Through the window, a dazed memory…

It is twenty years since the man was killed. His remains were given different names; he became just a number in sad statistics – one of ours or theirs. Behind the broken window of his burnt home, between grave marks of innocents only ghosts live.

I don’t have any of my pictures from the 92-95 anymore. I shot many – mostly of dead people, of destruction. Very few had any life in them. Then, just as killings stopped and a different war continued in November 1995 I abandoned my photos; I didn’t want to have them anymore.

Not a smart move, but it was what I wanted at the moment – to forget, to put behind. To move forward.

All I have now are the cracks in my memory to peek through and imagine lives before we became just numbers. Only the weed grows around ruins, just like nails and hair on the dead bodies – the reminder.

I had all my photos in one room, at my former army unit in Vrazova street. I would walk past that building every day and all I had to do is to use the key I kept for many years after and pick up my films. I didn’t. Then a rich man bought the building and my archive went where I wanted it to go – into trash.

No matter how hard I try to explain what I did, it doesn’t work. Then, just a moment after, it all makes perfect sense again.

Soon after, it all became very abstract – the faces faded into shapes, names into numbers, lives into bones… I don’t trust my memory any more, it is selective and dazed.

That’s why it was important in Sarajevo to have people from outside who were stronger and more sober. They meet these days in Sarajevo for the big anniversary re-union. Probably only very few really understand how important was what they were doing 92-95.

Without them, the history would be written by same those who killed the man.

Thank you.

These pictures I shot after ‘95. You can still see them by the road if you drive from Zagreb to Sarajevo. For some more click here.

  1. Damir… I understand completely…I worked there from 92-96 then left, and have only been back once. My entire archive from that period is gone too. Went up in flames in a warehouse in Milan, where I was supposed to be living. I’ve often felt horrible, sick to my stomach that all I shot was lost. And I cannot trust my memories either, as some are my own, some belong to others incorporated into my collective memory of the time. It is as it is…and each day I take a step further away from then.

  2. “…people from outside who were stronger and more sober..?” Stronger then who??
    You sure you need people from outside to witness, to understand, to recompose? They created a federation that can hardly work.
    You do better on your own, you know each other since the dawn of time.
    I think they didn’t understand a damn ‘bout what they saw.

    You and your people, I guess you’re strong enough.

    And through the lines your memory don’t seem dazed at all, as you wish it to be, it’s just vivid and tough as a whip.
    Seems to me you’re no land’s man, stranger everywhere, stranger to yourself.
    ’Cause all the ghosts are not over the frames, they’re just inside you, and don’t leave your soul ‘till you’ll poke your black eyes into their eyes.

    Give you one song from Joy Division, I don’t know if you know this band – I wonder.
    It’ s about no particular war. He did a personal war. Fighting for a sense in existence, so it’s everybody’s war.
    He says “…loaded gun won’t set you free…”

    And living in Bangkok will never ever set you free.

    • nso
    • April 10th, 2012

    Damire kralju patetike

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