Sarajevo, there are some people who have begun to hope for the
return of tourists. Yet those who have survived the war now
face a complex gauntlet: A country needs to be rebuilt, jobs
need to be created, families need to be reunited, all under
a cloud of revenge and threats. So it's not surprising that
Bosnians view the future with confusion and cynicism.
...Now even the car pound is working and they give people
tickets--you think you must be dreaming--for speeding on this
avenue where, a few weeks ago, speed was your only chance
of survival. As if this city was just a European capital like
any other, as if it wasn't surrounded. As if, under all these
new clothes, there were no cracks in the walls. As if, deep
down, we had not blown our fuses, as my little daughter Selma
puts it, the only one with her little classmates who will
wake up from this as from a bad dream. Just like you open
wide the windows after the violence of the storms of summer."
These thoughts come from a project called "Sarajevo
Alive-Sarajevo Online," designed to connect the city's residents--through
laptop computers--with the outside world. The project, sponsored
by World Media, ran for two weeks last spring and started
up again in November. It continues to be one of the few ways
in which average Sarajevans can express themselves or even
try to track down lost family members. (For more excerpts
from Sarajevo Alive--Sarajevo Online, click to our Bulletin
Board, below. Or if you'd rather send us a message through
email, click here.)
It's estimated that almost 200,000 people--about half the
city's pre-war population--have moved out, but another 100,000
have moved in.
More than 600,000 Bosnians now live in exile,
including many children who were sent abroad when the war
began and still do not know whether their parents are alive.
Similarly, parents forced to flee ethnic cleansing campaigns
must now track down their children, who may be living in a
Bosnian orphanage or may have escaped with relatives to another
country or to a refugee camp inside Bosnia. The war stories
of Bosnia's children take many turns. To get a sense of their
lives, click on the subjects. Also, we updated this story
with a report from writer Bruce Duffy as he traveled with
American troops in Bosnia. See his report "Insde Bosnia."