This a true story from 1992. It took place in the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of former Yugoslavia, in a town called Prijedor. Bosnian Muslims were the victims of an ethnic cleansing, committed by the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska.
I’ve read this story a dozen times before. The main character in the story is a close relative of mine and went through some hard times during and after the war. All the people in this story are part of my family and it tears me up writing this. I’ve chosen to respect their privacy so I have altered their names to keep them anonymous.
It’s about Ahmed, a young man born in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1992 the war in former Yugoslavia erupted. Over the course of 3 years (1992-1995) an ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims, also known as Bosniaks, took place in the whole region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ahmed was 28 years old when it all began. He is a Muslim and has fallen victim to the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska.
Slobodan, also born in Prijedor, is one of Ahmed’s best friends and was a Bosnian Serb. He lived across town but the war separated them because they had different beliefs. Ahmed was hiding after his village got attacked by the army. To cope with the fear that he had to endure, he decided to write a letter to his friend, not knowing if he would ever receive it.
I have buried my father yesterday. He hung himself in the early morning. He couldn’t bear the insecurity and fear that was amongst us these past few days. On the 20th July, they invaded our houses and my father and I were waiting at home for them to pick us up. The army has passed our village and took all the men with them. Luckily, they have skipped our house. We sat there waiting, we weren’t allowed to go outside without permission. They sent us back inside and told us to stay put, that we would be safe there. The night fell and we were all sleeping in the same room; mom, dad, my sister Medina, aunt, little Vedo and me.