Zlata's Diary is a book written by Zlata Filipovic. It is a first-person account in journal form penned by Zlata as an eleven and twelve-year-old eyewitness to the war between the Croats, the Serbs and the Muslims in her home-town of Sarajevo. The journal begins shortly before the start of the war, in September 1991, and ends in October 1993 with the three warring sides still refusing to come to any kind of peace deal.
Zlata became known as the Anne Frank of Sarajevo; wise beyond her years, and very philosophical, she wrote about what she saw happening every day as war escalated and the residents of Sarajevo began to feel as if the world had forgotten about them. Zlata herself did not like the comparison and feared it may turn out to be prophetic, and that war would kill her as it had the young Dutch girl. A happy girl living a carefree childhood, Zlata felt that childhood bei g stole away as each day went by. At the start of her journal her main preoccupations were supermodels, the music charts, her next vacation and, as a conscientious student, doing well in the upcoming new school year and with her music studies. By the spring of 1992, Serbian artillery positions were in place in the hills above her house and she and her family were living in the front room of their home. Their friends fled, but Zlata's father was unable to get permission to leave and the family stayed, watching their beloved city fall into ruin around them. Food consisted of humanitarian aid and the kindness of those who had already fled but sent packages to the family. The water was shut off; power was sporadic. School ceased as children became a target.
During the summer of 1993 one of Zlata's old teachers asked her to submit an excerpt of her diary to UNICEF for publication. The diary was quickly published around the world and Zlata became a instant celebrity, with foreign journalists as her new friends. The act of chronicling and reporting enabled Zlata to feel more like an observer of this war-torn life rather than a participant in it which is probably what enabled her to stay strong and not suffer from the trauma or PTSD that other children suffered.
On December 23rd 1993, Zlata and her family finally left Sarjevo for France. At the time of their leaving, fifteen thousand people had been killed in Sarajevo, three thousand of them children. Zlata stated that the publication of her book was to honor those children around the world who are huddled around a candle, terrified by shelling and hungry. Zlata became a spokesperson for the face of war around the world and her diary became an international best-seller.