“I was 19 when the war started in Sarajevo. With my family we decided that we will stay together and that if we have to die, we will die together. I was in the army with my father and my brother during 42 months. The city was surrounded, it was the longest siege in modern history. I would spend 2 days on the frontline, in the trenches and bunkers, and then I’d have 2 days off with my family. I wasn’t married, I didn’t have any children, so I wasn’t anxious, I wasn’t always thinking : am I going to die? It wasn’t courage, maybe I was naive or stupid. But many men were very anxious all along because they had something to loose.
There were attacks regularly, but they shot at civilians all the time, every day. From the frontline I could see the tanks shooting from the mountain. I’d see the shells fall on the city and I’d look if they landed close to my home. We were like fish in a small bowl: you could shoot anywhere and you’d hit someone. In the streets you’d only see people with their heads down, walking fast because they could get killed. If you heard the hissing of shell, it meant it would explode further away. The shell that kills you, you don’t hear it. There was an area called the alley of snipers. Many people had to go through it and they’d get shot at every day. We could also get killed at home. One morning my father was watching the fights going on in the distance, and a bullet hit his side.
One day in May 1992, many people were waiting in front of a bakery next to where I lived. My mother had asked me: “Are you going to buy bread?” And I replied: “No, we don’t need any”. And then I heard a hissing and a huge explosion. When I opened the windows I saw people on top of each other on the ground, screaming in pain and panic. They were civilians, and some were also Serbs! According to me, they preferred targeting civilians to crush our will to fight. But it only reinforced our will to persist…”
(translated from French)
Note: war is a very complex and sensitive topic. As such, D. wanted to highlight that he doesn’t pretend to have all of the truth nor to represent all that has happened. He only wants to share what he has experienced hoping this will inspire in others an interest in the history of this region.