It has been 27 years since the death of Srđan Aleksić, a young Serb man who became a symbol of humanness when he chose to do the right thing in the darkest of times – he was killed while defending his friend, a Bosniak, from Serb soldiers.
When the Bosnian war began, Aleksić, from the southern town of Trebinja, became a member of the Army of the Republic of Srpska. In January 1993, he came across a group of Serb soldiers harassing Alen Glavović and tried to stop it.
This made the soldiers turn against one of their own. They beat him into a coma. Aleksić died in the local hospital six days later, on January 27, 1993.
Aleksić was posthumously granted a Charter of Bosnia’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, a street in Sarajevo was named after him, as well as a passage in Novi Sad, Serbia, where there is also a plaque commemorating him. Another passage in the Serbian town of Pančevo is named after him, and in the Bosnian town of Tuzla, there is a sports tournament carrying his name.
Serbia’s former President Boris Tadić awarded Aleksić with the ‘Miloš Obilić’ medal for courage and heroism in 2012, while Milorad Dodik, the former President of Republic of Srpska awarded him with the ‘Order of honour of Republic of Srpska’ in 2013.
A street in Montenegro’s Podgorica also carries his name, as well as one in New Belgrade. Aleksić’s story also inspired the film ‘Circles’, by Srđan Golubović. At a gathering commemorating the young man last year, Aleksić’s father, Rade, said that he is proud of the life his son lived and what he achieved and that the way he is remembered today proves that he did not die in vain. “Srđan Aleksić lives within the people across Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and further,” Rade Aleksić said. “I feel this because when I walk the streets young people whom I don’t even know personally greet me, they know me because of Srdjan, and that is how he keeps on living in Trebinje,” he said.
Alen Glavović today lives in Sweden, is married and has two children. He comes to Trebinje every year to visit the grave of his friend, Srđan.