Sarajevans were in disbelief when in the middle of the Bosnian war, Bruce Dickinson arrived in the city out of nowhere and held a concert with his band Skunkworks.
Dickinson arrived in Sarajevo again to be declared honorary citizen for the boost he gave the city 25 years ago.
“We can’t take any credit for stopping the war. We didn’t stop the war. But what we did do was we made people feel better about being there. And that’s all musicians can do actually,” Dickinson said, adding that “it’s politicians and armies and generals that stop wars.”
“It’s no good going to a warzone as a musician and saying ‘I am gonna sing a song and tell you how terrible war is’ – believe me, they know. So, I think that music should speak to people at an emotional level, and that’s its real purpose,” the heavy metal legend said.
The most difficult thing Dickinson said he experienced during that visit was seeing Sarajevo’s “orphans, little babies,” in an orphanage.
“I had a childhood where nobody was trying to kill me, and I had parents (…) so many people had their childhood stolen by the war, and that’s what makes it amazing – that this city is rising again with a really positive spirit, because it’s being rebuilt by all those people that had their adolescence stolen by the war,” he said.