28 May 2008

September 1993

So the war continued. In 1993 we were already sick of it. And start to wonder when it will end. Then there was news that international community suggested certain peace agreement and that the end of war is in sight. The proposal was to give around 60% of territory to Serbs, without Sarajevo. As I remember we all thought that is grand deal and wished to accept it.
No one in Banjaluka or surrounding areas did not saw the point of losing lives because one silly city.
Then in September, our town was once more flooded with the army. One morning I woke up and again there was the army on the streets. One of the explanation offered to us was that the 16th battalion rebelled against the Karadzic’s decision to refuse the peace proposal. I know I was happy to hear that, because this battalion was the largest and the majority of the soldiers in it did came from Banjaluka region. So we all waited to hear what would happen.
Three days later soldiers went away. And the peace agreement was refused. The rumours said that Karadzic bought the commanding officers of the battalion so they terminated the rebellion.
Then my brother came home and said that he heard different story. The battalion was set into the town to capture some deserters.

It is a bit ridiculous that took me almost more than decade to find out the truth. And I found it out outside Bosnia. At the time when larges Serbian centre, Banjaluka, was occupied by Serbian army, international community and representatives believed that referendum was taking place, the referendum in which people were supposed to decide about the acceptance of peace agreement. And until today the international community believes that referendum took place.
It never did.
It wasn’t even mentioned.
I’m still angry because of that. We, people wished the peace and were willing to accept the agreement. But no one asked us. No one even told us that our opinion matters. No, our ‘lovely’ leaders asked us to continue dying while they controlled the black market.

And during this time I was physically threatened. I was in one of the largest shops in town, called Boska, when some armed soldiers from the battalion came into the shop. Few meters of me there was newspaper boy. Actually the young man, but he was disabled and therefore never went to army. Soldiers started to pick on him, to tear his newspapers and to push him around. I could not just stand aside and watch. I approached them and start to yell at the soldiers that they should be ashamed for what they doing. One of them attacked me, physically. I wasn’t his match. There was no way I could even slightly hurt him. So I started to cry and continue telling all of them that we thought that they suppose to defend us, not attack us, us who cannot defend ourselves. After those words other soldiers dragged the soldier who attacked me away. And some shop staff took me away to help me. Later I heard that one of the soldiers came back and paid the damage to the disabled newspaper boy.

Even today I do not like armies and soldiers. Once I was discussing this sentiment of mine with a UK soldier. He insisted that not all soldiers are bad. Yeah, I agree they are not. But it takes just few bad ones to do the damage. And I have no intention to let any soldier close to me anymore to find out is he/she good or bad.

27 May 2008

First horrors

Around that time my first cousin came home, the one who was in the Croatia when the first trouble started. He was finally back home. After troubles started in Croatia, he ended up in the army barrack under siege in Zadar, from 1991 until March 1992. In March 1992 Croats finally allowed barrack to be evacuated, so soldiers from that barrack were retreated in Sarajevo. And of course, Sarajevo exploded just one month later. So my cousin was trapped there too. Again under siege. Only in 1993 he finally managed to come back to his family. And then he decided to visit all relatives who were still around. So he came to visit us too.
His stories about fighting were the first ones I ever heard from the war. After seeing so many films with all those special effects, stories my cousin told were nothing special. The worst part was total lack of the emotions in him. He was describing killing other humans, as he would describe a route to a picnic site.
What I did not know then was that at the end of the war I would have same coldness and indifference towards killing as he did.

19 May 2008

Another blow

Since I was kid I dreamed of becoming the astronaut. Today I got another blow.
Right now there is an opening for the job at ESA, and guess what?
I have wrong nationality.
I do tick all other boxes and that makes me even more bitter.