The consequences of the trans-generational trauma, which arose due to the crimes committed during the war in the Cazin region (Bihać, Cazin, Velika Kladuša), are mostly left unexplored. Although some efforts have been made to address these issues in academic work, there have been no real projects aimed at directly involving young people experiencing the trans-generational stagnation of the reconciliation process.
Senior and EDVACAY fellow Lejla Bašić-Hrnjić, EDVACAY fellow Majda Alagić and Senior fellow Alma Hasanbegović will use an innovative approach to address the current situation and cultural trauma, arising from past conflicts in this region – a platform for various forms of conciliatory dialogue, which should prevent young people from succumbing to the established pressure from their environment. The backbone of this project rests on the concept of ‘Gacaca’, a transitional justice tool initially organized by the Rwandan government following the 1995 genocide. It was based on the traditional type of communal justice, which played an important role in reconciliation and establishing the truth. It is a process devoid of conversation about ethnicity; more focused on the analysis of a new form of coexistence. Surveys have shown that such a method is perceived by the public as a highly effective means of managing conflict and bringing peace closer to the community.
The Gacaca Reconciliation Aspect is the inspiration for the idea for this project, which will focus mainly on youth engagement and trans-generational forms of remembrance and dealing with the legacies of the past among young people in the Bihać, Cazin and Velika Kladuša areas.
The goal is to gather young people in the open, which would provide a safe space for dialogue and coping with the burdens of young people living in the region. Participants will be engaged in an intensive dialogue and exchange of views on the recent past and the memory of it; they will also have the opportunity to record video confessions, write about their experiences and show their creativity, reporting on the use of plain language, instead of an academic analysis of the situation. This will be particularly useful to those young individuals who belong to the youth population who need to feel accepted in a regular culture and should develop a sense of belonging and inclusion. This should facilitate a sense of common identity and further contribute to the reconciliation process. Ultimately, the team wants to provide to the young people in Bihać and Velika Kladuša a new opportunity to get involved in the past and open a dialogical healing process within the region, which is otherwise completely neglected in terms of resolving trans-generational traumas within activist projects.