Summer of 1992. I am sitting in front of the TV. No idea whatsoever of where Bosnia was. The journalist, beside a yellow building (the famous Holiday Inn), kept talking about the Siege. About the war. Bosnia must be very far away, I thought. A war, we suppose, must be always far away. In March 2011, it took me 3.5 hours to get there. Not so far away, after all.
Multicultural men will build the world
reads the statement in Trg Oslobenja, Liberation Square in Sarajevo. This was my reassuring starting point, in a moment of my life where my hope reserves ran scarily dry.
I walked almost everywhere in Sarajevo: I walked along its “Roses”, road scars filled up with light red paint to signify mortar detonations which defeated lives all around the city. I walked into the Emperor’s Mosque. “Do you want to see it inside?” said the voice. No time to ask “What do I want to see inside?”. A gentle smile, and there he was: the muezzin. Now, in front of me, stands the qiblah, to show you where the Medina is. Magnificent rugs, onto which believers kneel and hope. The minbar, the pulpit where the imam stands to deliver sermons. Then, a small door, which leads you up into the minaret. “If you come back tomorrow, I’ll get you to go up there”, says mildly the muezzin. I came back, the following day. That view, from the minaret top, those European Jerusalem’s roof tops, its smell of ćevapi, the fog playing with the Jewish Cemetery’s hilltop were rare and unprecedented.
I also went to Mostar. Looking at the “new” bridge,I understood that the most beautiful and precious human works are those which are useful to everybody. When unreplaceable works such the Bridge on the Neretva get destroyed, the whole world is at loss. Those subdued houses,That bridge reminded me also that human instinct for war cannot be explained. Nevertheless, another impulse cannot be explained: the instinct to walk across, to get closer, to see that place where I am not yet, but I will soon understand. Walking along those roads that used to link Venice to Constantinople, I understood that men pass and fade, but goodness of heart stays.
Special thanks to Skender, the terrific creator of “Sarajevo Funky Tours” who published some of my shots and who was “a lot better than a million books”:
Sarajevo Funky Tours
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