Bridges of Sarajevo

· people,history

How should I explain #Sarajevo, to myself or anybody else? The city is a #Babel, a bloody teardrop, a narrative intrigue, a startling incision between mountains - and here, its own Bridge of Sighs, this architectural flourish across the #Mljacka, surely one of the world’s beautiful bridges? Sarajevo formed most of us in some way, butterfly wings that clanged like tiny cymbals in June 1914 with the crack! crack! crack! of #Princip’s bullets reverberating across the 21st century, and closed in a sad hum in the dark, exhausted days of the #Dayton Agreement 81 years later. The destruction of my Czech/Jewish family began that day, and Princip’s bullets moved great waves of people across oceans and deserts, or into mass graves and concentration camps. In the 1990’s, Sarajevo splashed across our newspapers, and screamed from our TV sets. My dearest Ognjen took a rifle and defended her for four years. My darling Anja endured the percussion of grenades in her playground, and is now a forensic pathologist, reclaiming the lost from their muddy graves by reading their bones, teeth, and the secrets divulged from their carefully extracted #DNA. Tamara stumbled into the killing fields of #Srebrenica, and now quietly translates texts, and raises her two cheerful daughters. Refik devoted his life to the search for #justice where only a semblance could ever be had for the family he lost. Some of my buddies made their names here as #journalists. Marina took refuge in #Australia 🇦🇺. I was formed here, loved here, and took what I could from my years in dark and exhausted Sarajevo on to do what was, eventually, some good work. Sarajevo is the most romantic, tragic, forlornly beautiful city in #Europe, wearing her loveliness like a loose rough smock slowly being threaded again with baubles like this bridge. After 18 years, the few tantalising days I’ve spent here have been just enough to recall (again) that while we get past things, we never get over them. Life is reinvented, moves on, and new ways are found to describe things we think can’t be reinvented, or rejuvenated, because “they’ve always been this way.” But look again at the #festinalente bridge! (Make Haste Slowly). Designed by students.