SARAJEVO


SARAJEVO IN OORLOG, 1992-1995

Serbs, Croats and Bosnjaks lived at this cultural crossroads between West and East, each considering it their own; their presence, the relationships among them and the ethnic geography of Sarajevo had shifted the city’s turbulent history at the end of 20th century, (how could guess this?),

In 1992, when the Republic of Yugoslavia broke up, Croatia and Serbia proceeded to take as much land as they could grab, dismembering Bosnia and killing both Bosniaks and each other’s people along the way. In this period Sarajevo and Bosnia where once again placed in an intensification of a dispute... this time between Serbia and Croatia. Sarejevo was in the middle, geographically, ethnically, and politically, of a deadly game of tug-of-war. The city has been besieged for years by Bosnian Serbs who where armed by the Serb-dominated former Yugoslav army. Forced expulsion and “ethnic cleansing” have taken place in captured territories; Bosnjaks and Croats have been removed from areas under Serb control, and all of Sarajevo’s Jews were exiled by decrees.

Sarajevo experienced the longest besiege in the modern history (it sounds as Troy). More than 1000 days, 500.000 Sarajevans where desperate for food, water, and military aid including the lifting of the arms embargo against them. According to the general atmosphere at the time, “those in Sarajevo where “condemned to death, denied the right to defend themselves... and those who deprive Bosnians of the right of self-defense are accomplices in the crime.” As a survivor of a devastating shell attack once stated, “it was not [the Serbs] that did this, it was the world... This is the world’s responsibility.” Artillery shells and snipers’ bullets where the major weapons used in this aggression, killing 20,000 Sarajevans (and 200,000 Bosnians) in 3 ½ years time.

During those years Sarajevans where wondering what happened with ideals as democracy and people rights… what happened with developed western world. Do these words relay meant something or is it just a hypocrite way of saying, its out of our own courtyard. The residents of Sarajevo felt abandoned, left to die in...a war between idiots, not between Serbs and Croats and Bosnjaks. Countless times NATO has sent the Bosnian Serb forces an ultimatum: you must move all heavy guns at least 12 miles from Sarajevo or risk NATO air strikes. Time after time it proved to be a joke (so people went on with music “powered by car battery” and underground theaters). Nothing happened till September 1995, when NATO finally sent the jets. Everything was finished within few weeks.

Sarajevo, a city that boasted a 1991 population of nearly 526,000 people saw over 20,000 deaths and 50,000 injuries as a direct result of war. In addition the casualties, thousands left the city altogether – emigrating elsewhere in Europe, North America, and Australia. After four years of war, Sarajevo's population had diminished to somewhere between 400,000. Yet Sarajevans stood firm and only because of their deep believe (and a huge portion of black humor) they somehow managed to save the city’s multi-ethnic values, and its cheerful soul.

TERUG