Photojournalist Robert Belosevic photographed a legless boy walking on crutches in Bihac in August 1995. He had been trying to reach him for 27 years. After the 24sata.hr portal published the photo, the boy reached out.
”I’m Aladin, the boy with crutches. Yes, I would like to contact and meet with the photojournalist. I would be glad to see you,”Aladin Hodzic (30) said in a warm voice over the phone, 24sata.hr reports.
The blond boy whose leg was blown off by a shell on July 2nd, 1994 grew into a beautiful young man who did not give in to his handicap. He lives in Italy with his wife Adisa and daughter Daria (4), works in a company, hikes, runs, goes to the gym, lives an intense life, and has a positive outlook on the future.
”One piece of shrapnel passed between the other children and hit me. From those events, I only remember lying in the hospital and feeling that I was not comfortable lying without anyone I know. I remember that I often looked through my pants, looked for my leg, and asked my mom where it had disappeared to and when my dear leg would grow back,” Aladin stated in the phone call.
”During that painful period, I met a wonderful girl, Sanja Aleksic, who also lost her leg in the war. A French journalist took a photo of the two of us and those pictures went around the world. A strong friendship developed between us, and thanks to that photo, we met the benefactor Marco Beci, who in August 1995 provided us with documents to go to Italy and get prostheses,” Aladin adds.
He went to Italy through a man who worked for an Italian organization. After seeing the pictures of Sanja and Aladin, he vowed that he would not leave Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) without them.
Photojournalist Robert Belosevic is also looking forward to meeting Aladin and the happy ending of the story he started 30 years ago.
”I took a picture of him in Bihac in front of the command headquarters of the Army of the Republic of BiH (ARBiH). I just lit a cigarette. The camera was always with me. At one point I saw a blond boy on crutches. He didn’t have a right leg and I think his father was next to him.
I thought that was it. But then, at the end of 1995, I received a phone call and a notification that my photo of a boy on crutches had been declared the photo of the year in Italy. The prize was 4.000 German marks.
As the Italians had a fund for the children killed in BiH, and I could not forget the face of that blond boy without his right leg, I gave up the prize money and agreed to pay it into the fund for the children killed in BiH.
I tried to reach that boy, but I didn’t succeed. I heard that thanks to the money in that fund, he got a prosthesis. I’m glad that after so many years I will finally meet that boy, now a young man, who has been on my mind for almost 30 years,” Belosevic stated.