was one of the United Nation’s peacekeeping officers taken
hostage in Bosnia.Every
day he was handcuffed to the park railing and guarded by masked
gunmen who patrolled the area.Every day he wondered what the hell he was doing here when
he could be back home playing Rugby, or running along some beach
with his dog.
The objective in the beginning was clear enough - to patrol the
area while the leaders negotiated for peace. The trouble was that
some of the leaders were dangerous psychopaths without morality,
mercy or honour.Hospitals
were bombed and ceasefire treaties ignored the next day.It was all a depressing waste of lives.He’d be kissing this tragic, fouled-up country goodbye,
as soon as he could.
Every day, too, the children
looked across at him on their way to school.Some hopped along on crutches, some had bandages around
their heads and some had arms in slings.
Today a blonde girl about ten, with bowed, stick legs, crossed the
road.In her hand was
a red apple.Without
a word she stopped in front of him and held it out.Without fear or hate her pale, blue eyes looked directly
into his face.Why,
he couldn’t take her apple.Where did she get such a prize?And yet she wanted him to have the apple.It was her gesture and he must not deny her this.With handcuffed hands he took a bite of the apple and
handed it back.He bowed and wished he knew her word for thank you.
The guard’s voice was sharp and threatening as he rounded the
still clutching the apple, dodged a passing tank as she ran across
the road to her waiting friends.The soldier watched her until she was out of sight, hoping
she might look back or even wave, but she just continued walking
behind her friends, head bowed as she munched the apple.Her face was stern with thought.
In the park, the sparrows were building their nests and the leaves
of the plane trees were breaking forth.
The soldier knew now why he was in Bosnia, and why he would
volunteer to stay.
I shut my eyes I can see a boney-kneed boy sitting in the corner
of the kitchen with his dog and listening to the Sunday night
sing-songs, which were the main entertainment in Wellington, New
Zealand during the early 1930’s.They were “cheer up” songs like “Walk on the ‘Sunny
Side of the Street’, ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,
depression most people were poor but were happy because they had
they company of others.
My parents died when I was at school and the local Rugby coach was
like a father to me.
After hitchhiking and working around most of Australia I worked my
way to Europe as a kitchen hand.Luckily I was not seasick while filling the plates.
The war was over in 1945 when I landed in the East End of London
where those quick-witted Cockney’s made their home my home.They had just lived through the blitz and many died or were
crippled.They had a
plaque which read.
“Life Ain’t All You Want But It’s All You Got So Stick A
Geranium In Your Hat And Be Happy”
After a two year period in the nickel Mines in Ontario, Canada, I
returned to Sydney were I married an English girl and took a
two daughters have two daughters and two boys.
Mostly, from my travels around the world, I remember the kindness
and comradeship of people I met, particularly when we cracked
silly jokes when we were afraid in the mines.
"Most inspiring. My husband and
several of our friends were peace keepers in Bosnia.
Few understand what they did and why they did it... you seem to.