Monday, July 16, 2018

Superman will not save you

In the years after the Dayton Accords ended the Yugoslavia civil war, outside investigators went into the conflict regions to verify possible war crimes. There were many. Thousands of civilians had been rounded up by the Serbs and murdered. The bodies were dumped into mass graves, the graves often just convenient holes in the ground. Polish forensic anthropologist Ewa Klonowski was one of the most conscientious about the exhumations, doing her damnedest to reunite (dead) family members with those who had survived. In this passage Dr Klonowski describes what she found on the floor of what the author of the a book on the investigations calls “a sixty-five feet deep … beautiful chimney-shaped cave [with] honey-beige walls … full of stalagmites*” :

”I was digging with the knowledge that I’d found some children … [C]hildren have more small bones; they are less durable. And I came upon some small bones of the kind I was expecting to find. And a toy next to them — a Superman doll. I had to put it in a plastic bag. … I was holding [the doll] in my hand, and the child’s father was there above me. … I was about to start crying. I rationalized it to myself by thinking, ‘Ewa someone has to work here. Bones are bones. This is a toy found next to some bones. You must put in the plastic bag and get on with the next body.”

source: Like Eating a Stone: surviving the past in Bosnia by Wojciech Tochman
2002/2008. Atlas & Co. Publishers, New York NY


dinahmow said...

A friend has steered me in this direction and I thank her.
I am somewhat surprised not to see comments on your writing;perhaps you do not "advertise" yourself?
No matter, I have bookmarked you for later delving.

Glenn Ingersoll said...