Declaration For A Free And Unified Sarajevo

Dear CTHEORY readers:

The enclosed is a "Declaration for a Free and Unified Sarajevo" which was recently sent to CTHEORY. This Declaration was initiated by the City Assembly of Sarajevo and by "Club 99." The present Mayor of Sarajevo and nine previous Mayors have formed an Initiative Board that acts as an independent "moral institution" to collect 100,000 signatures of those who agree with the following Declaration. The campaign will last until the end of October in Sarajevo and the end of November internationally. After the campaign, the signatures (including e-mail messages) will be published in a book that will be sent to the UN Security Council, B.B. Ghali, the Contact Group, and the European Council.

We urge you to support this Declaration by sending a message with your name and the note, "In Support of the text of the Declaration for a Free and Unified Sarajevo," to:

The Declaration was posted on Bosnet by Adnan Dzinic, and forwarded by Zeljko Bodulovic.

Editors, CTHEORY

We are citizens of Sarajevo, troubled by the many uncertainties which cloud the future of our city, and disturbed by the lack of progress towards a solution. In order to guarantee the future security of Sarajevo and the right of its people to a civilized life, we hereby demand the lifting of the blockade and the demilitarization of the city. We make this demand in our own names, in the names of the many victims of the brutal war against Sarajevo, and in the names of our descendants. After all the agony caused by physical destruction, we are now being threatened with the permanent partition of our city, which would entail the destruction of our distinctive way of life, grounded in diversity and tolerance, which the people of Sarajevo have cherished for centuries. Such a partition would represent not merely the artificial division of a historically unified city, but a line of cleavage segregating different civilizations, religions, and culture newly inscribed on the soil of modern Europe.

We reject this prospect. We invite the citizens of Sarajevo and the entire world community to join us in a new struggle, a second battle against the spiritual and moral degradation and ethnic animosity that would accompany such a partition. We are determined to preserve the diverse and tolerant cultural life constructed by our ancestors and nurtured and preserved by ourselves. In support of the position adopted by the Municipal Assembly of Sarajevo, the city's highest authority, we therefore issue the following.

Declaration For A Free And Unified Sarajevo

1. We are irrevocably committed to a free, open and undivided Sarajevo. We will permit no one to partition our city for any reason, especially at a time when the entire civilized world is tending toward greater inter-cultural collaboration and integration.

2. We are firmly convinced that our life of diversity and tolerance is a priceless inheritance from our past, and the only secure foundation for a peaceful and happy future for all citizens of Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

3. We demand the just and timely punishment of all war criminals, and the safe return of all exiled refugees. Both measures are essential for the restoration of normal life and the renewal of our tradition of multi-ethnic harmony.

4. We unreservedly accept the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for our actions, and as a criteria of justice in social relationships. We call upon the international community for help in determining the future of Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina on the basis of these principles. We are convinced that only a democratically structured policy can guarantee the dignity, preserve the freedom and protect the interests of all our citizens.

At this critical moment, all of us - citizens of the world community as well as the citizens of Sarajevo - bear responsibility for the fate of these civilized values.

The Citizens Of Sarajevo

The siege and blockade of Sarajevo which has lasted for 900 days are intended to kill the essence of the city, of a unique culture and national life that privileges diversity and tolerance. Therefore, while facing the nine hundredth and following days of the captivity, the citizens of Sarajevo are calling for the Second Battle For Sarajevo, the battle of its citizens with all means available in order to make their city survive. Its best sons and daughters have already given their lives for its freedom and the present suffering and stamina of its citizens are a particularly resolute contribution to this battle.

In spite of everything Sarajevo resists. It is true that over 10,000 adults have been killed, as well as 1,800 children - victims of the irrational policy of equidistance towards victim and aggressor, but in Sarajevo not a single attempt to implement the genocidal policy of "ethnic cleansing" has been recorded. There are some ten thousand invalids in Sarajevo now, but there is no one who cannot differentiate good from evil. There have been 900 days of occupation, strangling and torture of Sarajevans, but here one can still hear the bells from the Cathedral, the clock from the Jewish Synagogue, smell frankincense from the old Orthodox Church, or hear the sonorous voice of the muezzin from the Minaret, as well as the voices of all those who are for a unified Sarajevo.

It is true that Sarajevans are hungry, but they long for freedom even more strongly. It is true that Sarajevo Jews are concerned because of the possibility that they could ghettoized in Bosnia, which heretofore has never been the case; Sarajevo Serbs are aware of the possible boomerang of the genocide on the present BH territories; Sarajevo Croats are anxious because of the possible consequences of the policy of national division, and Bosniaks because of the fact they may disappear from their own land and from history.

But the fear, simulaneously different and the same for all, dissapears only in the face of one hope and resoluteness: Sarajevo will be.

In spite of that, Sarajevo seems to be given the destiny of a divided city, ghettoized, without a peaceful, safe future and a promising life for its citizens.

Therefore we raise our voices, unified with the voices of all benevolent people and friends all over the world, to express our democratic will and determination to live in the free and unified city of Sarajevo. Our ideals are contained in the highest civilizational and democratic principles and norms.

If such a voice, based on these principles, is not observed by those making decisions on the future of our city, it will be a shameful stain on Europian and world history, and forecast the twilight of democratic civilization.

This act of the citizens of Sarajevo, is a manifestation of their democratic culture and an expression of their own will and conviction, independent of national, political, religious and other affiliations and convictions.