July 28, 2007

Mustafa Avdic and family a battlefield in Doboj, Bosnia

I was on a music tour back in 2007 where I quit my day job to travel through Europe for the summer where I went to visit some exotic places to learn about their culture and play electronic music for people at some of the famous nightclubs around Europe.

Flying into Croatia
I was based out of London at that time and I was preparing for a trip out to Zagreb Croatia where I was going to play a show and the following day, drive out to Doboj, Bosnia. Mustafa Avdic and a family member picked me up from Zagreb and we set out for the border of Croatia and Bosnia.

Driving through a town hit hard by the Bosnian War

 The drive through the country land in Croatia had an eerie similarity to Wisconsin with the corn fields and the rest stops that they had along the way to the border with the exception of the red signs that you would see from time to time. These signs were not advertising the crops they were growing, they were military warning signs stating that behind the sign is a minefield with the potential of stepping onto a mine if anyone walked past the sign. Reality strikes back in that we are no longer in Wisconsin Dorthy, we are on the path to Bosnia and on a stretch of road that was heavily bobby trapped with insidious devices that would tear people apart. We are on the road to a war torn part of the world.

Just crossed the border into Bosnia
Soon after these realizations, a couple mountains started to before apparent and the road went around this section and to a spot where we had to cross a bridge. Our car came to a stop as we were entering Bosnia and a very different kind of look was recognized as we crossed into the Bosnian country land.

Graffiti about slobodan milosevic in Bosnia

 The checkpoint appeared to be pretty standard with guardsman armed with machine guns stood eyeing down mysterious people yet there were not any "mysterious" as most of the people crossing the border were people coming home from work, except for me, an American with tattoos and a dazed synergy with a slight hangover from Croatia the night before.  I was failing terribly at undoing my unintentional "Resting Bitch face" look, so I was that guy that looked just a bit out of place. Thankfully I was with great people and a guy that is running for Mayor in the City of Doboj.  Besides my intentions were to play music and take photos of the Bosnian cities that were,...at the time...still recovering from the war. We drove to a liqueur store and purchased some booze to take with us to Doboj and while we drove through the first city, I can see 10 story buildings ripped in half from artillery shelling, .50 cal bullet holes that turned some sections of building into moon craters, and massive holes punched into water and gas containers that appeared to be used for the community.
Destroyed homes in Bosnia

 It was quite the site to see and to know that it happened 12 years ago made for a great adhesive to never forget the terror and genocide that the Bosnian people must have gone through when the war started back in 1992.  

Doboj is a city and municipality in northern Bosnia on the river Bosnia Doboj is the largest national railway junction Railways Corporation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are located in Doboj. It is one of the oldest cities in the country and the most important urban center in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Russian Tank on a battle field and memorial
We drove through the town and made a stop at a battlefield where Mustafa's family and the opposition were involved in a fight for their neighborhood and their lives. This tank that stands here resembles a symbol of the Bosnian people standing up for their neighborhood and lives which was a victorious battle for the Bosnian Neighbors.

Russian Tank on a battle field and memorial
The stories I have heard of the bravery and the valor for their lives and family were some of the most amazing I have ever had.  Not to mention, we were standing right in the battle field that the very stories happened just a decade ago.

Russian Tank on a battle field and memorial

The battles were won with ferocity and strength.  the stories are still like the happened yesterday and the scars are both apparent physically and mentally as the stories unfolded. 

 battle field and memorial
It is moving and attentive to hear stories from the battlefield from soldiers and veterans but I found that being on the battlefield and hearing the stories brought both the speaker and the listener back to the actual event as it unfolded in its gruesome detail.

Russian Tank on a battle field and memorial

The Bosnians were able to defeat the opposition using weapons they have taken from the opposition as well as improvised weapons that they made along the way.
 You can see the bullet holes that ripped through this tank and what a fire storm it brought onto the opposition.
Russian Tank on a battle field and memorial
The inside of this particular tank still had artifacts inside it from the war including used medical supplies and shell casings. I could almost hear the war happening when I was inside this tank.
Russian Tank on a battle field and memorial
Afterwards we went to the local restaurant where the owner and customers awaited our arrival with meat and wine which was fantastic!!

