He saw a news, his life has changed … ‘Angel of Mostar’ is now wearing his wings for Ukrainian children!

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They called him the “angel of the mustard.” In the 90’s, he was a civilian hero in the wars of the countries known as Yugoslavia in those days. He was only in his early 30s. It was coming from England. Her name was Sally Baker.

Baker was driving around the besieged city of Mostar in his old car. He did not work for any organization, he did not have any formal education. However, he did his best to help the injured children and to bring them and their mother out of the fire line safely.

Even in the days when 70 percent of buildings west of the city were destroyed by bombings, hundreds of civilians lost their lives and thousands of people were displaced from their homes, the unemployed tried to save even more lives. He could.

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Baker has since been shot once in the leg, jailed in Kosovo and on hunger strike. Today, however, he recounts all these experiences shoulder to shoulder in cold blood, as if they were ordinary events. Because the most important priority right now is to be able to safely bring the 19 orphans and orphans rescued from the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro to Scotland …

Hürriyet’s report dated December 22, 1993, mentions Baker as such.

Gulf War has changed your life

Baker has been dedicated to helping the needy for over 30 years. But he himself did not expect her to lead such a life.

Baker, who finished his education at the age of 17, was living in Brighton at the time and wanted to be an artist that everyone would know in the future. However, towards the end of the First Gulf War in 1991, he saw a news item on television that changed his life. The article was about volunteers who went to Iraq as human shields to protect civilians.

Speaking to the British Telegraph, Baker said, “Until that day, I always saw war as something you can’t do anything about. But what I saw in the news surprised me. These people were really trying to do something. “

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“Fix my life”

Baker then joins them. On the way to Baghdad, however, when the crew found out that he was Jewish, he received an unexpected answer. They said it would “endanger us all” and did not allow him to return to Iraq.

“They said I could stay in Oman and handle their communication. They left without me. But when the airstrikes started, they needed my help to get out of Baghdad,” Baker said of what happened in those days:

“This is how my career started and has continued uninterrupted since then. It has become a constant in my life …”

He saw a news, his life changed ... The Angel of Mostar is now wearing his wings for Ukrainian children

The ‘Angel of Mostar’ is trying to convince UN troops in Bosniaclass = “medianet-inline-adv”>

It continues after the mustard

The last 30 years of Baker’s life have been remarkable. He did not stop after rescuing 15 injured children and their mother from Mostar.

Throughout the war he continued to save the lives of the wounded from all sides. For example, he evacuated 55 people who had taken refuge in a blocked monastery in Nova Bela by helicopter. Then, in those years, 98 more people were evacuated from hospitals on both the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian sides, in an operation called “Operation Angel” in the Turkish media.

In 1998, while traveling with 15 injured and sick children and their families, he was captured by a Serbian paramilitary group while crossing the Kosovo-Albania border. He was sentenced to 30 days in a Kosovo-run prison for traveling abroad without a visa. He was released in the second week of a prison hunger strike.

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Shortly afterwards, he was shot in the leg, this time in the Albanian city of Bayram Kuri, in a surprise attack by a masked armed group. Looking back from today, he said that the main thing that bothered him was not to get injured but to stay in “the worst hotel” until he recovered, not to take the kids off the plane to leave.

He saw a news, his life changed ... The Angel of Mostar is now wearing his wings for Ukrainian children

Baker is with his mother when he returns to England after being released from prison in Kosovo.

Chechnya, Kosovo, Gaza, Iraq, Syria.

Baker says his bond with some of the children he rescued continues today. Moster’s angel, who said he contacted the children of that day, who are now adults, said he even went to New York in 2010 to marry one of them.

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Baker, who made headlines around the world through his actions in the war in the 90’s, continued his relief work even though he was not very much in the spotlight after that time. After Bosnia, he continued to work on the battlefield and assisted civilians in Chechnya, Kosovo, Gaza, Iraq and Syria.

Baker, who is in his 50s today, said he had never considered including Ukraine in the long list. That’s why on February 24, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, he reassured his 22-year-old daughter, Billy, “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.”

But the next day, when the mother-daughter saw the faces of terrified Ukrainian children on TV, Billy, unable to bear it, turned to his mother and said, “If you believe it will help you, you must go.”

He saw a news, his life changed ... The Angel of Mostar is now wearing his wings for Ukrainian children

One child rescued from Mostar is unemployed

Mostar’s angel is in charge again

Although Baker forbade Billy to follow him on the battlefield, his daughter’s words were enough to force him to take action. He took out the wings of his angel from the cupboard, dusted them, and put them on his back.

However, he did not consider launching a large-scale rescue operation.

