Peaceful Coexistence Returning

Secretary Of State Colin Powell is scheduled to travel to the Balkans This week, and the plans call for visits to Kosovo and Sarajevo. CBS News Correspondent Allen Pizzey reports in this Reporter's Notebook that trust is slowly returning to one Bosnian town whose name is synonymous with ethnic cleansing.

Peace is in its seventh year in Bosnia, but the evidence of barbarism on an unimagined scale is still everywhere. Srebrenica, the town that was the scene of what was described as the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, is coming back to life, but there are still only a handful of the Moslems who used to make up two thirds of the population.

They are afraid to come back because as many as 10,000 Moslem men and boys were taken from the town of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces and never seen alive again. Thousands of bodies were later found on hillsides and in mass graves.

It's an event consigned to a part of history that many here would prefer to forget as they get on with rebuilding their lives. Plans to erect a memorial have been resisted by local Serbs, but there has been progress in Bosnia.

The last time I came here the story was a search for mass graves. And there was no reason to think this place would ever again be anything more than a memorial to brutality and hatred. Coming back to find a building site rather restores one's faith in human nature.

Its finest points are embodied in Rifik Begic, a Moslem who says he cannot forget how he lost his leg and saw 150 people massacred, but who now works at bringing Moslems and Serbs together again.

"War is behind us and we have to work too hard to change," Begic said.

This area alone needs more than 4,000 houses for Serbs and Moslems alike.
Serbs living in pre-fab houses complain everything is going to the Moslems, who in turn accuse their government of not doing enough.

The American soldiers who helped bring and maintain the peace are doing more cataloguing of what is needed for both sides than they are keeping trouble at bay these days.

"Take pictures of these buildings and buildings up there and probably down in the valley down here," said one.

But the fact that Serbs and Moslems are slowly drifting back towards being able to live in the same place again is a reassuring affirmation that all is not lost.

©MMI Viacom Internet Services Inc., All Rights Reserved