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Bosnia's Future

Bosnia's Future

Issue 91 April 2012

Despite the conflict ending over fifteen years ago, children from different communities around Bosnia hardly ever interact with each other. Ali Khimji meets the founder of an innovative project that uses art to bring them together.

Most Mira, which means Bridge of Peace, was founded in 2006 after Kemal Pervanic made several trips to Bosnia and became increasingly alarmed at the deep tensions and animosities that existed between the young people of different communities. Kemal had grown up in Bosnia, but lived in a multicultural society where he attended school with Serb children, had teachers from a range of backgrounds, and his mother was close to their Christian neighbours. “This togetherness lasted until the former Yugoslavia started experiencing severe financial hardship, food shortages, and unemployment,” he says. “This enabled some opportunists to declare that we could no longer live together, because we were too ‘different’… and the rest is history.”
During the war, Kemal was detained in the Omarska concentration camp for two and a half months, and was guarded by the same people who used to be his neighbours, classmates, teachers, and local police officers. After three British journalists had exposed the horrors of the camp to the world, Kemal was moved to another camp and then relocated to England. He has written a book called The Killing Days about his experiences in Bosnia.
Read more. 

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