Today was beautiful here in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sunny and not too cold. Classes went well. I’ve done some writing of poems. I love my students, they are great. (I don’t know what the “poet” and the “professor” are doing. We don’t see each other too often although we are taking a Bosanski jezik – Bosnian language – course together). I want to continue briefly with the ICTY verdicts of the past couple of weeks.


During the readings of the verdicts for Mladic and Pradjlak, I missed some specific wording that was a crucial part of the genocide that took place here in the wars of the early 1990’s. Maybe somewhere in the thousand page documents or even in the sentencing read aloud the word was used and even if it was most of the world was not paying attention. In the reading of the verdicts, among the words:  Murder, crimes against humanity, genocide, extermination, ethnic cleansing, I did not hear rape in the cascade of charges. It is important because the violence of rape was an important, and planned, element of the policy of cleansing. I believe, and again I may be wrong, that it was because of the prevalence of that form of sexual violence during the Bosnian wars, that the U.N. declared formally that rape, in and of itself, a war crime. Over 50,000 women and over 3,000 men were raped. The scars are visible and have left a lasting, horrific pain across this country. As I have seen with some of my students, the #metoo movement has just begun.

Garth Strange

About Michael

Born in Quantico, VA. Went to high school in southern California, BA from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, MFA (writing and literature) from the U. of Montana. MDiv from San Francisco Theological Seminary, Graduate Certificate to teach English as a Second Language. Have six books of poems published. Have given workshops/readings/or taught at Wichita St. U, Friends U., Tuzla Medressa (Bosnia), U. of Latvia, Laisma Middle School (Riga, Latvia), plus several states in the U.S. Live now in Wichita, Kansas.
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