“Emile Durkheim, the great sociologist, found that in Europe in the 1800s, countries that were at war experienced a decline in their suicide rate. After 9/11 in New York, the suicide rate went down. The murder rate – violent crime rate – went down. Even Vietnam vets who struggled with PTSD reported that as soon as 9/11 happened, their PTSD symptoms improved. In Sarajevo, Nidzara said that during the war, very few people killed themselves because they knew that their families needed them.” (NPR)


I heard this interview while running errands after going to the temple Saturday morning.


That was in Sarajevo in ’93, ’94. It was a very traumatized city. Something like 20 percent of the population was killed or wounded. I didn’t go back there until last summer – 2015. And I met this extraordinary woman, Nidzara Ahmetasevic, who was wounded at age 17 by a Serb tank round that hit her parents’ apartment. They almost had to cut off her leg.

They saved the leg, but they operated on her for reconstructive surgery without anesthesia because there was just nothing in Sarajevo at the time. And when I met her last summer, she said – almost embarrassed – she said, you know, the seige was so terrible. It was so hard. But, you know what? We all kind of miss it.

And she literally lowered her voice because she was embarrassed by the thought. And I asked her about that. And she said, we were better people during the siege. We helped each other. We lived more closely. We would have died for each other. And now, you know, it’s peaceful. It’s – we’re a wealthy society. And everyone just lives for themselves. And everyone’s depressed.



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