Book discussion: the River Runs Salt, Runs Sweet

As part of a series of Aberdeen Holocaust Memorial Day events, Robert Gordon’s College hosted a book discussion evening based on “The River Runs Sweet, Runs Salt” by Jasmina Dervisevic-Cesic on the 23rd of January. 

The book was written as a memoir of love and loss in the Bosnian war which took place between 1992 and 1995 following the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. Having experienced first-handedly the horrors of neighbour turning against neighbour, paired with rapidly growing animosity and violence between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims, Jasmina is a “lucky” survivor of a genocide and was brave enough to share her turbulent story of endurance and escape. She lost members of her family, including her husband and her unborn child, and required over thirty operations to recover from her own injuries sustained when a shell exploded next to her.

However uncomfortable such histories of the past may be, it is pertinent to keep them alive in the public imagination, not only as acts of remembrance, but also a compass to better navigate previous mistakes which can help shape a better present and future. Mr Macpherson started the event with a warm welcome, having had a longstanding interest and commitment to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre as a trustee of Remembering Srebrenica Scotland. The event was attended by members of the general public, as well as pupils and their families, whilst the author was virtually present in the event and participated in the lively exchange of discussion with the audience. Such themes as experiences of war, loss, personal resilience and rebuilding of trust were explored among others. 

The College will be hosting “Faces of Faith” exhibition in March in a further attempt to celebrate the beauty of diversity - this time religious - and in the hope of continuing to spread cohesion in our societies and beyond.