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Sarajevo to honour U.S. writer Susan Sontag

Authorities in Sarajevo plan to name a city square after the late U.S. author and activist Susan Sontag, who spent time during the Bosnian war in the city and staged Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot there.

Authorities in Sarajevo plan to name a city square after the late U.S. author and activist Susan Sontag, who, during the Bosnian war, staged Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godotthere.

Haris Pasovic, the producer of Sontag's 1993 production of Beckett's play, says the square is a perfect fit: "This square is in the centre of the city so Susan Sontag's name will be written in the heart of Sarajevo forever, where it belongs."

Sontag's insistence on staging the existential play in the besieged city drew attention to the country's civil war. The Washington Post dubbed Sontag's production "Waiting for Clinton."

"Beckett's play, written over 40 years ago, seems written for, and about, Sarajevo," noted Sontag at the time.

The writer died in 2004 at age 71 from leukemia.

Pasovic, now director of Bosnia's East West theatre company, says it took too long for the city to commemorate its honorary citizen.

After reading an article about the play's staging in Britain and on Broadway, which included a reference to Sontag's Sarajevo production, Pasovic set out to remind Bosnians of the city mayor's promise in 2005 to dedicate a street to her.

Pasovic says his plea in March triggered an outcry among the media and public, forcing officials to bow to the pressure.

"It proves that people here, even youngsters who previously weren't aware of Sontag's production, are committed to justice," he said.

Pasovic credits Sontag's production and the media swirl around it for waking up the West to the atrocities in Bosnia.

"It was outrageous that, at the end of the 20th century, on live TV, the world could see daily bombardments of the city, and do nothing," recalled Pasovic to The Observer newspaper.

"Every single day we thought that our Godot would come and every night we understood that he wouldn't."

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