Osmic lay in the morgue, his body awkwardly placed on the stretcher, his face waxen and covered in blood, awaiting the arrival of his family. He wore the standard workman's uniform, blue overalls and black boots, over jeans, a checked shirt and a brown sweater. He wore a pink woolly hat and thick gloves against the cold, and carried a canvas bag containing his lunch - a hunk of bread.
After nearly 10,000 deaths in Sarajevo, his stands out only because it came during the unnatural calm hanging over the city since the truce that followed Nato's threat to bomb Serbian positions in the hills above. Despite the occasional burst of gunfire, the snowy streets are full of people walking, cycling, or driving calmly about their business, even along 'Sniper's Alley' and the dangerous crossroads where you can see the hills and they can see you. People look pale and thin; still, they don't behave like victims but like Europeans in any wintry city: women in furs or good coats and fur hats, a man sledging down a road with his son, children throwing snowballs at UN armoured cars.
In spite of the hardships and the horror, and the fact that even now a sniper's bullet or an enemy shell could strike at any moment, people seem determined to live as normal a life as possible.
At present, there is a fairly good supply of water and electricity in much of the city - that is, most people have them at some time, if only for a few hours. Local telephone lines are working, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has exceeded its aid target for the past three weeks, supplying a basic ration of 649g a day that includes bread, beans and meat - enough, UNHCR says, for at least one good meal a day.
But there is no hiding the visible scars: the apartment blocks that stand as blackened shells, the shattered buildings without roofs or doors or windows, the houses that are merely scarred by bullets and the odd gaping hole and in which people still live, windows replaced by plastic sheeting courtesy of UNHCR. Barricades have been built by the UN in some of the most exposed areas, as if a fastidious giant had tidied parked cars into a neat pile.
Snow blankets the worst of the rubble, so that walking around in the centre you can see what a beautiful city old Sarajevo was, ringed by hills that must once have cheered the city with lovely views but which now promise only danger. In the narrow streets tiny mosques with tall minarets nestle among brownstone houses, with the main mosque a stone's throw from the Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals. A few shops have re-opened, selling lipstick for 7 German marks (pounds 2.80) or hand-embroidered slippers for 75 marks. On the corner is an Islamic stall, where a man sells copies of the Koran, a book called Genocide and Islam and copies of two Muslim newspapers printed in Sarajevo when newsprint and electricity supplies allow. For a moment, it seems like any city.
But at Zetra stadium, site of the 1984 Winter Olympics, Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, is visiting the hall where Torvill and Dean danced to Ravel's Bolero for a gold medal. The roof has been destroyed, and the ice rink is now a car park for UN trucks and armour.
Mr Samaranch was the second casualty of the day: he hit his head climbing out of an armoured car and drew blood. He said he had come to 'tell them that (the people of Sarajevo) they are not alone'. But neither his words nor those of Nato have yet brought lasting peace.Reuse content