Passion and sorrow of love in war

Click to follow
The Independent Online
SARAJEVO (AP) - The death notice was brief: 'One last goodbye to Carmen Emini Konda.' It had to be that way. 'There was too much to say, so I couldn't say anything,' her husband said.

Bosnian soldier, intelligence operative and karate aficionado, Carmen Konda, died after a car accident under heavy Serbian gunfire. She was a mother who missed her children, cooking and dancing - one of thousands of ordinary Yugoslavs forced by war to do extraordinary things.

She moved daily behind Serbian lines, gathering intelligence. 'Me and my boys, we crawl to within five metres of them,' she said. 'Sometimes it rains shells and we just look how to save ourselves. But it's never boring.'

'She was the most beautiful woman in the world,' said her husband, Atif Saronjic. 'When she died, I lost everything.' He met Ms Konda,32, last year when she came to his karate class. 'She was tough, but soft. We fell in love.'

Mr Saronjic went to Sarajevo to help form Bosnia's defence forces and Ms Konda accompanied him, leaving their children in Croatia. Love during wartime is said to be the most passionate and the most tragic. 'Nobody loved me that way before,' said Mr Saronjic. 'It burned into me. I can't forget.'

They were married in June. In August, their car was hit by sniper fire and crashed, but they escaped with broken limbs. A few days later, a blood clot entered Ms Konda's lungs. Crying for air, she died in 15 minutes. Mr Saronjic was at her side.

Now he is crying. 'This kind of death makes sense for this kind of war. There are no heroes here. How can you have heroes when humanity is absent?'

(Photograph omitted)