Bearing Witness retreat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2017
Bearing witness to ethnic conflict and to the role
of the international community
Zen Peacemaker Order Europe
8th – 12th May 2017
Bosnia and Herzegovina
From 8 – 12 May 2017, we’ll come together—from different countries, cultures, and religions—in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). From there we will proceed to Srebrenica. This retreat in the spirit of the three tenets is organized by the Zen Peacemaker Order Europe to bear witness to ethnic conflict and war crimes and to the role of the international community.
Due to recent political developments in Srebrenica, and in close consultation with our local partners, the programme of the retreat has been significantly changed.
We will be staying and bearing witness the whole week in Sarajevo. Our group will travel for one day to Srebrenica-Potocari, yet we will not be lodged in the village. We believe we offer the participants a meaningful, alternative programme in Sarajevo.
It has been more than two decades since former Yugoslavia fell apart. The brutal conflicts that
followed its dissolution are over, but the legacy of the tragedy continues to unsettle the region.
Often described as Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II, the Yugoslav Wars have
become infamous for the war crimes involved, including ethnic cleansing, crimes against
humanity and rape.
This retreat is about what happens when life contracts into you vs. me, when we shut our eyes to
the despair of others because they’re others, not us. That’s when the whole process begins anew:
children crying out for their parents, mothers wailing after their boys and men, the sorry
procession of families carrying what they can as they flee, guns and burned homes smoking
By bringing different local groups together with international participants, we are willing to face
this dark complexity, that arises when we try to locate ourselves to the past and present
developments in Bosnia.
Also, we want to bear witness to our shared responsibility in acknowledging the “non”-intervention
of the international community.
Entering the complexity that is Bosnia-Herzegovina requires a lot of listening. This action, as
practiced in the three tenets of the Zen Peacemakers, rises from not-knowing and bearing
Being aware that we are touching an open wound, we as international Peacemakers will be
careful not to bring any kind of ‘peacemaking knowhow’. Instead, we will educate ourselves
beforehand about the local, historical situation so that we can sensitively detect the different
narratives, and especially question our own Western point of view.
Then, coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina we will listen to the soil…
This bearing witness retreat will be a retreat by donation.
To help us to support peace work in Bosnia- Herzegovina we ask you to donate € 850 (or more).
To only cover the costs a minimum of € 700 is necessary.
More information about the Bosnia retreat you find:
- Organizational Vision
- Spirit Holders
- What Your Donation Includes
- Finance your Donation with a Mala Practice
- Registration, Payment and More Information
- Cancellation Policy
- Code of Ethical Conduct for Bearing Witness Retreats
- Coming Back to Ourselves: Notes on a Council Training Workshop in the Balkans
- Arrival and Sarajevo Lodging Information
- Sarajevo Tours
- Reading List and Links