I watched as they walked away, heading towards downtown Cairo, Mohamed in the middle, like some kind of political leader surrounded by his people. I wondered what it would take for him or one of his friends to one day be just that in a country that had been politically and socially sterilised by dictatorship.
It's generally not war that refugees choose to remember, but the people who help you. My mother's colleague who snuck us out of Serbia, French volunteers who took refugee kids camping, and those who came to welcome us at the airport when we were resettled in Ohio; those are the people I think of daily. I hope Basel finds such people on his path too.
The battle for the survival of Sarajevo deserves a much greater devotion than can be addressed in a short blog. It has been given too little attention by film makers and politicians, and its lessons and links to current ills still too often not comprehended. Those politicians who failed in their initial test to rescue Sarajevo then set into refashioning the story to reflect their own stereotypes and agendas. Many were also eager to escape the responsibility for allowing the longest modern siege of a city to perpetuate for almost four years, and no one could claim ignorance of either the suffering or the methodology of the siege.
The scent of nationalism was present in the former-Yugoslavia before Vladimir Putin effectively assumed power in Moscow. Already during the early stages of the conflict in Bosnia & Herzegovina, "BiH" solutions were being fashioned in the hope of, well appeasing is perhaps an appropriate term, those leaders in the region but also Moscow who saw feudal nationalism as the vehicle to replace authoritarian communism.
War more likely in the Balkans or sex in Brazil, turned into an unexpected UN Security Council debate. Is promiscuity for conflict, sex or soccer something embedded in our genes, culture or environment? Some stereotypes perhaps are better, or more accurately less harmful, but in the end they become a hurdle.