Hints of War

The last our Media (US) left his region, is was awful and completely “war torn.” Driving around, it is not readily evident, but as my eyes adjust to my new environment, I see more. Much of it had to be pointed out to me. Its seems that a lot of international organizations helped out with money so people could rebuild. Some places are literally like new. The post office was totally reconstructed according to the original plans.

Most buildings are just repaired. You can see where they filled in the holes. With the high unemployment rates, most folks can’t afford to complete the job though. One of the things I notice it that not so much is freshly painted or “new.” I don’t know if this is the general look of things, or if its a result of the situation.

Somethings are remarkable to me, and I hope to get photos as I settle more. There are no dryers hair, you hang your clothes out. Some buildings are still missing walls. Apartment buildings will be standing fine, but you can see into the entire 4th floor like a display or a Barbie house. People live there still, with clothes lines strung across the rooms, visable from the streets.

In Sarajevo, Jelena’s parent live on the “line.” This is the furthest the Serbs were able to get into Sarajevo. The bricks on their balcony are chipped and cracked. The metal railing has bullet holes and even one almost the size of my fist from an anti aircraft of RPG. (I can’t recall names.) I guess her mom was hanging laundry and the colors of the clothes were mistaken for the wrong flag.

I was shown the market that was shelled intentionally. It is a fair sized outdoor market. As I understand it, Jelena would have been present, if she had not been stopped by someone with a question en route.

There are areas you can see rebuilding happening, and when you drive into villages, you tend to see more shells of buildings than in the bigger cities. The buildings are sturdy as hell, and its really does take a good deal of effort to destroy one. They are thick concrete and cinderblock -built to last indefinitely. You can see rubble inside, and marks of flames but the actual shell is fine, and often an unmarred grey. The walls are often a foot or more thick.

I haven’t seen any mined areas yet, but understand they are quite common. There is a child’s playground that is ringed with them. A map of Sarajevo with a red dot for each known field appears as a city with a halo of fire. The terrain is all mountain with a few plains, and I understand the mine shift can be up to 3 meters. It will be quite a long time before people can take ready advantage of the countryside again.

Posted by Andrew     

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