News 28 Sep 17

Sarajevans Furious After Councillors Snub Wartime Hero

Councillors in the Novo Sarajevo municipality were criticised for voting not to name a sports hall after Goran Cengic, who was killed after trying to save his neighbour from being killed in 1992.

Igor Spaic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Protest graffiti on the new building reads 'Goran Cengic Hall'. Photo: Zoran Mijic.

Anger erupted on social media after councillors in the Novo Sarajevo municipality decided not to name the new sports facility after Goran Cengic, calling it Novo Sarajevo Hall instead.

Images of protest graffiti sprayed on the building’s facade overnight ‘naming’ it Goran Cengic Hall were shared online on Thursday.

A campaign to flood the Novo Sarajevo municipality with emails requesting the hall be named after Cengic also began on Wednesday.

“God, may it never happen that those who raised their hand to vote against naming the sports hall in Novo Sarajevo after Goran Cengic ever extend that hand to me!” prominent actor Nermin Tulic, who lost both his legs during the war, wrote on Facebook.

Former Yugoslav handball player Cengic, the child of a mixed marriage, was killed in 1992 when he tried to prevent Veselin Vlahovic, nicknamed the ‘Monster of Grbavica’, from taking his Bosniak neighbour, Husnija Cerimagic, away for execution.

Vlahovic, who terrorised the Serb-held neighborhood of Grbavica during wartime, killed them both.

He is now serving a 42-year prison sentence for dozens of wartime crimes, including multiple rapes, murders and torture.

The new sports hall was built in Grbavica, not far from where Cengic tried to save his neighbour.

Cengic was posthumously awarded the Dusko Kondor Civil Courage Award in 2013 in recognition of his selfless act.

The proposal to name the sports hall after him was made by left-leaning political parties.

But 17 municipal councillors voted on Tuesday to name it ‘Novo Sarajevo’ instead; 12 voted against the name and one abstained.

Angry Sarajevans circulated a list of the names of the councillors who voted against, along with their pictures and various insults, on Facebook and Twitter.

“Goran Cengic was killed for the second time,” commentator Natasa Grujic Gaon wrote in an opinion article for the Radio Sarajevo website.

“They did not torture him or beat him. Nothing. Just 17 hands in the air for just as long as it takes to count them…

This time his neighbours killed him,” she added.

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