The atrocities of the siege of Sarajevo have left scars still visible today. For instant in the form of bullet holes covering facades. Certainly, there are also less visible scars that have remained, as one easily feels when talking to people about the conflict that ravaged the Balkans.
Many of the walking tours do in fact shed light on the Bosnian-Herzegovinian perspective of the conflict. As a foreigner, I feel that it must be near to impossible to make out and agree upon how things started in detail. There are many issues too severe still for people from different parts of the former Yugoslavia to agree upon.
I feel that it is typical for conflicts, even the ones we experience interpersonally. While some situations are clear cut, this is not usually the case. The more individuals are involved in the more complex and confusing the search for “reasons” and “beginnings” seem to get.
I wonder if the search for historical “fact” is possible in an absolute sense at all? Maybe the people of the conflict-ridden nations have to live with different interpretations. All sides have their share of pain, and possibly also their share of guilt. Some seek to blame outside forces, such as the EU and the USA, or the World Bank.
One wonders though, how it was so seemingly “easy” for the people of this region in the 90s to sacrifice their common heritage, language, and history to nationalism and hatred? That question remains relevant also today, in 2019 of course, in many parts of the planet. One thing seems obvious when looking at the various regions of conflict all over the world, the search for explanations is not what secures a peaceful future.
When stepping out of the shadows of conflict, pain, and desperation, Sarajevo is a modern city, with modern struggles, flashy nightlife, some beautiful neighborhoods, and everything that a capital city should offer. It reminds me a bit of places like Switzerland, due to it lying in a valley with steep mountains surrounding it.
For now, it does look, as if this religiously diverse place has managed something through history that will remain a challenge for many places in Europe, i.e. the peaceful coexistence of people with various different backgrounds. While many scars still demand healing, people seem to have comprehended that conflict is not the path to a prosperous future.
A realization that one would wish also the leaders of the so-called free world would share.