Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Post Yugoslavia Breakup
“The more we learn the more we
realize how little we know.” said
In response to the quote
I decided to put this quote in my presentation because
about 53% of our class have never heard of Bosnia. So
that means about 47% heard about Bosnia. So the 47%
have heard about Bosnia, many of that percent may not
know the history of their independence and from that
date. On their independence day, where they were
declared a separate country from Yugoslavia, they were
brought into war. War that they are still recovering
from today. War with massacres, a genocide, and
snipers. Now that you think about the quote, the more
you learn, the more you think about how little you
Quick Bosnian Vocabulary That
You Might Need
Sarajevo- The largest city in Bosnia and Bosnia’s
Bosniaks- Muslims that live in Bosnia.
Serbs- People who are of Serbian ethnicity; Orthodox
Croats- South Slavic people who are Catholic.
JNA- Yugoslav People’s Army
Bosnian Serb Forces/Army- Also known as Army of
RS (Republika Srpska)- Translated as a Serb republic, it
is one of two divisions in Bosnia.
What really happened to
After the death of Josip Broz Tito, the
leader of Yugoslavia until he died in 1980,
and the end of the Cold War, Yugoslavia’s
order and peace started to turn into madness
and chaos. Throughout Yugoslavia, there
were many ethnicities and they were
clashing with each other. Yugoslavia
started to break off in 1991,with Slovenia
and Croatia the first to break off.
Bosnia Breaking Off From
In February 1992, Bosnia demanded independence
from Yugoslavia, so they made a referendum. A
month later, many Bosnian Serbs boycotted to get
their independence. The turnout in the
independence referendum in February was 63.7%
and 99.4% voted for independence. Bosnia and
Herzegovina declared independence on that note.
After that many escalating tensions and military
incidents happened and open warfare began in
Sarajevo on April 6.
Start of War
It all started when a groom's father got killed at a Serb
wedding procession on the first day of the referendum,
March 1, 1992. The Bosniaks claim that this was one of a
number of political killings in the first part of that year.
On April 5 massive anti-war marches took place in the
city. The largest group of protesters went to the parliament
building. There the Serb gunmen shot at the crowd from
the Serbian Democratic Party headquarters. This killed
two people and they were considered to be the first
causalities of the war in Bosnia and the Siege of Sarajevo.
Siege of Sarajevo
The siege of Sarajevo was a fight for the city by
the Serbian Army and the Bosnian government. It
is the longest siege in modern history warfare,
lasting for nearly four years. It started April
5,1992 and lasted until February 29,1996. The
snipers, who were Serbs, pretty much took over
the city. Some of the more dangerous streets
became known as “sniper alleys” due to that they
were very dangerous. About 12,000 people were
killed and the 50,000 were wounded during the
This was a genocide taken place in
Srebrenica in 1995 that the Bosnian Serb
Army was in charge of. One part of the
genocide was the Srebrenica Massacre,
which you will learn about later on. Ratko
Mladic was the general of this army and
was in charge. Many Bosniaks died, and
only the Srebrenica Massacre has been
found an act of this genocide.
The Markale Massacres
These were two massacres by the Bosnian
Serb Army during the Siege of Sarajevo
located at the marketplace, which is the
center of Sarajevo. The first massacre
occurred on February 5, 1994. 68 people
were killed and 144 more were wounded.
The second massacre happened on August
28, 1995. In this massacre a mortar shell
killed 37 people and wounded 90 others.
The Srebenica Massacre
This massacre, which is also known as the Srebrenica
genocide, was the largest mass killing since the Holocaust
on European grounds. Under the command of General
Ratko Mladić, about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims (also known
as Bosniaks) both men and boys died that July 1995. This
happened by these events. The UN called Srebrenica a
safe place and that all Bosnian Muslims could stay. Then
on April 18,1993 the first set of the Serb army came. They
forced the Bosnian Muslims out, and separated the
genders. The men and boys would be taken to be tortured
and killed. The women went along with the Bosnian
government. There were reports that the women got raped,
tortured, beaten, or starved.
The End of the War
After NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
responded by having air strikes against the Bosnian Serb
Army after the second Markale Massacre, the international
community pressured Milosevic ( the president of Serbia at
that time who was representing Karadzic who was absent
at the meeting) and others to the negotiation table. Finally
the war ended with the Dayton Peace Agreement signed on
November 21, 1995. The final version was signed on the
14th of December in Paris. In the end there were 97,207
documented casualties, both civilians and soldiers, that
were killed in the Bosnian war. 65% of them were
Bosniaks, 25% of them were Serbs, 8% of them were
Croats, and the remaining 2% were other nationalities
around Bosnia such as Albanians or Romani people.
