20th Anniversary Of Bosnia-Hercegovina War

20th Anniversary Of Bosnia- Hercegovina WarCeremonies were held in Sarajevo to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bosnia-Hercegovina war that was responsible for the worst atrocities in Europe since World War 2. The conflict began in 1992 as part of the break-up of Yugoslavia. It was a gruesome incident which caused more than 1,00,000 people to be killed and nearly half the population was compelled to leave their homes in the four years of fighting.

Red chairs were filled on the street in Sarajevo to mark the anniversary. Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said the 11,541 empty chairs in Sarajevo are a tribute to those lost on all sides. People have been putting all kinds of stuff from flowers, school books to teddy bears and toys to symbolize the thousands of children that were killed in the siege. Sarajevans stopped what they were doing at 12:00 GMT to mark the start of the conflict. Thousands of people, overcome with emotion, walked past the chairs which stretch half a mile along central street in Sarajevo which is named after Marshal Tito, the founder of Yugoslavia. “Everyone in Sarajevo has someone’s chair, a mother, brother, friend or relative, this isn’t about 20 years ago, this is about how to avoid something like this happening again,” said Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija to the BBC.

In early 90’s for 3 years and 8 months Serbia was under siege, the Serb gunners attacked the city from the surrounding hills as the mainly Muslim population took cover. The worst brutality occurred at Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia in July ’95 when Serb forces led by Gen. Ratko Mladic, assaulted the so-called UN safe refuge and about 8000 Muslim men and boys were taken away and killed, resulting which the UN changed the mandate of its mission and allowed force to be used. The war involved the Serbs, Croats and Muslims and the country is run by a weak government with little influence on each of these communities living in different regions and their children learning 3 different versions of history. There are fears that in spite of the aid money spent on the integration efforts the ethnic division will only get deeper. The European Union’s special representative to Bosnia, Peter Sorenson, says, “During the war, trust and relations between people were simply destroyed. All of this can never be forgotten or wiped away”.

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