April 4, 2014 |
At a time when sectarian wars are on the rise, a fascinating exhibit at the Free Library of Philadelphia reminds us that people aren't born with these visceral hatreds, but are taught them. Called "Survival in Sarajevo: Jews, Muslims, Serbs, and Croats during the siege of Sarajevo, 1992-1995," the exhibit raises a fascinating question: Why are some people able to rise above political and media machinations that aim to instill hate? In the polyglot city of Sarajevo, few thought the sectarian violence sparked by the breakup of Yugoslavia would reach them.
June 25, 2012 |
In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, a nationalist revival swept Eastern Europe. The singular tragedy was that it found its most pernicious expressions in the places that were most ethnically diverse. The beautiful city of Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, with its intermingling of cultures, cuisines, and architecture, its mosques, Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and its synagogues was just such a place. When Yugoslavia broke apart, Serb nationalists who had dominated the military decided they wanted Bosnia for their own. For three — and-half years, from 1992 to 1995, they held the beautiful capital city of Sarajevo under siege, closing off food supplies, electricity, water, and telephone, keeping up a steady onslaught of mortar and sniper fire against the city's civilian population.
February 5, 2012 |
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Bosnia's government declared a state of emergency in its capital on Saturday after Sarajevo was paralyzed by snow, while in Rome residents dug out from the city's biggest snowfall in 26 years, which shut down the Colosseum. The weeklong cold snap - the worst in decades in Eastern Europe - has killed at least 176 people, many of them homeless, especially in countries such as Ukraine. In Rome, unusually heavy snow capped the dome of St. Peter's Basilica and the Roman Forum's ancient arches.
August 19, 2011 |
THE POSTWAR Bosnia drama "The Whistleblower" earns high marks for its humanitarian intentions and for Rachel Weisz's steely performance as an American cop-turned-peacekeeper who exposes a sex-trafficking ring. It's a movie that sanctifies rather than satisfies, though. The feature-film debut from director Larysa Kondracki is an oppressive sermon whose players are almost all wicked beyond contempt and whose hero is so saintly that an endorsement for canonization would not be out of place among the preachy text codas that conclude the movie.
February 16, 2006 |
"True generosity toward the future," Albert Camus wrote in The Rebel, "consists in giving everything to the present. " Writer, philosopher, activist, filmmaker and intellectual extraordinaire Bernard-Henri L?vy, celebrated enough in France to be widely known as BHL, has been doing that all his life. Born to affluence, and blessed with good looks and a privileged education, L?vy, now 57, might easily have taken a predictable path into elite cultural life. He could have bowed to the dogmas of his era, pontificated in paradoxical rambles, exhibited the reportorial laziness outside the library that marks too many French thinkers.
February 25, 2005 |
At 73, legendary New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard has become cinema's equivalent of an Internet blogger. He's a film essayist following no guidelines other than his own, using whatever vocabulary suits him to communicate to whomever is inclined to try to break the code. That does not include me. I find his later work to be tediously self-important and politically obvious. "Notre Musique" is a cry against war and man's inherent needs for tribalism and violence, a position that wouldn't start a good argument in a college cafeteria.
January 3, 2005 |
A Sarajevo street will be named in honor of American writer and activist Susan Sontag, who helped the city's residents during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. "The city of Sarajevo [and] its citizens express their sincere thanks to an author and a humanist who actively participated in the creation of the history of Sarajevo," a statement from Mayor Muhidin Hamamdzic said. Sontag, who died Tuesday at 71, visited Sarajevo many times and lobbied for international intervention to end the war. In '93, she helped stage a production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot at the Youth Theater.
May 12, 2002 |
Before war broke out here a decade ago, this handsome city was a small wonder behind the Iron Curtain: modern, ethnically mixed, and filled with an energy hard to find elsewhere in the plodding communist bloc countries. The Bosnian war changed all that. For more than three years, Sarajevans were forced to live in a frantic state of siege, dodging Serbian sniper bullets, mortar shells, and grenades from the surrounding hillsides. Homes and offices were reduced to rubble. About 12,000 people were killed and 60,000 wounded - a substantial toll for a city whose population then was 500,000.
April 15, 2002 |
A friend's offer of free passage to Italy seemed too good to refuse for the young Moldovan woman, hoping to visit her older sister in Rome. So two years ago, while only 16, the girl who refers to herself as "Tanya" set off from her mother's home in a small rural town for the capital of Chisinau. There a woman took Tanya by train to the Romanian city of Timisoara, near the Yugoslav border She was turned over to two young men, and passed to another two men who smuggled her to Belgrade, where she was sold in an apartment for $1,000 to a Sarajevo bar owner.
May 24, 2001 |
WHEN YOU'VE grown up hiding in your basement while artillery shells turn parts of Sarajevo to rubble, being tied 5-5, third set of an NCAA Regional tennis match is a piece of cake. Well, maybe not a piece of cake, when you're a Penn freshman facing a nationally ranked senior from Pepperdine, and you're dehydrated from the brutal Texas heat, cramping so badly you can't grip the racket. "The stuff I went through, the hard times," Sanela Kunovac recalled. "This can't be worse.