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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Friends, part eleven

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

    They drove through a checkpoint without being stopped, and soon Milan turned into the street where Omer’s father lived. Street lights were out and the houses and gardens lay in darkness. Milan pulled up the car, and before Omer got out, Milan said, “Good luck.” Omer answered, “Good luck,” although he wished to add, “With ethnic cleansing and killing,” but he managed to hold his tongue. He rushed down the street, opened the door in the wood fence, bounded across the patio and reached for a door handle. He pulled it and felt such relief when the door opened and he saw the interior of the house, dimly lit by a candle. Out of the dining room stormed his family, his wife, father and mother, and they started kissing and hugging him. Tears ran down their faces as they covered him in affectionate kisses. When he saw his daughter, so fragile and beautiful in his wife’s arms, he burst into tears.
    Omer did not dare to leave his father’s house for a second. He and his father sat in the dining room listening to the radio for hours every day. They hoped for a miracle and the news of the intervention by the West, which had finally decided to stop the genocide, but that news never came. Instead, there were more news about prison camps, massacres, ethnic cleansing, and destructions of the whole villages. Bosnia and its people were not on the agenda of the international community. The world was excited with the Olympic Games in Barcelona, new world records, and new technologies, which would benefit humankind in all possible ways. Mass killing and destruction in a backward country was not the news that would bother the leaders of the mighty countries, who were spending their summer in exclusive tourist destinations.

    Omer had only one thought on his mind: how to leave this town unscathed and bring his daughter to a new country where she would be able to live like an ordinary human being, and where nobody would ask her what God she worshipped and who her parents were. He went to bed every night imagining that it could be his last. He shuddered whenever a car screeched to a halt or someone knocked at the door. He was afraid that Milan would suddenly change his mind and send someone to arrest him again. He would leave the house only at night and walk into the orchard where he would stand together with Merima and watch stars twinkling in the sky. He would hold her firmly and they would talk about their future and the new country where they were going to create a new life and forget all the suffering they had experienced during these months. They did not know where they were going to move, but the world was large enough to give them shelter and a chance for a new beginning.
    One day Merima came home from the centre and told him that a Serbian tourist agency had started to transport people to Sweden, which had decided to grant asylum to all Bosniaks and Croats. The costs were about 500 German marks per a person, and the journey was about two days and nights. The only condition the local government had attached was that everyone who wanted to leave must sign a document that said that a person was leaving the country voluntarily and would not return. This was a ploy by the Serbian nationalists to get rid of the Bosniaks and Croats, presenting it to the world as voluntary immigration. Merima and he sat and discussed what they were going to do. In their minds, they had never thought about Sweden. It was so far away, somewhere in the North where winters are harsh and summers short, and where inhabitants suffer from depression and alcoholism. They had dreamed about Germany, Switzerland and the USA, where immigrants had always been welcome. Sweden was uncharted territory, especially Swedish language spoken just by a few million of people. However, Omer’s fear grew with every passing day. He had to disappear from this town or he was going to become mad.
    In the end, they agreed to put all their eggs in one basket and buy tickets to Sweden. They did not have enough money, but Omer’s and Merima’s parents had enough of their savings. They paid for their tickets and also gave them some cash in the case they would need it in the first days and weeks.
    There were five buses filled with the passengers who were travelling to the unknown. Families, friends and neighbours had come to bid farewell. They knew they would not see each other for a long time, and in some cases probably never again. These were the moments when they could look each other in the eyes, say some kind words, and promise each other that they were going to meet again. Omer gave his parents a long hug. Their tears mixed with his. They sobbed in unison.
    Finally, the buses set off and the people onboard turned their heads towards their families, which were waving at them, and the town where they had spent so many beautiful years of their lives.
    Their journey was intermittent. They were stopped regularly at the checkpoints, but they were not threatened. Some soldiers would give them the finger and shout, “Go to the West!” or “This is Serbian land!” or “You’ll never come back!” The passengers kept silent, afraid of the edgy people holding weapons, their fingers poised on the triggers. The landscapes were surreal. Sometimes a half of a village was completely destroyed and the other part pristine. Now and then, they overtook tractors filled with goods that soldiers had plundered from villages. They laughed at the passengers, shouted swear words and gave them the finger. Whenever the bus stopped at a checkpoint Omer’s heart pounded faster. He held Merima’s hand firmly and prayed silently to higher powers to grant them a safe passage.
    When they crossed the border into Hungary, Omer cried like a baby. He felt he was born again. He was back in civilization. He was going to live life like a normal human being. His lovely daughter was going to grow up among ordinary people and not among medieval madmen who behaved worse than barbarians. He and his wife were going to love each other even more than before. They had together come out of Hell and now they were going to create their own Paradise that would never be spoilt again.
    TO BE CONTINUED

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    This is the eleventh part of my short story, Friends. Please would you correct my mistakes.

    They drove through a checkpoint without being stopped, and soon Milan turned into the street where Omer’s father lived. Street lights were out and the houses and gardens lay in darkness. Milan pulled up the car, and before Omer got out, Milan said, “Good luck.” Omer answered, “Good luck,” although he wished to add, “With ethnic cleansing and killing,” but he managed to hold his tongue. He rushed down the street, opened the door (This is called a gate) in the wood fence, bounded across the patio and reached for a the door handle. He pulled it and felt such relief when the door opened and he saw the interior of the house, dimly lit by a candle. Out of the dining room stormed his family, his wife, and his father and mother, and they started kissing and hugging him. Tears ran down their faces as they covered him in affectionate kisses. When he saw his daughter, so fragile and beautiful in his wife’s arms, he burst into tears.
    Omer did not dare to leave his father’s house for a second. He and his father sat in the dining room listening to the radio for hours every day. They hoped for a miracle and the news of the ("the" can't be used here because the intervention never happened) intervention by the West, which had finally decided to stop the genocide, but that news never came. Instead, there were was more news about prison camps, massacres, ethnic cleansing, and destructions of the whole villages. Bosnia and its people were not on the agenda of the international community. The world was excited with the Olympic Games in Barcelona, new world records, and new technologies, which would benefit humankind in all possible ways. Mass killing and destruction in a backward country was not the news that would bother the leaders of the mighty countries, who were spending their summer in exclusive tourist destinations.

