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Saturday, 28 February 2009

War-torn Vulkovar, Croatia - Page 4

Written by Andrea MacDonald
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As the bus neared Vukovar, a city known as the biggest river port in eastern Croatia, there was no getting around the fact that something bad had happened there. The giant tank parked on a nearby field leading the way into town was my first clue.


Under normal circumstances, I might have felt callous for asking the questions I did, but Nedad seemed to want to talk about his experiences. Despite his willingness to discuss the war he spoke in hushed tones, as if we were conspiring.

“I’m not like anyone else here,” he said. “People here are mad but they don’t want to do anything about it. It is like they are dead. I’m different from everyone else, but I can act. I like acting.”

Nedad said he felt disconnected to Vukovar and hated the people still living there for not doing anything to change their situation. He felt strongly about his opinion but that was exactly the impression I got from him myself -- a man who wanted to leave but didn’t know how to or where to go.

A couple of hours and a pack of cigarettes later, the smoke inside the plastic walls was suffocating.  Nenad offered to take me on his motorbike to the hospital museum. There was nothing I wanted more than to be told the story from someone who knew it first-hand.

When we reached his motorbike, he held out his hand to me. But I passed up his offer. There was something in his ever-staring eyes that I didn’t trust.

I’d been angry at the silence in Vukovar. I wanted the story spelled out as vividly as the ‘Sarajevo Roses.’ But when it came right down to it, when offered a chance to find out what happened, I wasn’t ready.

That night in my small hotel room I slept fitfully. I woke up a few times in the middle of the night and went to the large bedroom window. The sunny day had turned into a bitterly cold night. The sounds of the shrill, howling wind crawled up my spine.

The town square outside my window was empty, still subdued from the effects of a war that seemed to have never left.

© Andrea MacDonald

(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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