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Bosnia marks 20 years since war broke out

By Aida Cerkez

Associated Press

Published: Friday, April 6 2012 10:20 a.m. MDT

While remembering the dead, many also cannot forget feeling that the international community had let them down during the war. All the world did was condemn the horrors in Bosnia and send food packages. What Sarajevo residents really wanted was an end to the death and destruction, the restoration of electricity, water and heating, a halt to the shelling and sniping every day.

"Those chairs are for the international community," former Bosnian vice president Ejup Ganic said. "The international community that did not help us during the war ... it is a picture of the world somehow at that time. But life goes on. We have peace without justice."

A 1995 peace agreement brokered by the U.S. ended the shooting, but its compromises left the nation ethnically divided into two ministates — one for Serbs, the other shared by Bosniaks and Croats — linked by a central government.

Ethnic mistrust is keeping the groups in Bosnia separated. Children in school are learning three different versions of history, calling their common language by three different names — Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian — and are growing isolated from each other in monoethnic enclaves.

Bosnia's leaders are still arguing about the future of the country: should it be unified or should it remain divided.

A new generation, children who were born after the war, had only one message for them on Friday.

At the end of the ceremony, they lined up among the red chairs and sang John Lennon's legendary song: "All we are saying is give peace a chance."

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