TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Down but not out in Sarajevo

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
If Sarajevo is still just a name in a news bulletin for many, then Bill Tribe's SARAJEVO DIARY (9pm C4) should help bring the city alive - even as it dies, not that Tribe would have any truck with such talk: 'Sarajevo may be destroyed, but it's not dead, because Sarajevo is its people.' Tribe is an Englishman by birth, a citizen of Sarajevo by choice. He's been there for 26 years, latterly as an interpreter for the Bosnian president, and his passion for the place, and against its enemies, is immense. He's already met Radovan Karadzic (when he was still a pyschiatrist, Karadzic treated Tribe for depression), but if he met him again, he would 'tear him apart with my bare hands'. Last year Tribe came back to Britain to help settle his pregnant daughter, not returning to Bosnia until just after Christmas. Video camera in hand, he found a snowbound city full of shortages but packed with a resilient spirit and the sort of generosity you only find in adversity. His ex-wife shows him the shrapnel she has collected in her 18th-floor flat, and a mixed Muslim-Serb couple point out that there are 50,000 Serbs in the city resisting the onslaught of their 'compatriots'. The camera captures footage of people being shot, of mass burials, and of the ex-library - destroyed because it contained records of the city's multi-cultural population. Sarajevo is a city where people might as well fill in their census forms: nationality - lampshade; religion - bedspread. It's the sort of sanity that makes you want to hear the roar of Nato jets overhead.

(Photograph omitted)