Moseley Achiever Mirsad Solaković
by Gaye Key
July 10th 2018 saw the book launch of “the boy who said nothing” by Mirsad Solaković at the Bosnian Centre in Birmingham. I was unable to attend but it came as no surprise to me that the occasion was well attended by many Moseley staff including Mary Miles, Pete Anstey, Gay Hatton, Tony Thacker, Gordon Higginson, Keith Scott and Dave Hebden. There will be many more like myself, Dave Peck, Catriona Heatherington and Chris Mander, to name but a few, who would have loved to have been at the launch because it was clear to us all during Mirsad's first year at Moseley that he was a remarkable young man.
During nearly 40 years teaching at Moseley I don't recall any occasion affecting and impressing me as much as when this 13/14 year old distinctly nervous newcomer to the school, with very little English, was brought in front of the whole staff (and later to whole year groups of students) to tell us his story a child's story of fleeing conflict.
This article gives an idea of the violent and harrowing nature of Mirsad's flight from Bosnia.
What was remarkable about Mirsad was how he managed to overcome his nerves and language limitations to not only tell his tale showing incredible strength and sincerity and wisdom beyond his years but also such a positive attitude without any self-pity for what he'd been through. In the space of ten minutes he'd managed to open the eyes of the whole staff as to what it really meant to be a refugee. Mirsad's journey continued at Moseley and beyond and it is an absolute pleasure to see how much he has achieved, personally and professionally.
Mirsad's paperback book - “The boy who said nothing” (John Blake Publishing) is obtainable via Waterstones or Amazon or any good bookseller - price £8.99
“It took me longer to forgive my Dad for not helping me when I was tortured than to forgive those soldiers who tortured me”
Mirsad Solaković was both a student and later a drama teacher at Moseley School arriving in Birmingham as a refuge from Bosnia aged thirteen in 1992.
This year Mirsad self-published a book telling his story and including some of his poetry based on his experiences of the Bosnian war which raged from 1992 to 1995. His book “The Boy Who Said Nothing” has become a bestseller and is a poetic account of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian tragedy from his own devastating childhood experiences of war in the former Yugoslavia to his views of hope and peace for the future as an adult. Mirsad describes the horrific crimes which occurred during the war as well as his own mental struggle. It is also an uplifting account of just how effective good teachers can be when faced with deeply troubled pupils.
Mirsad Solaković was born into a very successful family in Kozarac in Bosnia, and was only thirteen when war broke. His family were taken to a concentration camp set up in his own school where Mirsad was tortured and tormented by his Serbian schoolteacher. He witnessed many atrocities and lost close family members, and having survived these events, was left with psychological damage. Having fled the camp, with his family he made the hazardous journey to the relative safety of Croatia, and then made the difficult decision to come to the UK as refugees.
At such a young age Mirsad was already suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and struggled to settle in England until he was encouraged by some very supportive, dedicated and sympathetic teachers at Moseley School, particularly the English as a Second Language (ESL) Department who helped to rebuild him.
Mirsad developed an interest in acting, which helped him to overcome his nightmares and flashbacks. He earned a place at Coventry University and was awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Theatre Studies and Professional Practice before training at Birmingham School of Acting. Mirsad's early acting roles centred on the Bosnian war, including playing parts as a victim of war and a soldier. Alongside his acting career he qualified as a teacher and taught at Moseley School for several years inspiring many pupils with his story.
In 2013 Mirsad appeared for the first time in a Bosnian film: Ja sam iz Krajine zemlje kestena, playing a native Northerner. He has also appeared in a Bollywood film: Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 and appeared on British TV.