Today Bosnia is being repaired. Sarajevo is mostly all repaired,
but the ghost of the Bosnian War still roams the street. The
ghost isn’t the only thing that still roams freely that reminds
people of the war and the chaos and destruction caused in
Bosnia. Currently, the Bosnian government is searching for
General Ratko Mladić and former president Radovan Karadžić.
Many are upset because the Bosnian police don’t do enough to
find these murderers when they were responsible with the
genocide and war. It was said that the Serbian army hid the
General under a secret cove and treated him like a guest. He has
been considered a hero in Serbia and most people praise him. It
has now been rumored that he is either dead or has failing health
because he might have had a third stroke or he is hiding in
Russia. It is said that the former president is also hiding in
Russia. Many people want to find them, and in 2006 it was
demanded that Serbia should hand over the General. The U.S.
is giving a 5 million dollar reward for the arrest of the two.
Question Asked: Say this happened in the United
States: The President and the General made a war
between 3 ethnicities in the country. They were
the criminals of innocent destroying, massacres, a
major genocide, and many innocent civilians
dying. They ran away and were never caught.
Would you want the U.S. government, police,
and/or CIA to do everything in their power to find
these men and make them be punished for their
Also today there is a city called Mostar, which acts the
United States when we segregated the whites and blacks.
One part of Mostar is taken up by Bosniaks and the other
part is taken up by Croats. The two sections are separated
by the old bridge, which is how the city got its name ( The
bridge is called Stari Most in Bosnian, Serbian, and
Croatian). Sadly, during the war the bridge was bombed,
but they rebuilt it. The city today has two different sides of
sidewalks to walk on, even two different sports teams for
every sport. The Bosniaks and the Croats both go to
separate schools. In between the two different sections,
there is a land claimed by neither side. Like in Sarajevo,
this is the most dangerous place of the war. When a local
youth group in Mostar put up a statue of Bruce Lee, their
idol and their role model, the two groups joined together to
watch this. They still are segregated, but at least they came
to enjoy something with one another with peace.
Explanation of the Two Clips
The two clips are from the movie “ The
Peacemaker”. A Bosnian man, Dusan Gavrich, is
angry at the UN. He becomes a terrorist and
comes to bomb the UN Building in New York.
The first clip is Bosnia. It shows the Olympic sign
on the wall because Sarajevo held the 1984 winter
Olympics. Most of the remains were mostly
destroyed by the war. The second clip resembles
Sniper Alley in Sarajevo. Dusan’s daughter and
wife are killed in this event. The U.N. will not
help him, and that is why he is outraged.
Quote from Dusan Gavrich
“I am a Serb, I am a Croat, I am a Muslim. You will look at what I
have done and say, Of course - why not - they are all animals. They
have slaughtered each other for centuries. But the truth is, I'm not a
monster. I'm a human man - I'm just like you, whether you like it or
not. For years, we have tried to live together, until a war was waged on
us, on all of us: a war waged by our own leaders. And who supplied
the Serb cluster bombs, the Croatian tanks, the Muslim artillery shells
that killed our sons and daughters? It was the governments of the West
who drew the boundaries of our countries - sometimes in ink,
sometimes in blood - the blood of our people. And now you dispatch
your peacekeepers to write our destiny again. We can never accept this
peace that leaves us with nothing but pain, pain the peacemakers must
be made to feel. Their wives, their children, their houses and churches.
So now you know, now you must understand. Leave us to find our
own destiny. May God have mercy on us all. “
Explanation of the Quote
The first sentence is the three different ethnicities fighting in Bosnia.
He talks about how they never really got along. They tried to live in
peace until the war came into effect. Then he talks about the UN
supplying weapons so the three different ethnicities can fight. The
United States government put the boundaries of the ex-country of
Yugoslavia. The government wrote in documents and let the people of
Bosnia die. The government sent the UN to discover peace, but they
don’t help, they just make things worse by destroying lives and others.
Lastly, Dusan states to let them find their own peace.
He actually makes sense because its in the three ethnicities to find
peace, and not others. The UN can’t just force peace, the groups have
to find it on their own. To be a country, they must act on their own.
Of course they should have help, but don’t let other countries decide
for them. This can speak for any country in the world, such as Iraq.