Sarajevo’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, enduring symbols of the tragedy of war
On May 19, 1993, Brkic and Ismic decided to flee to the Serbian-controlled side of Sarajevo and from there to move towards Serbia. Ismic left a letter for his mother.
âMy dear mom, it looks like we’re finally leaving tonight, and whatever happens, it’s God’s will. I’ll call you as soon as we’re safe on the other side, âthe letter promised, which is read by Nedreta Ismic in the documentary film.
âBosko and I were talking about the end of the war and we will come back to Sarajevo. Everything will be fine, as if the war never happened. Do not worry about me. Think of you. It will be much easier for me. I love you so much, âthe letter ends.
The film tells how two Serbian soldiers from the Kosevo Hill area in Sarajevo, both friends of Brkic, organized the couple’s getaway with Ismet ‘Celo’ Bajramovic, a Bosnian soldier and famous organized crime figure, friend of the older brother from Brkic.
The area around the Vrbanja Bridge, which they had to cross to escape, was in no man’s land. Right after crossing the bridge, the shooting started. Brkic died instantly. Ismic cried out, fell injured, crawled over to her partner, hugged him, and died.
For eight days, their remains were placed near the bridge while the Serbian and Bosnian authorities continued to accuse each other of shooting them. Eventually, the Bosnian Serb army ordered the Muslim prisoners to collect the bodies.
The Sarajevo Cantonal Court recently convicted Veljko Papic, wartime commander of the Third Company of the First Battalion of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army, for issuing orders forcing non-Serb civilians to carry out forced labor and putting them in life-threatening situations. on the front lines in besieged wartime Sarajevo.
The verdict also said that Papic ordered four civilians who were part of a forced labor team to remove the bodies of Brkic and Ismic, threatening to kill their families if they tried to flee.
Brkic and Ismic’s family members wanted their children’s bodies sent back to Sarajevo for burial, but the Serbs did not allow it. They were buried next to each other in a grave in eastern Serbian-controlled Sarajevo.
âEven now I can see them kissing in my mind,â Rada Brkic said at the end of âRomeo and Juliet in Sarajevoâ.
âI still can’t accept the reality that the two are gone. They promised to come back. When I saw Admira leave, I said, “Mum will count the days until you return.” And I always count the days, one by one, but I know there will be no end, âconcluded Nedreta Ismic.
Admira’s father Zijad Ismic has sworn to seek justice.
“I will spend the rest of my life bringing the murderers of Bosko and Admira to justice to be punished as they deserve,” he said.
But sadly, he didn’t live to see those who killed her daughter and her boyfriend in court. No one has ever been held responsible for their deaths.
“ It was the ultimate love story ”