Muhizin Omerovic - "Dzile"

Dzile is 46. On March 1993, his family house in the village of Pobude was destroy by VRS shelling, killing is father and wounding his brother. Dzile buried his father at night, and the whole family (his mother, two sisters and brother) had to flee immediately towards the Srebrenica "safe zone" where his family was evacuated to Tuzla.

He remained alone in the besieged city. As a soldier defending the enclave, Dzile started suffering from a recurrent nightmare. Every night he would hear his father asking him why he hadn't dug a deeper and better protected grave. In that dreadful nightmare, he saw his father's body cut to pieces and his face asking him this same question, again and again. His health was declining rapidly, due to anxiety and lack of sleep. He then decided to go make his way alone towards his destroyed village, crossing enemy lines and many minefields, until he could see with his own eyes that no damage had been done to his father's grave.

Dzile was also a soldier, until the demilitarization of the Srebrenica enclave enforced by the UN. As a  refugee, alone in the besieged city, it is with litterature that he managed to escape from his condition of prisoner, steeling books from the library from which he couldn't have a card . A poem by Walt Whitman, "the unreturned Love", is still a major guideline in his life today. One has to love as much as he can without expected anything in return. People, nature, animals, arts... even if love is not always returned in a reciprocal way the moment it is expressed, it will always be returned - and in a tenfold way. It is with this leitmotif in mind that he faced the genocide of July 1995.

At the begining of the column which set out on July 11 at night, he could have, after the first ambush, quickly rejoin the bosnian lines. He decided not to do so, and stay with the wounded and children. He promised himself to save the life of Mirza, a 15 years old boy who was alone after the loss of his family. It took them 60 days, being hunted daily like rabbits by bosnian serbs soldiers, feeding on leaves and snails, to finally reach the Bosnian positions in mid-September 1995...

After the war, he was offered to study theology in Iran. He learned Persian and stayed there for 5 years. He then decided to setup in Switzerland, where he worked for a few years and learned French there by looking in the trash cans for children's books ... He finally decided to return to Bosnia, into his native village, and rebuild his family home.

Dzile is an activist who lives the present intensely by accepting the traumas of the past. He notably succeeded to gather from private and public fundings  300,000 euros to finance the reconstruction of the road, thus allowing access to his village. Today, he is regularly invited to participate in international conferences, speaking of the genocide and the way to keep on living in the highly divided Bosnian society. More than anything, he enjoys discussing with children the reality of the ethnical cleansing and the Genocide, using humor and words that are highly appreciated by the kids.

To the question which is frequently asked, what is his worst memory of the war, he remembers the incessant hunt in the woods, before he manages to join Tuzla. One morning, an enemy patrol launched a hunting dog after them. Fearing of being located, he had no other alternative but to kill the dog with a knife. This memory still haunts him today.


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