Men and women walk past him as though he’s harmless. Just another neighbour whose quirks you resolve to accept over time.
But I’m not from around here and I cannot ignore him. No, I cannot look away.
And precisely because I’m new in town, he singles me out, taunting me with his wicked and vile visage.
He watches me, waits for me, and beckons me into his toxic abode.
I don’t want to go, but my body tingles, electric with curiosity, to venture deep into his alluring realm.
Tall and tormenting, his shiny crimson paint screams at me, from beyond the mute morose forest in which he dwells.
His steel name tag, in white bold Bosnian, sinisterly announces himself to I and to anyone else who nears:
‘Pazi Mine’. In English, that reads:
Note from the author:
Over 25 years on from the 1992-95 conflict, Bosnia remains one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world, with around 80,000 mines and UXOs remaining, and more than half a million Bosnian residents directly threatened by mine-contaminated micro-locations.