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Flashback to a war

The battle in Sarajevo in 1992 has many sad stories to tell. One of them is about how highly valued coffee was
It was September 1992. A Very hot summer and a very hot day. We were on the west frontline defending a town which the people had evacuated the day before.

The enemy’s attack was expected. Our mission was to prevent them from entering the town.

The attack began and was stronger than we had expected. We were half surrounded by armoured vehicles. We had only guns and 30-60 bullets each. The shells were falling down all around us. We were running through an endless field of corn. It seemed as if we were running through a minefield.

Someone was hit
I stopped to wait for some of my comrades. A few of them came, running. We didn’t know where to go. We discussed, and suddenly, we heard a scream: ”Somebody was hit behind us.” We looked at each other. To go back meant to spend time. And every second was important. We were very close to  being completely surrounded. Most of my comrades had continued forward. Five of us were left. We decided that we should stay.

Two went crawling back to check what happened behind us. Three of us hid in one demolished small wood house. Those few boards, which were what was left of the walls, were all that was in the middle of the huge corn field. All around us was just white smoke and the sound of explosions. We didn’t speak. Just waited with our weapons ready. It lasted until they came back.

Wounded comrade
When they appeared, crawling, as they had gone, they continued to lay down. They were hardly breathing and didn’t speak. Between them was our comrade, the heaviest and the tallest among us. All his body was bloody. They had had to carry him the whole way. He was conscious and brave. He was not weeping. He just asked for water. It was very difficult to locate his wounds. We cleaned the blood and soil from his face. It seemed that the most serious wounds were on his arm and  legs.

We didn’t have much time. Armoured vehicles were very close. We gave him first aid and put him on the board, which was once the door of the house. We carried him using that board as a stretcher, and ran several kilometers and eventually succeeded to escape…

Our wounded comrade lost his left arm, but survived. The other one, who was with him,
didn’t survive. He laid  down  near him, dead. We didn’t have a choice. We couldn’t carry him that day.

The reason
We found out why our two comrades were late and so far behind us. They had entered the empty houses. In their backpacks, we found several kilograms of coffee from those houses.
In those days, in Sarajevo, one kilogram of coffee costed 130 Euro (980 kr).


The picture is not from Sarajevo. It is an american soldier running through Japenese machine gun fire in 1945. Source: National Park Service.

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