Friday, October 6, 2017

Silence speaks......

A visit to Sebrenica left us speechless..... not a sound.
Felt like everything was motionless!
It felt calm among the  Syahids......

It took us almost 2 hours to reach this place. On the way, we stopped by a masjid to perform our Dhuha. Alhamdulillah, even the masjid  is not as big as ours back home in Malaysia, but it is enough.  Very well taken care of, clean and it made us feel so blessed to be there.

Ibro, Ibrahim and I continued our journey. It was Sunday and there was a  weekend market somewhere along the way. My eyes only see elderly people. Lots of things sold here. Some of them even sell from their tractors....that shows how fresh the goods are! We did not stop because we were so looking forward for our visit to Srebrenica .... a place that the whole world has been talking and debating about!

We made one more stop at Kalesija. It is a town located in east of Tuzla. During the war, on the 2nd May 1992, it was one of the first town to be caught in the initial Serbian offensive. During the short occupation, the Serbians did many damages inclusive of ethnic cleansing, population displacements and sufferings, destructions of religious buildings and industrial plants. Many people were taken to the camps but on the 23rd May 1992, Kalesija was retaken by Bosnian forces. We visited a smaller scale of Srebrenica...the graveyard of the Syahids in Kalesija.


We did not utter a word. From the corner of my eyes, I saw both Ibrahim and Ibro wiping their tears. So was I. After making dua for the Syahids, we drove up to Srebrenica.

It was a free-war zone - one of the six such "safe areas" set up in Bosnia in 1993 -  Netherlands Army, as a peace keeper under UN - United Nation Protection Force - were stationed there. Many hundreds and thousands of Bosniaks Muslim seeked shelter there while some decided to walk on foot to Tuzla - another "safe area" under UNPROFOR - through the woods and terrains. The distance to Tuzla was 105 km away but it could be more through the mountains.  Unfortunately, Srebrenica was surrounded by the Serbs and then the ugly incidents happened. Families were torn apart. Men as young as teenagers were seperated from their mothers and wives and was never seen again. I don't have to eloborate what happened in Srebrenica because you can refer to the internet....just type "Srebrenica" and you will have loads of stories and pictures regarding the genocide.

A sea of tombstones...Syahids.

Numbers are gaining.

After visiting Kelesjia and Srebrenica, this is what I think........

It was hard to understand when neighbours, friends, colegues suddenly became someone or something else like monsters who started abusing, torturing and killing your families! What made them changed? They were like exorcised..... some evil spirit must have entered their body......

The answer is plainly hatred which was there in them from the day they were born passing from one generation to another. Hatred towards the Bosniaks Muslim.... a fire that will never die.

They used to share the same place, eating the same food, going to the same school,  speaking the same language eventhough the alphabets are different and inhaling the same fresh air. They lived in harmony when Tito was their leader and when Tito died in 1983, and after living peacefully for 50 years, Yugoslavia started to break up. Their WANTS is similar that is a peaceful life and a prosperous country but their HOPE is different that is to solely own the land......

When Bosnia was declared a nation called the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serb felt challenged because they have a dream of The Great Serbia, meaning to own all the  countries around it inclusive of Bosnia to be under them. Croatia joined in with Serbs eventhough by nature they can never get well together because of their believes....Croats the Catholic Christians and Serb the Orthodox Christians. So two against one!

I visited AHMICI which is situated in the central of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There used to be 1,178 people lived in the village with 509 Bosniaks, 592 Croats, 30 Serbs and 47 classified as others. What the Croats did to the Bosniaks were unbelievable. They locked them in their homes and set fire. 116 burnt and the masjid was destroyed.

The Croats destroyed the masjid in Ahmici and burnt 150 houses and missing Croats homes in the neighbourhood.
Anger, hate and upset blent together and made them SATAN! Gone were the friendly faces of their friends and neighbours and what they needed to do was to kill them all. No mercy. Their sense of love, like and pitiful were gone. The unthinkable events began stages by stages

Reuter Photographer captured this photograph of the place where the genocide took place.

Looking at their country, it reminded me of ours. Alhamdulillah we live in harmony regardless of the difference in races and believes. It scares me to see what the Bosnian War did to their people and their country and I really hope and make dua that we will not face the same situation. When war happened, there is no winner. Everybody lose. Even if you think you win you will come back with lots of cuts and bruises or maybe you might be gone forever.

So many families fell apart. Mostly died and some were not even found yet. I saw on youtube, a mother waited for 24 years and is still waiting patiently for her love ones to be found and given a proper burial at the Srebrenica Memorial.

Gone were their love ones.

Only memories .....

