Monday, January 22, 2018
St. Louis Bosnians

Commentary: Help Bosnians defend themselves

Recently I escaped to St. Louis from Sarajevo with my daughter, Aida. Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was recognized one year ago by almost all countries of the world. The United States was the first country to provide recognition.

I remember that we were celebrating democracy and freedom from communism without realizing that the change was leading to our deaths. In the past year, 300,000 people have been killed, 3 million have been made homeless and 60,000 have been raped, with some 40,000 women and girls forced into pregnancy through rape. Many more people are still in concentration and rape camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

All of this is hardly news anymore, and it seems as if no one cares. Even on Bosnian radio, the names of the dead are no longer mentioned. They simply compile numbers; these numbers are mercilessly increasing.

Sarajevo once was an Olympic city of love and music with a big heart, which was generously open to everyone. Now it is a death camp surrounded by Chetniks (the former Yugoslav Army), and mercenaries from Russia, Romania and Greece.

The United Nations is enforcing an arms embargo against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina that prevents us from defending ourselves. This is why the Serbians have been able to occupy 70 percent of my country, not because they are superior fighters. These Serbian soldiers are killing women, children and the elderly. They are not killing soldiers fighting other soldiers.

Sarajevo is under constant shelling, and almost everything has been destroyed. What little is left is being shelled even now. The only new construction is in the endless cemeteries stretching out on all sides of the city. Even in the gardens around the houses, instead of vegetables to feed us, we have buried our dearest.

The city is without electricity, food, water, heat and medicine. The streets are full of people of all ages with no legs, or people without hands or arms.

All of us who worked in the hospitals became robots. How else could we look upon those massacred day after day? The victims look at you with hope in their eyes – that you will save them – but you know there is no hope. How is it possible to save them when the hospital has no electricity, medicine, antibiotics, anesthesia, water or food? Very often we performed operations in hallways lighted only by flashlights or without the possibility of even washing our hands.

Brokenhearted parents waited in the hospital hallways for their children, and they could not understand that their children were dead. My fear of becoming one of those parents, waiting for an already-dead child, forced me to leave Sarajevo. I was able to do this because my child is a U.S. citizen. It was the most difficult decision of my life because I had to say final goodbyes to all of my family and my friends, and I then left them to wait for their deaths in some line for food or water.

I will always carry with me a picture of my parting from my emaciated and crying parents – that one last, long look, when we tried to take in as much as we could, to remember for who knows how long – possibly forever.

I will be followed forever by pictures of children without legs or hands, those with masked heads, and raped and pregnant little girls to whom dirty Chetnik gangs provide a future in some psychiatric clinic. All of these atrocities came from Serbian aggressors just to build a greater Serbia. This all occurred under the eyes of the United Nations. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen are the same as Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic.

I am ashamed because I left Sarajevo. Every bite of food or smile here reminds me of the hunger and sadness of my people. It is sad because the Serbs and the United Nations are not ashamed of this holocaust and further dividing of people. The United Nations falsely reports to the world that this is a civil or ethnic war and how people have a long-standing hatred for one another.

The people of Bosnia-Herzegovina lived together for hundreds of years in love and peace; and now the United Nations, by dividing us into cantons, forces us to divide and hate one another by fighting for land. Let them bring such plans to their own countries and divide their people as much as they want.

I live in St. Louis now with my best friend, Sofija Pekic. Her whole family is in Bosnia, and she has a brother in Sarajevo. She last heard from him six months ago. He was living in a basement because his apartment had been destroyed by grenades. Every day we watch the news with the fear that we will see the face of someone from our families either wounded or dead. This is now our only connection with Sarajevo.

Since coming here, I spend all of my energy telling the good American people, with their democratic government, the truth about the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I hope they will not follow some members of Congress, who, because of personal interests, refuse to vote to lift the arms embargo.

The Bosnian people must be allowed to defend themselves and their children. They want a free, democratic country with equal rights for all people, without regard to nationality, faith or skin color, like you have in the United States.

I wanted you to know that the eyes of all of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina are turned to you in hope of your help. Don’t be a passive observer or unwilling participant in the dirtiest war in history. This is a war against unarmed and innocent civilians.

SOURCE: St. Louis Post Dispatch

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About The Author


The St. Louis Bosnian is an online database of Bosnian community in St. Louis. The purpose is to document and preserve existence of the Bosnian immigrant community in metropolitan St. Louis area. Through published books, articles, interviews, researches, videos, photos as well as speaker series, seminars, workshops and educational classes. We hope to leave the legacy of our community to the future generations.

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