Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood by Barbara Demick
I remember the events of Sarajevo, but if I ever knew the causes, I had forgotten them. Barbara Demick, at the time a young foreign correspondent living and reporting from Sarajevo throughout its civil war, beautifully captures both the spirit of the people of Sarajevo and the nightmare they endured.
For centuries a city where religions coexisted peacefully (30% of marriages were of mixed religious backgrounds), fashionable and affluent Sarajevo became a war zone when Serbian nationalists besieged it in an attempt to expand Serbian territory.
Demick's reporting and book focused on the residents of Logavina Street, located in a predominantly but far from exclusively Muslim neighborhood. On Logavina lived imams, doctors, hairdressers, members of the Croatian military, orphans, etc. A microcosm of the residents of the city, rich and not, Muslim, Serb, Croatian, neighbors who before the war had seen their differences as minimal and were shocked that anyone would use religion as an impetus for war. Not in Sarajevo. Not their home.
The horrors of the war, the deaths, the deprivations, the dignity of those who endure - these are easy to remember, but they are not the most important lessons. We need to learn that no place is immune to such violence, that the hatred of even a small minority can destroy peace, that radicalism arises not from true religion but from avarice and lust for power.