journeys at home and abroad
Stef O’ Driscoll (award-winning theatre director) and Mark Griffin (St Mary’s University College, London), friends I’ve made through my thespian daughter, are off to Sarajevo on Friday. They want to dramatise some of the wonderful stories in Miljenko Jergovic’s Sarajevo Marlboro, a collection of short stories on how the young people of Sarajevo from the different communities – Croats, Serbs and Bosniacs – helped each other to survive during the siege. They plan to stage performances in London and in Bosnia.
They’ll spend much of their time listening, I suspect, and it will be hard.
We had a wonderful time in London this evening with some of the Bosnians who have been taking part in the Forgiveness Project exhibition at Blackburn Cathedral. They fly home tomorrow morning. Stef met Silva (a young woman from the Croat community), Amila (who teaches English in Tuzla and is connected to the beautiful madrassa there) and Niko (Deputy Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Tuzla area).
In a wholly uninspiring hotel lobby, conversation ranged from the dreadful and continuing pain of multiple and unexplainable bereavement, to justice denied, the thirst in Bosnia for creativity, beauty and the arts, the power of women’s stories and of the life-giving and transformative possibilities of carefully devised theatre. It’s impossible to have conversations like these with our Bosnian friends without a great deal of laughter, too – I love it.
I also caught sight of Chris and Anjum from Blackburn Cathedral, who worked hard to bring our Bosnian friends to the UK. We’re hoping that the final report of the original UK visit in October 2009 will be the kind of document that people will say, “If you’re going to Bosnia, read this”.