‘THERE MUST BE BREAD!’ // 07. 1992.
KEMAL MESAK // CITY BAKERY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

July 1992

Kemal Mesak
City Bakery
‘THERE MUST BE BREAD!’

‘Our slogan was, ‘There must be bread’ and we knew that the only food that could be bought, acquired in Sarajevo at that time, was bread. We knew, we were very responsible, disciplined, and we used every moment we had to make as much bread as we could because we knew that all of Sarajevo depended on the City Bakery-Velepekara.’

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JULY 1992


• In order to protect against sniper fire, Sarajevan drivers drive through the city’s streets at great speed.


• Yeast arrives to “Velepekara” for the production of bread.


• Herzeg-Bosnia is proclaimed within the territory of BiH.


• The resale of humanitarian aid begins in different places in the city at high prices.
• A number of countries offer to participate in the air bridge for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged city.


• At a meeting of the Presidency of BiH the decision is made to replace the Public Prosecutor because of his attempts to ban the nationalist parties SDA and HDZ over six common infractions .


• Munich, July 7, 1992. Summit in Munich: The seven most-developed countries in the world adopt a special resolution on the Yugoslav crisis that places pressure on Belgrade. The seven countries supporting the EC conference on the former Yugoslavia call on all sides to continue negotiations, while at the same time demanding that all sides not impede humanitarian efforts. The resolution also states that “in the event that peace negotiations fail, the Security Council will consider other measures, among which the use of military force will not be excluded. It is also emphasized that Serbia and Croatia must respect the territorial integrity of BiH.


• The new member of the Presidency of BiH from the Serb people, Nenad Kecmanovic, flees Sarajevo.


• Student Josip Capelj gives 200,000 dinars of his savings to the Armed Forces of BiH: “I want them to liberate me.”


• Juka Prazina, city guerilla leader joins the Armed Forces of BiH with his own unit.


• Cellist Vedran Smajlovic plays on the street in the center of the city.


• The Representative of the Jewish Community in Sarajevo, Ivica Ceresnjes, says that the Jewish cemetery and chapel can be destroyed in the interest of defending the city. The Jewish cemetery is among the most dangerous strongholds of Serb snipers firing upon the citiziens of Sarajevo. Serb terrorists aim at buses, trams and passersby.


• In the neighborhood of Dobrinja, which is being attacked on two sides, a teacher, “Aunt Faiza,” soothes children with games, classes, costume parties and dances.
• Collectors try to collect TV subscription fees.
• Cellist Vedran Smajlovic sends an invitation to musicians across the world to protest against the agression against Sarajevo and BiH by playing Albioni on July 17 at 12pm.
• London, July 16, 1992. A peace conference begins in London. Lord Peter Carrington presides over the peace conference. Participants at the conference include: Haris Silajdzic, Radovan Karadzic and Mate Boban.
• Developer Mirko Mer makes a protective mask against poison gases.
• Cellist Vedran Smajlovic plays for Douglas Hurd, Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom on Vase Miskina street.


• London, July 18, 1992. A ceasefire agreement is signed in London. All sides sign a ceasefire agreement placing heavy artillery under the control of the international community. They also sign a document guaranteeing the right of refugees to return to their homes and securing the free movement to all civilians.
• The new President of the Yugoslav Government, Milan Panic, arrives in Sarajevo.
• Pharmacies in Sarajevo receive humanitarian aid in the form of enormous quantities of medicines with expired dates, as well as inadequate or irrelevant medicines, such as anti-malarial agents.
• Louis Mackenzie, UNPROFOR Commander, resigns under pressure from the media for misconduct and bias.
• A convoy of mothers and children, through the organization Children’s Embassy, leaves for Italy.
• Pension payments depend on electricity.
• 27 Olympians leave Sarajevo for Barcelona.
• Armed Forces of BiH attack the chocolate factory “Zora” with the aim of disarming guerilla units of the HVO.


• The city no longer has water. Serb terrorists hold control over all reservoirs.


• At Stup human trafficking and black marketing arises through cooperation between HVO units and Bosnian Serb forces.


• Bernard Kouchner becomes the patron of a former JNA hospital, bestowing it with the name the “French Hospital.”
• Painters exhibit their paintings in the stairwells of apartment blocks.
• Haris Silajdzic, Foreign Minister of BiH, refuses the Cutilliero plan, which in March the BiH delegation had given its approval in principle.
• Athlete Mirsada Buric trains for the World Cup in the streets of Sarajevo amid sniper fire.
• Juka Prazina, with his own unit, creates a border at Stup and halts trafficking on the way between Stup and the city.

Shopping

Stores have been broken into, shelled, deserted. This situation lasted for months and then, in October, a few brave owners reopened some of them. There you can find toothpaste, soap, toilet-paper (rarely), light-bulbs and foil for preserving food - remnants from the pre-war rich Sarajevo. Supermarkets are gone. Some, completely ravaged, since December are selling just the one and only kind of bread. People got food stamps sometime in June, but they never served their purpose - you could never buy anything with them. Only one card works, the one that appeared in December, for bread. If you manage to wait in a line, you can get 233 grams per person daily. Single men and women are forming trios, so that each of them gets a whole bread every third day. Business hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but most places close at noon. At the end of a working day, merchandise is hidden in the basements, well protected and locked with seven locks.

THE BAKERY

The city bakery which was the citizens’ only source of bread was continually shelled and a part of its equipment was destroyed. Besides being shelled it also lacked electricity and gas and besides energy supply it often lacked flour, yeast and water. The distribution of bread was also made difficult by the shelling and a lack of fuel for the trucks. In spite of the difficulties December 27, 1995 marked the day when the Bakery produced its one millionth loaf of bread for the citizens of the besieged city.

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