Thursday, March 30, 2023

Childhood and war: Kanita Mukanovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina

I met Kanita when she started working at CEA as a report on the program of prevention and action against human trafficking. The first thing that stands out about her is her sense of humor and above all her enthusiasm. Every time Kanita attends to someone who enters CEAin, she does so with exceptional tenacity, and by listening truthfully and step by step, how she accompanies the person in front of her to help them achieve their goal, no matter how difficult it may seem. principle He has inexhaustible energy and wears out all the horses. She won the Spanish national in 2019 and arrived on the day of the oath of the flag in the CEAin a little disappointed, but she made us all laugh, as always, reciting her experience: “I thought it was going to be very solemn, as in. American films, I was very well dressed and dressed to deliver my words, but in the end it was very cold and official, there was no swearing or flag.

“As a child, the common landscape for me was destruction. I played in the rubble and crashed cars.”

One day we ask her to accompany me to a conference on feminism and diversity, and she prepares an interesting presentation on the historical development of women’s struggle in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While searching for images on Google, he finds one that is strangely familiar and gives him the inside scoop. There is a photograph taken by a war reporter of a group of boys of different ages smiling in front of a wall full of graffiti. The oldest of them will be destroyed. Kanita then realizes that she is a five-year-old girl wearing a fuchsia pink beanie. “I had never seen the photograph, but the journalist immediately remembered it and I remembered that time. Those children were my neighbors, and we all feed the dog that appears in the photograph because it lost its owners…”.

Kanita was the son of the Bosnian war. While some of us grew up watching the images of the fierce battle on our televisions at home there. When the struggle of three years had begun. The city where they lived was constantly attacked for four years.

“When I was little, I was accustomed to falling down.” I played in the wreckage and crashed cars. The first time I saw a car with a normal face and color was when I was older. The sound of falling shells was common: every twenty second a grenade fell on Sarajevo. My grandmother lived forty minutes away and I went four years without seeing her. My grandfather died and I couldn’t go to the funeral. I saw bananas for the first time in my life because a journalist gave them to my father, even though I didn’t know what they were. We eat what Caritas sent us in the humanitarian aid boxes that they sent us once a month: beans, powdered milk… the basic elements. He brought a packet of cookies similar to Mary’s, which tasted nothing, but she loved it.

Kanita tells me that one day, while she was playing, she saw two women eating on the ground, and she went into his house to give them bread. They did not eat anything for two days. They were very grateful and gave me toothpaste. For me, as an adult, it’s important to be able to have something like toothpaste, I don’t forget.

Kanita’s parents lost everything in a matter of days. “My father never picked up a gun and he should have. He who has been wounded once, and the wound still hurts when it is very cold or very hot. He went for several months, and came back very thin and bearded, I almost did not recognize him. I remember, when he came, he always lay next to me.

“We lived in harmony in the country until nationalism arose, that’s why they scare me so much. No one retreated and the attack began. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, civilians are killed, everything that moves is shot.”

It is the memory of that time that stands out above others, it is the memory of the color white. “I was five years old and the grenade was very close to me. My sister caught me and hid me at the door. After escaping from there, I saw pictures of that bombardment and that man’s body was torn. My sister confirmed that she also saw it this way, but the boy’s mind turned white in my memory.

Kanita believes that mental health care in meeting the victims of conflicts is essential and that it is a pending event that work to continue to increase. “When my mother comes to me, she holds her hand tightly when we go to the village, and I am already over thirty years old. The burden of mind she had during the war was indescribable, I did not understand it then, but now I admire it. I think, “If I were hungry, how could they be hungry?” He didn’t have the psychological help that would have been needed, then the thought is “it doesn’t matter if you survived and the rest”, but it does matter, you need to prevent traumas. Not only do you work for the war that happened to you, but you work for many years after it.

It took years to rebuild the country, Kanita showed me that many people can leave as soon as possible because there is nothing left: “You lose your life, your home, everything you fought for. I know because I lived, but this is something that you don’t have to understand, we could all understand.

Kanita studied law at the University of Sarajevo and completed her degree in Spain through UNED. She met Jorge, her husband, in 2008 when he was stationed in Bosnia as a soldier on a peacekeeping mission. Jorge is Ecuadorian and they maintained a long-distance relationship for several years, until Kanita came to Spain with a student visa to do a master’s degree in Culture of Peace, Conflict, Education and Human Rights at the University of Cádiz.

“In war there are no human rights, people are left in a very vulnerable situation, especially women and children. Now I strongly want to fight for people’s rights with my work, because then others fought for my rights and those of my family.”

At the moment, Kanita and Jorge live in San Fernando together with the son they had a few months ago, Adi and two other furry children: Lilo the cat and Dantes the dog, who are stars on their Instagram channel where Kanita tells about their adventures. day by day, with the awareness of respect for the rights of animals. “As a child, I looked upon the helpless, hungry and cold cares of many larians. When I was little I dreamed of building an animal shelter in Sarajevo, since there is none. I hope it will be one day.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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