I wanted to visit these two towns south east of Sarajevo after reading Lynne Jones’s Then the Shooting Started. Gorazde was under siege for most of the war. Foca saw some of the worst ethnic cleansing and atrocities. Gorazde is in the part of the country known as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Foca is in Republika Srpska or the Bosnian Serb Republic. I wanted to speak to young people in both places to see how those who grew up with the war understand it now, and how they think about the war’s end and its legacy. I wasn’t disappointed. Spent about half the day in each place (they are just 20 or 30 minutes apart by road) and heard quite a range of experience, emotion and opinion. Foca is a more tense and troubled place still and it was harder to find people willing to speak there. Here are a few photos:
Merima and Belma, Gorazde
Muslic and Muslic, Gorazde
Novak and Zeljko, Foca
Mirjana and Andrej, Foca
I learned a lot from these teenagers and 20-somethings today. You’ll hear from them in my radio pieces at some point.
The journey out and back from Sarajevo was beautiful. You’re in wilderness in no time after leaving the city and the road winds through steep gorges and into dark mountain tunnels and above swirling green rivers. Hoped to see bears and wolves but had to settle for cattle and plough horses. There were farm yards with wisteria in full bloom and at one point a valley full of silvery-blossomed trees I couldn’t identify and my translator only knew the Bosnian word for. Note to self: learn more fauna and flora before getting much older.
Tomorrow: Civil courage and Sevdah