Sunday, January 8, 2012

(8) Bosna twenty years later a child from Vraca remembers

(Loris building near Vraca & Grbavica Sarajevo)

1) Do you remember where were you when you realized the war was imminent?

I remember when the war was in Croatia and thinking as a kid will it come to Bosnia. My parents and grandparents were assuring me that it would not happen, but when we started to see Chetnik gatherings where we lived in Sarajevo (Vraca near Grbavica) things started to be very realistic. Our normal neighbors become overnight nationalist and it really just started to roll downhill until it hit in Apr 1992.

2) Do you remember where you were when the war broke out?

I remember, I was 7 and living in Sarajevo it was a Bosnian holiday, I think one of the bajrams but not sure. We were at a friend’s house close to Vogosca when we started coming back home to Vraca and no taxi would take us up the hill, once we were able to get one that recognized my dad, he took us up and I remember seeing trash bins flipped out and our police fighting the aggressors on the other side.

3) Where were you when the war came to your town?

I was living in Vraca (close to Grbavica)
4) The most memorable event of the war for you was?

When I was playing in the street close to "Katedrala" we went inside for water when a mortar shell hit (I think 2) and killed a few of my neighbors and kids in the area. I remember looking outside of the window and seeing all of the mayhem.

5) What made you hopeless during the war?

The world's lack of initial intervention and understanding of genocide during modern times, also the fact that people who were your neighbors and friends could become cold blooded killers overnight and of course the mass genocide of innocent people.

6) What gave you hope during the war?

Dragan Vikic & TIFA..hehehe...Honestly the SOUL (dusa Bosanska) of the people of Sarajevo which never went down even at the worst of times. I remember seeing women with makeup and dressed to impress like it was a normal day in Manhattan, kids playing in the street although a war was going on, and other citizens using humor and up beat character...Maybe we did not have food, water and many other necessities, but our morale and the Bosnian "Inat" never suffered, and it was the bread & butter for a hungry soul.
7) Did you lose anyone close to you during the war?

 I lost two of my distant cousins and my grandmother (dad's mom), all in the same year two in the same day.

[8)] Were you wounded during the war? Where were you wounded?

No, Thank God.

9) Your biggest loss during the war was?

A normal childhood, although things I learned and experienced in the war I would never take back.

10) What was the hardest part about the war?

Attempting to understand death and such hate at an age of 7-9
Seeing kids my age being wounded or killed.

11) Did you leave the country during the war?

Yes, November of 1994
12) 20 years later, what do you think of what happened?

In a nutshell, I really stop and think wow, would I have acted the same if it was now? What would I have done differently?  Would I really have any other choice?? After all of this, we had it coming we were just blinded by something called "Bratstvo & Jedinstvo" Brotherhood & Unity in translation and us Bosnianks were the only ones left that followed it until it was to late and it stabbed us in the back, Tito knew our fate and kept us as a fragile child locked in a house, but once he died we were left for the tigers. I remember stories of Bosnian Serbs collecting weapons, ammunition and building bunkers in Sarajevo, while rest of us were ignoring it, I will never forget a Serb boy who played with me and I wouldn't give him a toy, and he said to me "All of this will be mine, all of it and you muslims will be dead, my dad has already prepared his Kalashnikov" this was in 91' a year before the war went all out.....BUT I never would say the war was against religions, because even in the Bosnian Army you had Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox Christians fighting together, I always say the war was between the good and the bad....which it really was.....People who loved for what Bosnia stood for fought and died for it people who were fascist, set in their ways, and uneducated wanted to destroy it.
13) Are things better or worse than what you expected 20 years later?

Much, much, much worse...I thought the war was the worst thing that could have happened to my people, but I was wrong. What we have now is even worse, at least during the war we had the pride and patriotism for a better future that lay ahead, but now people have become at times really hopeless and the country and the city of Sarajevo, which to me is still symbol of unity in the Balkans is suffering because we beat the fascist and aggressor in 92-96, but we let even a worse enemy take us over, our "own" people who have destroyed the Bosnian infrastructure from the bottom up.
14) Do you think war will return to BiH?

Yes and No. Yes because there is still much hatred and it always will be and it has been in the Balkans especially in Bosnia for centuries. Travel to any village in RS with a group of Serb nationalist and you will find them waving 4S flags and looking like they are ready for round 2. While in Bosnia the wounds are deep and they will never heal, although we are forgiving and worst of all forgetting people but I think after all the pain and suffering many generations to come will be ready to pull the trigger when prompted much faster than before.

No, because Europe & US has us under control and too much interest, capital and time  invested unless a WWIII breaks out and they have no more control due to other issues, I don't think we will be seeing another war anytime soon although the current situation at times at least calls for a peoples revolution if not a full scale war.
15) What do you think the future of BiH will be?

Please don't think of me as a pessimist which I am not. I have lived in the US for over 17 years and really being an outsider who goes to Bosnia almost every year for at least a few weeks I cannot say for certain but as of right now the future is bleak. I would love to say differently because I am still a proud Bosnian, but it hurts to see the people who once were full of pride and patriotism have lost that bright light of life and a lot of them have fallen into the everyday hustle and bustle of what is called Bosnia today. As a financial professional I only need to look into the economic and financial sector of BIH and see which way we are heading, politics are even worse, no matter which way you turn it, in the end it does not look good. Although there is always hope and the hope is in the young people, intellects and a strong, financially stable and well educated diaspora. If we are able to combine this with a good system in BIH, I promise you we can become a European power; Bosnia is extremely rich in natural resources, tourism, historical sights and education, and most of all the landscape and the great people. Unfortunately we currently don't have the right people to head these programs even if we do I have a feeling that they are blocked by upper "interest only" political figures, crime is high in all sectors and it comes in all shapes and sizes. To sum it up think of Bosnia as a Top of a class Ferrari in a race of sports cars with a 2 year old baby behind the wheel of it, who hopelessly only knows to drive the mega-machine in reverse.  

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting point of view on the future in Bosnia.