I had the opportunity to speak to many locals while I was travelling through Bosnia - and again when I hitchhiked across Europe. They told me that during the war they were trapped within their small country, between Croatia and Serbia - who were attacking them from both sides - with no way to escape or even leave for food and supplies.
Amer was a Bosnian guy who gave me a ride. I believe he was a General in the Bosnian resistance, though he was very modest about it. "Nobody had a rank in that war. We were all just fighting to survive," he said. Though by the way he spoke I had understood that he was more than just a foot-soldier.
"Here, look at this," he said, taking one hand off the steering wheel to pull down the collar at the back of his neck.
"What happened?" I asked with concern, looking at the sizable scar he exposed.
"Holy crap!" I exclaimed. "Did it hurt?"
"Actually, no. It's like air blowing. Nothing. But I was running across a street and I felt that my neck was wet. I felt it and saw the blood on my hand, and I realised, ah, I've been shot." Amer was such a likable guy. He had a big smile on his face as he casually explained all of this.
Amer told me that the only way they received food or supplies was by air-drops of enormous crates by UN fly-overs. But the drops were made at night, so he and his men had to light big bonfires in the fields to signal the drop-zone to the planes. Of course this also served as a signal to the Croatians and the Serbians so it meant that the Bosnians would then be shot at from either side in the process. And if it wasn't enough to be dodging bullets, Amer said that the enormous crates often landed on his men, obviously killing them instantly. But no crate, no food.
It makes you kind of appreciate being able to shop at a supermarket, doesn't it?
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- Sarajevo Rose (Bosnia)
- Bus travel in Croatia
- Osama bin Laden: Dead or Never Alive