Logavina Street , Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood, by Barbara Demick


“Logavina Street, Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood, by Barbara Demick” is a six-block-long history lesson on multi-ethnicity and the result of history and geography that had existed for four centuries. This street had been for 240 families, Muslims, Christians, Serbs, and Croats, a quiet residential area in a charming city. They thought of themselves as Sarajevans until the war tore it all apart.

 Barbara Demick, who told us about North Korea in “Nothing to Envy” tells us of the Bosnian War and the brutal and devastating three-and-a-half-year siege of Sarajevo through the lives of ordinary citizens, who struggled with hunger, poverty, sniper fire, and shellings.

The people on Logavina Street lived and worked together. We learned of their support for each other as snipers fired from nearby to destroy them because of their diversity. Ethnic Nationalism required partitions and seemed to confirm a world of “us” and “them” but Bosnia seems to have been necessary as a neutral space for what was left of the wreckage of Yugoslavia.

The war ended when Harun was two. At nineteen he made his living as a tour guide and told those that came to learn and see that the Bosnian government deliberately downplayed the war, putting reconciliation ahead of justice.  In the schools, they teach nothing about the war or genocide.

Demick’s approach used in “Nothing to Envy” where the life of one person was followed through the book seemed more compelling than the mix of so many different stories she used in this book.  The book answered some questions but not all that were left with.