Part II – On The Run From War (ft. Ranko Ristić)

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What would you do if one day your neighbor set up a roadblock outside of town, put a gun to your head, and threatened to kill your family?

Ranko Ristić came face-to-face with that very question when his home country of Yugoslavia began to fall. And he warns Americans – if it can happen to him, it can happen to YOU!

Join us for another exciting chapter in Ranko’s story!



Elaine Beck 0:11
Hi, everyone, Elaine Beck here. And this is It’s Not About Us. And we are so pleased to have you today. For those of you that were with us the last show, you’re going to know that we have a wonderful guest, who is someone who has lived through a war and losing his country and ending up in America and to become a citizen. Now, that’s the good part. And we’re so glad you’re here.

Ranko Ristić 0:41
I’m glad.

Elaine Beck 0:42
And but the horrors of war are not, as I spoke to you earlier, it’s not a movie, it’s not, you know, it’s not the every day where they just flash on the news that this is what’s happening. And in another country, Israel or wherever, because it happens all the time. Sadly, it shouldn’t, but it does. And so I have Ranko Ristic with me again. And we had a good time talking about sort of the total picture of what it was like to go from a war torn country to come to America. And now we’re gonna talk about all the stuff in between and the realities of that war. So say hello again today.

Ranko Ristić 1:35
Hi, Elaine, nice to meet you. And I’m honored to be here. And I want to also thank to your viewers, and hopefully they will learn something from today’s presentation.

Elaine Beck 1:46
Oh, that’s what I’m, yeah, you know, we do a lot of praying in this studio, and in our lives, and I am just praying that the reason that God pointed you out to me, and told me to get him to come here and do shows with me. And then you followed up so graciously, is because there’s people out there that need to hear the real reality. So can we go back in time to living in your home? You had spoke earlier about going to school having a flag on your jacket, the United States that we were allies and all that stuff? But what happened that changed everything in your country? And how did it affect you?

Ranko Ristić 2:35
Well, when people asked me, How does the war start? A lot of people think it knocks on the door. I always tell them it kicks the door. Does not. You don’t see even you don’t believe that it’s going to start right. And now going back. There were a lot of signs. We saw signs, we saw a war coming closer and closer to my city. And we still did not believe he’s gonna start.

Elaine Beck 3:01
I think that’s what they call living in denial. Yes. And having blinders on thinking that, you know, surely this can’t happen to us. Come on people. We live this every day, just in our own personal lives, where we hear somebody, you know, I’m having a heart attack, right? Well, that’ll never happen to me. And so you don’t go to the doctor similarities, but nothing like what you went through. So go on and tell us more about what happened.

Ranko Ristić 3:30
Well, I grew up in former Yugoslavia in Bosnia, central Republic, India Slavia I lived in center of Yugoslavia, right? In my city. I grew up with Croatian creations who are Catholic Christians. I’m Serbian, Orthodox Christian. And there were Muslims, right also. And in central Bosnia, Muslims were majority. So I grew up in a region where Muslims were majority. My best friends were Muslims. We grew up we had a happy childhood. Everything was great. I went to school here. Yes. Then I went to high school with the intention of going to college. I was really good student I, I really had big plans. And those plans never included leaving Yugoslavia. I always wanted to stay in my city and finish school and have a happy life. They’re just like my parents. I thought that happy lie but then I learned about the history after World War Two. That was again very similar. So I think history repeats repeats itself very often. And then on May 4 1992, my dad and I, we were driving to a village to visit my relatives. And just outside of the city, there was a roadblock With my friends from the neighborhood who had Green Berets, some unknown uniforms, they were Bosnian Muslims who created their own paramilitary unit. They pulled me and my dad out of the car or the gunpoint and I don’t know the names that I grew up with them. So these are not just people from my city they are they were my friends. They searched the car and then they told my dad, okay, go back, you can’t leave the city. So they wanted to make us like, basically prisoners in the city keep us as a as a hostage, right. And when my dad complained, a friend of mine, fire the round right above my head, and then put a rifle barrel on my on my forehead and told my dad go back, or I will kill your son. That’s when the war started for me, I was there at the mercy of this. This person, my unarmed, my dad, also unarmed. So we just went back, whatever belongings we could get into our car in like 10-15 minutes, picked up my mom and my brother and our dog. And then we were able to exit the city on the other side, barely escaping another roadblock. And never went back. So whatever my father was building for four years, he was a truck driver, very hard earned money. He lost it in a split second.

