A Little Background on Bosnia

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Living-in-the-Moment-Harun-Mehm

I will give you my own take on the history here, but this Ted Talk, by Harun Mehmedinovic, will give you a little background on Sarajevo in particular.

The Atlantic has a good photo survey of the war, although it is graphic: http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/04/20-years-since-the-bosnian-war/100278/

Just as an fyi, I work in the UNITIC towers, make sure to check out their before and after picture (#41).

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A (Brief) Tour of Sarajevo in Pictures

Feeling a bit lazy (tired, really), so I thought I would share some pictures I’ve taken in my wanderings around Sarajevo.  You’ll note I have a thing for graffiti.  More to come! 

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Grave of a Muslim (Bosniak) Soldier. 

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The Eternal Flame, dedicated to the Yugoslav soldiers who perished in WWII.  You will note, ironically, the bullet marks from the war in the 1990’s. 

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Fun graffiti, I think dedicated to a popular music group.  Cool irrespective. 

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The view from my apartment window.

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Graves that (I think) pre-date the war. 

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One of the many graveyards in the city; this one is exclusively for Bosniak soldiers. 

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Another view of the city. 

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More great graffiti. 

Until next time!

Free at last!

Finals are over, and my academic obligations have been put on hold until at least the fall!

…Ok that’s not entirely true, but I digress.

I have been in the lovely city of Sarajevo for about two weeks now, and while other obligations have kept me from exploring the city: it’s great.  The capital of BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Sarajevo is nestled in a valley.  The mountains immediately surrounding Sarajevo are lush and green, but in the distance there is a more impressive (and perhaps daunting) set that still have snow.

While everyday life in the city continues like in any other European city, the buildings are pocked with evidence of war.  Certain buildings are still abandoned, but many more have scars from shrapnel or bullets.  The rare window in abandoned buildings even still has bullet holes.  More frightening still are the landmarks in the now infamous photographs of the carnage that occurred here during the siege, like the Markale market (Google image it, but be prepared), where you can go today to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and even eggs and cheese.  The first time I passed was not surreal, but markedly disturbing: I wanted to ask how everyone could go about their every day business in a place where so many had literally been blown to pieces.

It’s because they have to, and I realize the sense of urgency I have for the world around me to stop and acknowledge the terrible things that happened here is a result of my own selfishness.  The people here have to move on, for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.  I, like everyone else, will probably eventually treat the scars of this city like a fact of everyday life and less like a reminder of the atrocities that occurred here.

I will write more on the conflict, and try to explain it to the best of my ability (I’m afraid it’s rather complicated, and I am coming away with the belief that this war in particular was comprised almost entirely of villains).  I will not, however, sugarcoat what happened here.  It was atrocious and inhuman and should not have been allowed.  I feel a need to share it because now it plays a big part of my own life, but also because it is a human history, and therefore a shared tragedy.

Until next time!