Read Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia by Savo Heleta Free Online
Book Title: Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia|
The size of the: 29.55 MB
Edition: AMACOM/American Management Association
Date of issue: March 1st 2008
ISBN 13: 9780814401651
The author of the book: Savo Heleta
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:In 1992, Savo Heleta was a young Serbian boy enjoying an idyllic, peaceful childhood in Gorazde, a primarily Muslim city in Bosnia. At the age of just thirteen, Savo's life was turned upside down as war broke out. When Bosnian Serbs attacked the city, Savo and his family became objects of suspicion overnight. Through the next two years, they endured treatment that no human being should ever be subjected to. Their lives were threatened, they were shot at, terrorized, put in a detention camp, starved, and eventually stripped of everything they owned. But after two long years, Savo and his family managed to escape. And then the real transformation took place.
From his childhood before the war to his internment and eventual freedom, we follow Savo's emotional journey from a young teenager seeking retribution to a peace-seeking diplomat seeking healing and reconciliation. As the war unfolds, we meet the incredible people who helped shape Savo's life, from his brave younger sister Sanja to Meho, the family friend who would become the family's ultimate betrayer. Through it all, we begin to understand this young man's arduous struggle to forgive the very people he could no longer trust. At once powerful and elegiac, Not My Turn to Die offers a unique look at a conflict that continues to fascinate and enlighten us.
Read information about the author
In 1992, when the fighting in the Bosnian war finally hit Goražde, a small, diverse city with a long, proud history of economic security and cultural harmony, my family — Serbs, with an Eastern Orthodox religious tradition — became objects of suspicion to our Muslim neighbors.
Along with my parents, grandparents, younger sister, and many other innocent people, I spent two years living with the terror of snipers and missiles, relentless hunger, and being reviled and degraded by former friends.
On April 21, 1994, I escaped from Goražde with my family, swimming for nearly an hour in the dark of night in the icy river Drina, to freedom.
Settling in Visegrad, Bosnia, I completed high school. I remained prisoner to memories of fear, starvation, and humiliation. I thought revenge was the answer. After a close encounter with a man who had tried to kill my family, I realized that taking this man’s life would turn me in to a monster. The incidence marked the start of my new life.
While searching for job leads in a country with nearly 50 percent unemployment, I was drawn to the peacemaking and community-building initiatives of local youth organizations. Soon, I found myself attending conferences and talking with young Muslims and Croats, as well as Serbs.
One day, a friend faxed me an application for a program in America, called PeaceTrails. To my amazement, I was one of 36 young Bosnians selected from over 400 candidates. With PeaceTrails, I traveled to Washington, D.C., throughout Minnesota, and parts of Canada. I not only learned about community development, budget proposals, and leadership, but also applied the skills to projects back in Bosnia.
After a year as a participant in the program, I was offered a job. In 2002, my second year of work was rewarded with a trip to Hawaii and California. While in San Francisco, I met with Daniel Whalen, a supporter of PeaceTrails and president of The Whalen Family Foundation. The meeting culminated with the promise of a four-year scholarship to the college of my choice, after completing an intense summer course in speaking, reading, and writing English.
In 2006, I graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota, with a double major in history and business management.
I’m currently pursuing Masters Degree in conflict transformation and management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I want to contribute to preventing the kind of ethnic hatred and destruction I lived through.
I realize that only brave and strong people can put behind years of suffering, reconcile with the past, and move on with life. I wanted to be one of them.
Since letting go of the need for revenge, I have found common bonds with people from all over the world—India, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ireland, Trinidad, South Africa, and, of course, America. The education and my new friends opened my mind to different perspectives, helping me grow, and persuading me to write about my wartime experience.
The result is my first book, NOT MY TURN TO DIE: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia (AMACOM, March 2008).
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