Local lilacs for sale in the Markale market, where in February, two months before, 68 people had been killed and over 200 wounded in a shelling.
December had been so demoralizing, heading into the second winter with memories of the first, and with all hopes
for a "resolution" before the cold weather hit crushed.
Men were unearthing the stumps of trees chopped down the winter before — but the lilac bushes and trees
had been spared, because the wood did not burn well. Or so I have been told.
The shelling increased too (by the U.N.'s count) and steadily escalated until the Markale disaster of early February.
Then came the Phony Peace: Less shelling and shooting, for a while. And an open road into the city.
So April was rather different. The city was still a very dangerous and depressing prison, but the supply
of food and fuel was better, and some hope for a resolution again was in the air.
And the trams were running, which made life easier for older people especially. And the sun was out —
and the sun brought out the lilacs, which in my memory shine as the prime symbol of Sarajevo in the spring.
I have been told that these are Nada Mehmedbašić (left) and an aunt of Alma Mušanović.
The variety of colors was new to my eyes. White. Lavender. And the rich purple the medico here carries, walking side by
side with a soldier, so casually past the street corner where our century of world war began.
This was "my" room in the home of Minka and Hazim Prolić, where I have always stayed. A great privilege it has been.
Hazim at the Eternal Flame, first lit in the late 40s, where Tito Boulevard begins and ends its circle
about the Viennese Center and Ottoman Market — together, the heart of the city.
Alexander Dubcek's memoir had finally been published in 1993, a modest but very moving book that I had
finished just before departing in November the first time for Bosnia. Dubcek's title spoke of 1968 —
the Prague Spring and its fall — but also of the spring of 1994 in Sarajevo: Hope Dies Last.
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