Bosnian born of wartime rape seeks his parents

By Rusmir Smajilhodzic, AFP

GORADZE, Bosnia-Hercegovina–Alen Muhic, abandoned at birth by his Muslim mother who was raped by a Serb soldier during the Bosnian war of the 1990s, went on a quest two decades later to find his biological parents. His painful and dramatic search was captured in a powerful documentary that has made him the first ��invisible child,�� as those born of rape in wartime Bosnia are called, to publicly reveal his story. ��I simply needed to learn the truth, discover who they are, why she abandoned me and why he did what he did. He committed a war crime,�� Muhic told AFP after the recent premiere of the film, ��An Invisible Child’s Trap.�� Muhic’s biological mother fled to the United States after his birth, while his father was first tried and convicted of the rape, but a year later was acquitted of the crime.

These days the stocky, green-eyed Muhic, 22, works in the eastern Bosnian town of Gorazde as a nurse in the same hospital where he was born and adopted in 1993.

The documentary, which also includes dramatized sequences, deals with Muhic’s ��double identity �X genetic and adoptive,�� its Bosnian director Semsudin Gegic told AFP. ��International human rights organizations label children born of wartime rapes ‘invisible,’�� he said. ��I decided to make a movie in which Alen becomes visible.�� Gegic stressed that Muhic was only ��one of thousands of children conceived by sexual violence in conflicts throughout the world.�� Weapon of War Muhic’s mother was living in the village of Miljevina in east Bosnia when she was assaulted by a member of Bosnian Serb forces who had seized the area.

She gave birth in February 1993 and refused to even look at the baby boy. By then she and other Muslims had been forced out of their village as part of the Serbs’ ��ethnic cleansing�� operation.

The woman, in her 30s at the time, later fled to the United States, where she got married and is now the mother of two boys, Gegic