It seems that every new generation of our people is doomed to go through the war. My grandfather spent four years fighting for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, digging trenches and shooting at his fellow human beings, who had become his enemies only by political decisions and military orders. He came out of hell alive, but was scarred for the rest of his life. He would lose his temper easily and seemed to have lost the feeling of fear.
He was too old to participate in the Second World War, but they took away his only son, my father, to fight for the new Empire. In the end, he ended as a prisoner in a dark dank cellar, from which seldom someone came out alive. My father survived by sheer luck, only to witness some decades later how they were taking away his only son into a prison camp. I had listened to his stories many times, but first now I started to understand how it feels to be locked up, waiting for the executioner to end one’s life and give relief to the suffering.
Soon the prisoners gathered in small groups and discussions started about what was going to happen with us.
“Surely Europe is going to help us,” said the first. Others nodded and muttered approvingly. “After all, we’re in the middle of the continent, we’re not Africa,” he continued.
“They just need to send a few of their airplanes, to bring Karadzic down a peg or two,” said another. A mood of optimism was already felt among the people. In their minds, they had seen NATO planes bombing Serb forces and chasing General Mladic and his friend Karadzic over the meadows.
“Don’t fool yourself!” said the third. This was a man in his sixties dressed in black jacket, white shirt and dark tie. His clothes were completely incongruous in this place. “Europe will not lift a finger. Why should they? There is no oil or diamonds here. Should they risk their own lives to save Bosnians...?”
“If the Europeans don’t help, the Americans will,” said the first.
“The Americans,” said the man in black jacket and sneered. “Many of them don’t even know that Bosnia exists. Why should they care about what is happening in a poor small country?”
The mood shifted again and people became subdued. Somewhere from the semi-darkness a voiced asked, “So what are they going to do with us?”
The man in jacket spoke again. “They can do whatever they like. They can send us back home. They can kill us all, they can deport us to Sarajevo, or they can keep us here for months and torture us until we all perish.”
After he uttered these discouraging words, there was a silence as if everyone was asking himself if he would somehow outsmart fate and return home normal and healthy.
I felt an intense thirst and at the same time my bladder was bursting. I asked the guard at the entrance if I could go to the lavatory and he let me come out. I walked by another stocky guard, who was holding his AK-47 at his breast and gave me a suspicious look, and I entered the lavatory, apprehensive that they were waiting for me to beat me.
However, the room was empty. I relieved myself and gulped cold water from the tap. It was such a relief to feel the fresh liquid on my lips and to wash my dirty hands. I looked at the mirror on the wall above the tap, noticing that dust and dirt had covered my face and hair and gave me an unhealthy look. And I had been here just a few hours.
TO BE CONTINUED[/QUOTE]
Student or Learner