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They gave me the name ‘Angel of Mostar’ and it was across the front pages of the newspapers and they used it on Sky and CNN,” Sally, of Hove, told me.
“All I could think was that people must have imagined this beautiful, blonde, young woman with a halo, instead of this spiky-haired person in a t-shirt and jeans.”
In fact, Sally seems to possess modesty in spades — despite her heroic work.
Sally insists she is not a heroine and declares that “people do this sort of thing all the time”.
She became determined to do something to help, no matter how small. After arriving in the region with a Croatian charity, she was approached by a teenager in Mostar, who needed antibiotics for his grandfather, an elderly Holocaust survivor who had been shot with a phosphorous-filled bullet. Discovering that the Jewish community, which numbered around 70-80 mostly elderly people, had run out of food and medicine, she decided to focus on helping them.
Traveling in a borrowed ambulance, Becker crossed the front line, shot at by snipers although the ministry had organized a brief cease-fire. Arriving on Marshal Tito street, she found a UN convoy of vehicles which had entered the east side earlier, physically surrounded by women and children. They were stopping the soldiers from leaving because they believed their presence was preventing shelling.
“I sauntered along in jeans and a t-shirt, passing the UN guys who were huddled inside their vehicles dressed in flak jackets and helmets,” she says. “Everyone was worried because the ceasefire could break at any moment. I’d been shot at and was not in a good mood.”
The UN officers asked her to get them out under the cover of her convoy, which she agreed to do in return for certain resources such as helicopters to transport the wounded to a field hospital once on the other side (“I hadn’t thought what I was going to do with the children once we got them out,” she confesses).
Looking back, she says a major factor in both phases was her own innocence. She was just 32 when she entered the war zone in 1993.
“Yes, I was naïve,” she admits. “I couldn’t really understand the reason why the UN and other aid organizations were not just going in and getting the children out. But if it wasn’t for my naivety, some of those children might not have survived. I was naïve enough to believe that if a child is sick and needs help, you do whatever you can. I didn’t look at the political elements, at the need to set up hospital beds [before evacuating the children]. I just saw they needed help…”
I wrote two threads on the same day--this and an illuminati conspiracy thread. That one blew up--wish this had gained more traction.