ONTD Political

Bosnia-Hercegovina marks 20th anniversary of war

5:45 pm - 04/06/2012


Ceremonies in Sarajevo are marking 20 years since the start of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, a conflict that saw the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

The conflict began in April 1992 as part of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

About 100,000 people were killed and nearly half the population forced from their homes in four years of fighting.

Red chairs fill the street in Sarajevo where the conflict began - 11,541, one for each victim in the city.

People have been placing white flowers on some of the chairs as they walk alongside them.

A teddy bear, toys and schoolbooks have been placed on some of the small chairs which symbolise children killed during the four-year long siege by Serb forces.


Sarajevans were asked to stop what they were doing at 12:00 GMT for an hour to mark the start of the conflict.

Many have been walking past the chairs, which stretch for 800m (half a mile) along the central street in Sarajevo named after the founder of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito.

On a stage in front of the chairs, a choir with a small classical orchestra has been performing songs, many of them composed during the siege.

"Those people gave their lives for the freedom of this town. They loved this town. They were killed just because they were citizens of this town, because they were at their homes, at their schools, at their playgrounds," concert organiser Haris Pasovic is quoted as saying.

The Reuters news agency says the autonomous Serb area of the country is ignoring the anniversary of the start of the fighting.

For three years and eight months in the early 1990s, Sarajevo was a city under siege. The mainly Muslim population took cover, as Serb gunners barraged the city from the hills surrounding it.

The worst single atrocity during the war was at Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, in July 1995. Bosnian Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladic, overran what should have been a UN safe haven. About 8,000 Muslim men and boys were taken away and killed.


As a result the UN changed the mandate for its mission and allowed force to be used.

But the war in Bosnia was a three-way mix, involving Serbs, Croats and Muslims.

The European Union's special representative to Bosnia, Peter Sorenson, says that during the war, trust and relations between people were simply destroyed. All of this, ­he says, can never be forgotten or "wiped away".

The BBC's Genc Lamani says that the aspirations for a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Bosnia have not yet become a reality. Many people in Bosnia believe the war was too high a price to pay for such hopes, our correspondent says.

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4eyedblonde 6th-Apr-2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Here's some pictures of the chairs. Really powerful pictures.
belkisa 6th-Apr-2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
ia ty for posting them. I found this pictures on tumblr
the small chairs with toys symbolize the children that were killed

it looks like the red line never ends :(
4eyedblonde 6th-Apr-2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
I wonder what the idea was behind using red chairs. It's a bit odd.
belkisa 6th-Apr-2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
This particular ceremony is called Sarajevo Red Line. 11,541 empty chairs arranged in 825 rows


The 11,541 empty chairs symbolize the 11,541 victims of the war and I think they are red as a metaphor for blood. It's a memorial event with musical guests dedicated to the Sarajevo citizens killed during the 1992-96 siege. The memorial is for the victims - they are the "audience" and I read, that no one is allowed to sit on the chairs. That's why they used red chairs.
mingemonster 6th-Apr-2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
I don't know what the people who created this meant, but for me it brought to mind what other empty seats are left after those who died. School benches, dinner tables, offices...
seishin 7th-Apr-2012 02:58 am (UTC)
To symbolize blood? The last shot in the entry makes me think of a river.
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