Red chairs are displayed along a main street in Sarajevo as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war on April 6, 2012. Some 100,000 people died and 2 million people were forced from their homes as Bosnia gave the lexicon of war the term “ethnic cleansing”. Slow-motion intervention eventually brought peace, but at the cost of ethnic segregation.
In a blood-red symbol of loss, empty chairs stretched 800 meters down the central Sarajevo street named after socialist Yugoslavia’s creator and ruler for 35 years, Josip Broz Tito.
Smaller chairs represented the more than 600 children killed in the 43-month siege by Serb forces that held the hilltops. Thousands of people gathered for a concert in remembrance with a choir of 750 Sarajevo schoolchildren.
Queuing for water or shopping at the market during the siege, Sarajevans were picked off by snipers and random shelling. Running out of burial places, many of the bodies were interred beneath a hillside football pitch.
On Thursday, cellist Vedran Smailovic, who became an icon of artistic defiance when he played on a central Sarajevo street as the city was shelled, played again for the first time in his hometown since he left in 1993 as part of an exodus of thousands. [via]
[Credit : Dado Ruvic/Reuters]