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Sarajevo, Bosnia... a Tragic Lesson of How a Nation can Descend into Ethnic-Cleansing

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Sarajevo, Bosnia... a Tragic Lesson of How a Nation can Descend into Ethnic-Cleansing Sarajevo, Bosnia... a Tragic Lesson of How a Nation can Descend into Ethnic-Cleansing

Sarajevo, Bosnia... a Tragic Lesson of How a Nation can Descend into Ethnic-Cleansing

Sarajevo's old town from hotel rooftop.Crossing into Bosnia from Serbia was quite easy.  A short wait through the border crossing and we were on our way to the capital of Sarajevo.  The ride is stunning.  Coasting by beautiful rolling mountains caked with verdant green forests.  Descending into the valley almost felt like we were landing by plane.  The perspective gives you a spectacular view of the entire city.

Interestingly, Sarajevo did not feel much like a European city.  Demographically, the city is European, but religiously felt Muslim. There are plenty of women wearing hijab, but many of the tourists are from the Middle East as this is a popular destination for them.  As I entered into the old Turkish quarter, everything had a distinct Muslim texture.  Not surprising considering this part of Europe was under the Ottoman empire for centuries.  Their culture left a lasting impression on the people here.  Bosnian Muslims are commonly referred to as Bosniaks. During the days of the Ottoman empire many Turks settled the region and many of the locals converted to Islam as a result.  There was a certain privilege to convert to the winning team.  As a result, the former Yugoslavia has a very diverse social composition.  Bosniaks make up about 50%, Bosnian Serbs about 30%, and Croats about 15%.  Since the height of the Cold War, the demographic greatly shifted to a Muslim majority.  It is along these ethnic and religious division that the country descended into war in the 1990s, resulting in the Bosniak genocide by Serbian militia groups.

As a teenager in the Nineties, I remember the Bosnia war well.  At the time, I didn?t really understand what the war was about, or who was the aggressor, but it was a constant story on the news.  I remember thinking how strange it was that a decade long war was being waged in Europe.  How could this be" 
over 31,000 Muslim Bosnians went missing during the 90sLearning this country?s painful and tragic past was one of the main reasons I came to Sarajevo.  After being in Serbia, I understood why a candid conversation on this topic was not something most Serbians were not willing to have with an American tourist, as Serbians waged a war of ethnic cleansing on the Muslim population.  In Bosnia, the Bosniaks tell the stories from the war with Serbia like Jews remember the Holocaust. 
This mother's six sons were killed by Serb forces. She carried this photo with her until the day she died.
Bosniaks towns like Srebrenic were cleansed of their Muslim populations
This boy shoots an arrow into the air.  He was twenty days old when the males of the village were taken away and executed.  He was allowed to leave with his mother.A UN worker holds the hand of a Bosniak found in a mass grave

Two women pray over the remains of a man from a mass grave.  They come in search of any evid...
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Sarajevo, Bosnia... a Tragic Lesson of How a Nation can Descend into Ethnic-Cleansing Sarajevo, Bosnia... a Tragic Lesson of How a Nation can Descend into Ethnic-Cleansing


Source of news: World Kanno Travel Blog
Source of publication: 05-11-2017 16:07
visto: 3

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