Monday, May 9, 2011

gone but not forgotten

Sarajevo Cemetery Memorial

The Bosnian war is still fresh in the minds of locals in Sarajevo. They recall the memories as if it occurred yesterday, with vivid detail and heart-wrenching images.   It was sobering to walk down the beautiful city streets, surrounded on all sides by lightly snow covered peaks, envisioning what happened 16 years prior.

"A dead body would be lying on the ground nearly every day.  The ambulance tried picking them up as quickly as possible, but it still took a while.  After time you got used to seeing the bodies and would walk around them continuing on your way."  I sat engrossed by what the owner of the hostel where we were staying was telling us. In a way it appeared as though he disengaged himself from what had happened.  Rightfully so, as I'm sure I would too - it's the only real way to cope. But I still couldn't begin to imagine...

The day before I arrived, Jeannine visited a local museum.  It spoke of a woman who was leading someone through the post-war city of Sarajevo. When they reached the notorious Sniper Alley (a main road in the city which, during the war, was lined with sniper posts where men, women and children alike were shot at) she started sprinting until she reached the end of the road. Once she stopped she immediately turned to her companion, started laughing and said "sorry... it's a habit."

Only small reminders of what occurred now remain:  condemned buildings, Sarajevo roses (red resin filled holes left from shrapnel landing on the concrete roads where people had been killed), a memorial cemetery, and the eternal flame. Beyond that, life has moved on, but the memories of what happened are clearly never forgotten.

Sarajevo Rose

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