As a physician and aid worker for the World Health Organization (WHO), I spent some months during the winter (1992-1993) in the besieged city of Sarajevo and another month during the spring (1993) in northeastern Bosnia.
Impressions from such an experience, in the middle of a war in Europe, naturally mark one's mind. As one who has seen Sarajevo's people desperately fight to survive the winter, during constant bombardment, and with lack of everything associated with basic needs such as fuel, food, water, and drugs, I will never forget. I could speak a long time about the hardship, as well as the helpfulness, friendship, and even happiness amid grief and misery. There were joyful parties with Bosnian songs and music, dinners with food made of almost nothing at all and held in homes seriously damaged by shelling. Sarajevo, that magic city, became a mysterious attraction to us foreigners. Once we had been there, we had to go back to see how the city was surviving. We all had the “Sarajevo Syndrome.”