The City of Sorrows “Sarajevo”

Most persons these days will recall the city of Sarajevo as the  beautiful  locale of  the 1984 Winter Olympic’s Winter Olympic games, which later became the center piece in the Bosnian wars of the early 1990’s. Those  ethnic defined  wars between  the Croatians, Serbians and Muslim Bosnians claimed over a quarter million lives.
By 1996 an uneasy peace was achieved and Bosnia – Herzegovina gained its official independence. It became the fourth new nation carved from the national body of a Yugoslavia created in 1919 as the fulfillment of 500  years  of  slavic  nationalist dreams.  However  by 1996  Sarajevo  was  a devastated and broken city of sorrows. What is far less remembered today is that for three generations of Europeans and Americans, those born before 1940, Sarajevo was indeed a city of sorrows. This was a city whose very name was as ashes in the mouth of tens of millions of Europeans. It was for them a one-word symbol of how tragedy on a profoundly human level can be twisted to evil ends and escalated beyond the power of imagination by powerful self-serving men. All of  this  and  more  because  Sarajevo was  the location of  a  single incident that ignited World War One. Here on June 28, 1914 a friendless and despised man and his publically scorned wife were killed. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie von Hohenberg were shot by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Prinzip. Two people sadly little mourned by those who knew them, but symbols of power and empire. Here the horror began. Here in the 1990’s Sarajevo reclaimed the mantel as the city of sorrows bestowed upon it  some  three  generations  before.  Sarajevo –  the  “spark”  that  ignited  the conflagration of the Great War whose fires would not be quenched until they had plunged twenty-five nations into war and consumed over twenty million lives.

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