The song Diego Verdaguer couldnt release during his lifetime due

The song Diego Verdaguer couldn’t release during his lifetime due to an unexpected conflict


Arman Soldin, from Bosnia to Ukraine with a smile despite the war

Arman Soldin was a child of the war that shaped him from childhood, when he left Sarajevo in his mother’s arms, until his death on Tuesday in eastern Ukraine, a short life this journalist devoured with a smile. This 32-year-old Frenchman, praised for his humanism, professionalism and courage, just a few days ago finished his last reports, in which he recounted the violence of the fighting and the vulnerability of the invisible in the conflict against Russia. In Siwersk, he was one of thousands followed by ordinary heroes of the conflict: Oleksander, a former welder who uses his scooter to distribute bread to the elderly in this small town near Ukraine’s eastern front. He had spent part of the night with wounded Ukrainian soldiers near Bakhmuth. On May 1, he described a moment of “sheer terror” when a volley of Russian missiles fell near the Agence France-Presse (AFP) team. Panic, destruction, death. These words were associated in his time with Bosnia, his country of origin, which he left when he was one year old with his mother. On April 25, 1992, television cameras filmed his arrival at Paris’ Orly Airport with curly blond hair and a small black sweater. A hundred Bosnian mothers and their children had just landed on a French-chartered humanitarian plane, rescued from the war that was bleeding the former Yugoslav republic confronted by the Serbs and Bosnian Serbs. – “Uprooting” – “The projectiles had destroyed the stairs of our house in Sarajevo. I was able to get on the plane (…) We made the flight (sitting) on ​​the ground, with Arman in my arms,” explains Oksana Soldin, 59 years old. After six years in France, the family returned to peaceful Bosnia after a bloody war that claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people. “Sarajevo was destroyed. Arman kept asking us questions. We were the same age, but he looked older,” recalls Aldin Suljevic, his “lifelong” friend since they sat together in elementary school on September 2, 1998. They never lost touch, even when Arman left for France again in 2002 after separating from his parents. Oksana and her three children – Arman, Sven and Ena – settled in Brittany (West). “We experienced the ordeal of being uprooted. As refugees, we ended up at the bottom of the ladder,” explains Sven, 26, who saw his brother as an “invincible idol”, “the most important person in the world”. [su] Every summer, the three brothers returned to Bosnia to visit their father, Sulejman Soldin, a well-known journalist. “Arman was French, but he had Bosnia in his heart,” estimates Suljevic, for whom the conflict in his home country “weighed” his desire to cover Ukraine. “He decided to go to Ukraine because he wanted to be useful, he wanted to find out the truth,” says Oksana, a professor of philosophy and sociology. At the age of 11, Arman was acting while writing news stories in his room in Rennes (western France). At the age of 16, he released a video with harsh images on his YouTube channel entitled “Sarajevo im Krieg” (Sarajevo at War). – Passionate about football – As a teenager, Arman was a straight A student, but he was also passionate about football and played in the youth teams of Stade Rennais, a French Ligue 1 club, between 2006 and 2008. Recurrent knee injuries prevented him from moving on in life. “He was very good, he was very talented,” says his brother. After studying at universities in the UK, France and Bosnia, Arman – who spoke French, English and Italian – started his career at AFP in Rome in 2015. “The dream.” Intern,” recalls Sonia Logre, who trained him. “I wanted to do everything, see everything, know everything, with a great desire to learn in a humble way, to discover Italy with a great zest for life”, that abounds. videographer. In the same year, the AFP hired him in London, where he enjoyed life: “He goes to parties from Friday evening to Sunday”, surrounds himself with a circle of friends, reports on Brexit … but regrets “not being there”. “Long enough on the spot,” recalls his ex-girlfriend Diane Dupré. He also became UK sports correspondent for Canal+ in 2019, where his “amazing charm” means that “everyone loves him professionally and personally,” he says. David Barouh, deputy director of the chain’s sports department. Each time he returned from Ukraine and traveled via London, he resumed his live broadcasts in the Premier League days after witnessing bombings. – ‘Bright’ – As Russia invades Ukraine, Arman leaves his London comforts and volunteers to be one of AFP’s first special envoys, just as he was when Covid-19 began wreaking havoc in Italy. Dimitar Dilkoff, an AFP photographer, met Arman on February 24, 2022, the day of the invasion. “We traveled to Ukraine together,” recalls the Bulgarian, emphasizing his “radiant” character and “his desire to be the first” on the spot. Since September he has been the coordinator of the AFP camera team in Ukraine. Emmanuel Peuchot, Based in Kabul, he joined them in October. This veteran journalist was also seduced by the youngest member of the team, a “new generation reporter, a social network unto himself” and someone who basically “loved people.” In late April, the team discovered a dying hedgehog Arman rescued and brought to the house near Bakhmut where AFP envoys are staying. Days later, “Lucky” regained his freedom and became a minor celebrity on Twitter thanks to the cameraman. “This story is beautiful, but don’t forget that a bloody war is going on and millions of people are displaced. Help them donate to NGOs,” concluded Arman in one of his last messages on this social network. The cheerful man with the big round glasses had started a collaboration with a cartoonist to make a comic about Ukraine so that “people would understand what’s happening on the ground,” says his ex-girlfriend. On May 9, 2023, a Grad missile attack killed him in Khasiv Yar, near Bakhmut. Shortly before, “he was joking as usual,” Dilkoff recalls. He died “camera in hand,” abound at Peuchot.jf/tjc/es/js