Almost twenty years on from the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, two Dutch journalists are travelling the country seeking answers to the question, does Bosnia and Herzegovina really exist?
By Marcel van der Steen and Jade van Doornik
Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates its 20th birtday on March 3rd 2012. However, it is not necessarily a happy birthday; for 1992 also marked the start of a bloody civil war in the heart of the Balkans which left around 100,000 people dead.
Many pertinent questions remain unaswered. Does Bosnia and Herzegovina really exist? What about the people themselves? What do they think about their life in this country, about the past, the present and the future?
Most whom we have met in Sarajevo, thus far, are not interested in the country anymore, especially young students who dream of leaving and building up a new life in another part of Europe. Older people dream of better times with Tito as their Marshal.
Now, twenty years later, it is important to tell the people’s story; to find a modern image of a country that we still associate with violence and grief. And also to investigate – is there a peaceful future for this still-divided country, or is it slowly getting ready for the next war?
It is always hard to find a balance in the stories in a country with so many different stories and views on history. The only way to proceed is collect stories from ‘normal people’ – from Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Roma, Jews – from the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We are pleased to present an initial snapshot of images from this young country which still struggles with its ancient and recent past. These stories must be told.
Watching the friendly, Bosnia Herzegovina – Greece, in Kosevo Stadium
Old woman begging near the cathedral in Sarajevo
Young woman and dog sitting in front of the BBI Centar, Sarajevo
Man in a wheelchair eating an ice-cream in Ulica Marsala Tita, Sarajevo
Girls in high heels leaving the Kosevo stadium
To support this photographic journey throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, the artists have decided to collect money through crowd funding. If you are interested in supporting ‘About blood and honey’, please visit:
Marcel van der Steen is a Dutch journalist/filmmaker living in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and working as a freelance correspondent for different Dutch and Belgian media, covering the Balkans. He works for RTL, BNR, KRO, NCRV, VRT, De Morgen, Het Parool etc. To visit Marcel’s website, please click here.
Jade van Doornik is a freelance photographer/reporter, working in the Netherlands for RTV West, RTV Rijnmond, KRO Televisie etc. To visit Jade’s website, please click here.
‘About blood and honey’ is featured as part of TransConflict’s initiative, TransCulture, which aims to showcase efforts to explore and transcend inter-ethnic divisions through a variety of cultural means.