Blind Bosnian war victim helps others see the light
August 17, 1999
From Correspondent Siobhan Darrow
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- When Saed Bekric was 15, his bandaged face became a symbol of the Bosnian war after he was severely injured by a tank that fired on the soccer field where he was playing in Srebrenica.
"The United Nations picked up all the wounded people and I was left for dead because my whole face was destroyed," said Saed of that horrible time six years ago.
His story was broadcast around the globe and it caught the attention of a California family who paid to bring Saed, his mother and his brother to the United States for surgery to save his life. But doctors were unable to save Saed's eyes.
"Through the years of pain from being shot by Serbian missiles and guns and bullets -- it was harder for me to realize that I would not see again," said Saed.
Saed, now 21, is still fighting to live a full life despite his blindness. He believes he can do just about anything a sighted person can do and sometimes more -- especially with the help of his guide dog, Bubba.
"I can make a difference one day if I put my mind to it, make a difference to help people," said Saed.
He already is helping others by speaking on behalf of Red Cross International. Saed tells his story in hopes of inspiring young people to get involved, to volunteer and to reach their potential.
"I got my independence back again and I can do mountain climbing, skiing, ice skating, weight lifting and karate," Saed told one group of children.
"I learned that you have to accept yourself for who you are, because he's blind and he accepted himself for who he is," said one youngster in the audience.
Saed may have lost his sight, but he hasn't lost his vision. He dreams of becoming an international humanitarian lawyer, and of one day returning to visit the homeland he'll never see again.
NATO committee proposes troop cut in Bosnia
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