bosnia report
New Series No: 37-38 January - March 2004
He would not let us become brutalized
by Senad HadĹžifejzovic

I used not to think much of him as a politician. He seemed to me too slow for the prewar dynamic, too defensive in relation to the brutes in Zagreb and Belgrade, too confused in his statements on whether the war would happen or not, too unconvincing in his explanation of why the war had to be fought. We would lie if we said that at the time we did not wish for a more decisive and radical president. We did not see that, in fact, we ourselves were like him. We too did not believe that so much evil could befall us. We thought that war was what happened to other people; that the world would not allow it in any case; that it needed two to fight a war.

[However], in 1993 after each interview with him, after the cameras were switched off, I would remain talking to him. I would ask him a good many things directly, about all that interested me, and he answered all my questions sincerely.

History will judge Izetbegović as a person, but not quickly. After all, Tito died twenty-three years ago and we still cannot decide what kind of person he was. But here is my testimony for the future: On the night of the day when the Old Bridge was destroyed, some of our 'heroes' made a plan and collected dynamite to destroy the Sarajevo cathedral. He stopped this with a decisiveness that was quite astonishing. I offer this in gratitude that he did not allow some of 'us' to become like some of 'them'.

Extract from a longer tribute by B-H’s best known TV news presenter


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