February 8, 1993
Sarajevo was once a living symbol for Yugoslavs who wanted to see tolerance triumph over divisive ethnic nationalism. Before the fighting began, more than 40 percent of Sarajevo's population was linked together by marriage across ethnic lines. Serbs, Croats and Muslims were mixed within the same families. Sarajevans identified themselves as Yugoslavs, not as members of a single ethnic tribe. No more. The pluralistic principles Sarajevo embodied have been shattered by the mortars that pummel its citizens every day. And to its shame, the West has simply stood by - and watched.
November 20, 2000 |
Why did Franz Ferdinand go to Sarajevo on June 28, 1914? His uncle, Franz Josef, head of the Austro-Hungarian empire, thought it was a bad idea. The mayor of Sarajevo and the head of the Bosnian army said: Stay home. He was crazy to go. His uncle's empire ruled Yugoslavia, where unrest was stroked on by the terrorist group terrifyingly nicknamed The Black Hand. June 28 was Vidovdan, celebration of the Turkish defeat of the Serbs at the Field of Blackbirds in 1386. Serbs celebrate that pulverizing defeat as an emblem of their defiant persistence.
September 19, 1995 |
There is a pleasant whiff of peacetime when you step inside the newly opened Benetton. Italian rock and roll piped through the stereo. Immaculately folded sweatshirts in bright Easter egg colors. Crisp new blue jeans. Designer lamps and, yes, even electricity to switch them on. But peace remains so far just a tantalizing illusion, a promise for the future. Step outside the Benetton onto Marsala Tita Street - Sarajevo's main drag - and you see the crumbling facades of shell-pocked buildings.
July 5, 1992 |
Camil Bakovic, a 48-year-old plumber, was resting in his hospital bed, examining the stump of his arm at the spot where his left hand had been blown off by a Serbian mortar shell just three days before. "I was thinking about how my arm was quite long and how I could still work with it," Bakovic said yesterday. At that moment last month, a phosphorus-coated tracer bullet came blazing through the wall of his hospital room and smashed into his left arm just below the elbow joint, lodging in the bone.
March 6, 1994 |
In the bomb shelter on Logavina Street, they keep a book next to the bed to interpret their dreams. Often, though, their dreams are easy enough to figure out. Mirza Kapic, 13, often dreams he is back at his family farm in northern Bosnia, swimming in the river. He dreams about shooting the Bosnian Serbs who chased all the Muslims out of his home in northern Bosnia. His cousin, Delila Lacevic, 19, has recurring flashbacks about the day last year when her parents were decapitated by a shell as the family fetched water.
February 8, 1994
Could the horrific scenes from the Sarajevo market bombing - the bloodied, severed bodies of those who died, the pain and hysteria of those who survived - actually jolt the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and the American public into action? Perhaps that is what the Bosnian Muslims had in mind, if one believes the Serbian theory that they did it to themselves. Twisted though it might sound, self-inflicted wounds have happened before in the complicated war in the former Yugoslavia - accidentally or intentionally.
June 22, 1996 |
If the Ayatollah Khomeini were alive today, he would surely disapprove. A portrait of the Islamic revolutionary scowls out from behind the glass storefront of the Iranian Cultural Center at a typical Sarajevo street scene. Teenage girls stroll by nonchalantly in the fluorescent, body-hugging minidresses that are the fashion du jour this summer. Street vendors brazenly sell beer on the sidewalk - not six feet from the stern eyes of the ayatollah. The Iranian Cultural Center opened this month on Sarajevo's main drag with a debut exhibit titled "Ayatollah Khomeini: Sunshine of the Islamic Revolution.
February 6, 1994 |
In the deadliest attack of Bosnia's 22-month-old war, an artillery shell exploded yesterday in Sarajevo's downtown market, killing at least 66 people and injuring more than 200. The shell was apparently fired by Serbian nationalists besieging the city. The attack came on an unseasonably warm and seductively peaceful day that had lured thousands out of doors. A single 120mm shell, lobbed with deadly accuracy, landed in the middle of the open-air market at 12:10 p.m., during the busiest shopping hour of the week.
August 23, 1993
United Nations officials in Sarajevo are insisting that the siege of the city is over. And they are touting a U.N.-brokered accord reached in Geneva that will put Sarajevo under U.N. protection for two years. But - funniest thing - Sarajevans still think they are under siege. Why? Well, Serb troops still surround the city, though the threat of NATO air strikes has gotten them off two key mountaintops they stormed after they signed an earlier U.N. cease-fire. Food, water and fuel are still being let in only sporadically, at the Serbs' pleasure.
January 10, 1995 |
Amir Goro lies in a private hospital room on the Rive Gauche, sipping Evian water and flipping between a soccer match and cartoons on a color television. It is the ultimate in culture shock for the 14-year-old, newly arrived from Sarajevo. Having lived for nearly three years without heat, electricity or running water, Amir is positively wallowing in the creature comforts of late 20th-century civilization. "Je m'appelle Amir," he announced proudly in nearly unaccented French - the result of just one hour with a tutor.