I suppose innocent might apply to the Olympic venues too as they undergo assault after assault. Kosevo Stadium still stands, but it has been pocked with howitzer shells and snipers' bullets. There is a graveyard near the stadium's scarred walls, and I wonder how many of those opening-ceremony performers lie buried so near the ground they danced on. The speed skating track has been hit more than 20 times by heavy-artillery shells, and no one is playing tag there. Franko's triumph took place on Mount Bjelasnica, as did the feats of U.S. twins Phil and Steve Mahre (gold and silver, respectively, in the slalom) and that of the U.S.'s Bill Johnson (gold in the downhill).
Last summer the courses were scorched by weeks of combat, the ski lifts were burned, all the hotels and restaurants were torched. Mount Jahorina, where U.S. skiers Debbie Armstrong and Christin Cooper earned gold and silver, respectively, in the giant slalom, is now a major military installation occupied by Serb troops, the hotels there turned into barracks. The Zetra figure skating center, where Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt and the elegant Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won Olympic championships, was flattened to rubble early in the fighting. Igman Plateau, site of all Nordic events, has been a key battleground for months: The cross-country ski trails have been chewed to smithereens by shells and Serb tank treads, and the ski jumps stand in ghostly silence.
The list of destruction goes on: The former Olympic Village, which became an apartment complex, has long been Sarajevo's deadliest killing ground because of its proximity to the airport: the bobsled and luge runs are a fortified Serb staging area from which artillery and sniper fire rain death down on the city; the main press center was reduced mostly to rubble during fierce street fighting early in the siege. All the hotels, restaurants and bars we frequented during those Games have been burned down or blown up.
The difference between then and now is perhaps more sharply defined for those who remember the Sarajevo Olympics as a time of shining personal triumph. Hamilton says, "For me those 13 days are always going to be my best 13 days. If I ever have grandchildren, those will be the 13 days I talk about, the 13 days they'll ask me about. But what's happening now doesn't make any sense to me. It's all so devastating, and you wonder about the people, the volunteers, who gave us so much then. To think some of those people are shooting children—it's just so hard to believe it all."
Nevertheless, for the athletes who succeeded in Sarajevo, their triumphs live on in a bright, bulletproof bubble of remembrance. Though the madmen continue to try, no one can murder their memories.
But nothing else in Sarajevo is safe from sudden death. And among the citizens the sense of horror and hopelessness runs deep. Branko Mikulic, 65, was president of the organizing committee for the 1984 Games, and he speaks with resignation: "When I took the leading role for the Olympics, I thought it would help Sarajevo develop its beauty and grace, and bring it into the 21st century. Now we know that will not happen. Sarajevo is a ruin, a concentration camp. And the world is not even acting to help. I cannot believe it—any of it." And Abdulah Sidran, a local poet and screenwriter, says, "During the Olympic Games, I hoped I would live for a hundred years. Now I just hope I will wake up tomorrow."
There is, of course, the question of how many tomorrows there will be before the slaughter ends. I asked Franko how long he thought it might be before Sarajevo is free of the killing, and he replied, "When there is no one left to murder."
This week, as the marketplace massacre proved, there were still plenty of people left to murder. And we can be pretty certain that the only angels being made in Sarajevo in this deadly winter are interred under the snow instead of imprinted on it. Franko is outraged not only by the brutality of the combatants in and around Sarajevo but also by the indifference—and the ingratitude—shown by other nations toward his country: "The world embraced our Olympics and took our people as messengers of peace. If Sarajevo and Yugoslavia were able to produce such good feelings for the entire world, I think the world should give something positive back. It should be able to produce something that would bring hope back to the people of Sarajevo. But the world has turned its back. The world, especially the political world, has failed us."