This is the city of Sarajevo. It is the largest city in the area and the national capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has an estimated population of 291,422. It can be found in the Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, and it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps along the Miljacka River.
One of the biggest fears that the characters of The Cellist of Sarajevo faced was snipers. How there was no way to tell if they were there or aimed to kill. They just had to pray that they survived each day that they lived in Sarajevo, and the picture shows that they were everywhere in Sarajevo.
This article, “He Survived a City's Snipers. It Took a Book to Wound the Cellist of Sarajevo” talks about Vedran Smailovic, the real cellist of Sarajevo while he was in Sarajevo and what he has done now that he is free from the war. While in the city the cellist did play for the 22 people that were killed, but the book did fictionalize it a bit. The bombing occurred at 10 am and he did not play at 4 o’clock every day because he did not want to be targeted by the snipers. Now that he is out of Sarajevo, he is living in a small attic loft, playing chess and the cello. He does not want the fame that he has been given, but feels like the book has brought him back into the spotlight. And when it comes to the book, he is horrified that it was written, especially without his permission, and is threatening to burn his cello in an act of protest unless he receives an apology and compensation.
Sarajevo was a city that was ravaged by war, but in spite of that it has maintained its multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan character. The city is full of wide roads, colorful trains, pink, beige and blue painted Austro-Hungarian buildings. You can also find Mosques, Churches, Synagogues and Cathedrals all in the same area. And in between all of that you can see the ruined buildings and shrapnel peppered walls from the war. In that war “Serbian nationalism had threatened to shatter the Bosnian dream”. Although not all were like that, many Serbs fought with the Bosnians against the Serbian army. And as a result from the war, many historical sites were destroyed and many people were displaced. Although Sarajevo did receive immense international aid to help them rebuild. Now a days Sarajevo protests against all forms of terrorism, their orchestra even played for people that were killed in terrorist attacks in Washington. They were the same orchestra that during the war, performed the Requiem to protest the brutal siege of the capital that killed more than 10,000 residents. It took place in the rubble of the National Library, deliberately destroyed by Serb incendiary grenades early in the conflict. But, the streets of Sarajevo today resemble not only a picture of people putting on a show of finery but they also show their nation's love of life and optimism.
Lejla looks every inch the fashionable young Londoner. But she had a most inauspicious start to life two decades ago in the cauldron of Sarajevo.
Rebecca Lasek's insight:
This is an organization that was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. Its primary objectives are to protect refugees, and to help fix the problems of worldwide refugees. It works to make sure that any refugee in need can get their help to find a safe refuge from war, although they are allowed to leave at any time to go back to where they came from. They have helped tens of millions of people to find better lives, and they continue to help people to this day. They have created an emergency response system so that they may respond quicker to complex emergency situation, they seek to minimize the environmental impact of their refugee operations, make sure that they have plenty of shelter, water, education, and more to offer their refugees.
A spare and haunting, wise and beautiful novel about the endurance of the human spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim their huma...
Rebecca Lasek's insight:
The story was told from four different viewpoints. Briefly it was told from the Cellists point of view where he witnessed the shelling of the twenty-two people in the street, which prompted him to play the Adagio for twenty-two days. He is a minor character that never speaks, but in the end of the book, when he plays the last song, he cries silently and places his bow in the pile of flowers as tribute. Then there was Arrow, she was a sniper who throughout the course of the book struggles with keeping her humanity as she chooses targets to kill. She started as a special sniper, she demanded that she would be allowed to chose her own targets because she would not just shoot civilians. She ended up being assigned to the cellist and hearing him play reminded her that she wasn’t always a killer, but not long after, her commander was killed by a bomb and her whole regiment was reassigned to different units. Her new commander wanted her to kill only who she was told to and took her away from the cellist. As a result, she left the army as a fugitive and went to protect the cellist, even though she would nw be hunted down by her own people. The story was also told from the viewpoint of Dragan; he is a man that has lost the will to live as he struggles to survive being a citizen in the war stricken city. He was only trying to get the bakery but when he was trying to get there he was caught in an intersection that was targeted by a sniper. He watched people get shot at and eventually his friend Emina was shot in the arm and the man that crossed with her was killed. He found his courage and pride in his country at that intersection, as he pulled the dead man away from the view of the cameraman who was trying to get the intersection on film. Finally there is Kenan, who has lost all hope during the war. He was trying to get to the Brewery, which was the only source of water and was far away from his house. He faced a bridge that was open to any snipers, and once he was at the Brewery, he witnessed many of the people get shelled. Through his trip he learns to accept that the world is now what it is and that living in it is far better than dying.
This relates to the Cellist of Sarajevo because it shows what the city has become. The fear that people had, like the man in the photo that is barring the window so that nobody could get in and kill him, that made them extra cautious. How even stepping outside could mean getting shot or shelled.
For Sarajevo to get water to its citizens, it must give power to the Vogosca munitions factory. “The plant is believed to be capable of making 500 shells a day. These would then rain down on the city with water.” Since the Bosnians are not willing to do that the citizens line up by a pipe that crosses the city’s river to get any water, but there is not a lot and the people spend hours filling up their containers to take home. Though going home is treacherous because of the snipers that target them out on the streets. For parts of the city that doesn’t have any water, Lorries bring it from a brewery on a natural spring, to the hundreds of containers that people leave out. Sadly they need gas to run and once it ran out the Lorries stopped delivering the water. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees brought fuel for the city but was not able to get it to them because Serbians demanded half of it plus half of all future shipments and the UNHCR were not willing to help the enemy. ``They do not want to take the blame for killing Sarajevo, but they want it to commit suicide.''
The Death of Yugoslavia is a BBC documentary series first broadcast in 1995, and is also the name of a book written by Allan Little and Laura Silber that...
Rebecca Lasek's insight:
This part of the documentary tells the story of how the Serbians launched their attack on Sarajevo. The Muslims did not want to split the city of Sarajevo, but the Serbians were not giving them a choice. The Serbians did not attack Sarajevo right away, but instead focused on other Muslim occupied cities around it. It was easy for them to take the cities because of their superior weaponry and they had more military skills. The Serbians were killing any Muslims that they could find, many were killed on the spot but some were sent to concentration camps from the cities that had been their homes. They called it ethnic cleansing. The other countries sent in a peace consultant, hoping to end the constant killing. Two weeks after they arrived, the Serbians attacked Sarajevo. They attacked the central mailing building, which consequently cut out all phone lines and contact to other people. The Serb forces came from three directions to corner the people of Sarajevo, and get to the Presidency building. But Bosnian fighters were able to hold them off due to the narrow streets, and they came to a standstill.
A sixteen year old girl falls in love with a Cambodian student. A revolutionary closes the borders of a country for four years. Families,...
Rebecca Lasek's insight:
This would be the next story that I would read for this project. This story looks like a powerful book because it not only shows the traumas of war, but also the courage that the people who face it possess. And aside from the war aspect of the story it also shows how love can thrive in a world of death and despair.
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