Friday, December 01, 2006

The Bone Woman by Clea Koff

The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo by Clea Koff

This book took me a while to get through but it was very interesting. Koff tells about her journies to Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo where she helps dig up mass graves and process the bodies (and their clothes). Not only did I learn a lot about human anatomy, but also about the history of these nations and the horrible things that happened there. It's pretty depressing, but really something that should be read as a reminder of how bad things can get when government (and the general population) gets corrupted by the need for power.
What I am truly amazed at is how all these people can work on these sites without continuously breaking down. They sometimes deal directly with the families of the dead, and are obviously dealing with the dead themselves. Koff talks about sometimes going home and crying, or having nightmares. It seemed like there is very little support system for these workers in terms of professional help. It is about 5+ years old, so things could have changed by now, and I hope they have.
At the end, Koff lists all of the people that have been charged on crimes based on the graves she helped dig up. I would imagine that would be very satisfying, knowing that these people are not going un-punished. It's just a shame that there was an act that needed to be punished in the first place.



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