I mentioned in my post about Mostar, that we listened to stories of war. Miran, owner of Hostel Miran in Mostar, was a teenager when the conflict begun. As we sat listening to him, you could tell how much it had affected his life.
He was 16 when it started, a time nowadays when some people chose to leave school, he was forced to. There was little food, no clean water (unless you wanted to go down to the river and risk snipers.) He told us that this wasn’t just a one sided war, in the East, you had the Serbs, who not only had a larger army but more weapons (after collecting them after WW2.) And in the west was Croatia, who originally worked with Bosnia but then in 1993 begun kicking people out of their homes. Miran told of the night the Croatian soldiers came to his house, how his father asked for a few more minutes to think about what they wanted to do, then how they escaped through the window to the other side of the river. The risk of course was getting caught and being taken to a detention camp.
Miran showed us a video of the Hostel (which in that period was his family home.) you could see the damage that had happened, the boarded up windows, crumbled walls. You could hear shells going off in the background as well as sniper bullets hitting the building across the road.
Miran also mentioned to us the job that he and his friends were given from the army. When the UN finally sent troops in Mostar, their job was to get as much equipment (weapons/food) off them as they could. Being teenage boys, they used the one thing they knew any man would want after spending weeks near the frontline with only other men…nudie magazines. It was Mirans job to offer up the mags and see what they would give him for them. Of course this was only a diversion, while the troops were bartering over a magazine, the rest of his friends snuck round the back and raider tanks for what ever they could get their hands on. When he finished, Miran remembers sprinting back to the army headquarters where he and his friends would hide for several day. This was only till it was time to repeat the whole thing with troops from the next country the UN sent in.
In 1995, due to increasing pressure from NATO and The USA, the fighting stopped. Miran, as well as the Lonely Planet compared the damage in Mostar to that of Dresden after WW2.
This is my retelling of what I’ve been told regarding the fighting in Mostar. It is one sided because it is one mans view that I heard. Maybe you know a different side to the story. If you do let me know, if you think I’m missed anything important or have got a fact wrong, please let me know.