Safe Area Gorazde Analysis

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Coping Mechanisms in Times of Crisis During the Bosnian War

In Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco, the ideas that Sacco illustrates in his vivid comics are based on the relationship between the destruction of the people of Gorazde and how they coped with unimaginable situations in the traumatic world they called reality. Sacco is able to clearly depict the agonizing hardships of the Muslim people during the Bosnian war in times of death and destruction. The sympathy one may feel for the characters in the comic book is an illustration of how the inhumane ethnic cleansing forced on the Muslim civilians interplay with the civilians will to live. In order to survive, the people of Gorazde turned to coping mechanisms such as laughter, parties, and
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The tension between the Serbs and Muslims spanning centuries in the past is what provoked the idea of an “ethically cleansed” state. After the death of Tito, propaganda used in an attempt to promote political campaigns caused each division of people, the Muslims and Serbians, to believe a co-existent country was not possible despite years of peace before. In their attempt to ethnically cleanse the state, the Chetniks used mass murder and genocide, which is positively correlated with the death and suffering of the Muslims in response. This can be seen in the chapter Drina, where Sacco goes to visits refugees who fled from Visegrad and Foca to Gorazde. The sorrow of these refugees is clear, as the pain is extremely evident when the women “started shaking so hard she had to sit down against the wall” (106) and the other “women didn’t want to tell us what happened to her husband in Visegrad” (106). The suffering and destruction of the Muslim people is a cause and effect directly caused by the Chetniks attempt of ethnically cleansing Bosnia with the advantage of a well-equipped military force. Another story that stands out in relation to death and destruction alongside a will to live is Rasim from the chapter Around Gorazde. Rasim experienced many horrors from the Chetniks, and witnessed hundreds of deaths. In just “three days and three nights, [he] saw 2-300 killed” and even was “an …show more content…
They took the arrival of the British peacekeepers, Sacco, and the other reporters as a sign the rest of the world would help them soon. The fact that convoys were able to pass on the Blue Road through Serbian controlled territory was enough to give them hope that the end of the war was near. They were able to cope with their devastating situation through coping mechanisms as a distraction to temporarily forget about the war. This can be seen in the scene where Sacco first meets Rikki, a soldier defending Gorazde. They had just barely been introduced, and already Rikki “started belting” and they “weren’t sure if he’d ever stop.” However, as many times as Sacco asked, Rikki remained reticent about his experiences in combat”. Rikki’s reserved attitude paradoxes with his remarkable character presented on the outside to show how these experiences have impacted him. By using laughter and music, Rikki is able to distract himself during the war of any hardships and pain experienced. He does this through his extraordinary nature and character in an attempt to escape from reality. This technique of coping with the war is a common one throughout the comic book, and is evident in the Silly Girls chapter as well. For instance, their desire for jeans is such a normal “silly” reaction that just shows they are just humans. Similarly, Nudjema, Kimeta, and Sabina’s boy problems can seem ridiculous during

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