Connecticut, USA-This is the pace where Trebincevic and his family got accepted and regained their freedom. It symbolized their salvation from a wrecked life in Bosnia. It gave Trebincevic some semblance of solace and somewhere with which to identify as home. Nonetheless, he remained nostalgic about their lives in Bosnia before the war broke.
The narrative is a memoir, recapitulation of the author's real-life experiences in Bosnia during the Bosnian war, which expelled the Muslims.
PlotThe year is 1992, and Bosnia-Herzegovina just declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Instead of this achievement causing celebration, The Muslims of which Trebincevic Trebincevic is part finds themselves on the receiving end. Armed Serbs launched a bloody "ethnic cleansing" of majority Muslims in Bosnia, and this wreaks extreme havoc on the author and his family. A neighbor by the name Daca whose husband is also a soldier exploits them in exchange for food and shelter as they work on an escape plan. Daca literally steals from them even in their despair. The breakout of the War against Muslims in Serbia deals with an end to what had used to be a diverse society. His friends become foes, and the ones they had trusted as a family betrays them. Graphically, he mentions how his beloved karate teacher, whom he regarded as a hero, tried to kill him. Through the help of a reasonable and humane helps Trebincevic's family to escape. Unlike the other Muslims and children who were killed, his family is lucky. However, they have to leave empty-handed, their treasures are all gutted down, stolen by the belligerents. In an entirely new world in Connecticut, the USA, Trebincevic's father is forced to start afresh by working in a restaurant. The mother later dies of cancer, and Trebincevic ends up being a therapist. With his now aging father, Trebincevic, his brother set out for a visit to Bosnia 20 years later. In his heart were deep-seated desires, including the need to get back at those who betrayed, mistreated, and mishandled them in the advent of the war. The author has a stillborn rage, which he intends to vent in his revisit to Bosnia, but on arrival, he realizes that not all Serbs were terrible as some had helped them secure an escape. Trebincevic later decides to forgive the wrongdoings of the Serbs who had risen against and exiled them but notes how badly the war had devasted, polarised Bosnia, leaving it a divided country to date.
Trebincevic Trebincevic is a Bosnian Muslim who, together with his beleaguered family, escaped the ethnic instigated wars against the Muslims Bosnia. Assisted by Susan Shapiro, Trebincevic narrates the story of his unsettled past. The gruesome experiences they underwent in Bosnia before their eventual escape to Connecticut USA is a story of a past he is unwilling to let go. All those who had initially trusted, including the karate coach, teachers, and neighbors turned against them. By his admission, Trebincevic disguised the return journey to Bosnia as merely trying to fulfill the old man's wish to reconnect with home after a long period away. Deep inside, the return to Bosnia presents Trebincevic with an opportunity to confront his past, vent vengeance on his perceived traitors, and see the Serbs for what they did to force them out of what he called home for just being a Muslim. In the 12-item list which Trebincevic made before the journey to Brcko, a northern Bosnian town where they were forced out of 20 years earlier, it is clear that he is a pained man full of bile, rage, and anger. The twenty years away did not do enough to let him go over the troubling memories of his past. Outrightly, Trebincevic has a compelling feeling that accomplishing the items in his list would let him overcome the daunting troubles of his past. In his to-do list in Brcko are the need to confront Perra over stealing from his mother, stand on the grave of Pero and ensure that he for sure is dead, pay homage and honor to the dead Muslim friends of his father in the cemetery, lay a wreath on Grandma Lillie's headstone, cross the Sava Bridge which had been destroyed during the war and later rebuilt by the Americans, take a snap of his father and brother, Eldin at the concentration camp where he had been detailed. In his list is also the need to put a karate robe back on at the Partizan Sports Hall, confirm if Zorica was guilty to be living in his friend Huso's apartment which was stolen during the war, tender his apology to Huso for betraying him, Check if Milos regrets fighting against them, get to know the reasons why his cousin, Amela never kept in touch him and complete the story which his mother had wished to do about their narrow escape.
