Bosnian war survivors battle to overcome trauma

AP News
Posted: Jun 04, 2011 8:15 AM
Bosnian war survivors battle to overcome trauma

The capture of fugitive Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic has brought the horrors of the 1992-95 Bosnian war back into the headlines _ and The Associated Press has set out to tell the stories of three survivors who are still battling to overcome their trauma.

Mevludin Oric had never before returned to the meadow near the town of Srebrenica where he played dead for nine hours in a pile of Muslim men and boys executed by Mladic's forces. He went back this week with his 17-year-old daughter on a poignant journey of remembrance documented by an AP multimedia team. Oric said he wanted to cry "but there's something in my throat that doesn't allow me to."

In another small Bosnian village, the AP tracked down Izudin Alic, who had laid low ever since the war. Some thought he had died or emigrated. As the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre began, 8-year-old Alic was lured toward Mladic's forces by the promise of chocolate. He was captured on film being patted on the head by Mladic, who said everything would be fine _ even as Alic's own father was being hunted down in the nearby woods by Mladic's forces. In all, 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slain at Srebrenica, and Alic now wants to testify at Mladic's war crimes trial.

So does Sead Bekric, who was blinded and scarred by artillery fire while playing soccer in a Bosnian schoolyard in 1993. A photo of his injuries horrified the world. Bekric, tracked down by the AP in Florida, is studying for a master's degree in political science. He has yet to tell his two young sons why he is blind, saying he wants to prolong their innocence for as long as possible.

The series of three stories is each captured with text, video and photographs.