Posts tagged bosnia
VEDAD IBISEVIC ACCELERATES his black Mercedes-Benz into Stuttgart traffic, almost outrunning the memory of his family crammed into an overcrowded bus, fleeing another home. His memories are always there, exerting both lift and drag. Today he is a star striker in the German Bundesliga. 

Twenty-two years ago, in a four-month period, the following things happened to him and his Bosnian family: Serb neighbors invaded his mother’s village, Pijuke, and called out familiar names on a bullhorn, promising that no one would be hurt. 

They murdered everyone who emerged. The ethnic-cleansing militia tortured and killed as many Muslims as they could find, burning down every house. 

They split his grand­father’s head open and carved a cross into the chest of a local shop owner, a man who kept chocolate in his store for children like Vedad. Eleven of the estimated 100,000 killed in the Bosnian civil war died on May 8, 1992, in a little town surrounded by rolling green hills and grazing white sheep. 

The soldiers forced 7-year-old Vedad and his family from their nearby city of Vlasenica and sent them fleeing, from Bosnia to Switzerland to St. Louis. Vedad slept in forests and buses and refugee camps. 

He hid in a hole. Soldiers burned down his father’s village, a place named Gerovi, which was where Vedad had always felt most at peace as a child. Soccer had taken hold of his imagination there, at a field next to the river, down a narrow path from the town. 

Gerovi was his favorite place in the world, and like everything else he’d known in the first eight years of his life, it was gone. His fingers curl around the steering wheel as he drives away from practice. 

He is here and he is there. When the war started, there wasn’t room in the family’s two bags for him to bring a soccer ball or for his sister to carry her new doll, though she did squeeze the doll’s shoes into their luggage. His past throws a poignant shadow onto his present, making something as emotionally insignificant as a doll’s shoes or this car, an AMG-designed, twin-turbo, 577-horsepower E63 sedan, seem like a triumph of the human spirit. He once fled a war in a bus, and now his feet rest on stainless steel racing pedals. 

The distance between these things can be dizzying. An old Bosnian love song plays on his stereo. The music reminds him of home, which reminds him of the goal he scored against Lithuania last year, which sent his nation to its first World Cup. 

"People from other countries," he says, "they don’t understand. To them, it’s just another soccer game and the goal I scored is just a goal. But it’s not just a goal. I think the people who know me and know my family members, they have the same feeling. It’s not just a goal. It’s much more than that. It’s the whole story." 

Nothing can stay buried - Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Vedad Ibisevic returns to homeland

VEDAD IBISEVIC ACCELERATES his black Mercedes-Benz into Stuttgart traffic, almost outrunning the memory of his family crammed into an overcrowded bus, fleeing another home. His memories are always there, exerting both lift and drag. Today he is a star striker in the German Bundesliga.

Twenty-two years ago, in a four-month period, the following things happened to him and his Bosnian family: Serb neighbors invaded his mother’s village, Pijuke, and called out familiar names on a bullhorn, promising that no one would be hurt.

They murdered everyone who emerged. The ethnic-cleansing militia tortured and killed as many Muslims as they could find, burning down every house.

They split his grand­father’s head open and carved a cross into the chest of a local shop owner, a man who kept chocolate in his store for children like Vedad. Eleven of the estimated 100,000 killed in the Bosnian civil war died on May 8, 1992, in a little town surrounded by rolling green hills and grazing white sheep.

The soldiers forced 7-year-old Vedad and his family from their nearby city of Vlasenica and sent them fleeing, from Bosnia to Switzerland to St. Louis. Vedad slept in forests and buses and refugee camps.

He hid in a hole. Soldiers burned down his father’s village, a place named Gerovi, which was where Vedad had always felt most at peace as a child. Soccer had taken hold of his imagination there, at a field next to the river, down a narrow path from the town.

Gerovi was his favorite place in the world, and like everything else he’d known in the first eight years of his life, it was gone. His fingers curl around the steering wheel as he drives away from practice.

He is here and he is there. When the war started, there wasn’t room in the family’s two bags for him to bring a soccer ball or for his sister to carry her new doll, though she did squeeze the doll’s shoes into their luggage. His past throws a poignant shadow onto his present, making something as emotionally insignificant as a doll’s shoes or this car, an AMG-designed, twin-turbo, 577-horsepower E63 sedan, seem like a triumph of the human spirit. He once fled a war in a bus, and now his feet rest on stainless steel racing pedals.

The distance between these things can be dizzying. An old Bosnian love song plays on his stereo. The music reminds him of home, which reminds him of the goal he scored against Lithuania last year, which sent his nation to its first World Cup.

"People from other countries," he says, "they don’t understand. To them, it’s just another soccer game and the goal I scored is just a goal. But it’s not just a goal. I think the people who know me and know my family members, they have the same feeling. It’s not just a goal. It’s much more than that. It’s the whole story."

