Welcome to Bosnia, its children and their play. Last month, as war abated, hope soared and sieges were raised, the photographer Dario Mitidieri arrived to find that for little boys there was still only one game. It was the one they learned from the only life they had known. It may be a long time before they are calm enough to learn another Children like the two above waiting by a rubble skip in Mostar, where the narrow streets for so long resounded deafeningly to the sound of war, are only just beginning to experience quiet. As for peace of mind, how long will that take?
Saturday 09 December 1995
But that does not mean that the good times can begin. The level of trauma is profound, as yet imponderably so. The boy on the previous page was in an orphanage in Mostar, the two children awaiting their turn at the standpipe were in Goradze. They have all had experiences that will not be easily erased or come to terms with.
The state of siege of Bosnian cities and enclaves meant that organisations devoted to helping these children worked in total frustration. Unicef, for instance, was first of all concerned with nutrition, then education - in the schools in some towns even paper was a luxury. As for text books, they were few and far between. As the world knows, it was often not possible to get through to give food to the malnourished, let alone solace to the mind. What was always clear was that the business of rehabilitation - what they call psycho-social work - was going to be of the essence: these children had to be retrieved from their trauma. Now perhaps care-workers have the opportunity to embark upon it. Children, like the two above left waiting by a rubble skip in Mostar, where the narrow streets for so long resounded deafeningly to the sound of war, are only just beginning to experience quiet. As for peace of mind, how long will that take? The boy crossing the bridge is in Gorazde and the bridge is one built underneath the main bridge which was too exposed to sniper fire. Children could run through it; adults oftenbanged their heads. The group of little boys, also in Goradze, make an extraordinarily convincing tableau of military men. What Unicef and all the other care organisations in Bosnia are now embarking on is the crucial business of making them feel that not every man is a man with a gun
Life & Style blogs
McDonald’s launches clothing line using Big Mac prints
Facebook to test 747-sized drones that will beam broadband to the entire world
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and the girls need support, say experts
Chair-bound workers 'should move around every hour to reduce physical and mental health risks'
American Apparel gets another ad banned by advertising watchdog for sexualising children
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...
£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...