DEATH WAS MARCHING ALONG WITH US, by Rende van de Kamp. Posted with permission and translated by Mark Van Riele
Rende van de Kamp had the urge to be a Warrior from a young age. He joined the Dutch Army, did tours in Lebanon(UN-Unifil) and the Sinaï-desert(MFO). After his time with the Dutch Army(draftee at that time) he joined the Free Lebanon Army of the Christian Major Haddad.
He was involved in the planning of an invasion of Suriname and served seven years in the French Foreign Legion. Rende also served in the Croatian Army and later became an officer in the Special Forces(Bojna Zrinski). He is now a writer and has published four books.
It was in April that Death arrived
After the snow had melted and the cold winds from the mountains had abated. It was almost as if the new shoots of grass and the pale green buds slowly unwrapping themselves all over the forests reminded Death that his job was not yet finished. The people themselves were to blame for its arrival.
After all, had they not cheered when we entered their country? Had they not greeted us with joy? Would the mercenaries and the soldiers not free the peasants who were toiling the meager soil? Would those who inhabited the steep mountain slopes, or the villagers in their quiet backstreets, not be given back their freedom?
Silently and invisibly, Death marched along with us into this new country. Soldiers and warriors were needed for the new independence, only recently proclaimed. And Death came along with us as a stowaway.
Looking around him with cold, staring eyes, he selected his victims. From amongst the cheering crowds lining the roads. From behind the small windows of the houses in the field. From the children who were told about us in their classrooms. He took his pick from the people who turned around and hurried home when they saw us come. YOU! And YOU and YOU!
These people did not know it yet..
But, once Death himself had laid eyes on them, the chosen few were doomed. After all, no living being was immune to death. Not the cows in their stables in Šuica who, ripped apart by grenades fired from tanks, had lain down in their straw to die. Nor the large Alsatian who was chained to his kennel and slowly starved to death. Neither the people nor the animals. Death had all of them in his sights.
Like monks of death, we the Bojna Zrinski marched on and on. We set off from Tomislavgrad, a city that had already found out the meaning of war and had made the acquaintance of Death, our Master. Large slabs of concrete and thick tree trunks were put against doors and walls at an angle to protect the inhabitants from artillery and mortar grenades. Debris from fighter jets that had been brought down was nailed to the trees. The men had abandoned their wives and mothers and had joined us on our march. But even the monks of death would fear the wrath of their Master and become casualties of battle, just like all the others.
The march started at the crossroads of Šuica and led into the narrow valley at the end of which lay the city of Kupres. On the way, Death was grinning at Malovan and its surroundings. The forests still bear the scars of the ferocious lashings of Death. When we had come to the end of the soggy plain and entered Kupres, Death was keeping a watch out for us. We had to pay a heavy toll for our passage to the other world. We surrounded part of the city. Snipers also claimed what was due to them, and Death bared his cruel teeth in a terrible grin.
To be continued…
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the next piece, of this great story!
These articles are a series of events that happened in the Kupres region in 1992, which are from his book ‘Under foreign flag’
Please visit and follow Rende at:
Website: No Men but Devils
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