Honorary citizen of Sarajevo Bruce Dickinson: It is an honour

Source: N1

Sarajevo honoured on Saturday Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden, with the title of Honorary Citizen for his courageous visit during the city’s wartime siege and the concert he held with his band Skunkworks in December 1994.

The ceremony was part of the traditional celebration of the anniversary of the city ’s liberation in World War II. Each year authorities bestow individuals they view as having contributed to the city’s development and promotion with this title.

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Dickinson and his band Skunkworks were smuggled to the besieged city and performed for the citizens amidst the chaos of the war.

The Sarajevo Siege is one of the longest sieges in the history of modern warfare. The blockade began in the night between April 4 and 5, 1992 and ended on February 29. 1996.

In December 1994, a rumour spread among the hungry, cold and desperate youth: Bruce Dickinson is coming to town.

Those who braved snipers and shells to come to the downtown concert hall could not believe it until they saw the band on stage.

The concert would remain one of the most memorable moments in their lives as it boosted their will to survive.

Dickinson “brought back hope and convinced Sarajevans they were not alone,” said the proposal the City Council that was unanimously adopted in October.

“For some people, this concert was the beginning of the end of the siege, a sign that better times are coming in which such moments of peace will become a permanent state of affairs during which they will remember this concert and try to convince others that it really happened,” the document said.

It is great that the band’s visit 25 years ago “still means this much to people to give me this symbolic award,” Dickinson said at Saturday’s ceremony.

“While this is a great honour, I think that this award belongs equally to the people of Sarajevo who are still here,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson’s arrival in Sarajevo in 1994 “was one of those moments that made us realize that we will survive, that the city of Sarajevo will survive, that Bosnia and Herzegovina will survive,” mayor Abdulah Skaka said.

By making him an honorary citizen, the city’s authorities have only formalised “what Sarajevans feel in their hearts,” he added.

A 2016 documentary “Scream for me Sarajevo” describes the trip, the show and what it meant to Sarajevans. The movie rarely left a dry eye in the audience of Sarajevo’s cinemas when it was shown that year.

Producer Adnan Cuhara said at the ceremony that “what we wanted to say with this movie, that went out to the world.”

“Long live rock and roll,” he concluded.