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My hitchhiking story where I met up with
VIETNAM WAR VETERAN BERNARD LIVINGSTON FROM AUSTRALIA…
Autor: Šahin Šišić
Objavljeno: 02. Dec 2017. 19:12:40

On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 5:50 AM, Bernie wrote:
Dear Sahin,
I am sorry I have taken so long to get the story back to you.
I hope this is what you wanted. I will include it in this e-mail.
If you would like it sent as a PDF file, I will have to find out how to do that then send it.

All the best,
Bernard


Sahin Sisic made over a million kilometers by hitchhike...


On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 5:50 AM, Bernie wrote:
Sahin Sisic traveled over a million kilometers by hitchhiking, and sometimes he meets stories worth sharing. Like this one:

This story begins at the border of Belgium and the Netherlands on September 12th, 2017, when I was on one of my trips and met a Vietnam War veteran, Bernard Livingston, from Australia driving in the same direction I was heading. He saw me and he pulled over.

I approached the driver (Bernard), who I did not know at the time, to ask him if he was going in the direction of Breda. He responded that he was not sure where Breda was, and told me that he was on his way to a museum in Den Haag.

“They’re in the same direction,” I told him, “Could I get a lift?”
Soon, I learned that the man behind the wheel was Bernard Livingston, a Vietnam War veteran from Australia. He is of some German ancestry (Koenig), and has one son named Scott. He asked me where I came from.

