The siege of Sarajevo by the Yugoslav People’s Army, which began today in 1992, would ultimately last 1,427 days, making it the longest siege of a country’s capital in the history of modern warfare. Christopher Hitchens wrote a column, “Appointment in Sarajevo” (September 14, 1992), about the time he spent in the city:
The daily round in Sarajevo is one of dodging snipers, scrounging for food and water, collecting rumors, visitng morgues and blood banks and joking heavily about near misses. The shared experience of being, along with the city’s inhabitants, a sort of dead man on leave, makes for leveling of the more joyous and democratic sort, even if foreign writers are marked off from the rest by our flak jackets and our ability to leave, through the murderous corridor of the airport road, more or less at will. The friendship and solidarity of Sarajevo’s people will stay with all of us for the rest of our lives and indeed, at the present rate of attrition, it may be something that survives only in the memory. The combined effect of incessant bombardment and the onset of a Balkan winter may snuff out everything I saw.
To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, every morning this year The Almanac will highlight something that happened that day in history and how The Nation covered it. Get The Almanac every day (or every week) by signing up to the e-mail newsletter.