Letter: Saving Sarajevo: leaders lack principle; the need for intervention becomes urgent

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have just finished working in a refugee camp in Istria, where I was part of a mixed international and Croatian/Bosnian team of volunteers organised by the Sunflower Humanitarian Group. I worked with children in the camp, particularly those in the seven to 12 age group, and got to know about 100 of them well. We organised various activities - including sports, theatre groups, music classes, English lessons and even barn dancing.

We had 'official' hours of duty, but the children were so friendly that they followed us around all the time, wanting attention and hugs. They took me to meet their families, where I was given coffee and listened to their sad accounts. Many are staying in the camp with a grandmother or an aunt - they wait anxiously for news out of Bosnia that their parents are still alive and several have no parents left. They come from all parts of Bosnia, not only Sarajevo.

We cannot begin to comprehend these people's attachment to their 'home'. They tend to build their own homes over years and with great sacrifices. When the children get married they set up home in the same house or maybe build a new house at the bottom of the garden. All these people want is to go home, regardless of whether there is still a house or a pile of rubble, but it is unlikely they will be able to do this when Bosnia is partitioned.

If only the politicians of the world could experience the horrors of this war as closely as these innocent

people.

Yours faithfully,

HELEN WILKINSON

Ljubljana,

Slovenia

1 August

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