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ISTOCNO SARAJEVO, March 15 /SRNA/ - A formal event “Memory Lives On” organised on Friday in Istocno Novo Sarajevo by students of the Faculty of Philosophy marked the 23rd anniversary of the exodus of Serbs from Sarajevo.


Mayor of Istocno Sarajevo Nenad Vukovic pointed out this was the first year March 16 was established as a date in tribute to the exodus of Sarajevo Serbs under the auspices of the Srpska Government committee maintaining the tradition of liberation wars.

March 16, 1996 was the last day of an organised departure of Serbs from the Sarajevo Grbavica quarter, he said.

"Tonight is an event marking the 23rd anniversary of the Serb exodus from Sarajevo. I am very grateful to the Faculty of Philosophy for initiating the event which shows in a specific way all the things that happened after the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed,” said Vukovic.

Marking the date highlights the truth due to which residents of Ilijas, Ilidza, Hadzici, Vogosca and Grbavica were forced to leave their centuries-old homes, he said.

"We must always remember we didn’t leave because of hasty political decisions but because after the Dayton Agreement was adopted, Sarajevo Serbs were no longer safe as the Serb settlements became part of the Federation of BiH," Vukovic said.

Professor of the Serbian language and literature Zeljka Przulj says the students prepared the programme at their own initiative as they were aware of the importance of memory, especially the memory of such an event which has not been given enough attention.

She explained that the event showed an epic and lyrical tale based on historical events told through recitals about the exodus of Serbs from Sarajevo.

"The students don’t remember the exodus, their parents told them about it. And that is the message they want to send because the title is ‘Memory Lives On’,” said professor Przulj.

Student Dusan Pejic sang a poignant song "Mrtvog sina ne ostavlja majka" to the accompaniment of gusle, which was written by Marko Despot and describes an emotional moment of digging Serb graves around Sarajevo.

The main part of the anniversary will take place in Sokolac and Pale on Saturday and will be attended by Minister of Labour and Veterans and Disabled Persons’ Protection Dusko Milunovic and a delegation of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska.

Not wanting to live under someone’s else rule, around 120,000 Sarajevo Serbs left the city and their property after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.

During the exodus which began in December 1995 and ended in early March the next year, remains of 500 Serbs were transferred to the Military Cemetery Mali Zejtinlik at Sokolac. /end/ds