Smiling he began to dismiss her words as unnecessary fears but was stopped, chilled by the look on their faces. Arif said softly: “She's right."
"But I’m British! Why would they kill me?"
"You might not get the chance to tell them who you are. In that thick local jacket and hat, you look Bosnian and they’d shoot you before they found out. "
"But surely they wouldn't shoot innocent people, women or children, just on sight?"
"Have you learned nothing? You came here to cover our war. Do you still not understand? If they think you are Muslim they will kill you — no matter what they tell the UN. Out there in the snow where no one can see, you’ll be just one less piece of rubbish. When they find your British passport they’ll be very sorry and say it was an accident — but you’ll be dead just the same. "
"But even war has rules,” James said weakly.
Arif laughed. "Not this war. Too personal, too much hatred on both sides. Kill or be killed. The mountains are full of dead, some buried, some left to rot where they fell, little massacres all over this country. And when it's over, the world will find out and be shocked and call for retribution and trials for atrocities. But the dead will still be dead."
Shaken, James stared at him. “But surely — " he began but Arif went on: “Have I shocked you? You reporters, even you, who live with us — you don't understand. It’s not just the Serbs, my people too do dreadful things, people burned in their homes, children battered against walls. If you get out, tell them, tell them what is really happening here. But it will make no difference.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish