Bosnia and Herzegovina Photo Essay!
A United Nations map of the former republics of Yugoslavia. 1993
A United Nations sign at the Sarajevo airport. Bosnia 1994
A cow in the destruction of Vukovar. Croatia 1991
A Bosnian soldier awaits orders. Bihac Region 1995
A Bosnian girl in the hospital. Sarajevo 1993
Serbs prepare to defend their village. Croatia 1991
A Croatian soldier on the offensive. Croatia 1991
Bosnians gather water. Sarajevo 1994
Bosnian prisoners. Trnopolje, Bosnia 1992
A Serb refugee. Croatia 1991
It began quietly with stories of the past. Sometimes they would speak of World War II, sometimes the 14th century. They would say "My father was killed by... My great-grandfather was tortured by... My grandmother, may she rest in peace, suffered in her village at the hands of..." They were stories often told by drinking men clutching old photos and conjuring up either real or imagined past glories. When "they" were in control, god and destiny were both on their side. Others were evil, out to destroy their goodness. "Look at these symbols that show how great we once were. In the past our flags flew high and proud. They were proof of a great nation that once existed and will exist again." Every side thought that their time would come again and that now was that time; for destiny to be fulfilled. The flags of the past are the seeds of the future.
Sarajevo is unified. Bosnia 1996
Residents of Sarajevo hold the last peace march before the beginning of the war. Bosnia 1992
Policeman's funeral. Croatia 1991
Rally for Presidential elections. Sarajevo 1996
Serbian paramilitary take over a mosque during the first battle for Bosnia. Bilijenia 1992
Serb kids at a Presidential rally. Pale 1996
Serbs at a Presidential rally. Pale 1996
Bosnian military funeral. Bosnia 1995
Yugoslavian Federal Troops after victory. Belgrade Highway.1991
Serb irregular forces burn the Croatian flag as a city falls. Croatia 1991
A Bosnian solider drags a Serbian flag back to headquarters after battle. Bihac Region 1995
It was only time that forced people to realize that what they were living through wasn't going to end. No one was going to help. Everyone had to defend themselves. From city to village, farm to factory, survival at any cost become the way of life. Water, food, and shelter were the only things that mattered. How they were acquired often depended on fate of location: Were you facing north, or south? On a hill, or in a valley? Was the water well near, or was it far? Were these destinations militarily expedient or not? A casual walk, after all, quickly became a run of desperation. Furthermore, homes for generations disappeared in the blink of an eye. A strong wall one day was often gone the next. The easy visit to a neighbor across the street frequently tested both will and faith. Tunnels connected houses, streets grew fabric overhangs to protect from snipers... Seasons passed through people without pleasure. Adaptation became the norm, a sign of pride. Everyone said we have survived the worst the other side can give.
A circus poster lies outside a house in Serb held Sarajevo. Grbavica 1996
Croatian National Guard looks for infiltrators on the Danube. Croatia 1991
Sarajevo woman runs past sniper barricade on the way from work. Bosnia 1993
Pregnant woman at hospital. Bosnia 1995
Kids play in Sarajevo. Bosnia 1995
Kids play soldier. Sarajevo 1994
Man crosses bridge in Sarajevo. Bosnia 1994
Bosnians wait to cross the street, behind armoured car, for protection from snipers. Sarajevo 1995
The remains of an ethnically cleansed Muslim village by Croatians. Central Bosnia 1993
United States forces arrive. Croatian/Bosnian border 1995.
A man walks home. Sarajevo 1993
To define a "soldier" here was, at the very least, a challenge. There were professionals and there were amateurs. There were people defending their homes, and there were people taking homes away. Organized armies fought; and small bands of drunken, cruel people fought as well. Some would only fight against a true soldier and others less noble would fight only the helpless and defenseless. Political objectives were likely overcome by personal objectives-revenge and greed being atop the list of the latter. Soldiers once friends were now enemies, yet the uniforms were almost identical and the guns the same. Their main unifying trait, however, was their manner of speaking when discussing the obvious justification of their actions. Whatever atrocities occurred were committed for their respective country, and its future. Through the act of war they would make sure that those that were different would be pushed out. One way or another.
A Serbian father and son. Croatia 1991
Croatian fighter fires against Muslims forces. Mostar 1993
A Serbian husband and wife defend their backyard against Croatian forces. Okucani 1991
Serbian paramilitary forces conquer a Croatian city. Croatia 1991
Serbian forces conquer a Croatian city. Croatia 1991
Serbian paramiltary leader Arkan and his Tiger unit. Croatia 1991
Muslim and Croatian prisoners of war. Manjaca 1992
Muslim and Croatian prisoners of war. Trnopolje 1992
Wounded Croatian National Guardsman during first battle for Croatia. Tenja 1991
Serbian paramilitary forces move into position during the first battle for Bosnia. Bilijenia 1992
Bosnian forces on the front lines around Sarajevo. Bosnia 1994
Each death led to another. Once someone's father was killed, it needed to be avenged by the son or the brother or the friend... Funerals became welcome settings for these reprisals as therein walked or stood prime targets for snipers. Burials were forced into the night for safety. As a consequence of the fighting, bodies would lie on the ground for days. Sports stadiums soon became graveyards with the growth of the slaughter. Civilians that stayed behind frequently paid the price with their lives, but more often they had been the intended targets all along. The numbers of dead were staggering. Yet they were numbers rendered meaningless outside their use as propaganda. "We killed more than you" or "We didn't kill that many civilians" or "You are killing your own people to sway world opinion." Everyone said the same things. The only concrete reality was that people were being slaughtered.
Croatian victims of shelling await burial. Croatia 1991
A child cries at his father's funeral. Croatia 1991
Lion's cemetery. Sarajevo 1993
The skull of a man from Srebrencia. Serb held Bosnia 1996
A Bosnian soldier at a funeral. Tuzla 1992
Autopsy center in Vukovar. Croatia 1991
Serb soldier says stop near bodies of victims from Srebrenica. Serb held Bosnia. 1996
Croatian bodies from an exchange with Bosnians await burial. Central Bosnia 1993
A Bosnian woman grieves at her husband's grave. Bihac 1995
A wounded Croatian soldier. Croatia 1991
A Serbian paramilitary commando with the bodies of just executed Muslim civilians during the first battle in Bosnia. Bilijenia 1992
Their life was best often expressed in a gesture or a look. The fear, passion, desperation, love, and most often, the hate, touched everyone at one time or another. Initially most were surprised, then frightened, and then angered. After a while these feelings turned optimistically to expectation, leading to hope, which we all need to go on. Frustration was then, thereafter, felt by everyone. The saddest feeling was the resignation, the belief that people no longer cared. Sometimes hope would return, but only to be quickly broken. The belief the war would end began to fade. Years passed, each side broken once more so than the other.
Serbs kiss to celebrate their victory in Vukovar. Croatia 1991
Bosnians are frightened as Serb snipers open fire on a peace march. Sarajevo 1992
Residents of Sarajevo duck sniper fire during a peace march. Sarajevo 1992
A woman is frightened as Serb snipers open fire on a peace march. Sarajevo 1992
A Serb resident of serb-held Sarajevo screams as her building burns. Grbavica 1996
Serbs celebrate before leaving Serb held Sarajevo prior to unification. Grbavica 1996
Bosnians cry in fear as Serb commandos take over the town. Bosnia 1992
A Muslim begs for his life as he is taken prisoner by Serb fighters in the first battle of the Bosnian war. Bilijenia 1992
Serbs celebrate a prisoner release. Bosnia 1992
A survivor from Srebrenica cries out against the inaction of the United Nations. Tuzla 1995
A Serb soldier celebrates the fall of Vukovar. Croatia 1991
In war there are many ways to defeat your enemies. The simplest is to kill them. When this is too difficult, one option is to destroy what they have. Turn their homes, schools, places of worship and art into rubble. To cause so much destruction that people will lose their will to survive. The sanctuary of their home is lost. The comfort of being able to recognize their town is taken away. Once the security of shelter is taken away your enemy becomes much weaker. Their moral begins to fall as they see their family living among the ruins. However each day that a person survives living among the ruins is a victory. They say to each other, "We shall win..."
