Several years ago a friend mentioned the similarity of certain Cleveland neighborhoods with the Bosnian city of Sarajevo following the war a decade ago. Recalling that conversation, this evening, I looked for images of Sarajevo online, and was surprised to read that the city today is mostly rebuilt, with only a few bombed out buildings remaining on the outskirts of town.
Six of the photos above were taken in Bosnia Herzegovina. The other ten photos are from Cleveland's east side, taken just yesterday. Click on the pictures to see them in greater detail. The similarities are so striking, it is hard to tell the difference. This is not the metropolis that city officials want to show the rest of the world; this is our city's dirty laundry. Sadly, factories, schools, stores, and residences continue to close and crumble. Abandoned and decaying buildings have become common to landscapes on both sides of the city. We have our own type of war zone here. Poverty, drugs, corruption, and crime, seem to have resulted in an even more drastic and long-lived exodus in Cleveland than bombs did in the Balkans.