NOTE: Here is an excerpt. Read the entire piece at:
"Whilst I was running three clinics during the Bosnian war, I listened to victims of rape and violence. I listened to grieving family members. I also listened to soldiers. I was given permission to tell their stories.
Soldier A. came to see me. He was in his early twenties - thin, pale, and sweating. His eyes did not look outward towards Tomislav Petrosic, my translator, or myself. They were dark eyes boring inwards. His hands twisted around each other. He found it difficult to speak. Sometimes he stuttered. He was soft-spoken. He did not swear or swagger.
“No, I cannot tell you my story. You are a woman. But I will tell your translator, and he can tell you.”
Soldier A. was with three men. The other soldiers, he said, knifed open a pregnant woman’s belly and ripped the foetus out, almost fully grown. The other soldiers, he said, then stuffed a dead dog inside the woman, who died.
Soldier A. came back into the room. Sometimes he sat, sometimes he paced around the room. He very slowly told me why he had come to see me. He had not been able to sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time for a year. He had nightmares. His eating habits were erratic. He always saw the crime before his eyes, awake or asleep. He thought of suicide, often. He came to see me many times. Sometimes he would talk. Sometimes he sat silently. I learned, with difficulty, to have compassion.
A soldier becomes the victim of his own violence. Blowback.
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