Friday, April 06, 2012

Bosnia - 20 years Later

April 6 marks a grim day in the lives of citizens in Bosnia. Twenty years ago, civil war erupted in this former province of Yugoslavia. In the following 3 1/2 years, over 100,000 people were killed and nearly half fled their homes. The picturesque city of Sarajevo faced a particularly brutal siege, with over 11,000 civilians losing their lives.

While living in Serbia, I visited Bosnia twice. The first time was with my housekeeper, who took me to her beloved city of Mostar. Tanja, a Bosnian Serb, showed me where her home once stood, from which she fled before it was burned by Bosnian Muslims. Other places also showed violence, drawn on ethnic/religious lines. (Read more about this on my 2006 blog post on Mostar and Nevesijne). In 2008, I visited Sarajevo (read more in my June 2008 posts) and couldn't help but be moved by the many reminders of the brutal war that took place there. The white gravestones (Muslim and Christian) dotting nearly every green plot of this hilly town was particularly poignant.

An article I read this evening wrote from a very biased view, painting the Bosnian Serbs as the sole perpetrators. Realize that all sides were guilty of terrible things during the Bosnian War, as well as the general fighting that took place in former Yugoslavia. Nor did the Bosnian War occur in isolation.

Standing on a hill high above the old town section of Sarajevo or by the former Olympics grounds, I can't help but be moved. 

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