A background in-brief behind the concept for my book Marks of War: Bosnia, and below, the first chapter of one of the stories within it, For The Love Of Sarajevo, in PDF format.
On 29 June 1992, while working as a photojournalist, freelancing for the Guardian, I was wounded along with a fellow journalist, Jean Hatzfeld, as he drove us to the Serb-held Sarajevo airport. It marked the beginning of a love-hate relationship with the Balkans that was to consume me for the next ten years. The first three chapters deal with my shooting, resulting treatment in Sarajevo and medical evacuation; followed by a painful disturbed convalescence in London. Meanwhile, I found Jean’s leg had been amputated.
The book looks back to my teenage years, blighted by the loss of my mother to cancer when I was seventeen and my resulting suicide attempt. This event, more than any, was the driving force behind my going to war. For The Love Of Sarajevo explores my return to Bosnia working as a freelance photographer for The Independent and writing for several magazines – I returned several times during the war until November 1995, when the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the worst war in Europe since the Second World War. I write of the lives of friends and fellow journalists I made there, and of my marriage to a Bosnian, a nurse I met during the war and bought to London. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the war and received counselling, a condition that many other journalists and of course soldiers continue to suffer from.
After being diagnosed with PTSD I knew I had to go back to Bosnia. I covered the unearthing of the mass graves of Srebrenica and Prijedor and write about Damir Marjanović and his family, minus his father who had disappeared when Srebrenica fell, living in the tiny village of Mihatovici, built by the Norwegian government for Srebrenica’s victims. Their story and that of one of the Srebrenica Mothers is used to tell the fall of Srebrenica. Over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred, one of whom was probably Damir’s father, and forty of his relatives. I became close friends with Damir and visited him, his family and the mass graves for the next four summers. I also joined Damir on his first holiday, to Croatia. I’ve documented Damir’s plight to find his father in the story Searching For My Father, (the first chapter of which will be available below in the coming days.)
in 2005 I made my first visit to The Hague Tribunal to see Slobodan Milošević , Naser Orić and Bosnian Serb leader Momčilo Krajišnik on trial. This makes up the final section of the book with two chapters dedicated to the architect of the whole collapse of the former-Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milošević.