Tears ran down the face of Idriz ef. Memic in days of Ramadan back in February 1993, when Ibrahim Rizvic told him that he will eat white flour bread for iftar. He cried from happiness. And happiness, just like food, was rarely coming to Kamenica, Glode and other places in Podrinje those days.
Gathered in Zvornik settlements in the area, hungry and exposed to shootings, killings and shelling, Bosniaks from this area were trying to survive. And to find their way to the free territory. Ramadan days gave extra strength to many of them to bear with life’s greatest tragedy.
It was God’s will, said Idriz, who spent part of the war in Podrinje. At the beginning of the aggression, Idriz, who was imam in Zvornik back then, had pneumonia. Back in those days, he was trying to go to the free territory.
“However, people told me: if you go, this place will fall. You are the authority. Thus they did not let me go in some way. So I gave up of that idea,” recalled Idriz.
War, poverty, environment, lack of food … February of 1993 came as well as Ramadan, and Idriz recalled one specifically difficult Friday.
“Those were the worst days that I remember. The enemies were constantly throwing grenades and there was always a large concentration of people around my house, because I was the person who was saying when civilians will go and when not. The enemy noticed it, and started throwing grenades. My wife got labor pains,” said Idriz, adding that he then went to pray Friday prayer.
“When I came back, my wife gave birth, right at the time of Friday prayer. It was my fourth child. I was 32 years old back then.”
Than started the month of Ramadan. People wanted to fast, said Idriz, but they had nothing to eat for sohoor, and much less to break their fast. But you always find something for Ramadan.
“Our regular Ramadan meal was pumpkin, and if we had some corn flour, we would make little glaze around it. Moreover, we would cut one potato, not whole, as a soup,” said Idriz.
But one day, he continues the story, his logistics man Ibrahim Rizvic, fearless man, went to Cerska to bring food for the army, because all the civilians already went in Konjevic Polje and Cerska.
Logistics man returned in the evening. It was the third day of Ramadan. Idriz and his comrades turned on the fire in the house where they were staying, and broke their fast. Ibrahim knocked on the door.
“As I’m looking at him now. He asked: ‘Have you tricked me and break your fast already? And added: But I’m going to trick you too.’ I was sorry that I will miss his iftar, because it was certainly better than ours. However, he sat right next to us. He unpacked some nylon, and took one bread made of white flour. I was thinking if he will share some with us. He took the bread and broke it to little pieces. He gave the first piece to me. I was very happy man,” said Idriz.
He was also surprised. But that was not the end of his happiness. Ibrahim started searching for something in the things he brought, and meanwhile Idriz said that they should be making soup for sohoor.
“He told me: ’Beans are for sohoor.’ He untied some handkerchief and there were beans. I said that we should prepare our standard bread, and he said: ‘White flour bread is for sohoor too. There is another one.’ I was so happy,” said Idriz, adding that he was the happiest when the man, who was with them, offered to smoke the “real cigar,” because until then they were smoking walnut leaf and tobacco stalks.
“I cried. It was an amazing day for me. To eat real white flour bread for iftar, beans for sohoor, plus to smoke a real cigar. Things that I thought no longer exist and will never appear again,” said Idriz.