    Omer had only one thought on his mind: (No colon here) how to leave this town unscathed and bring his daughter to a new country where she would be able to live like an ordinary human being, and where nobody would ask her what God she worshipped and who her parents were. He went to bed every night imagining that it could be his last. He shuddered whenever a car screeched to a halt or someone knocked at the door. He was afraid that Milan would suddenly change his mind and send someone to arrest him again. He would leave the house only at night and walk into the orchard where he would stand together with Merima and watch the stars twinkling in the sky. He would hold her firmly and they would talk about their future and the new country where they were going to create a new life and forget all the suffering they had experienced during these months. They did not know where they were going to move, but the world was large enough to give them shelter and a chance for a new beginning.
    One day Merima came home from the centre and told him that a Serbian tourist agency had started to transport people to Sweden, which had decided to grant asylum to all Bosniaks and Croats. The costs cost were was (No plural as you are speaking about the price per person) about 500 German marks per a person, and the journey was about two days and nights (Did they stay on the same bus all the way to Sweden?). The only condition the local government had attached was that everyone who wanted to leave must sign a document that said that a person was leaving the country voluntarily and would not return. This was a ploy by the Serbian nationalists to get rid of the Bosniaks and Croats, presenting it to the world as voluntary immigration. Merima and he sat and discussed what they were going to do. In their minds, they had never thought about Sweden. It was so far away, somewhere in the North where winters are harsh and summers short, and where the inhabitants suffer from depression and alcoholism. They had dreamed about Germany, Switzerland and the USA, where immigrants had always been welcome. Sweden was uncharted territory, especially the Swedish language which was spoken just just by a few million of people. However, Omer’s fear grew with every passing day. He had to disappear from this town or he was going to become mad.
    In the end, they agreed to put all their eggs in one basket and buy tickets to Sweden. They did not have enough money, but Omer’s and Merima’s parents had enough of in their savings. They paid for their tickets and also gave them some cash in the case they would need it in the first days and weeks.
    There were five buses filled with the passengers who were travelling to the unknown (This is interesting. Who operated the buses? Was it the local government or a private bus company?). Families, friends and neighbours had come to bid farewell. They knew they would not see each other for a long time, and, in some cases, probably never again. These were the moments when they could look each other in the eyes, say some kind words, and promise each other that they were going to meet again. Omer gave his parents a long hug. Their tears mixed with his. They sobbed in unison. (Why didn't the parents leave also?)
    Finally, the buses set off and the people onboard turned their heads towards their families, which who were waving at them, and the town where they had spent so many beautiful years of their lives.
    Their journey was intermittent (Well...the journey wasn't intermittent. The buses were stopped intermittently). They were stopped regularly at the (I wouldn't use "the" here since the checkpoints have not been described) checkpoints, but they were not threatened. Some soldiers would give them the finger and shout, “Go to the West!” or “This is Serbian land!” or “You’ll never come back!” The passengers kept silent, afraid of the edgy people holding weapons, their fingers poised on the triggers. The landscapes were surreal. Sometimes a half of a village was completely destroyed and the other part pristine. Now and then, they overtook tractors (I'm not sure of how you are using "tractors" here. In the US, a tractor is a machine used to pull plows in fields. Did you mean trucks?) filled with goods that soldiers had plundered from villages. They laughed at the passengers, shouted swear words and gave them the finger. Whenever the bus stopped at a checkpoint Omer’s heart pounded faster. He held Merima’s hand firmly and prayed silently to higher powers to grant them a ("a" is optional here) safe passage.
    When they crossed the border into Hungary, Omer cried like a baby. He felt he was born again. He was back in civilization. He was going to live life like a normal human being. His lovely daughter was going to grow up among ordinary people and not among medieval madmen who behaved worse than barbarians. He and his wife were going to love each other even more than before. They had together come out of Hell together and now they were going to create their own Paradise that would never be spoilt again.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    A little problem with articles. As you know, articles in English are very complex and the only way I know of learning them properly is exposure to the language.

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

    Dear Gil,
    Thank you so much. I am so grateful for your help. Regarding the articles, I have to say that they still cause me problems and I know that one of the causes for that is that in Slavic languages like Bosnian, Polish, Russian and many others, we do not have articles. We use cases instead. That means that the last one or two letters in a word changes the meaning of that word. For example, an English speaking person has to say, "He fell", but we can use just a verb and still know if the person was a man or a woman.
    Regarding these travels to Sweden I can tell you that they took two or three days, and the passengers always stayed on the same bus. Everything depended on the soldiers on checkpoints who could let the busses go by or hold them for hours, and also on the current situation on the front line, because at one place, the busses had to travel through the small corridor, which was controlled by the Serbian forces. However, around them were Croats and Bosniak armies, which sometimes attacked that corridor and all travels were stopped. It was a big business, organised by the real travel agencies from Serbia, which worked together with local authorities. At that time 500 German Marks per a passenger was a large sum of money. So, you can imagine what kind of profit the owners of these agencies must have made. For the Serbian authorities it was important to show to the world that people were "immigrating" voluntarily. Everyone had to sign a document that said that they will never return. It was a subtle way do get rid of all non-Serbs and at the same time earn money.
    Last edited by Bassim; 18-Dec-2013 at 21:34.

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