SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Bosnia's Muslims and Croats took comfort Saturday in the fact that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic did not receive a state funeral in Serbia. The country's Serbs boarded buses to say farewell to him.
Sarajevan Esma Jasarevic, 57, was amused that Milosevic was to be buried under a linden tree in his hometown of Pozarevac, rather than in Belgrade's Alley of the Great.
"They are putting him under a tree, like a dog. He wanted to create Greater Serbia but ended up in his own backyard," she said.
Milosevic supported the Bosnian Serbs when they rebelled in 1992 against the majority decision to declare Bosnia-Herzegovina independent from Milosevic-run Yugoslavia. He was indicted later by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for his involvement in, among other things, the atrocities committed during Bosnia's war, when tens of thousands were killed, 1.8 million turned into refugees and the country was completely devastated.
The funeral itself was not aired live on TV in Bosnia, but residents noticed that it was mostly older people who lined up in Belgrade to pay their respects.
"No young people in line. When you see who lined up to pay respect, you get the impression someone accidentally left the gate of the geriatric department open and they all poured out," said Sinan Hodzic, 42.
In the Serb part of Bosnia, however, residents boarded more than 20 buses to go to Belgrade for the funeral. And while it was mostly elderly people who went, most Serbs mourned his passing and there wasn't the division of opinion that there is in Belgrade, where for some he is a national hero and for others a national disgrace.
"I'm going to say goodbye to a great Serb son," said Marinko Radic, 66, while waiting to board one of the five busses that left Banja Luka shortly after midnight.
Those who did not leave for Serbia say they have more important things to do Saturdays but they found no words to condemn Milosevic.
Tanja Topic, a political analyst from Banja Luka, said Serbs were not yet ready to face their past.
"It will probably take two generations for the Bosnian Serbs to distance themselves from the past," she said.