Ma'a salaama Jordan, Dobrodošli Sarajevo!
Balkans Dialogue 2016 has begun! Our first full day in Sarajevo started with a walking tour with the amazing Enes, tour guide from Spirit Tours - courtesy of Ms. Maja Osmanagić, our logistics/tour partner here in Bosnia. I'll share just a couple of pictures of our tour, and add more later today.
In 2 hours, after the "procession of the remains" (where the most recently identified remains of those massacred at Srebrenica are driven to their final resting place), I'm taking the students to the "White Fortress" for the best view of Sarajevo, and the best visual of how this beautiful city could so easily have been like a "sitting duck" to Bosnian Serb forces - those who created "the longest siege of a capital city in modern history, and produced the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II." (NPR, April 2012) The siege last 1,425 days (April 5, 1992 - February 29, 1996), nearly 14,000 people were killed - among these were 5,500 civilians, and among these around 1,500 children were killed.
There it is - the siege, massacres, genocide, war crimes ... the underlying history and overarching narrative, even as everyone is eager to go forward, move beyond, build a future, enjoy life. All of this is what we are learning and want to share.