Few days ago I realized that a boy with whom I grown up together turned into person with a nasty fundamentalist views. I could not believe that someone who actually saw what horrors war brings can actually ask for another one. So I terminated all the contact with him. After I was been through, I do not need to listen that kind of shit anymore.
Anyway, the rest of the war continued almost in the rut. Sides were attacking each other; in certain areas was the standstill. So another winter came and left. 1994 year came. Now I was already emotionally numb. One had to be, in order to get trough all of that.
Of course the rage because failed attempt from previous year remained. We knew that our “leaders” refused it. And we know that was done because Karadzic had this sick connection with the Sarajevo. At least that’s what we were told. The truth was slightly different.
As I said my brother was recruited 1992. Barely 18 years old. Anyway, after that trouble in the city from 1993 he disobeyed his captain and the captain released him from the army. Oh, that was not a reward. My brother had a quite safe place; he was tanking the fuel into the planes on the nearest airport. So only bad consequence he had was constant stench of the kerosene on him. But, let me start from the beginning. When the government recruit the new soldiers they do some testing on them to determine where to put them. My brother failed all the tests on purpose, so that he would be put in the least demanding position.
You see, our maternal grandfather was an officer, got loads and loads of medals in the Second World War. And he was teaching both of us how to use weapons and shoot. Both of us, my brother and me were quite good in that; so good that grandpa was planning to put us for the official competitions (in the peace time). So therefore my brother missed the target on purpose when he was tested. If he’d shown his true skill they would put him to a duty of the sniper. And my brother did not wished to kill anyone. But since he was a teenager at the time he made mistake. A year after testing, his captain told the unit that the person who scores the best result at the shooting practice will get 2 days of leave. And my brother, tempted by the offer put every bullet in the black of the target. He got a leave. And hate from captain. It did not take long for captain to realize that my brother was missing target on purpose earlier.
So the first instance the captain got, he released him from service. This did not mean that my brother got free from army and war. No, this meant that he’s back into the recruiting. Because at that time every male from 18 to 60 was automatically recruited. And this time he will be assigned to the battle lines. Literarily as the cannon footer.
We did try to hide him for some time, but unfortunately we could not do it for long. You see, we did not have any money or property to buy him a safe position. That’s what the richer people in the country did. If you had a money or very good connections you could get assignment to the logistic, and logistic was safely away of any danger, deep behind the battle lines.
So my brother went to the battle line. The one near Bihac region. Our forces surrounded that part for years. People were wondering why it was not simply taken. And when my brother got back to his first leave he told me why.
Because our leaders were selling the food and weapons and all the other supplies to the people who were inside the surrounded area. My brother saw trucks full of the things going trough the lines, escorted by some special unit responsible directly to the “government”. The very, very nasty kind of soldiers.
And that was not all. All the humanitarian aid that was sent to the civilians went trough the local Red Cross. Unfortunately, the head of the Red Cross was the wife of the Karadzic, so people did not get any help. Instead, you could buy in the private shops the cans, flower, and other supplies that had a mark on them (written in English usually) that those items are not for sale, but they supposed to be distributed as humanitarian aid. The same happened with the help that was send by the private persons or even brought in the country by the private persons. Medicines, food, washing powders…, all was just taken from those private persons officially and then sent to the shops. For the people to buy, if they had any money. If you did not, you starved.
My paternal grandfather was a farmer when he was alive, so my mum and I regularly went to the farm, made there a vegetable garden, and we were able to have some food. Sometimes enough even to give it to other, less fortunate people.
We could not buy anything from that “humanitarian aid”. Only once, we got a bag of flower as the humanitarian aid; for all that duration of the war.
Interestedly, because of this, I found out that we, humans, are not supposed to eat or drink any milk after third year of our life. You see, my mum and I could not get any milk or dairy products. Meat and dairy were so expensive that we barely had any during the whole war. So my body stopped producing the enzymes necessary to digest the milk. Of course, I found out about that only after war, when I actually tried to have a glass of chocolate milk. Instead of the treat I was expecting, I got really sick. Then I got explanation why that’s happened.
My mother told me about one case connected with this misery in that period. She told me how one soldier came home for the few days of the leave to see his family only to find them half starved. They had no money, no help; they ate only food they could get from other people, the ones like my mum and me. He was furious, so he went to one of the private shops with his gun and forced salesperson to give him food, that “humanitarian aid” stuff. And, later, military police came to arrest him. He laughed at them.
For year there was a “new law” that any crime committed will be ignored until end of the war, and the “criminal” will be reassigned to one of the worst battle line. That happened because too many of the soldiers from the bad battle lines were doing crimes on purpose just to be taken into the prison. The prison was better option than the battle line.
The trouble was this soldier was already assigned to that line and unit; anyway, he was there from the beginning of the war. So military police did nothing. There was nothing to do anyway.
So that was what was going on in that winter. Next April the refugees from Croatia started to arrive running in front of the Croatian troops; and the situation in the town got worse.