Tim Petruk – Kamloops This Week
It did not take long for Scott Casey to realize Sarajevo was, as he put it, “a shitshow.”
“My first day there I watched a pregnant woman get shot in the stomach,” he told KTW.
“The place was literally a bloody mess. They were butchering their own citizens by the thousands.”
It was the early stages of the Bosnian War — a battle that would continue for four years and eventually see nearly 100,000 people killed.
Today, Casey lives in Westsyde with his family.
In 1992, he was a Canadian soldier stationed in Germany.
When the call for UN peacekeepers came, his November Company shipped out.
“We were there within hours, as opposed to trying to get them out of Canada,” he said.
“There was no peace there to keep. Everybody was shooting at everybody and everybody was shooting at us.
“We were just targets in big, white vehicles.”
The rule for UN peacekeepers, Casey said, is that they can only fire their weapons if they are being fired upon.
“It’s called chapter-six peacekeeping,” he said.
“But, because of the severity of the fire we were under, we created chapter six-and-a-half.”
Casey said the peacekeepers were not disobeying orders or breaking any laws — just adapting to their situation.
“We were taking our blue helmets off at night and going out in camouflage,” he said.
“The rules there would get you killed. We had to do something to make sure we came home.
“We were there to help them and they were shooting at us.
“There were so many times we could have been dead.
And, what were we doing? Bringing them aid. It was all to bring them aid.
“People just assume we went there and wore blue helmets and saved lives. It was a lot more than that.”
Casey recently wrote a book — In the Devil’s Courthouse, which is now in the hands of a publisher in Vancouver — detailing his time in Sarajevo.
Word of the book’s contents got out and, last year, he was approached by a production team working for the History Channel on TV.
The full story of Canada’s role in Sarajevo came out, for the first time, last weekend, in a two-hour documentary on the History Channel called Sector Sarajevo
“This story has never been told,” Casey said.
“People have this warm, fuzzy idea of peacekeeping. This is going to blow the lid off of what Canadians’ view of our peacekeeping is.
“It was all considered peacekeeping in that we were delivering humanitarian aid.
“It’s just that there were operations no one knows about, and that’s what’s coming out.
“It was the change from warm and fuzzy peacekeeping — ‘You guys play nice’ — to where we were actually engaging in operations, and that’s what people have no idea about.”
Sector Sarajevo aired on the History Channel on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., with more airings on Monday, Nov. 11.