Memoir — From the April 2013 issue

Life During Wartime

Remembering the siege of Sarajevo

Download Pdf
Read Online

There was spring rain and pale fog in Sarajevo as my plane approached the city last April, veering over the green foothills of Mount Igman. Through the frosted window I could see the outline of the road we used to call Snipers’ Alley, above which Serbian sharpshooters would perch and fire at anyone below. Twenty years had passed since I’d arrived in Sarajevo as a war reporter.

During the siege of the city, most foreign journalists had lived in the Holiday Inn, and it was in that grotty hotel that the man who was to become my husband and the father of my child professed undying love. I met some of my best friends in Sarajevo and lost several others — to alcoholism, drugs, insanity, and suicide. My own sense of compassion and integrity, I think, was shaped during those years.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $39.99/year. Or purchase this issue on your iOS or Android devices for $6.99.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Single Page
Share
has won four major awards for her war reporting and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is currently writing a book about Syria, to be published by Norton. She lives in Paris.

More from Janine di Giovanni:

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

  • David George

    Feasting on blood

    It seems the fashion these days to report of the atrocities in contemporary conflicts by one party without explaining the whole social dynamic at work, including the participation, or its lack, by contributing powerful western and other parties Ms. di Giovanni’s report, however, even falls below this abysmal level, describing her allure to her future husband amid the terrible destruction in Sarajevo abetted and encouraged by the West who sought to limit any residue of Communism in Eastern Europe. She explains nothing of the conflicts nor its origins in the at least 500 years of Western, Ottoman and Russian influence in the Balkans. It is her own personal travail that predominates. Where is Hugh Deane, Homer Bigart, even Charles Moore who managed somehow, strictured by editors, to convey the folly of foreign intervention. Shame on your report.

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us If You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content