Sarajevo’s main street was empty of traffic yesterday, save for 11,541 stationary red chairs. Row after row of chairs lined the street – each one commemorating a man, woman or child killed in the longest siege of modern history.
The day marked the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Bosnian war. During that war the city was besieged for an astonishing 46 months. Almost four hundred thousand people were left without electricity, water, heating and often food for almost four years.
Twenty years on and the citizens of this city commemorate their dead in a simple yet remarkable way. The color of the chairs is reminiscent of the blood which ran in to Sarajevo’s gutters in the 1990s. Yet the thousands of lives lost to shells and sniper fire will never be forgotten by the city’s people.