Friday, April 6, 2012

11,541 empty chairs in Sarajevo

There are 11,541 empty red chairs in Sarajevo today. One for each victim of the city. 

Ceremonies in Sarajevo are marking 20 years since the start of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, a conflict that saw the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

The conflict began in April 1992 as part of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

About 100,000 people were killed and nearly half the population forced from their homes in four years of fighting.

People have been placing white flowers on some of the chairs as they walk alongside them.

A teddy bear, toys and schoolbooks have been placed on some of the small chairs which symbolise children killed during the four-year long siege by Serb forces.

I regret that the war happened. I am sorry for the ones who were killed. And I am sorry for all the people that lost beloved ones.

Sarajevo is only aproximately 500 kilometers away from my city. So close!

PS: I used some text from today's BBC website. I wanted to use proper English in this post. Sarajevo deserves it. 

PPS: Sarajevo is a beautiful city. You should visit it at least once in your life.


  1. This is a beautiful post.

    I distinctly remember it all unfolding 20+ years ago. When I was in Dubrovnik last year, I went to an exhibition about that time. It was obvious that pain and anger were still very near to the surface. I suspect it is the same in Sarajevo (or more so). It is all so desperately sad, and the divisions are still so strong, which is sadder still.

  2. Wow, what a picture. To see that long line of red chairs is so different than just reading the number I think. Thanks for the story.

  3. dear Mali & dear Heather,
    thank you for your comments.

    I was born in Yugoslavia (my country used to be part of it). Since this war happened only few hundred kilometers away from my home I felt close to it.

    And the saddest thing in this war was the Srebernica Genocide:
    How could this happen at the end of 20th Century, in Europe?


    The thing that it is really sad is that human race learns absolutely nothing from the mistakes of the past. There were always war throughout history. And there will be again. Parhaps not in the next few decades, but once again ... for sure.

    Looking from the perspective of an infertile woman: I am happy that my children / grandchildren / .... will not be there to suffer any war.

  4. I saw a similar picture online today... it's unimaginable, even being able to see all those empty red chairs.

  5. My heart broke for the victims...I don't like wars. :-(