SARAJEVO (2002)

In 2002, I happened to read 3 books about the war in former Yugoslavia, that took place in the nineties. These books described the view points of all parties: the Croatians, Serbs and Muslims. Everyone was right, even though they had 3 completely opposite convictions.

I decided to visit Sarajevo with my own car. It was my first trip on my own and I was astonished when I reached the city in only a few days.

My goal: to find the truth, answer the guilt question and figure out a solution. I gave myself 3 weeks to figure this out.

Scroll down to read what kind of solution I found..

 

 

 

MY PERSONAL STORY ABOUT WAR

At the age of 13, I wrote my own 'novel' about WW II. The main character was called Arnold, a boy who's father was a collaborator for the Germans. Arnold on the other hand secretly joined the resistance and even had a Jewish refugee under his bed. It was quite a complicated story for a 13-year old with two different truths within one family.

 
My novel when I was 13.

My novel when I was 13.

Perhaps back then I was already unconsciously wondering about the motives of people who devote their whole life to a certain cause. What or who drives them to do so?

Later in life, I figured politics would provide me with the answers. I read tons of books and started looking for answers, explanations and above all: the truth. Half the time I was just angry with what I saw on the news. When discussing world politics with others I would try to dominate the conversation. But I caught myself having a completely different opinion when discussing the same subject with another crowd. It dawned on me it was mainly the discussion itself that I found entertaining.

Then, in 2002, I happened to read three books about the war in former Yugoslavia, that took place in the nineties. These books described the view points of all parties: the Croatians, the Serbs and the Muslims. Everyone was right, even though they had three completely opposite convictions.

I decided to visit Sarajevo with my own car. To my own surprise I was able to reach the city within a few days. My goal: to find the truth, answer the guilt question and figure out a solution. I gave myself three weeks to figure it out.

However, when I arrived I was too scared to talk to anybody. The visual effects of the war in and around Sarajevo grabbed me intensely, and I asked myself all the time: What am I doing here? Who am I to go here? 

For three days I walked around with my camera in my bag. I became too scared and too shy to take a photo, thinking I might offend people by portraying them.

Then I met Admir. He was the first one who talked to me in days. 'Such a hot weather!' he said to me and smiled. I confirmed. He asked me for a coffee on a terrace 50 meters away. I was so happy that someone talked to me after one week of silence. That day we decided that, for a small amount per day, Admir became my translator. And we became friends.

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He introduced me to his family and we went to the park with his friends who were also Croatian and Serbian. We drunk tea with families in the villages around Sarajevo. Emotionally he showed me the place in the mountains where they tortured him and killed his father.

During my stay in Sarajevo my black-and-white vision became rather useless and the idea of one solution evaporated. It turned out there were thousands of truths and even after reading so many history books, I was still far from a historian. Confused as I was in not finding a solution, the only thing left to do was just listen. Without any final truth I returned back home.

These photos have never been published, because I forgot to wrote a story, and I didn't note the names. But Sarajevo remains one of my most important trips. It was the start of my personal development to see the world in many layers and to be aware of the judgements in my mind. And it gave me the power and strength to make every series I want. Visiting Sarajevo was the begin.