“We didn’t have any water nor any gas, sometimes a little electricity. Winters were really cold, we didn’t have heating and the windows were broken from the explosions. So we were at home with gloves and big coats… Humanitarian aid would arrive through the airport which was controlled by the United Nations. We had just enough of food not to die of hunger, and we used to say: they’re keeping us alive just so the Serbs can kill us. One day I came back from the frontline and my mother and sister had left me 2 leaves of salad. That’s all we had left. And I laughed: “Can I eat everything?”
We got used to living like that. People weren’t crushed, and the solidarity was amazing. Luckily everyone survived in my family. Nothing happened to me even though I went everywhere. And when the war was over, we continued on with life. On that same day I went to register to university. But many people didn’t have a job, it was very difficult.
We used to be very mixed in Bosnia. We didn’t believe there could be war. We used to say: “Never in Sarajevo!” We lived in a building with Muslim and Serbian families. In my generation we didn’t know which name was Muslim or Serbian, you weren’t defined by religion. If there was a Muslim celebration, the Serbs and Croatians would come to congratulate and celebrate, and the opposite as well. It’s not possible that it was all just a spectacle.
But many things have happened since, and if you weren’t there you don’t understand much. Now, like many veterans, I have certain prejudice against the Serbs. If someone in my family had been killed, I’d maybe have hatred. And I can understand that people who’ve lost their entire family don’t want anything to do with them. But I never say I’m Muslim, or Croatian or Serbian. I say I’m Bosnian. Because for me that’s more important than religion. Because my father is Muslim and my mother is a Christian Serb. But now we’re all divided, no one is happy with this situation. Because the war wasn’t finished, it was stopped. So no one won, no one got what they wanted.”
(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.