Another mother lost her husband and three sons. They were buried in Srebrenica. There were no more tears to shed when she talked about her youngest son who was 17 and was beheaded. She recognised his shirt and pants which he wore when they got seperated. His bones were found in different places. What does that mean? They are worst than SATAN! How can a human did that to another human being?

When I saw the long list of names on the Wall of Names at the Memorial, it sadden me when there were rows of the same surname! I cannot imagine how some of the generations perished and that surname did not exist anymore!

Wall of Names .

Fathers, uncles, sons, grandsons....perished!

War did a lot of destructions in families, feelings, buildings and so on. Everything had to be started all over again from square one. War is a human made disaster. To repair and rebuild takes a lot of pain, energy, money and time which is not easy.

As I drove from one city to another, I saw many remnants of the war. Alhamdulillah all the masjid were repaired or rebuilt. Our country helped in the process. Many buildings still have bullet and granade holes. They were left unrepaired for two reasons:

1...because  they want to keep as a rememberance of the war so that the youngsters do not forget their history.

2...because they do not have enough budget to repair.
Many houses were either burnt down completely or badly
shelled during the war. 

They were not repaired because:

a...the family members who survived does not want to stay there anymore with sad and frightening memories and they moved on.
b...the whole family lost their life in the war.

Remnants of the war.

Tears and fears came haunting every single day. Day in day out. As they walked, they faced not a pretty site to look at.  There were many corpses of men, women, young and old, little children and even babies who could be families. They were lying there, dead after being tortured, slaughtered, beheaded, burnt alive, shot and raped! Begging for sparing their life made the Serbs and Croats felt more powerful.So very inhuman! But believe me, the things that they did to the victims will be in their mind until they die. They will have nightmares throughout their life! Their children will walk in shame for having satanic fathers! Just served them right!

The Bosniaks were unarmed and unprepared. Come to think about it, they were only civilians and they do not need  firearms!  But, being pushed to the wall, one has to bounce  forward because there is nowhere else to go. So they moved forward. With the knowledge from some skills soldiers from the ex-Yugoslavia army during Tito, the civilians were taught how to defend and fight.  Tactics and techniques of combating were taught and understood instantly. They fought back to protect their love ones and to defend their country! The enemies thought that they could win easily, but they were wrong! The young Bosniaks stood up and fight . Fight or Die! With the will power,  sense of responsibilities and made dua to Allah Subhanahuwataala, Alhamdulillah they managed .They put up a fight and this puzzled the enemies. Suddenly, out of nowhere...... came the Dayton Peace Agreement! The DPA made the three countries signed  and ceased fire. I wonder why. After many thousands of life  lost, unfound and destructions everywhere, those people just stopped  the war when they smelt that the Bosniaks were winning! I wonder why. Should the DPA was not signed, the outcome of the war might be different....maybe the dream of Great Serbia will only be a dream.....yes....keep dreaming! 

15,000 people attended a Peace March on forest road known as "Death Road".
120 km route. 40 km a day from Tuzla to Srebrenica on 7th July each year.

The Bosniaks  were in danger. The ethnic cleansing was terrible. The world only see what was aired  and depended on which channel. The one against will show the real situation while the other side hid everything! 

When our neighbours are in pain, we should try our best to assist them in every way we can. Make them feel safe and comfortable so that they can move with their life. How can we sit and doing nothing when our neighbour is suffering? Love thy neighbour!

So, being Malaysian, I am so proud of my country for helping the Bosniaks in every way we could afford. The sufferrings of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina attracted our attention. Our Goverment chose not to turn a blind eye towards this problem. Not only we sent Humanitarian aids but also our country's elite squad known as Special Service Group as peacekeepers in the warzone and excuse me.... this was done even before UN decided to send in its own peacekeepers!  A total of 8,000 Malaysian troops were deployed between the years 1993 and 1998. I am so proud of my country!!!! Not only that, young Bosniaks were sent to the Universiti Islam Antarabangsa [UIA]  in Malaysia and these people now are in their early forties and are doing well in their carrier in their country. I met a group of them and they still speak our Bahasa Melayu.  They were so thankful to our country for the matter. Alhamdulillah.

Please read more from the links below.

So, this is how I feel and what I thought after visiting this beautiful country. The landscape and the view is to die for. The mountains, the clear water river, the waterfalls made my visit an unforgetable experience! 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is like a beautiful maiden. All the girls, ladies and women hated her because she always stands out in the crowd for her beauty. Everything in her is perfect!  All men,  young and old, wished to own her and even dreamt of her . But beauty is only what we see physically. That beautiful maiden has gone through hell mentally and emotionally.  Nobody can see the bruises on her body, the bullet marks, the broken bones, the tortured body, the burnt , the cuts and the hurt which she had to swallow alone and only she who knows.  No one sees this.  May Allah bless the land of Bosnia and Herzegovina in peace and  harmony .

