The Gorazde is an enclave in the former Yugoslavia where Muslims were trapped and besieged by Bosnian Serbs during the war, which followed the death of Yugoslavia's charismatic partisan leader, Josip Broz Tito.
The researcher believes that Sacco actively chose how his book and Gorazde's story was presented to the world to maximize the reactions he wanted his readers to feel. Joe Sacco heavily used irony in presenting the life of the Bosniaks during the forced refuge in their town by juxtaposing ideas and concepts we have taken for granted in the modern world as we knew it in 1995 and 1996 with that of Bosnia, whose claim to fame is the ravages of ethnic cleansing. This style was made clear in the beginning of the comic book, Prologue. Well, before that, an observant reader would opine that the title of the book itself is an irony. Gorazde, surrounded and bombarded by the Serbs, was never a safe place at that time.
Safe Area Gorazde opens with the Bosnians of Gorazde seemingly at ease and taking a bit of a rest in a caf. This ordinariness is belied by the opening statement, "We were sitting in the Alkatraz "backs to the wall Doc Holliday style" as Edin liked to say, waiting for the end of the war" (Sacco and Hitchens). Though Alkatraz at that time had already declared a national recreational area and a United States landmark well before Sacco entered the enclave, its reputation as a very isolated prison didn't diminished. This is supported by the claim that during the 29 years Alkatraz operated as a federal prison, no one had ever successfully escaped (National Park Service).
Sacco, from the get go, has declared that everything is much more that what it seems. That is the calmness of the opening scenario is suffocated by the fact that the Muslim Bosnians are trapped in their town of Gorazde not unlike those prisoners in the fable, long ago Alkatraz. Of course, the mention of Doc Holliday in the same breath as Alkatraz just emphasized the gravity of the situation. Doc Holliday, an American gambler and gunfighter who lived sometime in 1851 to 1887, was famous for his devil may care attitude and his pursuit of death no matter how violent rather than die by his disease, tuberculosis.
In a following scene, a new character was introduced. A man claiming to have written the book "The Real Truth About This Town" said that if Joe Sacco was a "real journalist, who sought the Real Truth," (Sacco and Hitchens) then he would "visit him and look over his manuscript about Gorazde, and he would explain everything " (Sacco and Hitchens). This is the funniest irony in the book. After all, Sacco is a real journalist, that is, as real as they come.
Sacco, at the end of the first day, which the researcher assumed, mentioned that no announcement was ever made to the disappointments of the prisoners, er, residents of Gorazde. In the same breath, Sacco said, "Milosevic, Tudjman, and Izetbegovic were still behind closed doors in Dayton, Ohio, and maybe the war was going to go on forever" Milosevic, Tudjman, and Izetbegovic are the "three ethnic leaders at the Dayton, Ohio, talks convened by the Clinton administration in late 1995 to end the Bosnian conflict" (New York Times). Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader, represented the Serbs, Franco Tudjman that of Croatia, and Alija Izetbegovic for the Bosnian Muslims.
In the above representation, the researcher believes that Joe Sacco and Christopher Hitchens