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Bothered by the Sound of Crying

Heroes Remember

Bothered by the Sound of Crying

The things that used to bother me and there was one incident that sticks in my mind. I used to do foot patrol just up from a church in the town of Srebrenica. I always used to hear a kid crying and it was in the middle of the night and I used to get up sometimes, get my flashlight and just walk up the street, just to make sure because sometimes there would be things going on in the street that you, sometimes you were looking for soldiers that were in the front line that used to come down into the town and this was where they used to hide. Our aim too was to get the soldiers back up where they belong in the front line so we used to get up in wee hours of the morning and go on patrol and I used to hear this crying all the time, every area, the same area I should say. So I stopped on day cause this was bothering me and I went down an embankment and I looked up and there was a mother with, I would have to say, couldn’t be any more than a 5-year old boy and an infant, living under a culvert, it was a huge culvert, a river ran through it but it had trees, logs piled up high so they wouldn’t be sitting in the water. And I tried to talk her out and she did nothing but scream figuring I was going to do her harm because I was a soldier, she seen me in uniform. So right then and there, I thought uh, uh, she was harmed by somebody in uniform. I spoke to the local fire fighter and he had told me they knew about this lady and she was a Muslim. Her husband was a Serb, they shot her husband and she was raped. The child she gave birth here in Srebenica and that child wasn’t the fathers. It was one of the Serb soldiers. And she was doing everything to hang on, but she was hiding from the village people because she figured if they found out she was raped and this child, they would kill this child. So this is why she wanted to live in this culvert. So we were trying, I was trying to personally get her out and bring her into the hospital. It would have took a better man than me to get her out. There was just no way. She didn’t trust me, didn’t want me even look at her. She just, even to stare at her she was screaming and that hurt me, because I was there for humanitarian reasons and that really hurt me that she had no trust in me and then I understood the background. The fire fighter spoke to her and she told him what exactly happened. He related to me. He said, “This is why.” And I said, “Well, I’m here not to hurt her. I’m here to bring her and her family into the, into the hospital where she can stay There’s lots of room there” and her answer to him was, “Tell the UN soldier I don’t trust anybody especially foreign soldiers and the last guy that said that to me, wouldn’t harm me, raped me.” And right there, I said, “Ok, she’s definitely been damaged.” Did that affect me? Yes it did, to see that little baby, cold, very little blankets. So what I did, you know, I went and her gave a portion of my sleeping bag that I had and I brought it down and just threw it in and she grabbed it and I said, “It’s yours, you know, it’s the best I can do for you.”

Mr. Wiseman tells of being on guard patrol, hearing the sound of crying, yet not being able to assist because of a mother’s fear of the soldier’s presence

Robert Wiseman

Mr. Robert Wiseman was born October 9, 1953 in Bathurst, New Brunswick. With his father being a Veteran, and his five other brothers joining up, Mr. Wiseman made this the reason for joining the service. In 1974, fresh out of high school, Mr. Wiseman travelled to CFB Cornwallis Recruitment Camp receiving 11 weeks of training then to CFB Gagetown for advanced training as a combat soldier. Mr. Wiseman joined the army experiencing one tour to Cyprus and later in his career travelled to Bosnia holding the rank of Warrant Officer. His service in Bosnia provided humanitarian support to the Bosnian people after the Srebrenica massacre where many people were killed. After discharging from the army, Mr. Wiseman returned to Fredericton.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Robert Wiseman
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Warrant Officer

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