City's youth saves its hardest words for West's inaction: The decision not to bomb the Serbs has angered Muslims, writes Emma Daly in Sarajevo

'WHY are you lieing (sic) to us' read one of three forlorn placards outside the UN headquarters in Sarajevo yesterday, 12 hours after the passing of Nato's deadline to the Bosnian Serbs. Some 15 young protesters stood on a mound of snow, surrounded by razor wire, beyond the sandbagged entrance guarded by French peace-keepers.

'We are here to protest about last night,' said Amir Telibecirevic. 'They should have been attacking the Serbs and their heavy weapons.' Instead, 'they want to split up Sarajevo'. 'We are all mixed - Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Jews - and we want to stay like that.' His friends nodded in agreement.

Mr Telibecirevic, 20, comes from Ilidza, a suburb held by the Serbs. 'We are refugees in our town,' he said angrily, adding that many friends who did not escape are dead. He lives in a grim concrete tower block in a flat that housed a Serbian family who fled to the other side 'of their own free will'. 'The man was a sniper,' Mr Telibecirevic said by way of explanation, and added, matter of factly: 'My father was killed on the front line by a sniper.'

He does not see air strikes as a deterrent but as a just punishment. 'We want the heavy weapons to be bombed because those are the weapons sending millions of shells on to our cities. But we know Boutros- Ghali (UN Secretary-General) does not want to act against the Serbs.'

Above, two Nato fighters roared by on a reconnaissance mission - but the rumble of jets cannot drown out the fact that Nato has lived down to Sarajevo's expectations.

A hand-painted poster in a darkened art gallery paraphrases an Elton John song: 'It's sad so sad, it's a sad, sad situation and it's getting more and more absurd . . . Sarajevo seems to be the hardest word.'

The poster is one of dozens reproduced in postcard form with black- market ink on black-market paper, which convey the feelings of Trio, a pair of graphic designers (the third member went to visit her boyfriend in Switzerland a month before the war and never came back).

'People think the cards are funny, but it's not sarcastic humour, they're stories about our life, the truth about our way of living, our way of thinking,' said Bojan Hadzihalilovic. 'I think that Sarajevans, 99 per cent, did not expect Nato to do anything. In that 1 per cent . . . we were afraid of the day after (and possible Serbian retaliation). But to get that satisfaction, we would be ready for anything.'

His wife, Dalida, was incredulous about the West's response to the market-place shell that killed 68 people. 'No one asked how many shells had fallen there before,' she said. 'I think about 30. I never went to the market because I expected shelling.'

Mr Hadzihalilovic said: 'We feel like convicts. Our destiny is that we will be in some kind of concentration camp. This is a fear echoed by many: perhaps the UN has stopped the butchery, but now what? The 'green line' scenario is mentioned often as a possible outcome, but for now there is a double siege, with the peace-keepers holding the inner line and the enemy holding the outer line.'

On the wall are cards commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 1984 Winter Games. On one the Olympic rings are made of barbed wire, on another of blood. A third bears the legend: 'The important thing in the Olympic Games is not taking part but winning.'

With a laugh, Mr Hadzihalilovic said: 'A friend of mine said 'I had a dream. I saw the sky above Sarajevo and I saw the planes firing rockets and I saw the explosions from the other side. And Sarajevans were lining the main street, applauding'.'

Such sentiments are widespread across the city. Outside Skenderija, an Olympic stadium now used as UN barracks, three girls were playing in the snow. Irna, an enchanting 10-year-old, seemed to be the ringleader. She wore gold earrings of fleurs-de-lis, the symbol of Bosnia, and she spoke for her people. 'I know that the UN wants to bomb the Chetniks (Serbs),' she said giggling. ' Of course I want it to too.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...