|How to act
Memory, Spreading information, Structural support, Visits
Albertville, Barcelona, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Lillehammer, Norway, Sarajevo, Spain
1992, 1994, 1999
Only eight years after Sarajevo had hosted the very successful 1984 Winter Olympic Games the siege of Sarajevo started. Several Olympic sites were shelled and destroyed as the Olympic Museum and the Zetra Sports Center building, while parts of the Kosevo stadium were used to bury the numerous dead. The contrast was immense between the Olympic Games and the war, between peace and joy on the one hand and destruction and death on the other.
The international Olympic Committee (IOC) and several Olympic cities didn’t want to remain inactive and in various ways showed solidarity with Sarajevo. During the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona, the delegation of independent Bosnia and Herzegovina was warmly welcomed and the contacts taken between the mayors of Barcelona and of Sarajevo constituted the starting point for numerous activities the city of Barcelona organized in the following time to support Sarajevo. The French city of Albertville had hosted the Winter Games in February 1992, before the beginning of the war ; between 1992 and 1996, around 100 children from Sarajevo who had been evacuated for medical reasons were hosted in Albertville for their convalescence.
The following Winter Games took place in Lillehammer, Norway in February 1994, exactly ten years after those in Sarajevo. In the besieged city a Committee for the celebration of the jubilee had been created, under the presidency of the mayor of Sarajevo ; in order to show the spirit of resistance and cosmopolitanism of the city, they elaborated a festivities program for February 1994, under the motto “10 years later – The flame is still alive”, and which included exhibitions and concerts. In connection with this commemoration, at the opening ceremony in Lillehammer there was a moment of silence for Sarajevo ; some days later a delegation from Lillehammer and IOC President Samaranch left Norway to visit the besieged Sarajevo, where Samaranch promised help for the reconstruction of the destroyed venues.
The Zetra hall was indeed reconstructed and reopened in 1999 thanks to the support of the IOC, while the city of Barcelona was the main funder for the reconstruction of the Olympic village Mojmilo in Sarajevo. The visit of the Lillehammer delegation triggered the idea for the “Nansen Dialogue”- project which was later renamed “Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue” (NCPD) and which is still present in several towns in BiH and other post-Yugoslav countries.