I was not sure on whether it was ok to ask him the questions but curiosity got the better of me and I went ahead to ask anyway. So far he is the only war survivor I personally know and having been listening to Yusuf Islam’s cd ‘ I Have No Cannons That Roar’ for the umpteenth time in the car ( the husband likes it and can sing all the songs in there, although it is all in Bosnian and he understands not a word from it ), I really wanted to know the first hand account of what it was like to be part that bloody history and to survive it.
We were at A.L’s open house today. She was an ex-schoolmate married to a Bosnian. He ( her husband ) fled Bosnia during the war, on the plane which carried scores of refugees given political asylum here in Malaysia. He was a young man then, who went on to rebuild his life from next to nothing, later on graduating from I.I/U.M, worked here, met his ‘jodoh‘ in the form of a gorgeous SG lass in KL and call this home. And years later, now happily ever after.. heh.
Anyway I gingerly asked him where was he when the Serbs came and when the bombing started and basically the whole works. I was afraid I might cross some lines in the questions I asked, but I really didn’t want a wiki this time round. I wanted to hear the personalized, real version. So asked I did and although it evoked some emotions, suppressed nevertheless– he told the story vividly and I felt as though I was brought through a window, out back in time to Bosnia and then finally back in Hartamas.
‘It was all surreal..’ he added towards the end of the story. ‘ The Serbs and us were like friends– like brothers you know. We went to school together, partied together, trade, live together. Some even married to amongst us. We are neighbors yeah, us Bosnians and them Serbs. Then one day, they decided to take over us and came and destroyed our towns and cities and killed our families and friends, right before our own eyes. Just like that. That, I can never forget. I can deal with the healing, but I can’t forget. I ran while carrying my two year old niece while shells were exploding all around us…’
Amazingly, I remembered this whole chunk of what he said in great detail. Anyone would actually, if one had been there listening to his account and the whole emotions that came along with it. So yeah today, I went to Bosnia circa 92-95 and back, a little wiser on the lesson of not taking things in life for granted.