Rumor & Reality

Whether all the tales of savagery are true or not, people act as if the worst is yet to come.

For those who live there, Bosnia is a child's worst nightmare, a land where horror is the custom. Fathers disappear. Friends die. Neighbors flee. Food is short, bombs fall and suffering is a way of life. The familiar names of cities and towns have turned into symbols of destruction, siege, massacre, "ethnic cleansing."

The stories of savagery have come to define life in what was Yugoslavia. Whether they are fact or fiction is almost irrelevant: what people think is happening determines behavior. Serbs say that they fear the imminent imposition of a scourging fundamentalist Islamic regime in the heart of Europe,...

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