Dolores: “For example, 1,600 children died, only children up to the age of 12 or 13 years old. 1,600. This you cannot believe. This in a city where the population is 500 thousand. This is a city like downtown Pittsburgh, and in this part die 1,600 children. In all Bosnia/Herzegovina 3,000 children died. That’s the tragedy of this war – children die. Now the same tragedy in Syria– children die. Who cares about that? Nobody.
They say eight months ago a couple thousand children died, but who wrote about that? Nobody. This is a problem. War is the most difficult for children. Not for soldiers or older people, but for children. They cannot understand, they die and they don’t know why. And especially our kids, they never can sit, they are not kids who can sit at home. They want to play outside, they want to be together and during the war they go outside and a grenade falls and everybody dies. This is the reason why a lot of kids died in the war. But our children are very smart, very talented, very nice kids. People cannot understand how very hard it is for the future when young people die.”
... Go back: Part 1.
Dolores and Augustin Martinovic are classical musicians who lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina during what was the longest siege of a capital city in modern warfare, lasting from 1992-1996. Dolores worked as a piano teacher while Augustin was the music director of the Sarajevo Radio-Television Symphony Orchestra. Dolores and Augustin have been living in Pittsburgh, PA, USA for over twenty years, but their life in Sarajevo is always in their minds and hearts. We visited the couple on a brisk December weekday during a lull in their lesson schedule. We were ushered into their warm living room, tastefully decorated with oil paintings (some painted by Augustin himself), rugs in the Turkish style warming the floor, a fireplace decked with dolls in traditional Croatian dresses, and a cheery Christmas tree gracing the corner opposite of Dolores’ black baby grand piano. Once coats were shed and hugs exchanged, Dolores bustled into the room with homemade cookies while Augustin offered us the choice of mid-afternoon coffee, eggnog, or cognac. Once everyone had settled down in a cozy circle in the couches and chairs, Dolores began to speak to us about their life in former Yugoslavia: their home, their lives’ work, their unending hope, and their new home.