Peace and the Olympics in Sarajevo
When the Olympics were held in Sarajevo in 1984, Sarajevo was home to a diverse ethnic and religious population.
“The world looked to Sarajevo as a model of religious and ethnic harmony. In 1984, when athletes came to this exquisite city to compete in the Winter Olympic games, people marveled that here Orthodox Serbian and Muslim, Catholic and Jews lived and worked side by side peacefully in a unique atmosphere of tolerance and goodwill. The ancient city of Sarajevo, with over half a million people, was for centuries a cultural haven for Croats, Serbs and Muslims." "By 1990, Yugoslavia was disintegrating into rival ethnic states, and Sarajevo, the jewel of Bosnia, was surrounded in a siege that was slowly destroying the city. Civil war engulfed the region. Its people were subjected to regular shellings and unpredictable sniper fire. Food and supplies were scarce at best..." The Dayton Peace Accords were signed in 1995; this began the long process of recovery and rejuvenation for Sarajevo and its people.
Recently, there has been a concentrated move towards returning the Olympics to Sarajevo. The hope is that returning the Olympics to Sarajevo will recreate the spirit of peace and harmony that existed during the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. This spirit will help to nurture world peace and understanding.