Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lest we forget!

One of the most striking things that I saw during my recent visit to Dubrovnik was the very personal war memorial that was fixed to the wall of a painter's house. The top half of the text was in Croat but the bottom half had been translated into English.


The English translation read as follows:

LEST WE FORGET!
OUR CITY WAS SAVAGELY ATTACKED EARLY IN THE MORNING BY THE SERBIAN AND MONTENEGRIAN ARMY ON ST. NICHOLAS DAY, 6TH DECEMBER 1991. IT WAS THE SADDEST FRIDAY IN THE HISTORY OF DUBROVNIK! AT 7 O'CLOCK THAT MORNING THE CROSS ON THE MOUNT OF SRD WAS DESTROYED.
ALREADY AT 7:10 A.M., A SHELL, ONE OF THE FIRST TO HIT THE CITY, HIT OUR HOUSE, AT 7:20 THE THIRD FATEFUL ONE SET OUR HOUSE ON FIRE! I TRIED TO EXTINGUISH IT IN THE ATTIC WITH A FEW BUCKETS OF WATER, BUT I FAILED. SHELLS KEPT FALLING AND WE HAD TO ABANDON THE BURNING HOUSE! I CARRIED MY OLD MOTHER (AGED 88) TO THE GROUNDFLOOR AND THEN TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. I RAN TWICE TO THE SECOND FLOOR TO TAKE THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS, BUTANE GAS CANISTER, THE LAMP, AND MY SISTER'S SHOES. MY SISTER MERICA MANAGED TO RUN TO THE NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE WITH BLANKETS OVER HER HEAD. SOMEHOW, I TOO MANAGED TO RUN ACROSS A LITTLE LATER WITH A POT ON MY HEAD. WE THREW POTS, PANS AND BOTTLES FILLED WITH WATER INTO THE BURNING FLAMES IN A DELUSIVE HOPE. BY THE NIGHTFALL 7 MORTAR BOMBS FELL ON THE HOUSE, THREE OF THEM INCENDIARY BOMBS!!!
THANK GOD WE WERE NOT HURT!

It is sometime easy to forget the reality of war when one is fighting a wargame, but memorials like this remind us of the personal cost to all those people who are caught up by war.

Lest we forget!

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