I was at a couchsurf in Tuzla, BiH and a friend of theirs asked if he could interview me because of my travels. Of course I said yes!!
Muris translated as the interviewer would ask questions and I would answer. It wasn’t a very long interview but it was fun to tell my story a bit.
I mentioned a couple of moments in Srebrenica that made me feel uncomfortable. Two guys in particular at different times had reactions to finding out I was American. This was the first time I had felt that vibe coming from anyone on my entire trip. I just didn’t feel welcome and remained quiet the rest of the evening and then retreated back to the hostel as soon as I could. I don’t hold anything against them and everyone else I met that night was very nice. But I still felt out of place and I couldn’t shake it.
I didn’t expect it would be mentioned in the article. I don’t regret saying anything, only that I couldn’t say it directly and had to use a translator. If I had the ability to express myself in Bosnian, I’m sure I could convey my thoughts. Nonetheless it was mentioned and I heard through the grapevine that some of the guys in Srebrenica were not very happy or at least surprised to be mentioned even if it wasn’t by name. I think I can take a lesson from this. I will be more careful what I say and understand that anyone who hears what I say is free to do with that information whatever the feel compelled to do. Maybe others can learn a lesson as well. Travelers want to feel welcome. Some, like me for example, am not going to assume I’m welcome in your country or bar or home unless I experience a welcoming atmosphere. I’m ok being alone. I’d rather be by myself than be in a space I don’t feel welcome. That’s me. For whatever it’s worth.
For the record, Bosnia was a very welcoming country. I really did feel comfortable everywhere I went. It’s a beautiful place and I won’t forget it. I hope that despite a small part of the article, the message of appreciation will come across.
Also, I haven’t read the article. I’ve only been able to use google translate, which comes up with a kinda hilarious version.