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Thread: A mother, a son, and a wartime secret...

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    Arrow A mother, a son, and a wartime secret...

    A mother, a son, and a wartime secret...

    elle-image-1-final-1616515024.jpg

    Selma had no social media presence and no listed phone number, but a $4.99 People Search brought up an address in upstate New York. I wrote her a letter, dropped it in a mailbox, and hoped for the best. I had heard that she wanted to put the past behind her and I didn’t know if she would want to talk to me. It had been more than 20 years. Three days later, my phone rang. Selma wanted to see me.
    To protect her privacy, I am not naming the town she lives in, and Selma is a pseudonym. I had not seen her since 1996 when I was reporting a story for Newsweek about rape and the children born from it during the war in Bosnia. Back then, Selma was living in a ruin of an apartment on the outskirts of battle-scarred Sarajevo. Tormented and destitute, she counted herself as one of what was estimated to be more than 20,000 women who were raped during the four-year conflict. She had become pregnant and given birth to a baby boy. She saw the baby as an extension of the man she says raped her, a reminder of the pain and torture she had endured. “When I heard him cry, I asked the doctor to bring him to me. I wanted to strangle him,” she told me then. She left the baby at the hospital and tried to go on with her life.

    gettyimages-51431885a-blue-1616524055.jpg


    In New York, it appeared that she had succeeded in doing so. She was married now, with two American-born teenagers. But as the afternoon wore on it became clear to me that Selma had not found peace. As we chatted about what had transpired over the years—we had both married and had children—Selma was calm, engaging, polite. But when I brought up Bosnia, she grew agitated.

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    elle-image-2-final-1616515287.jpg

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    But if Gegić’s movie did not capture Alen meeting his biological parents, it laid the groundwork for that very thing. Sometime in 2016, Alen received a call from a Muslim cleric saying that Alen’s biological father was home. Alen and a friend drove to the house, which he knew from having gone there with the film crew. A middle-aged man opened the door. “It was like looking at myself 30 years in the future,” Alen told me. “It was like copy, paste.”


    The two talked for an hour. Alen said the man claimed to know who Alen was from the movie and the media coverage around it, but that he never knew Selma and that he never committed any crime. Alen said he also claimed that he had been set up and that the DNA test was rigged. “He actually tried to make himself the victim,” Alen said.

    https://www.elle.com/culture/career-...pe-alen-muhic/
    Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. -- Woody Hayes​

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to DGUtley For This Useful Post:

    carolina73 (05-07-2021),Collateral Damage (05-07-2021),IMPress Polly (05-07-2021),Red Lily (05-07-2021)

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    That's probably one of the longest articles I've read in a very long time! What a sad story for poor Alen and Selma. I'm glad Alen's grown to be so balanced and kind hearted and I hope he gets to meet his half-brothers one day. I think it's wrong for their father to make the decision to keep this from them.

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    DGUtley (05-07-2021)

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