One Step Beyond – Bosnia – People – Fehim Merdar
My name is Fehim Merdar. I live in the municipality of Vogošća, and I was born on April 20, 1955. I'm married and have three children – three girls. Before the attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina, I owned a single-family house in the municipality of Vogošća. In 1992, I was driven away from my hearth and home by the aggressor. On February 28, 1996, thanks to the EU and political means, our municipality was exempted from integration. The first thing I did was return to my house. I did this because it was clear to me that every citizen of a state – if they love their country – must contribute to its reconstruction. Vogošća was deserted when the war ended, so I decided against moving to a different municipality and into a strange house, even if it might have been safer.
Despite the danger, I moved back into my own, half-destroyed house, and had an accident there. During the days when Vogošća was still empty and unsafe, I stepped on a landmine. My house was located right on the former front line. Although both my wife and I had jobs before the war, right after the war we were both unemployed. We didn't want to live off handouts allocated to us by someone or other, so we decided to clean up our house and garden a little bit – to make them usable – so that we could live at least a halfway-normal life. The neighbors who lived in close proximity to our house assured us that there couldn't possibly be any mines there. If I had known then that there was even just a slight chance that mines might be around my house, I would never have returned there.