"90 days at a time" Top 5 Page for this destination Bosnia and Herzegovina by american_tourister

Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel Guide: 3,449 reviews and 9,222 photos

or... Better than Baghdad!

Hvala na poseti! Nadam se da uzivate na mojoj stranici!

I was working on an assignment in Bosnia for most of 2002 and 2003 before I went to Iraq. I have a lot of fond memeories of Bosnia and the people. Even though I am no longer there I will be adding and writing as I can but a lot of things are sensitive. I will do my best to be objective.

Bosnia continues to be split along religious lines. The villages are described by the locals as being "Muslim", "Catholic", "Orthodox". Of course that is also how to describe Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. They are one and the same people.

There was no such thing as "Ethnic Cleansing." It was really "Religious Cleansing." They are physically identical and all hail from the same stock. They have intermarried many times and in many ways. That is what makes this all so confusing sometimes.

It is hard for me, as an American, to understand why someone would kill for religious or ethnic reasons. I know that it is what happened here and I have listened to all three local versions of it. I listen but I still cannot understand the "why".

This country was devastated by a brutal war that was caused by many different sources. The causes and effects still linger even after years of enforced peace. There is still an undercurrent of hatred and hostility that permeates the air.

NATO ran the show here through a group called SFOR (Stabilization Forces). There was a true multi national presence here that kept a lid on a boiling pot. The country is halved between the Federation of Bosnia Hercegovina and Republika Srpska. It has a tenuous hold on the political structure and has a confusing and unwieldly rotating presidency.

This is a fabulous place for a VTer. I met people from all over Europe in a very short time. There were Americans, Canadians, British, French, German, Russian, Moldavian, Estonian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Polish, Danish, Hungarian, Italian, Portugese, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanians, and Bosnians here.

I have had numerous comments from people in this area who say that, "You do not understand". I heard this all the time. Here is what I understand. A group of people who had managed to live together and prosper together for centuries managed to destroy their country, kill multiple thousands, commit attrocities, and cripple their economy. Not matter which group you talk to, they state that it is all the fault of the other groups.

This war was caused by so many things that complete books have been written on it. I cannot attempt to rationalize it for the people who read these pages but this statement I will make. Every culture at some point will have a tragic civil war of some type. It has happened all through history. It happened in England centuries ago. It happened in France in the 1790's. It happened in the USA in the 1860's. It happened in Spain in the 1930's. It happened here in the 1990's.

From the ashes will come reconstruction and rebuilding. The underlying reasons may never go away but they will learn that war is not the answer to their differences, tolerance is.

My contract called for 90 days on and then R&R. That is why I call this page 90 days at a time.

Self Portrait

This is 2-5-03. That is 5-2-03 in Bosnia. In other words it is February 5, 2003. It is cold and it is snowing. I took this right outside our cabin area. The sign that says "UXO" means "Unexploded Ordnance." That means it is a suspected mine or shell area. We did not go trapsing around in there.

Getting out and about

I never got enough opportunities to see the countryside as we were restricted in many ways and for many reasons. It is also very dangerous. Not from people but from mines. You don't wander around a lot.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Being in a place in the midst of a cultural change.
  • Cons:Being in a place that has suffered so much devastation.
  • In a nutshell:This is a wonderful experience. It has been an awakening for me in many ways.
  • Last visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina: Oct 2003
  • Intro Updated Apr 27, 2011
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Reviews (35)

Comments (28)

  • kemisteryoso's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Wow. You wrote it so well. fantastic.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Yu aptly described the culture and strife of this country and its religious conflicts. We are going to Croatia in May for one month, but I did study the latest history of the fighting. What a scene for such wonderful country landscapes. Great work.

  • Apr 6, 2007 at 3:39 PM

    I remember this guy!!! I like him. I have worked at Eagle base as MWR. Bosnian Girl

  • Mar 6, 2007 at 10:48 AM

    you really got the whole idea of how it is in bosnia, and i had fun reading about your experience, so thank you for that

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2007 at 3:33 AM

    Fascinating page with great descriptions and observations of a very beautiful country I was lucky to visit a few times before war.

  • terps94's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2006 at 2:55 PM

    great pages!! Too bad I never got a chance to go outside the fence and explore the area.

  • Amelei's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2006 at 12:19 AM

    i loved my time in sarajevo and bosnia. i was not there long enough though and will be returning next year. thank you for your pages. i enjoyed reading your views. x A

  • Travmad's Profile Photo
    Jul 31, 2006 at 5:24 AM

    Man this country looks so beautiful. Such a pity it will take so long to restore it to peace. I can understand why you mentioned that you aren't religious.

  • Dec 2, 2004 at 9:43 PM

    If only I would have had the freedom of a civilian contract worker! As a soldier, you don't get a chance to see much. I loved both of my deployments to Bosnia. ('97 & '99)

  • Oct 25, 2004 at 10:58 AM

    One reason is because people often do the work themselves or hire people within the family or close friends.Under soviet times it was often the only group you could trust.Not always the case.maybe different in Bosnia

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