“Your accent and appearances are neither Dutch, nor Belgian,” said Bernard.
“I am from Bosnia”, I replied.
Bernard asked if it was the Bosnian war that brought me to Holland, so far away from my country.
I explained to him that I move around a lot, but I also have a house in Breda that serves as my home base.
Then I asked him about Vietnam, as I did not know much about that war, and how he became involved in it.
He told me, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, all the 19-year-old Australian boys became eligible for the army draft, and their selection was conducted by drawing a numbered marble from a barrel. If the marble drawn had your birthday date on it, you were drafted to the army for 2 years. Being drafted came with the high possibility of being sent to fight the war in Vietnam.
“I was 23 when I was drafted. I only could defer it for 4 years, while completing my tertiary studies at a university,” Bernard explained.
“Was Australia waging war on Vietnam?” I asked and continued, “I really thought only the Americans were involved. I don’t remember being taught about Australian involvement in any level of my schooling.”
He explained to me that Australia was involved as one of seven Pacific nations assisting the South Vietnamese government in resisting the Communist-led North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong, a guerrilla army siding the NVA.
That war was lost, and as a result the entire Vietnam, including the Southern part, is now under the Communist regime.
I commented to Bernard that in the Balkans, the state, or the nation, hardly ever recognizes military defeats even if the war might appear to be lost.
Bernard kept talking about it as if it was a football game.
“Since Australia became part of the British Empire, the country had experienced several defeats. Only one of these defeats was larger and bloodier than the Vietnam, and that was the failed attack on Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), in Gallipoli, during the First World War.”
The Ottomans, assisted by German officers, completely repealed the land and sea attacks from the invading Australians and New Zealanders.
Australia and New Zealand, fighting together as “the British subjects,” lost a lot of young men in that attack and that war, and it was at this time where the term ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) was coined.
I commented that the First World War was initiated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, but Bernard was already well aware of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I went on saying that Bosnia recently had a very bloody war, where a lot of people had been killed. Bernard, holding his hands on the steering wheel, turned to me and said,
“That war in Bosnia and Kosovo was a very nasty war.”
I asked him what he meant by that, asking him isn’t every war nasty and dirty.
But Bernard did not budge. He said,
“Simply, war with so much cruel killing of civilians, it’s hardly an acceptable war for me. Especially when neighbors do it to neighbors. Their own neighbors! That’s terrible, miserable and nasty, and it is hard to call that a war. It’s embarrassing. Battle at the Gallipoli, in Turkey, was a real war. Army against Army, but in Bosnia in 1992-1995, it was terrible, the worst thing I have ever heard. I cannot accept and understand that neighbors could do such evil things to their own neighbors.”
After I heard Bernard’s analysis of the Bosnian war, I wondered,
“Is it possible that war in Bosnia was worse than the Vietnam War?”
Since this man from Australia knew the Vietnam War well, and knows of the Kosovo War, among many other wars, he might have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His traumas might have caused him to try to analyze all the wars in the world.
Bernard spoke very casually about many wars and explained them well to me. His neutral and well-intended analysis of the Bosnian war was correct, and should have been in school textbooks, under the history of dirty and nasty warfare, or history on systematic evil. However, this would only happen if those educational institutions in big cities, like Belgrade, Moscow, Beijing, London, Paris, Washington, Brussels, Zagreb, Sarajevo, and Pristina would accept the breakdown of wars by war veterans as a credible analysis.
Surprisingly, Bernard knew a lot as he gave a very neutral and well-intended analysis of the Bosnian war and systematic state crimes, which were even worse than those resulting from acts of terrorism. It is so, because of the nature of the crimes resulting from the systematic terror of state institutions that navigate evil and systematically encourage people to commit those crimes with civilians as primarily targeted victims.
Yes! This analysis from the Vietnam War veteran should be taught in schools. Human civilization needs it because evil can only be cured by goodness. The truth of evil must be presented to the people of all nations, colors and religions … Because truth is essentially good for humans. Truth is liberating.
The truth gave power to Kadir Habibovic to pull himself out of the cycle of evil in Srebrenica, Bosnia in July 1995, and to live and write a book Life Against Death: Srebrenica, in order to show the truth about evil. But sadly, many people are not interested in Kadir’s story. Many people are not interested to know the truth. Sadly, indeed, that words of those who experienced evil are ignored.
Bernard Livingston, a Vietnam veteran, knew the true meaning of life on this earth. He saw and experienced the extent of evil that people can do to others, and he spoke with reverence about what war really is. It seemed that he also understood who created the shadow of evil in Bosnia, who systematically navigated the crimes and aggression against the Bosnian people, and who actually made that war as nasty as it was.
My Vietnam War veteran friend and I stopped for a coffee, and the conversation eventually moved on to other topics, even though it seemed that we could have continued talking about wars endlessly.
Bernard also told me an interesting story about how the English settlers inadvertently caused big problems in Australia by introducing rabbits, for sport, and cats as domestic pets. The cats became large feral pests which are predatory hunters who now kill the smaller native animals and birds. Cats! I did not know that there were so many types of kangaroos, some even being the size of a rat so cats hunt them as well. The rabbits, on the other hand, are again reaching alarming proportions, and this is causing soil degradation and crop destruction. Indeed, the settlers did disturb the environment.
Now Bernard is struggling with health issues, diabetes and cancer, which are his other big life battles that he needs to win. But he has one main desire now: to travel the world, to see and experience other people, their cultures and the lands they live in, because in the near future he may not be able to do so.
I can only thank Bernard for the lift on my hitchhiking trip. Hitchhiking is not encouraged in Australia, yet it was interesting to ride with him. Bernard explained that in Australia there had been some murders of hitchhikers in the past, and that hitchhiking now was not so common anymore.
Thank you, Bernard, for a long and pleasant conversation about those many different wars, all of which has been quite meaningless lessons about human conquest of other people. The pattern goes, first killing and then seeking reconciliation.
Also, thank you for the coffee. I wish you a happy journey across all of the continents, I hope you conquer them with your eyes. Somehow, you appear as a man who looks far beyond this passing world on the planet earth.
I wish to tell you, Bernard Livingston, that your story dispels the misconceptions of earthly people, who wage wars, celebrate the criminals, and who keep goodness and good deeds more and more hidden from the eyes of the public. That type of globally embraced lifestyle is pushing the whole world into darkness.

Cheers man!!

P.S. I have to add, that the same day I met Bernard, some other drivers gave me a lift before him.
I met a Chinese man who released an audio CD with European hits remade in Chinese. Just before the man from China, was an interesting Dutchman, and before him was a Pole, and before the Pole, I had gotten off of a flight travelling together with many other people, while the plane had trouble landing because of strong winds. All the drivers I met were good people, as well as those people on the plane … especially when it made contact with the ground. It’s nice to be on the Earth in one piece.
It’s good for a man to have both of their feet on the ground.



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