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`I can face dying for my home'

THIS man works for the Bosnian military police in a town near Travnik. He agreed to be photographed, but said the use of his name might enable the Serbs to trace his family.

"I will die here," he says. "This is my home. This is my world. Where will I go?

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"My family has been here for hundreds of years. I will not leave. I built this house with my own hands. Before the war, my brothers and I were almost finished building an inn and restaurant. There is no reason to finish the building now.

"Because of the war, no one has any money. My monthly income is the equivalent of three packs of cigarettes. I used to be an electrician; I made a good living. I have a large house, a television, and a VCR. I don't do electrical work anymore.

"Before the politicians started telling everyone how evil everyone else was, everyone got along fine.

"Now the Bosnian Muslim people are on the edge of extinction. We are being exterminated by the Serbs. The Croatians have been making deals with Serbia to divide up the country. Recently, we had a battle here not with the Serbs, but with the Croatians, our allies.

"Our only hope had been the United Nations or the European Community helping us. Instead, they put an arms embargo on Bosnia and Serbia. Bosnia has no weapons to speak of, and the Yugoslav Army is one of the largest in Europe. It is the same as a death sentence. Without weapons we are unable to defend ourselves.

"Now we are becoming a nation of refugees. The UN sends flour and rice for our tens of thousands of homeless refugees. How can we defend our homes with rice?

"I can face dying for my home. What hurts is that my wife and three children, my mother, nephews, and nieces all could be left homeless like all the other refugees. We don't have money and relatives in other countries.

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"Our family is here. There is nowhere for my family to go. Even if there was, no one would take them. Croatia has closed its borders to Bosnians. They say they can't take more refugees. The rest of Europe doesn't take them, so the Croatians say why should they take any more Bosnians?

"So I will die here. Maybe my family also. Europe just closes its eyes. We have no oil. The `new world order' didn't last so long. We hope that maybe [President] Bill Clinton will help us.

"Without America leading the way, it seems Europeans can only talk."

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