The man was crafting and selling copperware in a small shop in one of the overcrowded narrow streets close to the old Bridge of Mostar.
He dressed completely in white. Long white hair and beard and a beautiful cap. His age was indefinable: the beard let me think of an elderly, but his eyes were young. Let me say he was around 50. It means that during the siege of Mostar in 1993 he was maybe around 25 .
He didn’t speak any other language than his own, and we could interact only with gestures.
He behaved in a gentle way, with calm gestures and instilled tranquility. With his big hands he could craft delicate pieces of craftsmanship. But what about holding a rifle?
Yes, of course, I bought something.
But all the questions remained buried inside me.
What atrocities has he seen? What did he survive? Did he kill somebody? No one living there at the end of the XXth century is immune, I am sure.
There is a crossroad of Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that was the pivotal point of the history of the modern world as we know it.
From this place on 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia
You can read this sentence on a memorial slab placed in the exact point from where, with some gunshots, Gavrilo Princip did his job.
The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the spark that ignited the First World War with all its consequences: the collapse od the empires, the treaty of Versailles, the economical crisis in Germany, the surge of Nazism and the Second World War to put it short.
So if you happen to visit this beautiful and tormented city, don’t miss to take a look at this crossroad: it’s very close to the old town and the market, and if we live today in this world, we owe it also to the gunshots of Gavrilo Princip.
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