Daesung Lee

a story under the scar(in progress)

Since the Refugee Crisis in Europe, we see the rise of nationalism and extreme right movement in EU countries. It gives me a ‘Deja-Vu’ of the political situation before the Second World War. I have questioned to myself where the current political situation in EU could lead us in the future? I found some possible answers from former Yugoslavia. This is the experiences of the individuals in Bosnian War that caused from nationalism and ethnic(&religious) conflict among friends, neighbours and colleagues. It has been 24 years since the war happened , But Bosnia is still in the aftermath.   I collected the stories from people that I met or the testimonies that I read and then I attempted to reconstruct their story in visuality.

Bosnia , war

At the school Serb students pestered me. They gave the ‘Serb salute’ and told me “This is Serb country. We will fight the Muslims. You should be careful.” This was in 1990, two years before the war would begin.


*Serb Salute: The three-finger salute simply is an expression, a gesture, for ethnic Serbs and Serbia, made by extending the thumb, index, and middle fingers of one or both hands. The gesture is commonly recognized as a sign of Serbian supremacy in rallies by supporters of Ra- dovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb leaders now under indictment for genocide, and by soldiers under their command.

At the school Serb students pestered me. They gave the ‘Serb salute’ and told me “This is Serb country. We will fight the Muslims. You should be careful.” This was in 1990, two years before the war would begin.


*Serb Salute: The three-finger salute simply is an expression, a gesture, for ethnic Serbs and Serbia, made by extending the thumb, index, and middle fingers of one or both hands. The gesture is commonly recognized as a sign of Serbian supremacy in rallies by supporters of Ra- dovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb leaders now under indictment for genocide, and by soldiers under their command.

Under the siege of Sarajevo, there was no electricity, no water, no gas and no petrol. We escaped into a basement from the bomb shelling and sniper shooting. The only way to know how the war was going was with an ama- teur Ham Radio. We took the dynamo out of a car and connected it to a bicycle wheel to generate electricity. Then we could listen to the radio. The broadcasting always started with:

“Hello, Sarajevo. So far I have survived today - did you survive too?”

Under the siege of Sarajevo, there was no electricity, no water, no gas and no petrol. We escaped into a basement from the bomb shelling and sniper shooting. The only way to know how the war was going was with an ama- teur Ham Radio. We took the dynamo out of a car and connected it to a bicycle wheel to generate electricity. Then we could listen to the radio. The broadcasting always started with:

“Hello, Sarajevo. So far I have survived today - did you survive too?”

It was a sunny afternoon. I went out through the snipers to find food for my family. When I came back from the black market with some tinned food and rice, the apartment had been hit by a bomb-shell, and my wife and children were already dead. The food that I had carried past the shooting snipers had become useless. I still think I should have died with them. With my tears and my grief, I am a sole survivor in this meaningless life.

It was a sunny afternoon. I went out through the snipers to find food for my family. When I came back from the black market with some tinned food and rice, the apartment had been hit by a bomb-shell, and my wife and children were already dead. The food that I had carried past the shooting snipers had become useless. I still think I should have died with them. With my tears and my grief, I am a sole survivor in this meaningless life.

1st November 1992, during the first year of the war, was our first wedding anniversary. We wanted to celebrate but we had nothing at home. My husband found a bottle of ethanol in a cupboard, mixed it with some sugar and herbs from the garden, then ran it through a coffee filter. It was the best wine I had ever tasted, and the most romantic evening of my life. However, next year I could no longer celebrate.

1st November 1992, during the first year of the war, was our first wedding anniversary. We wanted to celebrate but we had nothing at home. My husband found a bottle of ethanol in a cupboard, mixed it with some sugar and herbs from the garden, then ran it through a coffee filter. It was the best wine I had ever tasted, and the most romantic evening of my life. However, next year I could no longer celebrate.

You could have a woman for a couple of hours in exchange for a tin of beef. They were mostly mothers struggling to feed their starving children.

You could have a woman for a couple of hours in exchange for a tin of beef. They were mostly mothers struggling to feed their starving children.

For three days in July 1995, around 8,500 people in and around the town of Srebrenica were murdered by the Serb Army. Although 24 years have passed since this genocide, every year, on Memorial Day, newly identified bodies still arrive at Potočari to be buried.

