Review of the Autobiography of Alija Izetbegovic "My only wish is that my book serves for reconciliation according to justice" At the end of this personal journey through Bosnian history, the former President declares "If I were offered life again, I would refuse it. But, if I had to be born again, I would choose my life. Father, philosopher, activists, politician, statesman and to many, a reluctant hero, who sought to live life away from the glare of history. But the dark forces of history did not allow that. When the world was only just awakening to the new order that might is right, a part of Europe was already plunged into a conflict of primeval dimensions, where "ethnic cleansing", the linguistically ambivalent phrase conveniently used in popular reportage, became a byword that sanitized the horrors of war. In this descending madness, Izetbegovic was thrust into the deadly game of politics where his gentle disposition was effortlessly battered by an assortment of nasties such as Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic.
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The book also sheds light on the labyrinthine manipulations of the various signatories to the Dayton Agreement, not least in the return and non-return of refugees to their homes. Inescapable Questions asks the obvious question: why was the war in the Balkans allowed to happen. For a moment there I returned to my youth, the early youth, when all nice illusions were gathered together. Then life came and, like a strong wind, blew them away, one by one.
What we call happiness is sometimes the accordance between our life and circumstances, our biography and history, our personal aspirations and historical currents. If I look at things that way, I can say: I was born too early to be happy. But birth is one of the many things we do not get to choose.
It is part of our destiny. He graduated high school in , and studied agriculture for three years. His bookish manner making him an unlikely warrior, Izetbegovic nonetheless demonstrated steely will, long before the start of the Bosnian conflict.
He was sentenced twice for his anti-Communist political views and spent nearly nine years in jails in Communist Yugoslavia - the state created by Josip Broz Tito. After serving three years in prison, he was released in and earned a law degree from Sarajevo university in , later working as a legal adviser to city transport firms. He was imprisoned again from to for daring to defy the Communist dictatorship. Abandoned by Western governments who merely offered platitudes, he courted Muslim nations during the Balkan wars, resulting in financial support for the fledgling Bosnian army in its fight against the Serbs and Croats.
More than cherishing the book it is time to revere the life and times of a remarkable man.
Inescapable Questions: Autobiographical Notes
He declared bankruptcy in The manifesto was banned by the government. However, he and his supporters were accused by the Communist authorities of reviving the "Young Muslims" organisation and of a conspiracy to set up an "Islamically pure" Bosnia and Herzegovina. In , as communist rule faltered, he was pardoned and released after almost five years in prison. His health had suffered serious damage. According to the Bosnian constitution, the first two candidates of each of the three constitutient nations would be elected to a seven-member multi-ethnic rotating presidency with two Croats, two Serbs, two Bosniaks and one Yugoslav ; a Croat took the post of prime minister and a Serb the presidency of the Assembly. When fighting broke out in Slovenia and Croatia in the summer of , it was immediately apparent that Bosnia would soon become embroiled in the conflict.
To some he is difficult and uncompromising; to others he is a man who sought to live his life by the highest of principles. Born in , he was educated in sarajevo before qualifying as a lawyer. He was imprisoned twice by the communist government of Yugoslavia and On the second occasion, as a Muslim intellectual, he served five years of a fourteen year sentence merely for his written word. He stood by his prople thoughout the war of aggression against his country in the s, leading his people with nerves of stell, living by his principles both as a European and as a Muslim. He signed the Dayton Peace Accord in November and was re-elected to a three-member collective Presidency in It was his principles, however, for which he eventually resigned his position in , announcing that the international community was pushing things forward in a manner with which he could not live.