Day 57 (yesterday).
Se potessi descrivere questa città, se fossi davvero capace di spiegare, lo farei con questa foto.
C'è una Sarajevo reale e una Sarajevo riflessa.
Entrambe sono vere allo stesso modo per chi è capace di vedere.
È reale questo ponte di legno.
Sono reali quei visi che incontro ogni giorno.
I loro sguardi perduti chissà dove.
Sono reali i loro ricordi.
I loro anni.
Sì riflettono in questa Miljacka mai cresciuta.
Tutto scorre Sarajevo mia.
Qualcuno sta correndo verso casa con la sua bici, forse ha un mazzo di fiori nel cestino, forse sta andando da lei che lo aspetta alla finestra.
Non piangere oggi, che questo ragazzo ha bisogno di sentirsi forte.
Ha bisogno di te città dei ponti.
Portalo da lei.
Insegnagli a sperare.
Tu che sai farlo.
Portalo a casa.
E tieni stretta anche me.
Just 8 years after hosting the 1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo was taken hostage by a siege that lasted longer than any other siege in a capital city in modern history. Almost four years of snipers, bombs and mass genocide in other parts of the country. If my oldest son (who is now 4) were born the day the war started, he would have turned 4 years old just two months after the war finally ended. That would have been four years of first steps, first words, preschool, potty training, learning to ride a bicycle, developing his quirky and charming personality. During a war.
Over 400,000 people lived every day lives but without power. Falling asleep to rounds of ammunition outside their homes and waking up to completely decimated buildings, mosques, playgrounds, schools shopping malls and bridges. A crumbling heritage that goes back some 400 years. Ancient relics, artifacts and manuscripts treated like junk mail.
Children were born and raised during this war. People still had to eat, drink and survive using other basic necessities. I’m some cases, dozens of people were forced to live in small Eastern European apartments fit. For years. Not days. Countless made it to the final days of the war they didn’t know was ending only to be killed during last ditch efforts for militants to take the city.
13,952 people lost their lives and many of them are buried here in the middle of the former 1984 Olympic Games Soccer Field. To put names next to the numbers rehumanizes them and quickly throws you 20 years back into the future to see with new glasses how ignorance, pride, hate, evil, bigotry and countless other human propensities force history to repeat itself. Again... again... and again.
It’s hard to describe what being here has done in my soul and I know that might sound dramatic but I don’t know how to explain it. This city is alive and beautiful again but taking just a few moments to scratch beneath the surface you find there’s way too much to learn in 3 days. While the war may be over it can’t be assumed that struggle died with it. .
You can’t change the sound of an echo.
One more day here and then to Mostar.
Any idea what this is?
This is the bobsled track in Sarajevo. In 1984 this city hosted the Olympics. Just EIGHT years later the city would come under attack and remain paralyzed by a total blockade of the city and nearly 4 years of bombardment from the surrounding hillside. Today, tangible reminders of war, death & destruction are literally everywhere you look. Like this old track, however, Sarajevo is a beautiful, vibrant city that will quickly become one of the "go to" places to visit in Europe.