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Sarajevo Easter Greeting PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

EASTER GREETINGS FROM SARAJEVO

Our Greeting, Two Poems and Seven Images

Barry and Margaret Williamson

Easter 2007

Dear friends

Easter greetings from the resurrected heart of the Balkans. We have motorhomed here from Greece through Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia, to the ever-quickening beat of nations arising after years of occupation and oppression.

Unlike Greece or the affluent west, Sarajevo is free of chocolate Easter Eggs and Bunnies, bleeding crucifixes and dead goats rotating their scraggy flesh over hot coals. Instead, people are out in the streets, enjoying the spring sunshine where once cowardly Serbian snipers shot them down on their way to the market. 10,500 dead over 3 years, watched on television by the rest of Europe in the comfort of their own armchairs.

The 150-mile road from the Croatian border to Sarajevo initially follows the Neretva River north, cutting its divisive way through Mostar before gouging a deep gorge through snow-capped mountains. The route then climbs north-east over a 3,000-ft pass to the plateau on which Sarajevo proudly stands. Sarajevo, capital of the uneasy federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and still dependent on the armed forces of Europe for its stability.

In the last 12 months, among many other countries, we have travelled and lived in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia - fourteen countries now part of our European Home. Who rescued them from Soviet domination and brought them back to a full life? America!

Happy Easter!

Barry and Margaret

STONE ARISE!

By Vesna Parun

Written by the Croatian poet, Vesna Parun, and translated andBH7_Reconstruction.JPG sent to us by Verica Peacock, this poem was published by a Croatian newspaper to celebrate the July 2004 re-opening of the bridge over the River Neretva in Mostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina. The original Turkish bridge, built in 1566, was destroyed by Croat shelling in November 1993. On the left, the Bosnian Croat part of the city; on the right, the Muslim sector. Now the bridge symbolises, but does not create, reconnection. It is, however a source of prosperity from the tourists it attracts. 

Wake up, stone, gild the skies!

Our old bridge from ashes returns.

Neretva, river of green eyes, open them wide, stop!

This July day should be your holiday, starry balm on your wound.

Since Neretva flowed in ancient times,

it has never been known that man perishes,

stone resurrects, and a heart beats in stone.

Start swimming, swan, flower long-necked, a playful wave escort you to its source.

0h, arise, stone, from dust return!

While you were falling we knew: from the dead you would rise!

 

KNIN

By Graham Peacock

The following poem was written by Graham after driving through the Croatian town of Knin. Leaving Bosnia-Hercegovina after our Easter visit, we entered Croatia to travel down the road from Imotski through Trilj and Knin to join the motorway beyond Gracac. Dusk fell as we drove and the sky was dark with the menace of rain; in the gloom it took us some time to realise that what we were seeing was mile after mile of destroyed buildings. Little was left standing along the road and little effort had been made at reconstruction. The stuff of nightmares and, as Graham writes, quite unexpected in parallel with the nearby touristed coast.

Today I went through Knin;

Knin, a Croatian Royal town.

Ten miles before and ten miles after -

Devastation; but, in the fields

the maize still grows.

The battles of the nineties

Destroyed all the homes.

Now, just skeletal blackened walls remain

Mile after mile.

No discrimination: mansions and hovels

shattered by gunfire - burnt out shells

stand as sentinels.

Slowly, new life, in new homes is sprouting

Like the maize in the fields

Ready to ripen into new communities.

 

Here is our gallery of 8 images of destruction, remembrance and reconstruction in Sarajevo and Mostar.

 Shattered  Home

 BH1_Bosnia_Destruction.JPG

 Ruined Home still finds practical use

 BH2_Bosnia_Destruction.JPG

 The wreckage of many hopes in Sarajevo

 BH3_Bosnia_Destruction.JPG

 Muslim cemetery, one of too many in Mostar

 BH4_Bosnia_Remembrance.JPG

 Pavement memorial in Sarajevo

 BH5_Bosnia_Remembrance.JPG

 Life renewed outside Sarajevo

 BH6_Reconstruction.JPG

 The popular medieval bridge rebuilt in Mostar

 BH7_Reconstruction.JPG

 A symbol of Spring and renewed life, sent to us from friends in Romania

 Romanian_Easter_Card.jpg