In Bosnia, more than 120.000 land mines remain after the Bosnian war. The clearing is slow, mostly driven by NGOs without much effort from the Bosnian government. Spread across the rolling hills and mountainsides, in village fields and a stone’s throw from homes, the danger is looming in its hide, taking several casualties every year. Children are told not to play out of bounds and traffic is limited to a few narrow passages. The war is long gone and Bosnia is progressing, yet a multitude of mine victims are persistently doing what they can to move on from the limbs the’ve given to their country.
In the Sarajevan suburb Jarčedoli, a man is climbing the fence to the village graveyard, when another man briskly shouts from behind a rolled-down tinted car window: “Watch your step, it’s not closed for nothing!” He’s hinting at the danger lying beneath the ground; the danger is invisible, but it is near.
The brothers Vladimir and Goran Vučić live in Dovlici: a few kilometers higher up the mountainside, where a few solitary, self-made homes stand out from the vast curves and slopes of Mother Nature. They were born here and have lived simple lives. Now, fifty years later, they are still here, and get by as lumberjacks. Contrary to the other locals in the area, they say the last mines in the area were removed in 2005, and the dreadful skull signs are only placed to give lumberjacks sole ownership of the trees. During the Bosnian War, the Vučić brothers kept cattle and watched the miners lay the landmines. Therefore when the war ended, they were also able to help minesweepers with the locations of the mines. ”
Back in Sarajevo, Suad Meco works hard to give disabled people a worthy place in society again. He is the president of the organization U.S.R.I. Stari Grad for disabled soldiers. Their financing mainly derives from donations and employed volunteers. Clearly concerned about their limited funding and urgency for equipment, Meco states: “Your injuries will heal, but a scar will be left in your soul. Losing a limb simply cannot be erased from your memory.” With the knowledge he gained from the war, Vladimir helped the minesweepers with the clearing: “I felt like it was my duty, as I have Serbian roots…I had to drive my truck through the minefield every time I went to sell my products in the city. I was very afraid, but I had to be brave. I had to survive and make a living,” he explains solemnly, as he calmly takes a drag from his cigarette.
Photos by http://www.skipperphotography.dk/