CNN Mission: Peace

Sarajevo mother teaches her child not to hate

mother and son CNN revisits Sarajevo family

December 25, 1995
Web posted at: 30 p.m. EST (0330 GMT)

From Correspondent Christiane Amanpour

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- Theirs' was a typical Sarajevo family. Kanita is a Croat Catholic who married Farouk, a Muslim. They had a son and lived happily, but not ever after.

father When we first met Kanita in 1992, her head was covered in mourning. She showed us the hole in her living room wall, gashed by Serb gunfire that killed Farouk as he sat in his chair. This is what she said then: "I don't have hate in my heart. I'm only a little bit disappointed. I don't know what to think to do."

Three and a half years have been filled with so much death, so many broken homes and shattered lives. Still, war has not hardened Kanita's heart. "I don't hate anybody," she said as 1995 came to an end. "I'm just a little bit exhausted, tired of this war. Sad because of all people who lost their lives." (128K AIFF sound or 128K WAV sound)

toys This Christmas brings a chance to start living again. Gifts are modest but treasured. "The first Christmas during the war, we didn't have (the) possibility even to hear each other on the phone," Kanita said.

This year she can bake cakes in her gas stove. There are no more makeshift wood fires because for the first time in a long while there is electricity. And in the new year, Kanita will send her 7-year-old son, Faris, to school without fearing that his playground might be shelled.

mother Her child is the future and a link to the past. "Now when I'm looking (at) Faris, he reminds me so much of Farouk that he is not dead," she said.

Faris was 3 when his father was killed. He began his life in war and tragedy. "He's very sad sometimes," his mother said. "He asks me why it was God's will that just my father was killed."

In 1992, Kanita said that she couldn't forget the loss of her husband or the impending war. "Everything you survive, you must remember whether it is good or evil. I will try to go on with my kids. I will not (teach) them to hate," she said.

town And today she is still doggedly optimistic, weary but firm in her conviction not to let war further tear her family apart. "I can say only that here happened something horrible," she said, "but it hasn't destroyed our soul and our wish to continue normal civilized life we have (been) given here in Sarajevo. We can do that in impossible circumstances." (276K AIFF sound or 276K WAV sound)

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