Monday, January 21, 2013

Srdjan Aleksic The Man Who Saved Humanity

The Bosnian war brought enormous suffering to Bosniak people. In those four years of war I grew accustomed to pain, suffering and lack of basic necessities such as shower and regular meals. Seeing death and destruction became my daily routine.  What was scarring me more than atrocities or hardships themselves was absence of any news of Serbs on the “other side” who would stand up against crimes committed by the Serbian forces. During the entire war I never heard about single case of a Serb in occupied area of Bosnia defending a Bosniaks in any way, shape or form. Stories of murder, rape, torture and all other sorts of evil were abundant. Perspective where “them” would be locked against “us” in perpetual and uncompromising bloodshed meant that there was not future, no hope other then more death and destruction.  After the war the same thought came fears back to me multiple times.  Sometime in the summer of last year one of my Facebook friends posted a story of a young Serb man that had an incredible effect on me. The young man’s name was Srdjan Aleksic and he lived in one of the most Southern Bosnian cities called Trebinje. Srdjan was an accomplished swimmer and a local celebrity as an amateur actor.  By early 1993 most of the Bosniaks of the city were either murdered or expelled. On January 21, 1993, Srdjan was told that a group of drunken Serbian soldiers were about to kill his best friend, Alen Glavovic, who was a Bosniak. Instantly springing into action he found Alen at the city marketplace lying on the ground with soldiers with drown knoves knelling on him. Knowing what they were about to do he tackled them both while yelling at Alen to run away. Alen did get away but ultimately attackers ended up beating Srdjan so bad that he died in hospital 6 day later.  None of the bystanders moved a finger to help hm. His father wrote in his obituary that he “died while doing his human duty”.  Alen is still alive, lives in Sweden and he visits Srdjan’s grave with Srdjan’s father every year. Being brave means to disregard one’s own safety to do something. Srdjan’s act went beyond and above bravery. He not only lost his life for his human believes but he also did something that went against most of his compatriots who at the time believed that Bosniaks were suppose to be eradicated from Bosnia. He not only tried to save his friend’s life but he did so while swimming upstream against a current of savage nationalist hatred. As real champs do, he won in two ways, one by savings his friend life and another even more important by keeping a light of humanity on in one of the darkest hours of modern European history.  The reason that I never heard of his action until a year ago lies in the fact that current administration in that part of Bosnia has no interest in glorifying a person who died as a proof that Bosnian people cared about others regardless of their ethnicity. After future research I have found out that Srdjan was not the only case.  There were other brave Serbs who stood up and almost all of them died for their actions by hands of nationalist Serbs.  At the times when hatred, xenophobia and bigotry become a rule and not the exception standing up for ones believes and justice becomes difficult but without those willing to do so clockwork of the humanity will role backwards very fast. People like Srdjan are heroes in any society, in any era.


  1. Very moving story. The world definitely would be better with more people like him.