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, telling about neighbours, family members or teachers of the participants, were written down by them afterwards.

In the third part of our series, Naima from Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje tells us a story.

Far back in the nineties, in the midst of the war and the confusion it brought, is when the story I tell you took place. The story of a man who did not allow his anger to guide him, but the laws and humanity. In Gornji Vakuf, which at that time did not have the addition of Uskoplje yet, he bravely fought and defended his life, his home and his people. But war does not make exceptions, so it ruthlessly cuts down even the strongest. So was the case with this man for whom I am telling this story. He lost his home … the grenade fell and destroyed everything he had been building for years. But the material can always be replaced and compensated. His body suffered the greatest loss. He lost his leg.

Sometimes one wrong step is fatal and you suffer the consequences your whole life. In this case, it was a plastic „leg“. It was a landmine. But the evil does not stop by just standing on a mine and losing a leg, but that agony is prolonged by „healing“ in war conditions. After months and months spent in pain and suffering he finally returns to his Mahala. His condition is still difficult, but there is nothing that a living head on its shoulders cannot bear. „One nice and sunny day“, he heard noise and commotion, and went outside on crutches to see what it was all about. A group of soldiers from the Bonsian Army were driving  a group of soldiers from the „other“ side in front of them. Torture is a simple word to describe what they did to the prisoners.

Still accustoming to the crutches, with great pain he finally reached the place where this brutality was carried out. When they saw him, everyone stopped and greeted him, because after all, he was the troop commander, whom they met for the first time after the accident. Long story short, he may have had all the excuse to take out all his anger and rage on the prisoners, because of the accident that hit him. But the troop commander, the hero of this story, nevertheless ordered an end to the abuse of the prisoners. War is war and it has its own laws that must be obeyed no matter what, and that includes the decent treatment of prisoners. Humanity is priceless and must be guarded under all circumstances.