A life of peril and fear in Sarajevo | My Paper Hub
In the book, The Bosnian List, Kenan
In the book, The Bosnian List, Kenan
Trebincevic illuminates the experience of the people during the chaos of the
war that faced Yugoslavia. The lives of the citizens of Sarajevo right from the
young children to the fathers, mothers and the elderly, they face the constant
jitters and dangers that came with the war. The book by Kenan as well as the
film titled Welcome to Sarajevo released in 1997 is classic illumination into
the horrors that came with the war. The people of Sarajevo lived a life of
peril and fear as the war waged on and beyond.
Kenan does a fantastic job at
highlighting the plight and also the events that took place during the war
further enhanced by the film directed by Michael Winterbottom. The film Welcome
to Sarajevo [played a pivotal role in enabling me to understand further the
role that the journalists played at sharing the story of the people in Sarajevo
with the world. It is the sharing of the story that was critical at beating the
lack of concern and apathy that the world had shown to the country that was
suffering in the hands of war. Michael Henderson, an ITN reporter, having
traveled to Bosnia where he meets an American journalist Jimmy Flynn that just
like he was in search of a story. To their surprise, they can witness the suffering
of the people of Sarajevo that did not receive the attention it deserved. It
took the creative reporting by Henderson who made a report on an orphanage
located in the war-hit areas with over two hundred children living in desperate
conditions to capture the attention of the UK news. The apparent ignorance of
the UK and the rest of the world to the plight of the Bosnians were more
evident watching conditions that the children and other citizens lived in
during the war yet the world remained silent about the issue.
The film further evokes empathy in its
elaboration of the way Henderson and other Aid workers worked tirelessly to
help the children. The strong bond and attachment that they formed to the
extent that Henderson convinces Nina an American Aid worker to include a
Bosnian girl into a bus set for Italy in a UN attempt to evacuate the children
in the orphanage. The passion and attachment between the characters and the
orphans are what evokes the strong empathy in the viewer. Nina goes out of her
way to engage in an illegal act of taking the orphaned child although it was
illegal. They work with Henderson to cover up the unlawful act just to keep a
promise that he had made to her to save her from the suffering.
One aspect that was compelling in the movies
is the way reporters go through so much trouble to share a story only to have
the stories not materialize to anything. In the movie, there is a scene where a
particularly graphic coverage on the massacre is removed from the most viewed
time for an item on separation of the Duke and Duchess of York. Henderson’s
producer reminds him that coverage is not about the story but the ratings which
were very saddening considering the Bosnian people needed the same people to go
out and join the campaign to save them from the graphic nature of the war. It
indicates the entertainment nature of news and information broadcasted instead
of real and authentic pieces.
The volatile nature of the war was also
an aspect that was brought out more clearly in the film than the book did.
According to the movie, there was a danger that hung on the horizon at all
times. There are instances where one is talking about a partner and the other
moment the partner is shot dead out of the blues. To further demonstrate the
grievous situation that faced the Sarajevo’s, when one of the native drivers
working with a British crew is jokingly given eggs by Goran Visnjic to nurse a
hangover, he keeps the eggs gratefully for his fellow countrymen. It was an
illustration of the need for the people to unite the people and the generous
nature of the population in the midst of adversity was very impressive.
The book and the film gave a classic
documentation of the life of the people of Sarajevo. It was an exemplary
account of how the people of Sarajevo lived a life of peril and fear as the war
waged on and beyond.
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