Elaine Beck 6:38
Well, you know, I’d like to interject right now, I want. I know that people are hearing this and I know some of your are definitely hanging on to every word. I know I do. But please, as you listen, be praying that God will open your eyes to see the reality of the fact that this could happen anywhere, including in the United States, the way things are going right now. And sadly, I know that most of the people do have some fear, or some concern at least about that, you know, the Bible says that we’re not to fear. And so I don’t fear death. Certainly, because I know I’m going to happen. I don’t fear many things. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not human, and that I don’t have concerns. And I’m not riddled every day with what ifs. Because we all need to be doing that right now. Because we are living with some of those things that you said, were signs that you didn’t notice. Could you point out some of those signs before we go any further with your story?

Ranko Ristić 7:51
Again, keep it personal. Because these days, whatever you hear on the media, you have to question right. So yeah, so I’m telling my own experience. I remember a couple of months before this event, when when I was with my dad held at gunpoint, we played soccer in my neighborhood, right with my Muslim and Croatian friends. I didn’t even raise the question of religion there. At least Serbs didn’t. But then I noticed the police patrol came. And only Muslim friends approached the car. And they were talking something. And then I learned that those two policemen were Muslims. So that was the first sign that I was kind of when I asked friends. What were you talking about? They said some stuff. And later those friends were on the roadblock in the uniforms. So then I learned that they at night, they had firearms, and they were patrolling. They were training also. So I was naive to believe, okay, everything’s gonna be fine, because there is this us love military and police and everything is under control. But it turns out, it was not

Elaine Beck 9:31
excuse me, but was there any signs like, you know, right now in the United States? Every day on the news, we hear things about, you know, shootings or people getting together and carrying banners and saying that they hate America or that they they hate the police or that we are we’re we Hear the bad guys, you know the same story that we talked about earlier? So was there anything like that going on? That was more obvious?

Ranko Ristić 10:07
Oh, yeah, on TV, I would daily see demonstrations, sometimes getting violent. There was some in some cases, there were shootings. With the protests for Yugoslavia against Yugoslavia. People were divided not only among religious lines, but also ideology. There were people who were atheist and did not have religion. So they were also divided, if you will, Slavia should continue to exist or not. And those demonstrations and protests remind me very much now when I see like, especially in Chicago, I live there very often protests, sometimes very violent, right, right. A few years ago. Yeah, they start burning businesses. And that happened in Yugoslavia.

Elaine Beck 11:03
so this is, this is such a significant thing to point out at this, at this point in time. That what you’re telling everyone is that you not only lived it, but now you see the same things around you. And you’re seeing the same things on TV that you did all those years ago. But in another country, that didn’t survive it. And I know for a fact that everybody out there, every Christian that watches my show, even non Christians, even people that, you know, just watch CPAC now, or they’re, in the evening, watching some of the things on YouTube, if they catch us, they need to understand that you’re either denial, or living thinking it can happen to me, or thinking that that’s only happening in town, or that’s only happening to people here or there in your country, doesn’t mean that it won’t be kicking in your door tomorrow, or that you won’t have a gun held to your head, or that you won’t be told go back, you’re not allowed to go anywhere. This is the reality that I wanted to make such a huge point with as we continue to talk. Your story is so great, that the time is passing quickly for each of these segments. But I think on this segment, I’d like you to sort of end up with sharing with everybody how, you know, this was just the beginning of this war. And you were you and your dad and your family. Were just grabbing everything they had rushing out getting through the other side of town to get out just before they put the roadblock up there. And I know everybody’s going to be on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what happened next. So tell them a little bit about where you went next. And then we’ll close till the next show.

Ranko Ristić 13:17
So went to my grandfather’s village. That’s where we had my dad’s uncles. My grandfather passed away prior to that a few years. And we stayed there hoping that this will be resolved, hoping that they will not be war.

Elaine Beck 13:38
Thinking it’s just a siege on that little on the town. And then the government are the good guys are gonna come in and save the day and boom, right?

Ranko Ristić 13:47
That’s exactly. And we did not even think about moving further. Everybody was saying, Oh, this just few weeks, and we’ll go back.

Elaine Beck 13:57
Right. And when we do that, I mean, come on people. You know, right now, I don’t know about you. But you know, I got up this morning, and thank God, I was alive. And I got ready for my day and I got my coffee and I took my dog out and I’m living this normal, everyday life. But yet I know the same as you do that out there in the world. There’s all of these things, evils, trying to penetrate our world. Let’s stay strong. Let’s stay bold. And listen to the rest of the story as we have him back on the next show, and learn more about what comes next. And it’s not easy to listen to. So God bless you. Thank you for coming to my show like you always do. And we will have more with Ranko Ristić. Next show. God bless you. I’m praying for you


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