The River Runs Salt, Runs Sweet: A Young Woman’s Story of Love, Loss and Survival
At 15, Jasmina had typical teenage problems. How could she talk to the boy she liked without making a fool of herself? Would she find the right shoes to wear to the high school party?
She had heard the old stories about World War II, when neighbor turned against neighbor, but she never gave them a second thought. That had all happened ages ago and she was living in a modern Yugoslavian city where Serbs and Muslims were close friends. Then Yugoslavia started to break apart, the national army turned its guns against its own people and Jasmina had to grow up fast.
The River Runs Salt, Runs Sweet is a young woman’s powerful and inspiring memoir of love, loss and survival during The Bosnian War.
The innocent paid the greatest price in Bosnia. More than half of the four million residents in Bosnia became refugees, an estimated 100,000 people were killed and 20,000-50,000 women were raped, many of them repeatedly. The Bosnians didn’t ask for NATO or UN troops—just the means to defend themselves from genocide so they didn’t have to fight tanks with old hunting rifles.
Jasmina wrote her story to bear witness to what happened to her country and to the people she loved and lost. But as she wrote, she came to understand that her story was about much more. Everyone experiences loss. Everyone, even in peacetime, loses loved ones. Everyone feels jostled or even violated by events beyond their control. Everyone suffers the losses of disillusionment and betrayal, sooner or later. As she thought about the things that kept her going in the worst of times, Jasmina began to understand that her story was about more than Bosnia. It was about how we manage to endure, to support one another and to recover from the most difficult of trials.
“My losses happened to come all at once—personally, physically and emotionally. I lost some of my faith in humanity when I discovered that people who were your best friends one day could conspire to destroy you the next. And there were more losses beyond that. Ultimately, I lost almost everything that many of us would call a normal life. Yet here I am, on the road back not only to a normal life, but perhaps a happy one…”
There are many who have endured the suffering Jasmina experienced as a young woman, but survival is our most basic instinct. What sets her apart is that in the midst of genocide, her humanity survived. And in her remarkable story, we can find lessons and inspiration to help us persevere when we encounter turbulent times of our own.