Saving Sarajevo: 'The start of your end also'

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TWELVE days ago the Independent published proposals for maintaining humanitarian supplies to Sarajevo. We suggested the deployment of 1,800 UN troops, mandated to use force if necessary, to secure the road from the Adriatic coast through Mostar to Sarajevo and central Bosnia. We have received messages of support from well over 3,000 readers. A selection of recent letters and a list of petitions and group signatories is published below. Messages, 60 to 100 words long, should be sent by fax to 071-415 1371 and 071-956 1739, or by letter, marking the envelope SARAJEVO, to 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

Petitions and group letters have been received from the following:

23 members of St Andrews Church, Oxshott

22 signatories from London N7

The staff of Sky magazine

53 students from the London Study Centre

10 insurance and computer professionals based in London

7 refugees from Yugoslavia living in Rome

40 employees of Independent Commodity Supplies Limited of Marlow, Bucks

28 signatories to the 'No Walls Through Sarajevo' Campaign, Berlin

14 signatories from the Ad Workshop in Leeds

16 British citizens in Geneva and adjoining areas of France

I am writing to express my thanks to you and all English people who are helping or writing about my home town, Sarajevo, and Bosnia.

It is more than people that they are killing in Sarajevo. It is your own world. They are killing the idea of open society, tolerance, the beauty of multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. We had lived together for 500 years. So, don't just watch Sarajevo dying. If Sarajevo dies Bosnia will die. And that will be the start of your end also.


It is incredible that even now Mt Igman has fallen to the Serbs, the UN has decided to take no action. The world-weary cynicism of Owen, Hurd, and the mindless prattling of Rifkind make me so angry I have to switch them off the television. And now Douglas Hurd is taking his three-week holiday.


Ambleside, Cumbria

I care for a Bosnian refugee family in Epsom. Daily I see the anguish on their faces as their country is torn apart. I write in support of your campaign. In the name of humanity, protect Sarajevo and its people.


Epsom, Surrey

A desperate 'optimism of the will' is necessary against one's 'pessimism of the intellect'.

Your proposals and Paddy Ashdown's parallel plans must be acted on and the UK should give a lead. Delays of even a few days are unforgivable; setting up an emergency version of the UN Military Committee is essential.



We feel we must add our voices to those clamouring for Bosnia to be helped. True, we are not volunteering to go over there, we are not professional soldiers. But we would plead for the arms embargo against the Muslims to be lifted and for the extra 1,800 troops to be deployed in order to get provisions and medical aid through to those left in Sarajevo.



London, N7

We support your call for action to lift the siege of Sarajevo, and to ensure that it remains an undivided city. Whatever we do now is too late, since the key battles have already been lost and won. The multi-ethnic state is dead; the ethnic cleansers have triumphed. It will be in the car bombs and aeroplane explosions of the years ahead that we will realise that Bosnia was not, as we thought, 'somewhere else'.


London, SE10

The EC states' claims of a commitment to the humanitarian effort in Bosnia have more often than not appeared to serve as an excuse for avoiding military action on behalf of Bosnia. Surely now that the utter failure of this policy of non-intervention has been demonstrated by the inadequacy of the so-called 'safe areas' and the disarray of the peace process, they must finally make a real commitment to the people of Bosnia, and use force at least to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid, by establishing a land corridor from the sea and lifting the siege of Sarajevo and the other besieged cities.


School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London

I have been slow to answer your Appeal since, while I support your idea in spirit, I fear it is incompatible with what would better serve Bosnian interests: the bombing of Serbian positions and the supply of the weapons of which the Muslims have been ignominiously deprived.


House of Lords

Last month The British Council gave me the opportunity to visit Croatia. Whilst I celebrate your campaign my celebration is tempered by a sense of shame and impotence that we in Britain have taken so long to grasp the potential of the role we can play in bringing about the end of this carnage. Let us, in what I hope are the final moments of the wars in former Yugoslavia, do much, too late.


London, W12

Whilst the military option is very much a last resort, when individual army commanders on all sides are exacting such a toll of human misery, an international taskforce becomes the only viable option to support innocent people. One of our local secondary schools is twinned with Friedrickshafen, a German town which is twinned with Sarajevo. We have a direct link to the innocent people in the bomb shelters of Sarajevo. We cannot just turn our back on them.



Barnstaple, North Devon

We are Americans living in England and are appalled at our own government's waffling and inactivity regarding the tragedy of the former Yugoslavia and commend you on your integrity and proactive position.


Oxshott, Surrey

The UN Security Council appears to have been no more effective at influencing events in ex- Yugoslavia than a prep school debating society. At best it has been repeating Lear's 'I will do such things - what they are yet I know not; but they shall be the terrors of the earth', with comparable effect.

How would members of HM Government respond if, upon being burgled, the police responded by mediating between them and the burglar? 'Come now, Minister, be reasonable, let him keep the silver, you've still got the bedstead - but if you continue with your obstreperous insistence on us doing something about it he might take that too. As for that bash on the head: given time, it is bound to heal.'


Richmond, Surrey

Stanisha Ognjanovich

Stanisha Ognjanovich's name should not have been included in the list of readers supporting our proposal for Saving Sarajevo published on 2 August. We regret the error.