Joe Sacco's literary and artistic narrative, Safe Area Gorazde, effectively portrays the horrors and realities of the war that broke out in Eastern Bosnia from 1992 to 1995. The book describes the author's experiences during four months spent in Bosnia between 1994 and 1995, and is based on conversations with Bosniaks trapped within the enclave of Gorazde. Considered as a graphic journalist, the author depicts the real nature of this atrocious war by alternating between his narrations, the interviews he made during his visit and vivid panels of images that clearly communicate to the reader the horrific events. The journalistic comic book is written in a readable and organized manner. When coupled with the imagery of the graphic novel genre it delivers a great deal of insight into daily existence during a horrible era in modern European history. Through loud images, interesting interviews, and an effective narration, Joe Sacco is able to share with his audience the atrocities of war, how it disintegrates families and cities, and the importance of family loyalty; themes that are vitally seen in the "Disintegration" vignette of Safe Area Gorazde.
The story takes place in Gorazde, a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where political tension is rising and a war is clearly escalating. Fearing the worst, Slovenia and Croatia declare independence from Yugoslavia, while Bosnian Serbs are quickly trying to organize their armed forces. All this turmoil at home causes Edin, the main character and a graduate student who was studying engineering in Sarajevo, to return to his homeland in order to protect his family. Days before the beginning of the war, the tension between Bosniaks and Serbs is clear as they segregate each other around several parts of the city. In 1992, the first attack is made on Gorazde, in which people are raped, cruelly massacred and left homeless. Despite this, residents of the area manage to take back Gorazde even though they are living without the basic...
Cited: acco, Joe. Safe Area Gorazde. 2000. Ed. Kim Thompson. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2006.
Wikipedia. "Bosnian War." Wikipedia. Sept.-Oct. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation. 14 Sept. 2008.
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