In the streets of Banja Luka
Capt. Benoit Guilloux
First published in
SFOR Informer#144, August 1, 2002
Second Lt. Andy Love, 4th Platoon commander, 2nd Company
of the Welsh Guards, will not accompany his men who are off
for the downtown patrol. He says: "I like my guys to
do their job on their own. They have the ability for that."
Allegedly, the university is questioning the latest planning
proposal made by the Muslim authorities of the nearby mosque
grounds where the famous 16th-century Ferhadija once stood.
The patrol is responsible for checking this statement.
|Even though there has been no fighting
during the war in Banja Luka, the six mosques in the town
have all been destroyed.
Among them, the Mosque of Ferhart-Pasa, also known as
the Ferhadija, was destroyed on May 7, 1993. Only the
foundations of the 1579 edifice remain today. Last year,
permission was granted to reconstruct it. A cornerstone
laying ceremony took place on May 7, 2001, which led to
riots. Fundraising has started since February 2002. Recently,
the mosque is again in the spotlight with members of the
various communities standing firm on their respective
Banja Luka - Love says: "The new plans made the mosque
too high. The university has put forward a request to the
municipality. Why they did this is what we would like to know."
Before departure, the party stops at the interpreter's office
to pick up interpreter Biljana Josic.
Upon arrival at the university, the guardsmen report to the
porter. Through the interpreter, they are invited to telephone
in the afternoon to arrange a meeting. The interpreter sticks
to her job, interpreting accurately.
"The boss is really busy with on-going examinations.
I have taken his details and we are likely to visit him tomorrow
again," explains Gdsm. Gareth Lucas.
Back in the camp, Biljana meets with fellow interpreter Slavica
The ladies talk about their job, what it implies, and how
it is to be conducted. Biljana likes patrolling.
"I personally enjoy going on patrol because I prefer
ground work. I also enjoy meeting urban people as well as
meeting with people in the villages. The main difference is
that people from the villages tend to be keener to talk to
SFOR when visiting," she explained.
Biljana explains she holds a university-level geography degree
and would like to travel.
Slava (short for Slavina) and Biljana agree that patrolling
is more relaxing than official meetings such as with the Army
of Republika Srpska (VRS) for instance. It is not always a
piece of cake, so to speak.
Biljana (B): "It depends on who you talk to. Some people
do not know how to act. An official knows when to stop so
as to enable the interpreter to translate."
Slavica (S): "There is another example. People from the
villages who sometimes use their dialect. It brings additional
B: "Sometimes there is no sense, but you have to answer
to the soldier who wants to know what is going on. The ones
I find the most difficult are the politicians."
S: "They are lengthy
B: "I try to make it more polite, particularly during
Harvest operations. You have to be very careful. Though, if
a soldier orders me to interpret word by word, I will do it.
I am paid for it."
S: "I say I speak multi-national English."
B: "Sometimes, I make it fun and say: please, speak English."
Interpreters have a job of paramount importance in order to
have an accurate understanding and communication with the
people of this country. Without them, SFOR would not be unable
to perform a big part of its job.
Nations of SFOR: UK
SFOR at Work