Celebration dinner in Doboj, Bosnia
The wine was fantastic and was made out of minerals from the natural water system which gave it an extra unique and fresh taste. it was fantastic....I am going to say fantastic once more because it was freaking fantastic!!! laughing and celebratory cheer endeavored into the night until we decided on leaving for a night on the town.

Driving through the hills in Bosnia
We went out to the local bars and nightclubs where we drank all night long which was quite the mistake for me as I had to perform the following day and was not feeling too well. haha...the spirits were fantastic and the people we hung out with were so nice. That was a hangover that I will never forget but also a night that I will never forget as the people we met awesome.

Everythign was fine the night before for me in Bosnia.
The following day Mustafa took me to a castle on the mountain top and as you can see in this photo, I was not feeling too well.. haha.. I felt much worse than I look in that pic.
I did not feel to great the following day after the grapa, and spirits I kept drinking.
The castle was made in the 14th century and has been kept up through out the time and including the time of the war.

14th Century Fortress. Doboj, Bosnia
We drove up to the entrance and walked around for a bit and went to the top of the castle which had some great views of the city below us.
14th Century Fortress. Doboj, Bosnia
The drive up to the castle was quite steep and required a lot of winding roads which did not help the hangover too much.
Driving up to Doboj, Bosnia
Overlooking the city of Doboj was interesting as I could not help but to wonder how much damage was caused in the war and how terrible this city was under siege just 10 years prior.
Doboj, Bosnia
You can see some of the building were still being built at the time I was there as a reminder of how this city as struggled but continued to develop itself back to where it was originally.  Even 10 years after the war, the city of Doboj still and apparently will always bear the war scars from the war yet the spirit and pride that the locals have, beg to differ with regard to their oppression as they continue to have a positive attitude and forward momentum to bring their city back to where it was and improve on the quality of life.
14th. Century Fortress overlooking Doboj, Bosnia
Even from the lack of media coverage and overall support they lacked in this genocide, the stuck together and continue to build form the hardships which was one major learning lesson for me and one great experience through pride and honor and how far it can take families and communities.
Mustafa Avdic, 14th Century Fortress. Doboj, Bosnia
You just don't get the experiences that the Bosnians went through in America but at least in America, we have the opportunity to meet people like this and learn from their oppression.

Doboj, Bosnia

Behind the castle is a cemetery with some people that died before the war and a section of people that were causalities of the war in Bosnia.  A lot of these causalities were unarmed men, women, an children that were slaughtered in their homes and on the street from what the opposition called a ethnic cleansing but more so like a genocide.

Cemetery in Doboj, Bosnia
It was one thing to read about the stories from the American home front and to see the limited access coverage when it was happening but it is another experience that opened my mind to a life changing wisdom and understanding of how countries and communities might be left out of media coverage.
Mustafa Avdic and Adam Haydock in Doboj, Bosnia
I found this country land to be quite interesting and beautiful with the rolling hills and the mountains that would appear out of nowhere. The land reminded me how similar it can look to other places but how different the soil has held up for the people that have lived here.

Country land near Doboj, Bosnia

After it was all said and done, I slept in a room where there was still evidence of the genocide on the walls in the form of graffiti, bullet holes in the walls, and destroyed parts of the ceiling that have taken some time to remedy.

Where I slept and where the war has left its scars including the symbols that were left on the walls.
These stories should never be forgotten as they can teach us lessons about humanity and culture but they appear to repeat themselves throughout time and I find that even though we document war, pestilence, and oppression, history tends to repeat itself in some morphed and different direction.  Is this how we as humans are destined to live amongst each other through the destruction of what we find to be in our way of our selfish ideas or fear?  I find that in our nature we want to be the best and surround ourselves with the best but I find that giving hope and opportunity to others can allow them to see a perspective which might help develop our population into places we never thought imaginable, instead of eliminating those populations we find to be offensive, wrong, or weak.  We can only put our best foot forward and continue to observe the power or survival when history repeats itself as it will show the strength of the opposition by their will to live.
This the Neighbors house to Mustafas in Doboj, Bosnia.

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