‘IF YOU ASK ME WHERE I AM NOW’
‘And then we found Kemo in a cafe from which he absolutely refused to leave, seeing as it was located in a basement. Anyway, it was a place where people would hang out at that time. Bistro San was the name of the place. And so we tried to persuade him to come to the TV station to record the song, but he didn’t want to hear a word of it because it was very difficult to get to the TV station. Snipers were shooting, anti-aircraft guns and cannons, I think that every day on TV we saw how they were hitting the vehicles of the TV station, various cars and so on. Kemo is the kind of person who admits that he’s pretty easily scared, and he simply wouldn’t hear a word of it. Then we went about it in a slightly sneaky way. We sat down with him, and we drank, and drank, and drank, and drank, and then when we had drunk enough for him to say, ‘all right, where is that TV station, anyway. Let’s go sing it.’ Then we sat in the van, actually we called for the van at the TV station to come and pick us up and take us there. And of course it wasn’t recorded as professionally as it’s done in times of peace, you know, carefully instrument by instrument. Whichever musicians were around picked up their instruments and they just recorded it the way it came out. Kemo sang the song, it was all over in two or three hours, and after that the recording started to be played around town.’
• 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.
The besieged city defends itself by culture and thus survives. Groups and individuals create whatever they used to create before the siege In impossible circumstances they produce films, write books, publish newspapers, produce radio programs, design postcards, stage exhibitions, performances, make blueprints for rebuilding the city, found new banks, organize fashion shows, shoot photographs, celebrate holidays, put on make up... Sarajevo is the city of the future and of the life in the post-cataclysm. In it on the ruins of the old civilization a new one is sprouting, an alternative one, composed of remains of urban elements Sarajevo lives a life of futuristic comics and science fiction movies.
Sarajevo is a unique city on the planet. It is the site where our civilization has been dismantled in the course of intentional violence.
But Sarajevo is also the symbol of civil defense, the site where violence has been fought back with tolerance, fascism with art and culture, destruction with rebuilding, death with humour, the outburst of rural culture with the one that's urban terror with stubborn maintaining of normal city lifestyle.
Sarajevo has been deprived of all the civil, existential and social rights. It has been deprived of the right to live. Everything that makes normal urban living has been taken away from Sarajevo and its citizens, everything that could have been taken away has been taken away, all except for the right to survive by maintaining the right to culture.
But among all that destruction and dying, kids are being born, birthdays celebrated, weddings carried out. In the city surrounded by the deadly circle of primitivism the exhibitions are being opened, movies made, festivals organized, theatre plays and musicals performed.
Sarajevo lives the post-cataclysm. It is the picture of civilization emerging out of cataclysm, making something out of nothing, giving messages for the future.
Not because the future is necessarily a future of wars and disasters, but because humans are growing older and being born into a world which is ever less secure.
All that has been left under the ruins of Sarajevo, all that has survived the shelling of our civilization is the spirit of the cultural survival. The reconstruction of that spirit, the spirit of Sarajevo must start – now. Otherwise – Sarajevo will become the graveyard of the principles of multiethnicity and human rights.
He was born on March 6, 1959 in Sarajevo. He dropped out of school and for a while worked as a carpenter. He started writing texts and composing music for cartoons. In 1990, he worked as a host and an editor of a contact program on the independent Sarajevo radio “Studio 99.”
He continued to work on “Studio 99,” where he is today. He worked for a short period as a war reporter from front lines. At the same time, he wrote songs and composed music. He recently finished a short film for the company “News Network” which is owned by Dan Damon. He is currently preparing a collection of songs he wrote from 1992 to 1995 that will be printed in the shape of toilet paper.
It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
In my present shape.
How do you describe perfect happiness?
That much imagination I don’t have.
What is you biggest loss?
When I lost myself.
What is your biggest gain?
When I returned to myself.
When and where were you happiest?
I will answer this once I am old.
What are your lost illusions?
Describe your day at work.
I don’t have the time nor the nerves.
What words don’t you use anymore?
In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
What does virtue mean, I forgot?
Where would you like to live?
I already live where I want to live.
How have you survived?
I watched every episode of the serial “Survival”.
What are you afraid of?
Does the past exist for you?
It does exist, but I don’t remember it.
This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
Worse than its predecessor.
Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
The 32nd page of the Bosnian cook book, the recipe for “čevap”, after this, health, even mental, goes right through your mouth.
How would you like to die?
Do you need hope to live?
That’s all I got.
What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
’92 naive, ’93 tough, ’94 confused.
How would you call this period of your life?
Nightmare on Elm Street.
Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
Help Bosnia now.
Do you like life, and what is life all about?
I do. To eat, drink and shit.