Travel G-spots

MY TRAVEL DIARY: Sarajevo – that one photo @ Sarajevo History Museum

DAY 4 [29082011]

the SALAD dunn-ıt.

down and (almost) out. Over activity in the abdominal cavity.

So much for precautions; yogurt, prunes, antacids – loads of antacids. I chew them as if I am chewing on Mentos or something … only thing is I don’t chew on Mentos or something – unnecessary sugar intake. additional run on the treadmill machine. Time which I do not have.

It was the salad the night before.

We had thought Prava (not PraDa, which in any case means justice in Russian. Prava that is. Not Prada.) would serve us some food before the drinks. Prava’s kıtchen was close … so were the other neighbouring watering holes and restaurants except for this Sarajevo version of modern-day progressive snack food joint – a snack bar serving sandwiches, desserts, salads, nonalcoholic beverages and of course alcoholic drinks!

I was lured by the mozzarella cheese and rocket description. About the only two descriptions I understood other than ‘insalate‘ on the menu. convinced by the fabulous graphical depiction, I ordered it confidently without a moment of hesitation, mindful of the need to not go overboard with the calorie counts after all the cévapçıçı we had consumed earlier and the inviting panna cotta that sets teasingly in the chiller some 30 feet in front of me.

What arrived was a cottage garden patch served in a deep rectangular bowl which could have fitted an entire famıly’s casserole meal.

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

Born with sensitive stomach and prone to flatulence (ıt’s in my SUN sign charts for Pete’s sake!), the existence of at least half a head of purple cabbage freaked me out. I hate raw cabbage. I detest the purple ones especially. I don’t see a reason to have purple cabbage, much the same as yellow watermelons.

Unable to process any other thoughts, not even that of starving children in Somalia, I dutifully stuffed the ice lettuce into my mouth, the other prominent ingredient in the bowl. Some 20 minutes later it was brought to my attention that the vegetable patch than somehow made its way onto my plate did not have any rocket!!! Needless to say, regardless of my little comprehension, I am convince the salad failed to have the ‘promısed’ tomatoes, olives and onions as accompanions too … ıf not part of the main ingredients … notwıthstandıng my lack of comprehension.

“Darn the food photographer!”   I curse silently under my breath.

Nursing a blotted stomach with contents churning in the roughest of sea storms, I boarded the plane … leavıng Sarajevo behind with many mixed emotions … but the lone image of a black and white photograph at the Sarajevo History Museum sticks in my head many, many hours later; “What on earth was she thinking?”, I wondered. Running across the street and skillfully avoiding the tram tracks with a baby in her arms while avoiding snipers in heels??!??

Sarajevo Museum

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved – this photo is taken on a sly  from the Sarajevo History Museum

 I suppose there is nothing normal about Sarajevo – ın my books at least.

That photo redefines SANITY for me.

It pretty much explains everything including half a raw cabbage head for salad. It made sense why they had consumed a hell lot of dandelıon and poison nettle that was sold at a premium in the market square during the 1992-1995 seize.

But more importantly that photo places Sarajevo as THE fashion capital of the world – serıously!
Look, I am not being sarcastic or insensitive. Though seriously think about it … who in the sane mind wears heels while dodging sippers 2 years after the war has started?

In many ways that photo made more impact on me personally that any of Ron Havıv’s beıng displayed. Than any of the photos (published and unpublished) of Sarajevo being under seize that I had seen. And with that I just had to search the web for any more such photos and believe it or not, there are!

ABOUT THE SEIZE (for those that are too young then!)

Sarajevo survived the longest siege of a city in modern history – from April of 1992 until December of 1995. What it means by that is: Serb forces were formed from the army that was once the Yugoslav National Army (JNA), surrounded the city and camped in places like this (the old Jewish cemetary) overlooking the city from neighbouring mountains (Sarajevo it in a valley) with tanks, artillery, shells etc. that once belonged to all Yugoslavs citizens for protection. As a result of the seize:

11,000 people killed in Sarajevo from 1992-1995
50,000 civilians wounded in the war
10,000 Sarajevans permanently disabled (many missing limbs)
1,600 children under the age of 14 killed in Sarajevo
1,067 members of the Bosnian army (of all ethnic and religious groups) killed


FACT #1: Anyone old enough then would remember the iconic yellow building in the center of Sarajevo and in the center of all that was happening; i.e. it housed all the foreign journalists covering the seize, and more importantly it is located on a street ctalled “snipers alley” where Serb snipers would shoot civillians like clay pigeons as they hurried along. Often the first person is intentionally wounded only, to allow them the opportunity to kill more people who came to the assistance of the wounded person. The Holiday Inn was also “affectionately” called the “sunny-side up egg” by the snipers due to it’s appearance in the depths of the Bosnia winter.

pHaque Sarajevo Graves 02

Film photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved – one of the many mass graves in Sarajevo with the Holiday Inn at the rear end

pHaque Sarajevo Graves

Film photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved – the old Jewish cemetery in which the Serb snipers shot from, taking cover from the tomb stones. This old Jewish cemetery is on a hill facing the Holiday Inn and Sarajevo city

pHaque Sarajevo Graves 01

Film photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved – more mass graves in small patches of land between houses. 

FACT #2 The Bosnian army was formed to react to this Serbian aggression on June 15, 1992; 2 months after the siege had begun with the city well surrounded by then. To make matters worse, the Bosnian army had only 1 tank!

FACT #3 The Sarajevo Tunnel was constructed by the Bosnian Army in order to link the city of Sarajevo, which was entirely cut-off by Serbian forces, with the Bosnian-held territory on the other side of the Sarajevo Airport, an area controlled by the United Nations. The tunnel linked the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Dobrinja and Butmir, allowing food, war supplies, and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and people to get out. Being one of the major ways of bypassing the international arms embargo and providing the city defenders with weaponry, the tunnel was curiously “manned” by amongst others an elderly lady who devotedly provided fresh clean water daily to those who made it through without event.

FACT #4 Playgrounds, football fields or parks are void in Sarajevo; having been transformed to cemeteries during the Bosnian War.

FACT #5 During the Bosnian War, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra again suffered disruption for the second time (first being WWII). During the Siege of Sarajevo, seven members of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra were killed and twelve were wounded. The archive of musical scores was damaged and many instruments were destroyed, damaged or lost. During the war, however, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra continued its work and performed 60 concerts, 20 of them abroad. The rehearsals were performed in hard winter conditions, in basements, and without heating and only by candlelight. The Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra performed on June 19, 1994 amongst the ruins of Sarajevo City Hall. Mozart‘s Requiem was performed, and maestro Zubin Mehta conducted the concert with soloistsJosé CarrerasRuggero RaimondiCecilia Gasdia and Ildikó Komlósi.

FACT #6 Although the Philharmonic Orchestra continued to play; providing hope and defiance for defeat, the National Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina is facing threat of closure due to political funding crisis; possibly losing the collective memory of Bosnians.

Sarajevo Museum 00

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved – “stained glass” window of the Sarajevo History Museum


Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

Clockwise LEFT to RIGHT: 

(1) Posters published during the 1992-1995 Seize, (2) Samples of the many photos published in the media (Ron Haviv’s bottom one) being exhibited, (3) Close-up of a smurf rubberized toy with “UN” on the dinning table, (4) re-enactment of a typical Sarajevo ‘safe’ house by UNHCR, (5) two diary entries of survivors of the 1992-1995 Seize in memorial of the lost of loved ones.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 512 other followers

Follow Travel G-spots on
%d bloggers like this: