The facades of the houses and apartment-blocks are full of gaping wounds. Holes left by machine-gun fire and the white blotches of concrete used to fill in many such holes caused by the bombings, look like imaginary constellations throughout the whole of Bosnia.
Memories, despite the implacable passing of time, are filled with scars. Yet, it is not the destruction that calls to mind the horrors of war, neither is it simply the pain for the loss suffered, above all, it is the daily struggle to recuperate thousands of missing identities, many of which are lost forever. Twenty years on from the beginning of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, still ten thousand human beings who disappeared into thin air, are relentlessly being looked for. For that reason, I have tried to give an account of life after death, over a period of four years, by interweaving visual documentary work together with my own personal experience, along a journey amid some of the purest and most brutal pulsations within the human soul. From the “protected” enclave in Srebrenica, scene of the largest massacre in European territory since the Second World War, in Cerska where the entire population of a farming community was decimated after being compelled to defend themselves with rifles and hatchets against Serb mortars and hand-grenades, the slaughter carried out by the Serb-Bosnian armed forces have left indelible signs on the country and on the expressions of its populace as far as the Drina Valley. For me, resentment together with an alleged incompatibility but, also common-places, friendships, mixed marriages and their black humour, represents the roots of that Balkan population who are seemingly ill-tempered with harsh looks yet, at the same time, extremely kind, hospitable and forthright. To the cauldron of oblivion made up of the fleeting collective imagination nurtured by the media I, therefore, decided to counterpoise the importance of these negligible stories with my own way of seeing Bosnian culture, from the inside of that circumnavigation of peoples and their cultures which have always constituted the essence of a multi-ethnic nation. It wasn’t easy being a child in Bosnia. Children grew up very quickly; they had to fight to survive. Many of them lived by the rules out on the streets, more or less consciously influenced by the “myth” of the war profiteers with an illusion of easy money, where the laws of the strongest seemed to be the only rules possible. Today, some dream of bettering their homeland while others want to abandon it. Entering into peoples’ daily lives on tip toe, mine has been more or less a sharing of visions and memories, some actually experienced, others only imagined. Therefore, in shades of black and white, between frozen emotions, Bosnia stays blocked in transition, still trapped between past and future with the missing parts of the Bosnian identity puzzle lost or, only missing, among the ashes of the former Yugoslavia.