Sheri Finks 2003 Bosnian War Summary

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Sheri Fink’s 2003 nonfiction work War Hospital reports, in great detail, the atrocities of the Bosnian War at Srebrenica through the lens of the war medicine that was practiced there. Fink takes both a macro and micro approach to explaining what happened at Srebrenica in the early 1990s. She chronicles the actions, thoughts, and experiences of individual doctors, both Bosnian and international, who risked their lives to treat injured civilians in the most challenging of conditions. Alongside these individual perspectives, she outlines the institutional perspectives, attitudes, and actions that prevented the war from ending and allowed the atrocities to continue. These two points of view—individual and institutional—are what allows Fink to weave …show more content…
For example, when describing the hospital from the point of view of MSF doctor Eric Dachy, she writes: “The air inside is dark, think with wood smoke, and permeated by a putrid stench…” (Fink 129). This transports the reader into the world of horrors extremely foreign to her audience. In order to bring the experience of the Bosnian War into the realm of the imaginable for the reader, she engages all of the senses in the horror of the Srebrenica hospital. Fink provides no accommodations for those who are squeamish: when she describes a “mélange of red blood, yellow fat, pink skin, and silver instruments,” she wants to make sure her audience understands in sickening detail the consequences of war, both on its victims and on the inexperienced and overworked medical personnel (Fink 140). When Fink describes Belgian MSF surgeon Piet Willems as “elbow-deep in blood,” barely able “to clear away an amputated arm or leg before the next patient is brought in,” she is being deliberately graphic. This graphic quality not only underscores the horrifying consequences of international neutrality in the face of war, but also punctuates discussions of peace talks and aid convoy negotiations with a graphic reminder of what was at stake in these discussions (Fink

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