Nothing can stay buried - Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Vedad Ibisevic returns to homeland

Almost 20 years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995), site of Europe’s worst genocide since World War II, the echoes of the conflict still haunt the country’s land. Bosnia’s resilient citizens are still slowly rebuilding their infrastructure with reminders of the war all around. 

The remains of massacred Bosnian Muslims are found daily and buried in the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery—over 500 bodies were found and buried in 2012 alone. Serbians occupy Muslim towns annexed during the war. 

The current unemployment rate is estimated at 45 percent. The war largely succeeded in separating the country’s three main people, Serbs, Croats and Muslims, and the peace accords cemented those divisions into law. 

Today, Bosnia’s children are growing up more isolated from neighboring ethnic groups than their parents were. The majority of Bosnian schools have been segregated according to ethnicity. 

The country itself operates under the guidance of three different presidents, each representing the three different ethnicities: Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs. But there are signs of progress. This past winter Bosnia’s youth took to the streets in protest. 

Not against each other or other ethnic groups, but to demand a better life, more jobs and less government corruption. Forged by a common past and dreaming of a better future, the country’s youth might be the solution for change and unity in Bosnia. Except where noted, photos were taken during the month of November 2012. 

Photo Essay: 20 Years Later, Bosnia and Herzegovina Still Show War’s Wounds

Almost 20 years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995), site of Europe’s worst genocide since World War II, the echoes of the conflict still haunt the country’s land. Bosnia’s resilient citizens are still slowly rebuilding their infrastructure with reminders of the war all around.

The remains of massacred Bosnian Muslims are found daily and buried in the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery—over 500 bodies were found and buried in 2012 alone. Serbians occupy Muslim towns annexed during the war.

The current unemployment rate is estimated at 45 percent. The war largely succeeded in separating the country’s three main people, Serbs, Croats and Muslims, and the peace accords cemented those divisions into law.

Today, Bosnia’s children are growing up more isolated from neighboring ethnic groups than their parents were. The majority of Bosnian schools have been segregated according to ethnicity.

The country itself operates under the guidance of three different presidents, each representing the three different ethnicities: Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs. But there are signs of progress. This past winter Bosnia’s youth took to the streets in protest.

Not against each other or other ethnic groups, but to demand a better life, more jobs and less government corruption. Forged by a common past and dreaming of a better future, the country’s youth might be the solution for change and unity in Bosnia. Except where noted, photos were taken during the month of November 2012.

Photo Essay: 20 Years Later, Bosnia and Herzegovina Still Show War’s Wounds

Inside Angelina Jolie’s campaign for justice for the survivors of Bosnia’s mass rapes
Edina, a Bosnian who lives near Srebrenica, was only 15 when she was captured along with a relative as they were foraging for food. Her family had fled to a forest. She was held for weeks and raped by five men. She says she survived because as it was happening, “I felt like I was someone else watching what was happening to me.”
In the two decades since those events, Edina has tried to rebuild her life. Today, she is a mother, but she has the air of a broken woman. She sits on a bench in the Srebrenica Memorial and chats with visitors—including Angelina Jolie—with dulled emotions. Although Edina testified in The Hague in 2005, none of the men who raped her have been brought to justice. She says that her rapists walk free—and are living not far from where she now lives.
"I know who they are," she tells Newsweek. "I found them on the Internet on Facebook."
Jolie, the actress and director, has returned to Bosnia with British Foreign Secretary William Hague to promote their partnership directed at preventing sexual violence in conflict. Rape during wartime is often treated as a lesser war crime, and their initiative is an attempt to galvanize political will to uphold international standards of justice.

Inside Angelina Jolie’s campaign for justice for the survivors of Bosnia’s mass rapes

Edina, a Bosnian who lives near Srebrenica, was only 15 when she was captured along with a relative as they were foraging for food. Her family had fled to a forest. She was held for weeks and raped by five men. She says she survived because as it was happening, “I felt like I was someone else watching what was happening to me.”

In the two decades since those events, Edina has tried to rebuild her life. Today, she is a mother, but she has the air of a broken woman. She sits on a bench in the Srebrenica Memorial and chats with visitors—including Angelina Jolie—with dulled emotions. Although Edina testified in The Hague in 2005, none of the men who raped her have been brought to justice. She says that her rapists walk free—and are living not far from where she now lives.

"I know who they are," she tells Newsweek. "I found them on the Internet on Facebook."

Jolie, the actress and director, has returned to Bosnia with British Foreign Secretary William Hague to promote their partnership directed at preventing sexual violence in conflict. Rape during wartime is often treated as a lesser war crime, and their initiative is an attempt to galvanize political will to uphold international standards of justice.

Photographer Peter Turnley’s photographs of the Bosnia war are striking. This one is from December, 1994, capturing two kids in Turanj, Croatia finding joy amongst the ruins.

Photographer Peter Turnley’s photographs of the Bosnia war are striking. This one is from December, 1994, capturing two kids in Turanj, Croatia finding joy amongst the ruins.