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Student Life

Everything I have I take with me

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 01 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:0211427
  1. Deborah Cohen, final year medical student1
  1. 1University of Manchester

Mirza Muminovic, a third year medical student at the University of Sarajevo, talks to Deborah Cohen about his life and the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990s

On 5 April 1992, a 24 year old medical student called Suada Dilberovic was shot and killed at a peace rally on a bridge spanning the Miljacka River in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina. That date is clearly etched in the mind of Mirza Muminovic as well as thousands of other Bosnians. Suada was the first civilian casualty; this tragic death signalled the start of the conflict in Bosnia.

Until this point, Mirza had been a student in his final year at high school, mindful of the opportunities available to him as an academic and ambitious person. But the war cut his school days short and delayed the start of his medical degree. The fact he even attended university and managed to get through the war physically unscathed suggests that he was one of the lucky ones. And he knows it.

Mirza is philosophical about the war and the way it has shaped his life: “War is a horrible human experience, but it is still a very rich experience. You learn to appreciate many things that you didn't notice before the war. We, the youth, felt much older than we were because we saw things that were far beyond our years. We grew up in a …

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