“Today, something wonderful has happened to me,” the Canadian soldier Justin Frye, who found himself in a war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 1994, as the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) member, began his story on Facebook.
“I was living in a small town called Visoko, located at the northwest from Sarajevo. Our camp was called CANBAT 2. One of my tasks was securing a landing area for UN helicopters. Beside that area, there were several houses, and each time we secured that place, a little boy would come to the fence to watch us. I soon became friends with him, his name was Amir. I remember I was very sad because of the fact that he has experienced the war where people fought for the basic and tiny things that we all take for granted, but they meant the world to them. I started bringing candies to Amir. My mom sent me things for Amir by mail, such as candies, pastels and a watch. I remember he was so excited when I gave him the watch. He did not speak English, but his excitement was obvious, “ Justin described.
He added that all this happened before cell phones and digital cameras, so he had only one photo with him. In the spring of 1995 he returned to Canada.
“I have been thinking about Bosnia all these years, and I think that all other soldiers who were there did the same. Often, I have been thinking about Amir, and I wondered if he had survived the war. With only a few photos and tangible items from that time, Amir became a symbol of all memories of Bosnia. I saved his photo, and I was thinking about him and returning to Bosnia, “ he wrote.
“Two days ago I was working on my laptop when I saw our photo. I decided to do some research, so I sent a photo to a reporter from Visoko with the location of our base. I marked location of the Amir’s house on the map. I was hoping that Amir or someone from his family is still there. Only one day later, I was told by a reporter that Amir’s sister still lives there. Amir is now in Sweden and he has a Facebook page. His sister promised to give him my email address. It did not need too long to find Amir on Facebook, and we talked for the first time. Mom, Amir said he should thank you for the watch, “ wrote Justin.
Amir also wrote on Facebook: “In 1994, the lives of the Bosnians were filled with sorrow, pain and fear. At that time, when it was easier to cry than to laugh, a great soldier and above all, a true man put a smile at the face of a little boy. Today, this boy is 32 years old and has become a father. He will teach his child to be a good person like Justin. It was not easy to be a great man in a time of war madness, where your life was also endangered. But this was not a problem for Justin! This is why I am glad that we have connected again after 24 years. “