Destroyed traffic sign. Croatia 1991
Harvest. Bosnia 1995
A woman looks out the window. Sarajevo 1994
Barricades set up to protect people walking on street from snipers. Sarajevo 1994
A destroyed bar and restaurant. Croatia 1991
A destroyed mosque. Bosnia 1992
A Serb man attempts to put out a fire that was set to force Serbs out of Sarajevo before reunification. Serb authorities did not want people to live under Muslim rule. Sarajevo 1996
Sniper tunnel in Serb held Sarajevo. Bosnia 1996
A Serb soldier flashes the victory sign. Croatia 1991
Destroyed cross. Croatia 1991
Muslim refugees living in a destroyed village. Croatia 1994
Ethnic cleansing--A new term for a very old practice, the applicable procedure for which appeared as follows: First, kill a few to scare the others into leaving, "frighten them with heavy footsteps" so to speak. When that fails, become more direct--Surround the village or town, bombard it mercilessly, then advance, moving over the corpses until it is all yours. Chase those that survive into the hills and surround them again. Repeat the process until all are dead, imprisoned, or forced to be among their own kind miles away. Once completed, take your people who have survived the same process and bring them to the newly liberated territory. Repopulate immediately. A new border now exists. Should it be attacked the next day in the other side's attempt to liberate, simply defend and continue to move forward.
Muslim woman, cleansed from Serb territory, arrives in a village cleansed of Serbs. Bihac Region 1995
Defeated Croatians leave Vukovar. Croatia 1991
Defeated Croatian leaves Vukovar. Croatia 1991
A refugee leaves on a bus. Bosnia 1995
Muslims expelled from Serb territory arrive to safety. Bosnia 1994
Serb man cries as Croatian forces capture the area. Kraiijna 1995
Serb woman picks up documents needed to leave as Croatian forces capture the area. Kraiijna 1995
The only survivor of his Muslim village returns home after recapturing it from Serbs. Bihac Region 1995
Survivors of Srebrenica arrive to safety after a six day walk. Tuzla 1995
Survivors of Srebrenica recount their ordeal. Tuzla 1995
Kids from Srebrenica at a United Nations camp. Tuzla 1995
The world could not, and did not, make up its mind until it was too late. A country had exploded from the inside. People watched and watched, waiting for a conclusion that was self-drawn and acceptable. When the world finally reacted, the results seemed almost comic. Troops, in some examples, were sent not to stop the fighting, but to give food to those under siege--an admirable intent; yet all they had consequently rendered was an act similar to that of fattening the cows for slaughter. Maps and treaties were hammered out while those on the ground suffered. Politicians on all sides finally had the world's attention and they didn't want to let go. Now was their chance. The outsiders wanted to end it but they didn't know how. When they finally decided to use force, most of the damage had been done. The country was gone.
A Serb woman kisses her good-byes, on the day before reunification, as a NATO soldier stands by. Grbavica, Serb-held Sarajevo. 1996
A damaged building in Sarajevo. Sarajevo 1994
A Serb woman cries as her building burns in Serb held Sarajevo. Grbavica 1996
A destroyed mosque. Central Bosnia 1993
A United Nations blue helmet. Sarajevo 1994
NATO troops move forward to enforce the Dayton Peace agreement. Bosnia 1996
A destroyed mosque. Central Bosnia 1993
Bosnian and United States soldiers share a drink on the front-line. Bosnia 1996
Serb soldiers watch their front-lines burn in accordance with the Dayton Peace plan. Brcko 1996
United States forces arrive in Bosnia. Bosnia 1995
A Serb woman burns all her socialist literature out of frustration. Sarajevo 1996
Very tuching. It's really sad what happened.
I am speechless...
That is so damn sad...
This photo always brings a tear in my eye.
Great photos by the way!
Some great pictures there. I served in Sarajevo from Apr to Nov 96 and also flew 'Maybe Airlines'. The air movers used to have a rubber stamp of a hercules 'fat albert' that they would stamp passports with as a memento of having been out there, but it was stopped as the 'brass' deemed it an unofficial stamp
I came here right now with intension to post those photos then I saw your post and said let's check his photos first,..no comment!!!LOL!!!
Isnt that some infamous muslim group? Seem to recall seeing that picture with a caption of their name
Originally Posted by Telnyashka
naw its Serb para mil. but i think ive seen that photo that has the caption...alot of photos from the balkan war i have came across are miss labeled.
Wait is it SERB paramilitary or BOSNIAN para military? Oh I see, it's Serb paramilitary
Originally Posted by Pidyon Shevuyim
Because my first thought was remembering this picture with a caption of Arkan's Tigers.
Sadness is the only word that came to my mind.
Thanks for sharing!
great pics. It looked like such a nice area before the war too from all the pics i have seen.
Since I saw pic with a doll here is another one!
Wow. Nice work, an excellent post.