October 23, 2018

Podcast from Sarajevo

This 35-minute podcast is what I would call an “audio postcard” from Sarajevo. As I make clear in the recording, I did not go to Sarajevo as part of my research – I went because friends from there had impressed upon me how beautiful it is, and so when I found some budget flights, I headed to a hostel there for the weekend. But I took my recording equipment with me, and got talking to some interesting people. I can’t do justice to the multitude of issues that arise from this recording with any kind of summary – you will have to listen to it for yourself.

This is not anything like a comprehensive history of the war or a representative sample of the people of Sarajevo – it is just a snapshot of my experiences there over one too-brief weekend. I got talking to a young man in the market who was preparing for the celebration of the Day of Youth and Tito’s birthday the following day, and got into an interesting conversation about current politics, the impact of Dayton and the UN, with a couple of former soldiers from the Bosnian Army – one of whom took me around the city and to the tunnel that was the only way to get from the occupied territory to the free territory and thus represented a lifeline for Sarajevo’s besieged citizens . . . it meant access to food, supplies – and weapons.

The first 15 minutes are effectively a “tour” of the city and an introduction to the war. The broader discussion starts after that. The podcast ends with one former soldier saying:

“We wouldn’t be angry, believe me, so much you know, if United Nations had let us have defense. We had Yugoslav Army here you know, they had weapons . . . we had nothing, they attacked us, and United Nations said . . . no stopping the embargo . . . We didn’t ask that some soldiers came here to die for our country you know. We just asked for normal human rights . . defending the family . . . the country. Somebody tried for the first time in the history of Bosnia, we had many occupators here . . . but for the first time those people tried to destroy the name of Bosnia and everything – the whole history of Bosnia . . . those people they tried to and United Nations decided we didn’t have right to defend our country . . . crazy.”

Another concludes that after Srebrenica “Bill Clinton says, ok, maybe now we can do something – and NATO strike happens on position of Serbs . . . and after a few days, NATO completely destroy ex-Yugoslav Army and we just asked ourselves why they can’t do that . . . the first year of war.”


  1. […] I read it, I thought about the former Bosnian Army soldier, Nadeem, I spent the day with in Sarajevo last month. He insisted that the Serbs attacked Sarajevo because it was an example of a functioning […]

  2. […] little like my Sarajevo podcast, this is not actually part of my research. On Thursday evening I had to go to Musanze in northern […]

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