Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Ripituc tweeted a photo today of a Bosnian soldier returning to his village in 1995, coming to the realization that he was its sole survivor. It got me thinking...
I had never even heard of Bosnia-Herzegovina until the spring of 1992, in my high school European history class. Soon after that, I was watching Yugoslavia fracture into pieces on TV.
I remember one evening, watching World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. A Bosnian with an AK-47 was in a high rise building indiscriminately shooting out the window. The building had been heavily shelled. It was just a skeleton of broken concrete. There was no furniture, no wallpaper, nothing.
It was at that split moment, and it was just a brief moment, when I wanted to go to Bosnia, take up arms, and fight. I had never felt that way before (like for Desert Storm) or since.
As a fickle, idealistic, and naive teenager, I talked loudly but didn't do much. My step-brother and his family hosted a traumatized Bosnian refugee family at their Atlanta home for over a year. My former housemate spent a decade in The Hague, investigating and litigating horrific war crimes. The only substantive thing I have done for the war effort was to write a pithy blog post about it in the comfort of my American living room, two decades after war's end.
This video is worth a watch. It chronicles the stories of residents of Sarajevo during the long and cruel siege, when artillery and snipers randomly killed civilians for what seemed like ages.