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20th Century Romeo and Juliet (The story of Sarajevo’s)

Every masterpiece of literature is born due to the story that lies behind it. As readers or viewers of those literary works, we always tend to embrace tragic stories out of them. Accounts with a sad ending always disturb our minds, and so they forever stay with us. This is also about one such story. But the difference is that this has happened in the real world. So keep in touch with us to know the tragic love story of Bosnia’s Romeo and Juliet.

As the picture depicts, this beautiful couple was in the blossoming years of their lives and love. They appeared like they were made for each other. Amidst the differences among them and their background, their love story ran smoothly. The only thing that supported their relationship was the true love between them. Day by day, the challenges that arose for them were able to strengthen their relationship.

We came this far from the story even without telling their names or background. Well, to satisfy your curiosity, this is the tragic love story of Bosko Brkic and Admira Ismic. Bosko Brkic was a Bosnian Serb, an orthodox Christian. Her girl was a Bosniak Muslim. Just telling their religious background summarizes the whole story. Isn’t it? Wait until the end to discern how well the two families react to this love.

These were childhood sweethearts. The tragedy happened when they were just 25 years old. Furthermore, this unlikely love flew in the middle of an ethnic conflict. Yugoslavia’s Wars, one of which the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996) was destroying hundreds and thousands of vital lives, beautiful families, and the future of the young. 

Progressively worsening Siege made people escape their own country to ensure their safety. So those who have the capability left their country. Bosko’s father died, and so the rest of the family fled to Serbia.  Even though Bosko could leave the country alone, he didn’t do so for the sake of his love. Life was never easy for them. They fought with their own life till they find it intolerable to bear any more. After one challenging year under the Siege, the couple finally decided to escape to Bosko’s. 

At that time, Bosnian Serb’s had privileges while Muslims didn’t. The couple saved as much money as possible to execute their plan of leaving Sarajevo safely. Their route lay via Grbavica, the Serb’s neighboring region. They could cross the Miljacka river either over the Vrbanja bridge or Sauda and Olga bridge. There was an agreement not to fire while crossing the bridge on 19th May 1993 at 5:00 PM. So the day came, and the couple got ready with wholesome thoughts. 

Commander of a Croatian unit allied with Bosnian army forces, Dino Kapin, stated that he saw that a man and a woman were approaching the bridge. Once they had reached the foot of the bridge,  he heard a massive sound of a gunshot. That marked the end of the life of Boško Brkić. The bullet hit and instantly killed him. In an instance, another gunshot was heard, and that bullet was focused on her.

Along with the shot, the commander had heard a loud screaming of a woman. She did not die from that shot. Instead, she fell. It was a heart-touching incident to see how she crawled towards his love, embraced him, and hugged him. Finally, her life too ceased within about a quarter of an hour.

Mark H. Milstein, an American photojournalist, stated the incident on that fateful day as follows. He was with a Japanese freelance TV cameraman and a Washinton times when the incident was happening after taking their lunch. By that time, they were cruising the city in search of something different. They couldn’t find anything other than frustration in the whole Sarajevo. Before ending the day’s work, they thought of checking out the front line around Vrbanja Bridge.

A firing battle was there in which Bosnian forces fired at Serb soldiers near the ruins of the Union Invest building. He further said that a Serb tank appeared just 200 meters in front of them, and it fired over their heads. They had scrambled to a nearby apartment and found themselves with a group of Bosnian soldiers. With the yelling of a soldier, he looked out at the window. There he had seen the young girl and the boy running to the far side of the bridge. But he was not quick enough to capture the scenery as they had already shot down at the innocent couple.

Still, the person who fired the shots is a mystery. No one dared to check whether they could still survive or reach dead bodies by entering the Sniper Alley. Serbs and Bosnian armies argued over culpability, and no one took responsibility. The bodies were reported to be buried in Lukavica by Serb forces after eight days from the incident.

Later, it revealed that the Serb army forced the Bosnian prisoners to recover bodies at midnight. Later, after the war was over, in 1996, by the wish of Admira’s parents, the remains were transferred to cemetery Lav in Sarajevo, and both bodies were buried together.

“A symbol of peace,” called by the Brkic’s mother. The two families never rebuffed this relationship. Instead, they respected each other. Admira’s parents were welcoming to Bosko. Although older generations like Admira’s grandmother questioned this kind of relationship, that was never a hindrance to accepting their love. This sums up the broader and historical vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

Sarajevo is a multiracial country for a very long period. It shelters people that belong to different religions like Jewish. Christian, Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox. They have been living like this for about 500 years.

This heart-touching love story became the root for many songs, stories, articles, and many more. This story became popular in many countries after publication in one of the popular articles, Kurt Shork, in May 1993. Even a couple of years ago, Sarajevo’s group Zabranjeno Pusenje created a new song under this story as Bosko I Admira. Bil Maden, too, brought a new piece under the name Bosko and Admira. 

Time decides whether love or war triumphs in the long run. This is what Ismic and Brkic’s story teaches to modern-day Bosnia.

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