His goal was to establish a link between Ukrainian doctors and the “Save a Child | Global Pediatrics Network”. But Baker’s plans multiplied in a matter of days, reaching astonishing levels.

Save a Child, founded in 2018 by Sally Baker The Global Pediatrics Network (Save a Child | Global Pediatrics Network) is a charity that works to ensure that children injured in armed conflict have access to specialist doctors in the UK and elsewhere.

He rescued 19 orphans from Ukraine

While preparing to leave for Ukraine on 9 March, Baker became aware of the activities of the Scottish-based charity Dinipro Kids. The agency was working to rescue children at an orphanage in the town of Dinipro, the target of a Russian airstrike.

“Steven Carr, head of Dinipro Children, told me they were removing a group of children from Ukraine, but there were other orphans stranded in the country,” Baker said. In short, Mosta’s angels were needed again.

As such, Baker began preparing to take 19 orphans between the ages of 2 and 15 to Dinipro Orphanage, first in Lviv and then in England.

Lviv is located about 1,000 kilometers west of Dinipro. The children, along with their legal guardians, boarded a train. In Lviv they boarded a Baker minibus and together they crossed the Polish border and settled in a hotel in Jinin. It took them 13 hours to cover the distance of 725 kilometers as they had to wait for hours at the border.

He saw a news, his life changed ... The Angel of Mostar is now wearing his wings for Ukrainian children

In this August 4, 1998 report, Baker quotes after being released from prison: “I was interrogated at the Lipian prison near Pristina. Serbian police spat in my face. I was banned from entering Yugoslavia for 3 years.”

“All very quiet”

The initial plan was to airlift the children and their legal guardians to London and then back to Scotland on Monday. In fact, the children’s quarters here have already been prepared. However, the visit had to be postponed for a few days as it took a long time to get the necessary documents from the Ukrainian authorities.

Baker said he would travel to England with the team, adding that he knew very well how leaving his country could affect a child.

Recalling that he had witnessed such situations many times in the past, Baker said: “The children were quickly evacuated from the battlefield because they were bombed and had to say goodbye to acquaintances all their lives. They rarely spoke during the train journey. They were all very calm and hurt. “

Sally Baker was among those who carried the flag at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Each flag bearer, choreographed by renowned director Danny Boyle, was an artist, athlete, politician or activist who accomplished important tasks worldwide.

He saw the news, his life changed ... The Angel of Mostar is wearing his wings for Ukrainian children this time!

Sally Baker was among those who carried the flag at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Each flag bearer, choreographed by renowned director Danny Boyle, was an artist, athlete, politician or activist who accomplished important tasks worldwide.

Expel children from the country and return to Ukraine

Baker’s charity Save a Child has planned and paid for the trip for 19 children. “We set foot because there was a need. There was no heroic aspect of what we were doing,” Baker said.

The hardest part was the journey between Poland and Ukraine, and they were “waiting for passport control in the middle of the night,” Baker said. I am used to walking around where the bombs fell, “he said.

But the risk is always there, and Baker doubled that risk by entering Ukraine not once, but twice.

Baker, who briefly returned to Lviv from Poland last week, met with Ukrainian doctors and introduced them to Save the Child Network. Explaining the reason for his return, Baker said, “I had to return to fulfill my original purpose, the mission.”

He saw a news, his life changed ... The Angel of Mostar is now wearing his wings for Ukrainian children

The children of Dinipro Group have been able to evacuate dozens of orphans from Ukraine

Normal life continues in LVIV

“People were roaming the streets as if nothing had happened. Many shops were closed and the exterior of the building was covered with protective material. But I can’t say that Lviv has become a ghost town,” Baker said. Some cafes and shops are still open. I entered a great patisserie. “There was quite a crowd inside. Then an air raid siren sounded, but we stayed where we were because we were already down, “he said.

Mentioning that the same night, when the siren sounded in an apartment outside the city, an acquaintance from Lviv acted with the same optimism, Baker said:

“My hosts always waited in the bathroom for the danger to pass, instead of going to the bomb shelter. I would go to the bathroom with them every few hours and fall to the floor. You have to wait a couple of hours there. We waited half an hour.”

So, does Baker have any plans, now in his late 50’s, to retire and live a quiet life? Baker, who predictedly answered “no” to this question, said: “I thought about implementing an app-based pediatric telemedicine program where I could work remotely – but there are many hospitals in Ukraine that need medical equipment and need to relocate. On the other side. ” He further hinted that he might return to Ukraine in the near future.

Compiled from the news item in The Telegraph entitled “The Angel of Mostaur Returns – and Aims to Rescue Ukrainian Orphans”.

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