For three days in July 1995, around 8,500 people in and around the town of Srebrenica were murdered by the Serb Army. Although 24 years have passed since this genocide, every year, on Memorial Day, newly identified bodies still arrive at Potočari to be buried.

I moved to Germany after the genocide. The house has been abandoned since then. I remember my father used to sit down on this couch after work. He would watch TV or read newspapers. Sometimes he fell asleep here. We come back to Srebrenica every year for the Memorial Day. It is always a surprise to see his couch still in the same place. Probably, it is waiting for my father to come back... like me.

I moved to Germany after the genocide. The house has been abandoned since then. I remember my father used to sit down on this couch after work. He would watch TV or read newspapers. Sometimes he fell asleep here. We come back to Srebrenica every year for the Memorial Day. It is always a surprise to see his couch still in the same place. Probably, it is waiting for my father to come back... like me.

We walked from Srebranica to Bratunac. In the middle of the road, the Serb Army stopped us. They told me, “You, go there and stand aside” and my husband, “You, come with us.” He looked at me and put his hand on my shoulder to assure me. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I will be fine”, but I felt his hand was shaking. It was my last moment with my husband.

I still dream of him, and still feel his hand shaking on my shoulder when I wake up.

We walked from Srebranica to Bratunac. In the middle of the road, the Serb Army stopped us. They told me, “You, go there and stand aside” and my husband, “You, come with us.” He looked at me and put his hand on my shoulder to assure me. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I will be fine”, but I felt his hand was shaking. It was my last moment with my husband.

I still dream of him, and still feel his hand shaking on my shoulder when I wake up.

I was in the Concentration camp near Višegrad. One day, a Serb soldier in a ski-mask came into the room to rape me. I had heard him talking behind the door to other Serb soldiers. When they said his name, I recognised his voice. “Mladen,” I asked him, my voice shaking, “Is that really you? We were in the same class.” He stood still for a while then left the room without an answer.

I was in the Concentration camp near Višegrad. One day, a Serb soldier in a ski-mask came into the room to rape me. I had heard him talking behind the door to other Serb soldiers. When they said his name, I recognised his voice. “Mladen,” I asked him, my voice shaking, “Is that really you? We were in the same class.” He stood still for a while then left the room without an answer.

During the war, my town’s secondary school had been used as a Concentration camp. One night, a drunken Serb soldier came in and took me into another room. I can’t forget how the moonlight came in through the window after I was raped. This place, which had held beautiful memories of my first love, became a nightmare in the full moon night.

During the war, my town’s secondary school had been used as a Concentration camp. One night, a drunken Serb soldier came in and took me into another room. I can’t forget how the moonlight came in through the window after I was raped. This place, which had held beautiful memories of my first love, became a nightmare in the full moon night.

“I was born in Sarajevo into a Serb family. At school I have been called “mur- derer” by classmates and teachers. I have grown up with guilt and shame all my life. And you know what? I was a just five year old boy in the war! I had no idea what was going on, and there was nothing I could do.”

“I was born in Sarajevo into a Serb family. At school I have been called “mur- derer” by classmates and teachers. I have grown up with guilt and shame all my life. And you know what? I was a just five year old boy in the war! I had no idea what was going on, and there was nothing I could do.”

“I thought you were dead.” 

  

“Yes, you shot me but I survived. But you killed my brother. It seems that at some point we were going to see each other around town.”

“I thought you were dead.” 

  

“Yes, you shot me but I survived. But you killed my brother. It seems that at some point we were going to see each other around town.”

In the café, I heard clattering sounds from the next table. A man, his hands distorted and shaking un- controllably, was spilling his coffee out of the cup. He looked at me and said: “Could you please stop talking about the war? I am a veteran, and when I hear about the war I lose control over my hands.” There are many people still suffering from PTSD who have had no proper medical treatment.

In the café, I heard clattering sounds from the next table. A man, his hands distorted and shaking un- controllably, was spilling his coffee out of the cup. He looked at me and said: “Could you please stop talking about the war? I am a veteran, and when I hear about the war I lose control over my hands.” There are many people still suffering from PTSD who have had no proper medical treatment.

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