THU, 30 MAY 1996 18:34:34 GMT
AIM Split, May 23, 1996
"About half past eight, Croat police arrived and started banging on the door, I thought it would burst. There were three policemen, one with a machine-gun. They threw me down on the staircase, and then I said: 'What are you doing, I am not a criminal'. But what I experienced in the vehicle, that fear, I have never experienced before. First, the man with the machine-gun kept waving it around, he made the impression that the machine-gun would fire off at any moment. They shouted at me: 'You Serb, you Muslim, you are helping the Serbs and the Muslims'. I answered: I am neither a Serb, nor a Muslim. I am an Austrian citizen, if you wish to know - a Slovene from Koruska".
The one with the machine-gun answered: "I hate Slovenes, they too should all be killed!" This is the story of Koruska Slovene, Marijan Srienc, a citizen of Austria with a diplomatic passport, head of the housing committee of the European administration in Mostar, who was spending the second week of his "life in exile" at the only remaining Mostar hotel "Ero" at the time we talked to him.
Marijan Srienc is also a renowned film actor with more than 47 roles behind him in films of Slovenian "Viba film" and other film companies of former Yugoslavia, from Slovenia, across B&H, all the way to Serbia and Macedonia. He acted in films by Claude Chabrolle, Walter Hill ("Red Heat" in which he was "beaten up" by his compatriot Arnold Schwartzeneger), western films directed by Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpoah. Although he graduated to be a director at Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Film, Radio and TV, he has never directed anything on his own.
The best known role he played was that of Andreas Engvird in television film "Operation Teodor" written by Ivo Stivicic and directed by Savo Mrmak, in which he acted the not destined assassin on Josip Broz Tito. Just as a reminder - the assassin was sent to Mostar by the Gestapo with a task to liquidate Tito on the island of Vis later on, where his film adventure ended.
By coincidence, Marijan Srienc, in a completely different role - that of a humanitarian - has come to Mostar again where in the past 10 months he has been helping the banished citizens of Mostar - the Serbs, Muslims and Croats - to return to their homes, but he experienced the same destiny - he was thrown out of a friend's apartment in Mostar, threatened and maltreated by three policemen from the Western, Croat part of Mostar.
The Calvary of the former actor continued on the way to the police station, which Srienc describes as follows:
"I introduced myself and said that I worked for the European administration. After that, the one with the machine-gun entered the apartment and checked everything. After that they took away my diplomatic passport and took it downstairs to the car, and called the chief of the police station by radio, who decided that they should take me down to the station for questioning. I was in my pyjamas, but they after all let me get dressed and then intended to push me roughly into the car. I told them that I wished to wait for European police, that I did not trust them and that I would not sit in their car. They started treating me roughly, dragged me by the arm and the jacket, wishing to shove me into the car by force. Then the third one, the driver, who was correct, said that I should sit in the front seat, and the other two policemen in the back, which I accepted."
His adventure continued at the police station where he was taken and where the chief of the local police reminded him of some of his "old sins", especially of the case of family Marjanovic which Srienc managed to bring back to Mostar from Serbia last January.
Family Marjanovic had been banished across the line of separation near Stolac by Croat extremists, who wished to get hold of their comfortable apartment in the part of Mostar called "Pentagon" and their property of course.
"That was my great mortal sin. That was the reason for such hatred against me. I solved thousands of such problems for the local people from Mostar, and now I have experienced such brutality of the local police", says Srienc, obviously upset.
"I came here to help people, regardless of their religion and nationality. I provided about 400-thousand-marks worth of assistance for the Croat party, and medical equipment and instruments. They reproach me for having sent 120 thousand marks to the other, Muslim party. They are forgetting that I have managed to bring 27 Croat families back to the Muslim side", says Srienc.
This 46-year old, according to many medical experts, is a true medical phenomenon. He is suffering from a severe form of cancer, due to which he had undergone nine complicated surgeries two years ago. He believes that he will win the wicked disease, but feels endlessly sad.
Sometimes I feel ike a Don Quijote. I would like best to mount on Rosinanta and go home. But, I think I will not despair because I wish to help people, although it seems as if banging your head against the wall", Srienc said.
European administration has not officially reacted concerning this "case", which causes wonder among the journalists. As he says, he referred to European police in Mostar for protection, but apart from minutes about the whole unhappy incident, he got nothing.
And local police and the competent ministries of internal and external affairs of the Croat part of Mostar say that he will be "duly informed about his future destiny".