13 Nov
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Alen Maslo – Action Zero

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When a young man with a broken car finds himself in the middle of the American desert and all of a sudden he encounters two beautiful girls, that happen to be the car mechanics, it is very clear that this is a cleverly designed marketing trick.. And when to a 17-year-old and healthy boy doctors diagnose Langerhans cells histiocytosis (one of the worst forms of leukemia) and then shortly afterwards he meets one of the greatest football players of today and also receives a huge sum of money for the treatment, no matter how unlikely it seemed, it could not possibly be a marketing trick. Yet, the probability that someone gets diagnosed with this horrible disease is small, 1:1 000 000, and still the story is true to the last detail. The hero of our story has been chosen by the greatest master of drama, probably God himself, but the scenario is still written by the ordinary mortals. They did not like the plot, and decided to change it, with a twist to „a happy ending“. And what is the most important, they were doing great…

Present time, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.. Dževad Maslo, the father of the ill Alen, has been entering many medical institutions and their respective „competent institutions“, and has got actually so lost to that extent that one day he forgot where he had parked the car, and hailed a taxi, so as not to walk unnecessary. For those of you who do not know, Sarajevo taxi drivers are really a special kind. Clever city characters some time and if necessary become brave protectors, according to the widely known Sarajevo heritage.. It is, for instance, if you came to complain at the counter of some state institutions, with a difference and a fact that you will surely be listened to in a taxi, and even if they cannot help, they will refer you to the right address. So either Dževad got lucky, or taxi driver was interested in health issues, or the stories in „Brave Men“ became too insufficient for TV screens and began to spread itself mouth to mouth within mortals, eagerly waiting for miracles and cosmic justice. Anyhow, after Dževad’s confession on his seriously ill son for whom here has no cure, the taxi driver advised him with following words: „Old sport, talk to Batko, he has helped many, so I guess he’ll help you!?“

Dževad has obeyed the taxi driver, and on Friday afternoon (June 1, 2012) with his two sons, ill Alen and older Almin, has found himself in the Pink BH studio to shoot TV show „Brave Men“, which is hosted and edited by Almir Čehajić Batko. The guests in the audience were prisoners, survivors of torture and all the horrors of the last war, but the present is more difficult to them, so they have come 16 years later to fight for and demand their rights. In studio were also brave policemen, who have, from the viciously risen Miljacka, risked their own lives to save Emir Murga and Adnan Ćatić. After their testimony, the story about early passing of Nisvet Džanko followed, and then Batko introduced the three of them in the first row.  Older brother Almin Maslo somehow has managed to articulate a few lines, Alen only a few words, and Dževad did not even speak. He looked far away through the scenery, nervously breaking his fingers. Then Batko has read Alen’s letter, bravely written, with a clear boyish sense of justice and question of what is really happening and why it had to happen to him. The show that presents hard cases and stories is called „Brave Men“, but not because it speaks about the heroes of the superhuman strength or the heroes of the past war. This is about another kind of strength, the internal one, just human, without which there would be no difference between humans and non-humans, or, if you like it, between humans and animals.

Batko’s reasoning is principled, but very simple. Take courage, come to the show and explain your problem. Tell the truth, the way it is, and what happens- happens.. the people will decide on the way and how much they will help. It happens that Batko, sometimes, usually when it comes to children, diagnosed with something similar to a death sentence, almost goes insane and calls everyone, from the top to the lower levels of government… and at the same time he pleads for help and appeals to the consciousness of the humane people, or as he likes to call them- normal people, to donate money as much as they can, or to call the humanitarian numbers of OPEN NETWORK. Yet sometimes he is left speechless, stutters or hides his face with his hands. And then normal people reacted and much-needed money has been raised somehow. Just a reminder of the past shows, we have raised over 40 million dollars for the treatment of the most severe cases, over a hundred of them as beneficiaries of the OPEN NETWORK program, an NGO that Batko is leading. The truth is, sometimes the expected reaction is absent and not enough is raised, but the most difficult cases are with fatal outcome. It is especially difficult and not easy to get over when children die, as fearless Ognjen Gudelj or the green-eyed-princess Alma Hadžić, for whose treatment we have raised several hundred thousand euros, but unfortunately too late. The disease was stronger, and doctors’ reaction delayed. In the letter that Batko had read publicly in the show, Alen described his situation in detail, stating his frustration, powerless to change anything. The shooting ended somehow and the show had its broadcast tomorrow, regularly on Saturday at 3 pm. What happened in the following days has gone beyond all expectations, even beyond Batko himself and the whole OPEN NETWORK crew. In just two days, the show was viewed by 90 000 people on OPEN NETWORK’s channel on YouTube, not counting the TV viewers. Thrilled with the positive reaction, Batko decided to broadcast Alen Maslo’s story in the morning show „Strike Hard“, and also at the same time on the City Kameleon radio and on Community Radio OPEN NETWORK, that has just started broadcasting.  The journalist and editor of the show „Brave Men“, Darko Došlo, then visited the Maslos family house in Pofalići, where he encountered dozen young men, lead by Alen’s older brother Almin and shot a video about their preparation for the big humanitarian fundraising action, which will become epidemic throughout Sarajevo. On the same day (Tuesday, June 5), a key twist had happened. Namely, one of the already mentioned 90 000 online views of the show, belongs to Edin Džeko, who has immediately asked his sister Merima to get in touch with Maslos family and tell them his message that he will pay 50 000 BAM required for Alen’s treatment. Then followed tough struggle to raise the remaining amount needed for Maslo’s treatment. Batko and OPEN NETWORK in cooperation with FC Sarajevo organized „The Game of Life“ thanks to which around 35 000 BAM were raised, which provided Alen Maslo’s departure for treatment in Berlin.

Today at 3 pm the Sarajevo Airport was crowded with Alen’s friends who came to wish him luck once again. The OPEN NETWORK’s team joins these wishes with a message to Alen to come back to us healthy.

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