Thursday, April 05, 2012

"I Wish You to See Your Own House on CNN!": 15 Jokes from the Siege of Sarajevo | Slog:

Today is the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo, the longest artillery siege—even longer than the Siege of Leningrad—and one of the most infamous in modern history. It was brutal, with a poorly equipped citizenry going into old war museums to find working rifles and ammunition.

A Stranger reader in Sarajevo, Amir Telibechirowich, wrote us a few weeks ago to ask whether he could send a series of jokes from the siege era as his form of commemoration. This is from a city where an underground radio station "celebrated" the day that the siege became the longest by playing the Queen song "We Are the Champions." (Another station, he told us, would begin broadcasts with: "'Good evening to all three of you out there who still have batteries for the radio set.' Of course, this was referring to the fact that electricity was gone in most of the city back then.")

Some of these jokes are grim—very grim. But they were the product, Amir says, of people trying to stay sane in extremely grim circumstances.