Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(55) Bosnia twenty years later a friend of Bosnia tells his story

(UN Dutchbat base at Srebrenica, befor manned by the Canadian UNPROFOR)

1)Were did you first hear of Bosnia and and Sarajevo? I first heard of Bosnia and Sarajevo during the olympic games and then in 1992, when the war broke out.

2) Do you remember where were you when the war broke out? I was a reserve infantry soldier in Montreal and Ottawa Canada. I remember hearing that Canada was sending soldiers and I remember wanting to go instantly

3) What made you go to Bosnia during the war? Were where you stationed?I wanted to serve in an active theatre mission. I volunteered to go as a reservist reinforcement to the Regular Force units Canada was sending in 1993. I wanted to help and I wanted the military experience.

4) The most memorable event of the war for you was?Hard question to answer. The death of a little girl in Srebrenica who was about 12 years old. I was a first responder and I became numb when I saw her badly mangled body.

5) What made you hopeless during the war?

Our rules of engagement, the attitudes of many of my UNPROFOR colleagues.

6) What gave you hope during the war?

The overwhelming amount of gratitude I (we) received from the people of Srebrenica.

7) Did you lose anyone close to you during the war?
My colleague Daniel Gunther, several Bosniaks I had befriended and their families.
8) Were you wounded during the war? Where were you wounded?Yes, I have severe PTSD.

9) What was the hardest part about the war?My biggest loss was my job. I was demoted for being too friendly to Bosniaks. Leaving Srebrenica.

10) Did you leave the during the war?For 3 weeks, on leave. 2 weeks in June and then 1 week in August 93. I was in BiH from May to Nov. 1993. 5 months in Srebrenica one month in Visoko and Kiseljak. I never served at Fojnica or Bakovici with the other Canadians.

11) Have you returned to Bosnia since the war?I am very glad to have returned last year. It put what happened into better perspective. I am still very upset about what happened.

12) 20 years later, what do you think of what happened? 
I am very glad to have returned last year. It put what happened into better perspective. I am still very upset about what happened.
13) Are things better or worse than what you expected 20 years later?They are the same as I expected I suppose. I am impressed with how Sarajevo has rebounded, I am unimpressed with how Republika Srpska treats Bosniaks.

14) Do you think war will return to BiH?Unsure, I don't think so but it's hard to tell.

15) What do you think the future of BiH will be?) I have unenthusiastic thoughts about the future of Bosnia. I fear more political divisions and territorial disputes. I would like to see a return of the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina, including the genocidal entities of RS and inclusion in the EU.