20 Years ago War started in my Country

I find it hardest thing to do is to get my own thoughts out in a coherent manner on the subject. I do remember images but not really something that I can claim I thought out even though I have a feeling I think about it every waking moment. And still I cannot comprehend that making sense of out the war is a losing battle.

Going back to 1992, I see my brother, 31 years old, married with 3 months baby girl, an aspiring Medical Doctor looking forward to specialization post in Switzerland for summer of 1992. It was not meant to be, that summer he was killed with two bullets in the back of the head along with other 20 Bosnians, most of them medical professionals.

Next image… my neighbours killed right in front of me for simply not realizing seriousness of the situation, then my father and others that I knew enduring questioning and torture in Serbian prison camps (the most famous question: “Where did you hide the weapons?”). Watching a Serb “investigator” threatening a guy by holding a gun to his forehead in front of his wife and 10 year old son who still answered “I dont have any guns” only to see the guy and his wife brutally shot in front of the kid while “investigator” laughed: “I know you dont I just wanted to see if you’d break.” Also, I still get shivers when I recall a state of prolonged shock seeing unnecessary brutality and bloodthirstiness of Serbian Army and paramilitary that summer.

More images… watching the siege of Sarajevo, listening to Serbian Army general Ratko Mladic heard on CBB instructing grenade launchers from the hills to target a particular neighbourhood of the city because “Not many Serbs live there”. Or, trying to figure out why would someone shoot a sniper at the kid carrying water canisters. Learning about Srebrenica and just simply stopping in your tracks.

On moments, it felt surreal, like “me” watching me experiencing all that like it’s someone else. On other moments, it felt like I’d be ready to drop a nuclear bomb on Belgrade.

More images afterward… awaiting any information on where my brother body is, waking up at 4AM listening to my dad in another room sobbing uncontrollably after another horrible nightmare, looking for old friends and learning their fate or the name of some remote place on Earth where they decided to go to forget, finally burying my brother in 2005. Attempting to talk to a Serb from Sarajevo who experienced shelling only to get horrified by his response: “Yes, I had to hide and watch where I’m going but they were not shooting at me!”

And now that I wrote this, I realize how unjust it is to write about it as there are million other things I could’ve written about. Luckily, this is MPSIMS so not really all that important…

I am very sorry to hear it. :mad:

But it is important. The fantasy that the human race buried genocidal warfare at the end of WWII needs to be debunked on a regular basis.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories, painful though they must be. And for what its worth (not much), condolences for what you and yours went through.

Shocking, I read 100,000 people died during that time. One hundred thousand.

I visited the beautiful Sarajevo as a child, must be 40 years ago now and I remember thinking at the time: This place will never change.

Death is, well you’re gone but this is what upsets me the most when you say “waking up at 4AM listening to my dad in another room sobbing uncontrollably after another horrible nightmare.”

I feel like I should post something, but I have no idea what to say.

May whatever Gods there are prevent this from ever happening again.

Holy Hannah, newcomer. I’ve read Spomenka Štimec’s Kroata Milita Noktlibro (Nightbook of the Croatian War), but not recently, and that brought it all back to me.

As long as we allow the killer ape in us to come to the fore, these things will happen. THAT is why there are hate crime laws: because hatred is like a communicable disease, and if you allow people to say hateful things, they will whip up their neighbours against anyone perceived as ‘different’. And the nature of the difference is unimportant. It is what childhood bullying becomes, when you amplify it using all the skill and power that adults can command.

And it’s easy. That’s the terrible thing people don’t mention when some hatemonger goes on trial. It’s easy to hate. This is why neutral, dispassionate police, military, civil service, and society are among the hardest things to create. Trust in them takes generations to create, and can be destroyed in an instant.

Thanks for writing it down, newcomer. I am sorry for all the things you (and people you love and all other people for that matter) had to experience. Sometimes I want to apologise for all of humanity for the mess that we humans can make. It’s good to remind us all of these things, because we must not forget.

I was in Sarajevo recently Bam Boo Gut. It’s still a very beautiful place, lively, wonderful people, so much going on. There are bullet holes in the walls in places; you can still feel sadness. But in a way it’s nice to think that over the last 20 years there must’ve been some healing for it to be such a wonderful town.

I agree with this. I visited Sarajevo in summer 2010 and it’s a beautiful place, full of attractive, young people getting on with life. Yes there is clearly sadness not far below the surface, and I’m sure there are many people who feel they can no longer live in the city because of what happened, but time clearly does heal.

To late to edit, but newcomer, thanks for sharing - I can’t imagine what you must have through, although visiting the museum in Sarajevo gave me some idea. The artificial distinctions we humans come up with as an excuse to hate and kill one another are so hard to understand. From an outsider’s point of view we see Yugoslavs - they look the same, they talk the same, they lived in what we considered one nation. But divisions invisible from a distance are always enough for neighbours to turn on neighbours, and it happens all over the world. Religion is usually at the heart of it, of course, but I won’t derail this thread by going there…

newcomer, I visited the Balkans for the first time in September last year. I was in Croatia, not Bosnia Herzegovina, though I did drive through Neum. It’s a beautiful, fascinating part of the world, and one that made a huge impression on me. I wanted to visit Mostar on my last day but didn’t have enough time. I regret not doing so, and I will go there and further inland soon.

I visited Dubrovnik, and I was horrified at what had been done there in the name of Greater Serbia. It was terrible, and yet so much less terrible than what had been done to your city by the same people.

I know history is written by the victors, and the conflict was far more complex than simple good versus evil, but fuck it, what they did to your city was a fucking war crime with absolutely no doubt; an unforgiveable, shocking one, one that I don’t personally think that I could have endured. And yet you did, and came out the other side.

To my great shame I only realised fully the horrors that had happened and their roots when I watched Two Hours From London, a documentary by Michael Foot, a British politician, made in 1995. It kicked me in the head.

I remember in England at the time the war started how detatched we all were from it. Margaret Thatcher urged the arming of Croat and Bosnian troops to fight the Serbs. We lefties condemned her for that. Looking back, we were wrong and she was right. The tactics used to destroy your city were surely ones that could have been overcome far sooner with the right weaponry. I wish my politics hadn’t been so tribal at the time. Probably the same kind of tribalism that incited such horrors.

You and your family suffered in ways that are unimaginable to me. The best I can personally say is that what happened to you will never be forgotten by this one useless European.

And from everything I read, the future is becoming brighter every day, and has been for a while. Countries do and can recover from such terrible things - I’ve lived in them. I hope the recovery is already there, in the eyes of the children who right now are running and playing in the new Sarajevo.

Our friends here have stated it more eloquently than I ever could, but one thing, if I may: What we share here about our pains and troubles is always important.

I know I say this too much, but we really are a family here, and we’re glad you’re here with us, newcomer.