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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Friends, part seven

    This is the seventh part of my short story, Friends. Please would you correct my mistakes.

    Omer switched on the radio. The voice of the female newsreader was grave and authoritative. She told the listeners that the Serbs would never be subjugated again. They would defend their families against the evil Croats and Bosniaks, who had committed such horrific crimes against the Serbian people more than five decades ago. They would do that again if they ever got a chance. They would build death camps all over the country, and they would cut the throats of men, women and children just for fun...
    The droning mechanical voice of the newsreader and hate propaganda, which she was dutifully disseminating, made Omer sick. How would this woman and her colleagues at the radio station be able to look at themselves in the mirror one day, without feeling shame? They had breached the ethical codes of journalism and put themselves in the service of nationalism and hatred. Their words were more dangerous than the deadliest weapons. They were encouraging people to kill their neighbours, to destroy their homes and to treat them as second-class citizens. They were lying about the dangerous Bosniak army, which in reality did not posses any heavy weapons, and which soldiers had hardly ammunition for their rifles.

    Soon Merima came back from her job. She was upset and hardly could speak. She pulled a sheet of paper out of her pocket and gave it to Omer.
    “They do to us what Adolf did to the Jews!” she shouted.
    Even before Omer had read the text, he knew that his wife had faced the same fate as he did. She told him that some of her Serbian colleagues shook hands with her, apologised and wished her well in the future, and others ignored her as if they had never worked together. Merima immediately went to her mother, told her the sad news and took her daughter. On the way home, she watched some Serbian women hugging and kissing soldiers in the streets as if they were heroes. They called them “liberators.” However, what kind of liberation this was when Bosniaks and Croats sat in their homes like prisoners, fearing for their lives.

    The following days were filled with anxiety. Omer did not dare to go outside. He sat at the window looking at the empty street and soldiers, who occasionally walked up and down, stood in groups, smoked and chatted. He felt like a sheep in a pen, waiting for a butcher. He called his and Merima’s parents a few times a day to assure himself that they were all right, and also to reduce his anxiety. He could sense that his parents had the same fear as he did. Soldiers patrolled their part of the town also, and they looked suspiciously at everyone. His father advised him to stay inside and try to maintain his composure. This was a well-calculated move by the Serbian nationalists to spread fear among the Bosniaks and Croats, so that people would start leaving the town voluntarily. “Whatever happens, do not panic,” his father told him.
    Merima went to the town centre every morning and bought milk, bread, groceries and vegetables. She told Omer that people were talking about the raids on the nearby villages and the men who were arrested and taken away by the military trucks. They did not come back and nobody knew what had happened to them. Omer could not find peace inside him, although he tried not to think about the conflict. His inner voice reminded him almost every hour that his turn would come soon. This could be the last hours he was spending alive with his family. Therefore, he played with her daughter and held her in his hands all the time. He could only hope that if they killed him, the killers would be satisfied and sated and would spare the rest of his family. Nervously, he would stride to the window many a time to assure himself that there was no imminent danger outside. When he looked down below, the scene was as before, some bored solders standing and chatting with each other, and civilians carrying their shopping bags. People were hoarding food and candles, expecting a long war, as it was always the case in this part of Europe.

    One morning he was startled out of his sleep by a loud noise. There were voices of soldiers giving orders in their hoarse, booming voices mixed with the roaring of the tanks. He looked out the window and saw his neighbours coming out of the opposite building. At the entrance solders stood with weapons at ready, shouting at the men to hurry up. Not far away stood two tanks; large Serbian flags fluttering on them. A group of solders sat in silence on turrets, without showing any feelings. Omer jumped from bed, opened the wardrobe and started to put his clothes on. He wanted to meet them dressed and avoid humiliation. Merima went up, and seeing her husband dressing hastily, started to cry. “What’s going to happen with us?” she asked Omer. “Don’t panic,” he said, “You’ll wake up the child.” A few minutes passed and then they heard a loud banging on the door. Omer’s heart froze, his legs felt heavy and wobbly. He opened the door and saw two young soldiers, almost teenagers, who could have been Merima’s students. They wore combat uniforms and had black bands around their heads. “You must come with us,” one of them said. Their faces did not show any hostility. They were probably amused at playing their part in the war.
    “My man didn’t do anything wrong. Where are you taking him?” Merima said, her tears rolling down her face.
    “I don’t know anything about that, madam. I’m simply doing what I’ve been ordered to do,” one of the soldiers answered.
    As they walked down the stairs and by Milan’s flat, a thought occurred to Omer that his friend was going to open the door, stop the soldiers and tell them that Omer was his best friend. He had nothing to do with the war, or that Milan was going to meet their commander and tell him that he could vouch for his friend, to which the commander would say, “All right, then, he can walk back to his flat.” However, Milan’s door remained closed and Omer was led through the street to the buses, which had been waiting for the prisoners.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. #2
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Friends, part seven

    Good work. I saw no apparent errors.

  3. #3
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Friends, part seven

    Dear Gil,

    Thank you. I am trying my best. This is the only path I have to follow if I want to write a proper English one day. I know that I still have a long way in front of me, but I am patient, and even if I never reach my goal, I still can look myself in the mirror and say that I have tried.

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