. Military Space News .

Empty chairs in Sarajevo as Bosnia marks 20 years since war
by Staff Writers
Sarajevo (AFP) April 6, 2012

Thousands of red chairs stood empty along Sarajevo's main avenue on Friday as Bosnia commemorated the 20th anniversary of the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II.

A classical orchestra was to play a concert for the 11,541 empty seats, one for each civilian killed in the city in its siege during the 1992-95 war, with Sarajevo residents asked to stop what they're doing to mark the start of the conflict.

In the morning workmen set up the seats along a length of some 800 metres (900 yards) on Sarajevo's central Marshall Tito Avenue.

Exactly twenty years ago the last hopes of thousands of Bosnians who took to the streets of Sarajevo to demand peace were shattered as Bosnian Serb snipers fired on the protest.

As the first civilian casualties of war fell, the European Community recognised Bosnia's independence from the former Yugoslavia on April 6, 1992.

In the following three and a half years the country was torn apart, divided along ethnic lines. Some 100,000 people were killed and half the population of 4.4 million fled their homes.

Many in Sarajevo live daily with the memories of the longest city siege in modern history. For 44-months Bosnia Serb troops shelled the town from the hills above and snipers shot pedestrians at random.

"I mostly recall the near continuous bombing, the snipers, the dead," 64-year-old Fuad Novalija, a craftsman in Sarajevo's old town, told AFP.

"The shells fell when we least expected them. People were killed as they queued for water or bread."

While the city's most symbolic buildings have all been restored in the years since the end of the war, Sarajevo still bears the traces of shells and bullets.

It was the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims after the fall of the UN "safe area" Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb troops that finally led to NATO intervention which forced Bosnian Serbs into retreat.

Bosnian Serb political and military leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are both facing trial for genocide before the UN war crimes court in The Hague over Srebrenica. The other main protagonists of the war have all died or have been convicted of war crimes.

Five months after the Srebrenica massacre-- the only episode of the Bosnian war to have been ruled a genocide by a UN war crimes tribunal and the UN's top court, the International Court of Justice -- the Western-imposed Dayton peace agreement ended the war.

It created a two-entity state composed of the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Bosnian Serbs' Republika Srpska. While Dayton brought peace it also cemented the ethnic divisions that still haunt the country today.

Bosnia's two semi-autonomous statelets have their own political institutions, loosely connected through an almost powerless central government.

Parking attendant Munib Kovacevic is sombre about the current situation. Bosnia is one of the poorest countries in Europe and has 40 percent unemployment. It has been unable to push through EU-sought reforms as politics are completely divided along ethnic lines.

"Reconciliation would have gone a lot better if the economy had taken off," he said.

He blamed politicians for keeping up the ethnic divisions and fanning people's fears to cling to power.

"What would become of the nationalist parties if people become friends again? They would disappear!"

Craftsman Novalija said Bosnia has been stagnating politically since the end of the war as the economic situation got worse.

"We have peace now, but that is really the only progress," he concluded bitterly.

Related Links

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet in Jordan: official
Amman (AFP) April 5, 2012
Jordan has nudged Israeli and Palestinian negotiators back to discussions on the peace process, a government official said on Thursday, adding that the two sides had met in Amman during the night. "Israeli and Palestinian officials met last night in Amman for discussions," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. He declined to give details. Foreign Minister Nasser ... read more

Israel seeks $700M from U.S. for defense

Japan deploys missile defences for N.Korea rocket

Outside View: Obama's message to Medvedev

Lockheed Martin Receives Contract To Maintain Shared Early Warning System for US Space and Missile Command

Iraq seeks killer missiles, but U.S. wary

Russia, India in hypersonic missile talks

Lockheed Martin Receives THAAD Follow-On Development Contract

Tucson site is largest Raytheon facility to receive a superior rating

AeroVironment Unveils Modular Gimbaled Sensor Payload on RQ-11B Raven Small UAV

US drone strike kills 4 militants in Pakistan: officials

US could fly spy drones from Australian territory

NASA Flight Tests New ADS-B Device on Ikhana UAS

Raytheon to Continue Supporting Coalition Forces' Information-Sharing Computer Network

Northrop Grumman Wins Contract for USAF Command and Control Modernization Program

TacSat-4 Enables Polar Region SatCom Experiment

'See Me' satellites may help ground forces

BAE, Embraer collaborate on transport jet

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Completes First Ever Polar Test Mission

First F-35 For The Netherlands Rolls Out Of F-35 Production Facility

Raytheon Awarded UK MOD Paveway IV Replenishment Contract

U.S. helping veterans, families find jobs

Russian arms smuggler gets 25 years in US prison

India's BHEL seeks more defense work

Netherlands' F-35 rolls off assembly line

US ambassador endears China with frugal habits

Communists protest NATO transit hub in Russia

US miscalculates China military growth: study

Russia denounces 'arrogant' US envoy comments

Nanoscale magnetic media diagnostics by rippling spin waves

Nanostarfruits are pure gold for research

Diatom biosensor could shine light on future nanomaterials

'Buckliball' opens new avenue in design of foldable engineering structures

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement