house of cards,” the notion that I could not internalize trauma, was crumbling before my eyes. My brain no longer had power over my heart and soul. It was okay, for once, to let go of all the pain that had accumulated inside of me. Kana’s, Safija’s, Alma’s, Hajra’s, and Selma’s harrowing ordeals flowed down my face, as I kept whispering over and over, just as they had before me: “Lord, take care of my children!”

All audio, text and images are under copyright © Neelum Films LLC


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