By, Alexis Solomon
As children, we look up to our parents. They have a strong effect on the development of our morals and beliefs and we often look to them for guidance. When we see our parents believe so passionately in a cause, and witness them working fervently to make a difference, those traits can become a part of our character as well.
One student here at Bonita knows this better than anyone. Senior Seid Mulic is a first generation Bosnian-American. His parents, Bayram and Azemina Mulic, fled to America as Bosnian refugees in 1992, after an aggression began between Muslim civilians and Bosnian Serb troops broke out.
“Both my parents were born in Bosnia, they came as refugees to New York as a result of the aggression [there]. New York was a [safe] place not only for my dad, but for thousands of other Bosnian refugees,” S. Mulic said.
In July of 1995, Bosnian Serb forces invaded the UN safe zone of Srebrenica. They captured many of the boys and men with false promises of safety, and days later, over 8,000 unarmed Bosniak civilians were murdered, their bodies hidden in mass graves. Upon coming to America, one of the main accomplishments his father, Bayram Mulic has had is getting this tragedy recognized.
“My dad, along with all the other Bosniak priests here in America, made an organization for the community to get the genocide internationally acknowledged,” S. Mulic said. “My dad became president of that congress. He was essentially the main figurehead of Bosnians in all of America.”
Being Bayram’s son came with a lot of responsibility, and growing up, the other children were always looking up to Seid. He still sees himself as that role model today, whether it be to his Bosnian friends or the children at the Mosque. But it is a role he takes deep pride in, and he is able to use it to consistently stress the extreme importance of holding on to their Bosnian traditions.
“It’s great that Seid wants to follow in my footsteps,” his father B. Mulic said, “and I only encourage him to do so.”
Growing up with this obligation, and with a father constantly working to bring justice to a devastated community, has influenced him tremendously. Through history classes, personal maturity, and simply living in the community that he does, S. Mulic learned a lot about catastrophe. This not only helped him grow into his leadership role, but it helped shape him into the disciplined, moral teen he is today.
“I’ve known him since the beginning of senior year, when he came to Bonita,” classmate and friend senior Sean Chaanine said. “ He’s very focused on school and his studies. He doesn’t talk about much else in class; he’s funny though.”
A large part of Seid’s strong character is his complete dedication to his culture. Tradition is extremely important to S. Mulic and his family. His extended family, as well as his own, keep houses in Bosnia and his cousins visit every summer. They find it extremely important to keep themselves tied up in their culture and traditions, to avoid getting lost in the melting pot that is America.
“Although there are not many Bosnians in Southern California, I want the Bosnian youth to integrate, rather than simply assimilate into the American culture,” B. Mulic said.
While Seid himself hasn’t been able to visit Bosnia in years, his passion for his culture is still strong. He plans to follow in his father’s footsteps while in college and continue to bring awareness to the aggression that occurred in Srebrenica all those years ago.
“My dad always tells me if the generations coming after those who actually experienced what happened in Bosnia simply forgot what happened, and they simply forgot who they are essentially, what would prevent the Serbians, or any corrupt mind, from doing the same thing over again?” S. Mulic said.