Yesterday was a day for stirring the grey matter. It started with Rowan discovering The Guardian had a front page article about Mostar - online at least. It charted the story of War Child and mentioned the establishing of the Pavarotti Centar here in Mostar. Rowan visited the Centar a week or so back to see about getting help repairing a violin. The story she heard there was not a happy one; no money, few young people involved making music. You didn't get this side of the story from the article.
Coins have but two sides; stories, it seems, can be as multi-faceted as a well cut diamond. I don't know if this adds to their beauty. The longer we live in Bosnia Herzegovina the more we learn to see every new bit of information as just another aspect of a big picture we'll never fully understand. Anyone claiming to have a handle on exactly what went on and why probably has some agenda they're trying to push. From our perspective, parts of The Guardian's article were clearly wearing their angle on their sleeve. It's worth reading nonetheless.
The evening ending over dinner with an ex-soldier who was part of the UN observation force deployed in this country during the conflict in the early nineties. The conversation was sobering stuff. Firsthand accounts of death and destruction were to be expected. Tells of observation reports going missing and of a general disinterest higher up the line to acknowledge what was going on less so. Sure I have read about this happening so it wasn't news as such but it makes a difference to hear it from someone who clearly felt regret that they hadn't been able to do anything to stop the madness.
Sitting up in a rooftop cafe bar overlooking the, now rebuilt, Stari Most it was time to reflect how far life here has come since those dark days. We talked about the youth work we do with Novi Most, bringing together young people from across the different ethnic backgrounds in Mostar. This kind of relationship building is where the hope for the future can be found. Looking back can be discouraging; it doesn't necessarily help to dwell too long on how people can end up committing inhuman acts for reasons they cannot explain. Yesterday I was encouraged to look forward. What we are doing may be the smallest contribution to a better future. But it is a contribution and it is working.