As the war was raging in Bosnia, Graham Bamford stood in front of the British House of Commons on April 29, 1993, poured gasoline on himself, and set it ablaze over the world’s inaction to the atrocities that were taking place about a thousand miles away from his home.
Bamford was married and had a child. He had no connections to Bosnia and Herzegovina in any way.
Yet, the 48-year-old was haunted by the images of what was going in that country.
“The British must stop the war in Bosnia, even by force, if necessary. The British army does not (only) have to be a guardian of honour at mass funerals. Bosnian babies, children, and women are patiently waiting for the politicians to do what they know they need to do – acquire military protection. They should not stand aside and calmly observe,” a handwritten note Graham left said.
What brought Graham over the edge was reportedly the massacre in the central village of Ahmici on April 16, 1993, when members of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) massacred 116 Bosniak civilians.
The youngest victim was only three-months-old, while the oldest was 83 years of age.
Graham made the ultimate sacrifice as lawmakers in the UK were discussing whether to take military action in Bosnia.
Bosnians never forgot his sacrifice. In 2009, the Sarajevo City Administration named an award after him which is given out to individuals who have shown courage, solidarity, humanism and altruism.
Croatian filmmaker Nenad Puhovski also made a documentary about Bamford, named ‘Graham and I’.