The Former Yugoslavia
We have traveled numerous times to the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Our first trip to Kosovo and Macedonia, performing 15 shows in the refugee camps in 2001, inspired us to begin Magicians Without Borders. For an account of the inspired and inspiring beginnings of Magicians Without Borders, click on the link and then scroll down to the talk by Tom Verner, “Magic and Hope.”
We have performed for tens of thousands of refugee and orphan children in Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Hertzagovina, and Croatia since 2001. We have found ourselves in the midst of many moving and memorable moments over the years. One of the most moving moments was performing in Szebrenica –the town where as many as 8000 Moslem men and boys were slaughtered in a two day massacre by Serbian forces.
The grief and rage was still in the buildings, in the air, in the blood-soaked Srebrenica soil. Many of the children were agitated and angry, pushing and hitting each other during the show. After the show, a number of teachers, as well as the director of the school told us how grateful they were we came. They told us with tears in their eyes how important it was for the children to laugh and enjoy the simple joys of childhood once again. The war and the unspeakable horrors visited on Srebrenica robbed these children of their childhood. During the magic show these profoundly traumatized children were given a moment to laugh and wonder as a child again. Maybe the magic helped just a little the profound work that is slowly healing Srebrenica.