Baylor College Medical School

48 2. A Family in Sarajevo by Roger Cohen

48 2. Fida Katisik is a handsome woman with a strong, upright bearing who is now wound so tight inside that tears well uncontrollably at the mention of any of a range of subjects: the death of her nephew Muris Zecevic, the death of her sister-in-law Bisera Zecevic, the war, her children and husband in Belgrade, her future.

She works for the municipal administration and a spacious but shabby apartment a few hundred yards from Sarajevo's Holiday Inn. "When Muris was killed, it was almost like losing my own child," She says. "My brother came and said, 'You know, Fida, there is no more Muris.' No politics is worth all these young lives."

She....continues: "I am completely divided inside myself. I feel very sorry about Muris and about Bisera, and I feel I must take care of Asim (her brother). But, on the other side, my children are there in Belgrade (capital of Serbia). I am being pulled in all directions. I cannot stand anymore to be separated from my children. I am not really angry with my husband personally because he did not take a gun. But the idea of Greater Serbia is in the head of all Serbs. Some are murderers, some are not, but all support the idea. Slobodan looks very nice and honest, but who knows?"

Slobodan Karisik declined to be interviewed. A brilliant and introverted man, in the view of family and friends, he was a university professor teaching electrical engineering....

His daugher Vesna says the war took him completely by surprise. The day the shelling began, she was put with her mother....

"We were ordered to go home, but there was shooting on all sides and we could not pass the Holiday Inn," Vesna recalls. "My mother threw me on the sidewalk and lay on top of me. Finally, we made it home. My father was watching television. He was white, white. I had never seen him like that....

Less than a month later....Slobodan Karisik left Sarajevo for good and joined his daughters in Belgrade. The circumstances of his departure have become a subject of a venomous exchange (among family members) that illustrates how war destroyed the Zecevic-Karisik family and how truth changes on different sides of the lines.


2. Why did Fida's husband Slobodan leave Sarajevo and move to Belgrade?

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Slobodan Karisik left Sarajevo for good and joined his daughters in Belgrade.