In the Crosshairs of the Sniper

Alive after the Fall Review

Surviving World War III

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In December 1993, a resident of Sarajevo walked out of his home. He was the father of the graduate student who had been killed trying to save books during the burning of the National Library in August 1992. He had fought against the Nazis in World War II as part of the Partisan resistance, alongside Croats, Serbs, Slovenians, and others. After the war, he had been imprisoned by Tito's secret police. In his fedora, he was a handsome man with kind eyes and a thin, hawkish nose.

Some said that of all the tragedies he lived through, the killing of his daughter on the way back from the library was the first thing to shake him. Some thought he was tired of the constant humiliation faced by Sarajevans, having to crawl along walls to

avoid the constant sniper fire. As he opened his door that day in December and walked out without taking cover, someone had him in the crosshairs of his rifle.

Those crosshairs were a nexus of myth and symbol: the Christ killer myth constructed in the nineteenth century and brought back into the present through the 600th anniversary of Lazar's death, a fabricated genocide against Serbs in Kosovo, and manipulation of Serb suffering in World War II to indict all Croats and Muslims and instill fear that another genocide was imminent. Yet the rifle sights were not enough to cause the shot. Someone had to load and distribute the guns and give the order to fire.

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