Barcelona remembers the solidarity movement organized to support Sarajevo during the longest siege against a major city in modern military history
The council of Democratic Memory of Barcelona and the European Observatory of Memories of the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona promote the exhibition “Wake up, Europe!” created by the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina to recover citizen solidarity initiatives that sparked the conflict of the siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996);
The temporary exhibition, presented last year in Sarajevo, arrives in Barcelona with added content about the local initiatives carried out in Catalonia and will open on October 26 at La Model Espai Memorial, where it can be visited until January 8, 2023.
Featured image (right): Concentration in Plaça Sant Jaume on July 21, 1995, ten days after the Srebrenica genocide | City Hall of Barcelona.
[Press release launched by the City Council of Barcelona on October 23]
The Council of Democratic Memory of Barcelona City Council, together with the European Observatory of Memories of the University of Barcelona, opens this coming Thursday, the 26th, the exhibition ‘Wake up, Europe! Solidarity with Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 war. The Barcelona-Sarajevo relationship‘ which can be seen at La Model Espai Memorial until January 8.
Coinciding with the thirty anniversary of the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo, Barcelona aims to homage all the citizens who overturned in helping the Bosnian people with multiple initiatives that marked a style of cooperation in the city that will later be repeated in different conflict or post-conflict zones around the world.
The solidarity mobilizations went beyond the professional humanitarian organizations, and engaged ordinary citizens, informal groups and artists who launched numerous initiatives: help to Bosnian refugees who arrived in other countries; collection and transport of food and medicine, or the organization of demonstrations and campaigns to mobilize fellow citizens and put pressure on governments.
It was a very heterogeneous mobilization, often in close collaboration with people from Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina involved in the civic, cultural and intellectual defence of the country and the Bosnian way of being, who urged the rest of the world to abandon passivity. All of this was summed up in a slogan: “Wake up, Europe!“.
The exhibition retraces, from different prisms, that conflict in the heart of Europe that ignited public indignation in Olympic Barcelona: from the demonstrations to the different types of aid that were coordinated, such as convoys, aid to refugees, debates and the institutional response.
The original exhibition was created by the Museum of History of Bosnia and Herzegovina, focuses on solidarity initiatives from all over Europe and opened in Sarajevo last year. In Barcelona, it has been supplemented with content on the solidarity actions led by Barcelona City Council to help the civilian population of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war and the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted four years, from 1992 to 1996.
That municipal initiative was named Districte 11, and its goal was coordinating the various rehabilitation and reconstruction actions of the social and economic structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this way, Sarajevo was symbolically added to the 10 districts of Barcelona. This made it possible to provide the project with its own resources and team, with its own councillor, a position held by Teresa Sandoval, and its manager, Manel Vila.
The opening of the exhibition will take place 6.30pm in the panopticon of La Model Espai Memorial . The act will be attended by the councillor of the Democratic Memory of Barcelona City Council, Jordi Rabassa, and the vice-rector of Equality and Gender of the University of Barcelona, Montserrat Puig i Llobet. The event will feature interventions by the director of the Museum of History of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elma Hašimbegović, curator of the exhibition, and the historian Nicolas Moll, the researcher responsible for the original contents.
The program around the 30th anniversary of the start of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the siege of Sarajevo at La Model also includes the presentation, on November 3 at 6.30 p.m., of the book “Sarajevo, my love“, by Jovan Divjak and Florence La Bruyère, published by EUROM and Bellaterra Edicions.