During the peace camp in Medena in the summer of 2021, a collection of stories was compiled about people who stood up to nationalism, enmity and hatred both during the wars in the former Yugoslavia and also nowadays, and helped the so-called „others“ across ethnic borders. The stories, some tell about neighbours, family members or teachers of the participants, were written down by them afterwards.
In the following weeks, we would like to share these positive stories with you, starting with Slađana Popović’s story.
„I would like to share a story from the war. The story was told to me in the village of Čonoplja from the very girl mentioned in the story.
While Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks hated each other, one family was united through love. A young Croatian girl and a young Serbian man fell in love and kept their relationship secretly. However, it was found out because the village is small and a war broke out between the two families. The families wanted to kill each other just to prevent the couple from being together. But they did not allow themselves to be separated, they made a plan on how to leave the country during the war without getting killed. But then the girl got pregnant, and the families started to insult each other: „It will be an Ustasha child“ and „That child is a Chetnik“ and so on (note: Ustasha and Chetniks were the fascist organisations of the Croats and Serbs respectively, both of whom committed war crimes). The couple did not pay attention to it, but the girl’s father threatend his daughter to either break up or he would forcefully separate them. And as they did not want to break up, the father set out to kill her boyfriend, but he did not succeed, as he fell ill. When the young man came to visit him, the father accused him of coming to kill him. The young man kindly explained to him that he was coming to visit in peace because he was his friend’s father and they were all human beings. In this way he reconciled the two families and they could stay together.“