Ed Vulliamy’s The War is Dead, Long Live the War: Bosnia: the Reckoning is a startling examination of the legacy of the Bosnian war published on the twentieth anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict. A hurricane of violence was unleashed by Serbian President Slobodan Miloševic and his allies, the Bosnian Serbs, in pursuit of a ‘Greater Serbia’. An infamous campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ demanded the annihilation of all Bosniaks, Croats and other peoples through either death or enforced deportation, with any trace of their existence destroyed. Such brutality was presided over and tolerated by the so-called ‘International Community’. It was Vulliamy’s accursed honour to reveal the concentration and death camps to the world in August 1992, when he penetrated both Omarska and Trnopolje. The War is Dead, Long Live the War: Bosnia: the Reckoning charts this discovery, but it is much more than a memoir: Vulliamy passionately bears witness to the Bosnian war’s aftermath, revealing the human consequences as well as the trials and traumas of exile or homecoming. It is only now, through the eyes and memories of the survivors and the bereaved – and, in different ways, the perpetrators – that we can really understand the bloody catastrophe in Bosnia. The world moves on over 20 years, but in Bosnia, there has been no thaw in the hatred; no reckoning. The war may be over, but the war lives on.
Ed Vulliamy is a writer for the Guardian and Observer, and author of Amexica: War Along the Borderline and The War is Dead, Long Live the War: Bosnia: the Reckoning, among others. He was foreign reporter of the year in the 1997 British Press Awards.
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