'Two schools under one roof', a rare kind of segregation in Bosnia, dividing students based on their ethnicity, was something that worked the opposite on Elizabeth Ella Hrgic and Inas Dagoje from the central Bosnian town of Travnik, merging their lives in a beautiful love story.
The wedding photo they posted on Facebook this weekend has gone massively viral. The image shows the newlyweds facing each other in front of their schools, while they are separated with a fence.
Separate entrances, halls and classrooms, different lessons are a reality for students in this town, just like the fence in the front yard built to split up the students depending on their ethnic background.
Despite the barriers, Ella and Inas found a way through.
“Two of us. Each in front of their own school. In a front yard separated into two worlds. in a front yard that the big ones divided by a fence. The fence that they made us believe would separate us from the different ones, evil ones, insignificant ones. And we might have believed them while we were small. But what does an insignificant wire, a fitting which the big ones believe bring protection mean for love? The love which breaks barriers, prejudices, pride? The love which sees a human in another one? A human with heart and soul, made of flesh and blood, with thousand and one quality and flaw. A human whom the Greatest made of the most beautiful threads. We recognised each other. The invisible hand chose the two of us to love, to forgive, to create some better world, and to have and teach our children to the right and true human values,” Ella wrote in a moving text accompanying the photo.
Their story dates back to 2014 when Ella and Inas first met. The discriminatory model of their school is a bit older.
'Two schools under one roof' is a practice established in parts of Bosnia in the period following the 1992-95 Bosnian war, with an aim to separate the children from two ethnic groups, the Bosniaks and the Croats, who had fought in a bloody conflict.
Since the authorities do nothing to remove the discrimination, the students themselves started making small steps to put an end to it. The story of Ella and Inas proves it.
“Today I am grateful for everything. For the two schools. For the fence. For the obstacles and barriers. Because comprehending love, loving and being loved, means extinguishing the hatred within, forgiving, building the bridges that see a human in a human. The two of us, the children from this and that side, our and their fence, we want you all to find yourselves someone who would awake love inside of you and make you the happiest and the most loved person in the world,” said Ella.