His father would disagree with the statement, as he has many times in the past. When asked about his son’s act of valor, he would always answer, “Srdan wasn’t a hero. He fulfilled his human duty. You are the real heroes, accepting Srdan and celebrating him in remembrance.”
For those unfamiliar with the story, January 27th marks the death of Srdan Aleksic, a 26-year-old Bosnian Serb man, who in 1993, defended his friend and neighbor, Bosniak Alen Glavovic from a brutal attack by VRS soldiers.
Glavovic is alive to this day, living his life in Sweden, married with two children. Every year on the anniversary of Srdan’s death, he visits his grave in Trebinje, calling it “his own act of humanity.”
In 1993, the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina was embroiled in bitter ethnic conflict. At a time when neighbor would turn on neighbor, Srdan Aleksic stood against the tide of nationalistic fervor. More importantly, he stood against inhumanity, even when it was coming “from his own,” directed at his supposed enemy.
In a country such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, where often times, hatred and distrust is hundreds of years and generations deep, seeing past the things that divide us and standing for injustice was often rare. Srdan was no war hero. No general. No political leader. He had no agenda. His action had no message. And perhaps this is why he, above all, should be celebrated as a national hero, simply for standing for justice and our commonality.
Srdan Aleksic only lived to be 26-years-old. However, because of his act of valor, he lives eternally.