I am sharing with you my feelings towards this country, a beautiful country indeed with loads of history thousands of years. My country is just a baby. They have been through different occupations and faced many battle and wars....... So let us all put a bit more interest in reading and understanding more about their history. Maybe we will understand more deeply why this genocide happened......

Pregnant woman burnt alive in Bratunac.

One shouldn't be afraid of the humans.
Well, I am not afraid of the humans, 
but of what is inhuman in them.

by Ivo Andric

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Day 3 in BiH.....So long MATUZICI!!

Yesterday late afternoon, we went out for tea with Rashid and his wife Mira. Both their daughters Lamiya and  Ameena are grown up girls. One of them is a Hafizah. MasyaAllah. Mira and Azemina are cousins and they grew up together. They look alike especially their chin! 

Azemina, ailee, Mira, Rashid, Azmi and Ibrahim.

Along, came Azmi's sons Hadi and Hanis. Somebody must have driven them here. That was the first time we encountered with  Ceman Ibrahim or IBRO .....Remember this name! He played the most important role in this trip around BiH.

Ceman Ibrahim....Ibro

This morning, Saturday the 9th of September 2017,  we are leaving MATUZICI to TUZLA. Tuzla is the third largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina after Sarajevo and Banja Luka. This city is situated in the Northwest of Bosnia. It is an educational centre and is home to two universities. Tuzla is home for the one and only salt lake in Europe, The Modrac Lake. 

Before leaving, Mayka and her daughters prepared Bosnian breakfast plus leftovers of fried Pastrmka. Azmi said we had to finish the fish because if we don't nobody will!  Mayka gave us two packets of Bosnian Coffee, a packet of sugar cubes, boxes and bottles of juices, fresh vegetables and her famous Mint Tea which she made herself! Mayka reminded me of my Almarhummah Mak. All mothers behave equally the same when comes to children. In their eyes, we are still their little ones. So that is why parents never see us as grown ups and we have to listen to them. Without realizing, we are doing it to ours too. Hahahhahhaha. That is life cycle.

Ceman Ibrahim or Ibro is 28years old. Married to Rukija and they have a 3 months old daughter,Nehla. He studied in Medrasah and graduated from the Sarajevo University .He can be an Imam should he chose to but he took Literature instead. This young man reads a lot and knows the history of his country well. We were so lucky having him to drive us around and feeding us with informations regarding the places that we visited. With him, our understandings towards the people, culture , attitude and behavior made easy. Alhamdulillah.

Azmi and his family accompanied us to our apartment in Tuzla. So very nice of them. Then they left Tuzla to Stuttgart leaving us the three stooges . It was a nice and simple apartment  situated just a walk away from the nearest Masjid and the Old town. When we first got in that city, everything looked so old. Most of the building which were destroyed during the war were not repaired. Bullet holes were scared. I cannot imagine what life was during the war.

That late afternoon, Ibro brought us around Tuzla. We visited the Behram-Begova Medresa which was first operated in 1626, making it the oldest educational institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The building architectecture is the Arab Moorish style and throughout the years and history, it underwent restored and rebuilt repeatedly.

He teaches English in the Medresa.


some of the facilities in the Medresa
We were lucky to be privately toured the Medresa by one of the staffs. It really amazed us! The facilities are up to date. They have around 30 classes, laborataries, a hall, a big library, a huge Masjid, cafeteria, cold room and a laundry room just to accomodate  500 students, girls and boys and 45 staffs. The language used is Bosnian Language. Just when we were about to leave, we bumped into one of the most important person in this city....the Mufti of Tuzla. MasyaAllah. It was very nice of him to greet us and we took the opportunity to take some photographs with him. It was a real surprise for us.....

The Mufti of Tuzla.

Then we visited the Old Town Tuzla dan there were many  
visitors. It happened that there were many groups of Big Bikers gathered in this city. Ibro was so excited because his dream is to own a super bike. InsyaAllah someday he will.
Ibro showed us around. We visited an old Masjid and then to a place called the Kapija. This was the spot where a massacre of civilians committed by the Army of Republika Srpska on 25th of May 1995 during the Bosnian War. 71 people were killed and 240 were injured between the ages of 18 to 25 years old. It was very inhuman of them! Some put flowers at the the memorial  and some just stand in silence. I  made dua for them.  All the victims names who were dead, were written on the wall. So very young....what a waste!

My two Ibrahim. The Senior and the Junior.

The colored tiles was the place where the massacre took place.