Will Trebincevic be able to confront his past, overcome the palpable desire for vengeance, and develop a newness of self? Is forgiving and letting go of all the wrongs done to Trebincevic an option for him, and how does he even make it work?
Trebincevic recognizes his bitterness and an urge to revenge against their tormentors. He intends to use his journey back to Bosnia as an opportunity to confront the tormentors. Even in death, he still wants to visit the grave of his former coach and pee on it just to feel satisfied. He can recall those who mistreated them by name and even has a conscious way of confronting them. From his twelve item list, he is unsparing of anybody who he can recollect having mistreated them in any way leading to their exile in the USA. In rising to his tormentors, Trebincevic looks to settle his haunting past and attain solace.
After 20 years of being away, Trebincevic Trebincevic eventually arrives in Bosnia. In his mind is a list of things to accomplish. Prominent in his list is the desire to accost and confront those who tormented them, show disrespect to the dead ones, and ask unsettling questions to some. In a resounding statement, “I couldn’t expect people to rectify heir war sins without atoning my own “, the author not only makes peace with those he owed it but also the ones he had felt vengeful about. For instance, instead of confronting Milos and Zorica, the stories he learns as the true account of what had transpired awakened him. He progressively melts his profoundly ingrained feeling of betrayal and vindictiveness in a way that clears his conscience.
The visit to Bosnia after 20 years makes him see himself as clinging onto the past yet in the country; people continued with life as if nothing had happened. Secondly, provoking his memory to the mother's time helps realize that not all Serbs were terrible. Some of them had helped them even at the risk of life. This enabled him to stop having the vindictive feeling. For instance, he remembers Ranko, who is later a convicted war criminal, protected Trebincevic's father and brother from any harm during their time in the concentration camp. Zorica and Milos were also accommodating neighbors who would bring them food, propane, and money. Trebincevic Trebincevic also remembers that on their escape, the bus driver, and the passengers agreed to delay their journey to Austria just to make sure that Trebincevics' escaped. These two happenings bring in Trebincevic Trebincevic some form of awakening and help him resolve the deeply rooted vengeance.
Trebincevic eventually realizes that even amidst the inhumane treatment and threats to life that they went through, some Serbs were kind enough to them. He voluntarily decides to forgive those who wronged them and focus more on the positive things in his presence. Dwelling in the past evils proved to be preoccupying his mind and serving nothing but weighing him down.
The story has no static setting but instead recaptures a painful departure of the author from Brcko, to Norwalk, Brka, and other places in between until then eventually arrives in Connecticut, USA. The return trip to Bosnia too forms its setting. The narrative gives a typical life that the author lived before, during, and after the war. In the USA, the author and his family try to recollect themselves and establish a new home several miles away from Bosnia. In a thinly veiled recount, the author paints Bosnia's image as one that has transited from ethnically diverse and tolerant society to one characterized by dislike, hate, and anxiety. His visit to Bosnia helps him to caricature the changing face of Bosnia in the aftermath of war.
The author, Trebincevic Trebincevic, who is the "I" vice in the narration, is the chief protagonist. He places himself as an unsettled character whose mind is precipice by the unceasing need to overcome the troubles of his past, even if it means accosting the tormentors. However, he backs off from his uncompromising stance and decides to forgive.
The memory that some Serbians helped Trebincevic to escape from the bloodthirsty militia serves as an awakening. It prevents him from being aggressive and venting vengeance in his visit to Bosnia. He acknowledges that while some characters were blatantly inhumane, some still stood by them to protect their lives, give food, and facilitate their escape to freedom.
Trebincevic’s father-He is very protective of his family and firmly believes that everyone in Bosnia deserves a good life. He is a firm believer in freedom and boldly tries to attain freedom for himself and family, something that, unfortunately, lands him in incarceration camp with his eldest son. His resilience does not escape him even at 72 years of age. Even with the despair of losing the wife, the old man is still resilient and insists on the need to go back to Bosnia and reconnect with surviving relatives.
Ranko Cesic- Ranko is a changing character depending on how one knew him. He is perceived differently by other characters in the story. For instance, in the eyes of...
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