Amateur radio operator
THE WORK OF THE AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS
‘At first it was like, just so that you could talk to someone somewhere and find out how he is, if he’s alive, if he’s healthy, and so on. Later, it changed, as the crisis developed and the war started, it changed into you know, say ‘hi’ to my brother and tell him to get in touch with me via BH Bank. When practically everybody had no more money, they would contact their families in Germany or wherever else they were located, and ask them to send money, medicine, packages and so on. There were all kinds of cases. I must have broken out in tears at least a thousand times. When the person you are talking to starts to cry, then his correspondent starts to cry as well. And so I found myself in a situation where I started crying, as I said, a thousand times. It was toughest when a grandchild was talking to their grandma or grandpa. Or when one father who was here on this side of the line heard his children for the first time in one or two years over the radio. There were situations when he would bang his head on the table. That situation was the worst for him. He talked to his father, his mother, his wife, and he was O.K., but when he heard his children he broke out in tears. We had one case in which four brothers named Mulic were living here in Sarajevo. One of them came here and after two years talked to his father. His father was from somewhere around Gusinje, I’m not sure which village, but it took two days for me to find him so that he could speak to him. And during that time the father would constantly ask me to put him on so that he could hear him. When his son finally came, then he just said, ‘Take care, son, watch out for yourself.’ And that was it. Then Mulic left my house and right then a mortar shell fell and blew off his leg.’
• At a peace conference in Lisbon, the President of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, agrees to talks on territorial demarcation. The President of the EC, Jose Cutileiro, offers a map drawn up by EC experts on the basis of the three constitutent peoples of BiH.
• In Sarajevo, 17,000 refugees from various towns settle in the city. They have either been expelled from their homes, or their houses or apartments have been destroyed by shells.
• Sarajevo is under siege. The circle around the city closes, with entrenched tanks, mortars, snipers and cannons.
• As the JNA withdraws from its Command headquaters over Skenderija bridge conflict erupts. Self-organized defenders of the city attack the JNA convoy.
• After returning from Lisbon and landing at Sarajevo airport, the JNA holds captive the President of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, his daughter who had accompanied him, as well as the leader of the SDP, Zlatko Lagumdzija. They are released later after long exchange negotiations with the assistance of UN Commander Louis Mackenzie.
• Juka Prazina, a city paramilitary unit leader, becomes Commander of Special Units of MUP BiH.
• Members of the Presidency of BiH, Stjepan Kljujic and Fikret Abdic, sign a ceasefire agreement for the lifting of the blockade of the JNA barracks.
• In the Old City, at the entrance to Sarajevo, an old wooden barricade is set up.
• The JNA dismisses Blagoje Adzic and relieves from duty the Chief Commander of the sector of Sarajevo, Milutin Kukanjac.
• The Sarajevo neighborhood of Dobrinja is surrounded by SDS troops. SDS terrorists give an ultimatum to the defenders of Dobrinja. The SDS sets up a barricade with armed soldiers between the neighborhoods of Dobrinja and Mojmilo.
• Within the blockaded JNA barricades conflicts erupt between individual soldiers.
• Gunfire from the barracks at vehicles and passersby. The area around the barracks becomes lethally dangerous.
• The JNA leaves, destroying everything in their path.
• Fighting goes on around the JNA barracks.
• Transmissions halted of the independent news program “Yutel.”
• With the shelling of the Central Post Office from the surrounding hills by Serb paramilitary groups, 40,000 telephone lines are scorched. The reserve Telephone Exchange on Obala (bank of the Miljacka river) is mined. Sabotage is carried out by specialists from Nis.
• Street fighting goes on in different parts of the city.
• The Tobacco Factory in Sarajevo is burned after being hit by firebombs.
• Urban fighting goes on in Pofalici between Serb units and the city’s defenders. The defenders liberate this neighborhood.
• The Headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force in Sarajevo is evacuated.
• The Presidency of BiH sets May 19 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the JNA.
• In Ilidza, a convoy leaving the city with 5,000 women and children is stopped by SDS troops.
• The agreement on the confederation of Bosnia and Croatia comes as a bombshell.
• The Presidency of BiH proclaims the JNA an occupation force.
• BiH becomes a member of the UN.
• After lengthy negotiations, the convoy of women and children abducted in Ilidza is released.
• SDS troops forcibly expel patients from the hospital in Jagomir. 113 mental patients roam the city.
• Sarajevan writer Abdulah Sidran, an avid chessplayer, seeks donations from 50,000 DM for BiH chessplayers to compete in the Chess Olympiad in Manila.
• In an attack on the city, the large Olympic complex “Zetra” is targeted.
• The MUP files criminal charges against members of the SDS, including former members of the BiH Presidency, Biljana Plavsic, Nikola Koljevic and Momcilo Krajisnik.
• Sefer Halilovic is named Commander of the BiH Territorial Defense.
• SDS troops attempt to break into the city through Vraca.
• Lisbon, May 24, 1992: A resolution is adopted, after new rounds of negotiations.
• Portugese Ambassador, Jose Cutileiro, initiates new rounds of negotiations. The Croat delegation from BiH led is led by Mate Boban. Radovan Karadzic represents the Serb people. The representatives of the Muslim people and delegation of BiH is led by Haris Silajdzic.
• JNA leaves the “Viktor Bubanj” barracks.
• Report from the Botanical Gardens: unique specimens are in jeopardy from incessant bombardment.
• The Apiarist Association of BiH sends out a statement to the world on the true state of affairs in the city.
• Heavy artillery attack by the aggressor on the maternity ward.
• Shelling in the city center. Massacre of civilians waiting in line for bread.
• The Presidency of BiH refuses a convoy exit from the city because of the possibility it will be taken hostage by the aggressor.
• JNA units evacuate the city barracks “Jusuf Dzonlic.”
• Artillery attack on the city. The city burns. Attack on the “Oslobodjenje” building.
• The destruction and burning of the city causes the interruption of the peace conference in Lisbon.
• The JNA leaves the Pazaric military compound.
• New York, May 30, 1992. The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 757, which imposes sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro and which:
- prevents the import of all products and commodities from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia and Montenegro;
- prevents the sale of all products and commoditites to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia and Montenegro;
- makes unavailable any financial resources, including Serbian and Yugoslav assets in foreign countries;
- denies permission to aircraft to take off from, land or overfly member states’ territory if it is destined to land or has arrived from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia and Montenegro, except for special flights approved in advance on humanitarian grounds;
- prohibits the maintenance of aircraft registered in, or serving the purposes of Serbia and Montenegro, delivering spare parts for such aircraft, providing insurance for them and charging for such services;
- reduces the level of diplomatic and consular staff in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia and Montenegro;
- prohibits participation in sporting events to persons or groups representing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia and Montenegro;
- suspends scientific, technical and cultural exchanges and visits with individuals and groups supported by or representing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e., Serbia and Montenegro.
HAM-RADIO OPERATORS are a discovery for the people of Sarajevo. Only through their stubbornness can you get in contact with those you love. They are a connection between the East and the West. Conversations are short, and start with the punch line: “We are healthy and well. Over.” All conversations and all messages are public. The room in which operators sit has at least five people at any moment, and the place where messages are being received has at least as many. Intimacy is gone, but the messages are still intimate.
Radio-messages are trying to link gaps in communication. Sarajevo Radio broadcasts them day and night. Messages are sent from people in Sarajevo to their friends and relatives in other places in Bosnia and abroad, and to the people in Sarajevo from the rest of the world.