COUCHNER SUPPORTS THE STATE HOSPITAL// 07. 1992. • BAKIR NAKAS// DOCTOR, STATE HOSPITAL
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Doctor, State Hospital
COUCHNER SUPPORTS THE STATE HOSPITAL
‘1992 was a special year and there was a special event. It was announced that the French government might sponsor the Sarajevo State Hospital in the sense that they would guarantee protection from the aggressor and that they would secure the supply of medical material and other things necessary for the running of a medical institution. As a consequence of president Mitterand’s visit an idea was put forward that France would “adopt” the hospital and change its name into French Hospital and in return they would secure the mentioned supplies. But all that remained were empty words. And those empty words had grave consequences for the hospital because for a long time the majority of humanitarian organizations thought that France was helping the hospital in a major way.’
• 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.
Medical care: its main characteristic is very friendly personnel, which was not the case before the war. It is very efficient. Aside from the hospital and emergency rooms, you will hear quickly about all the improvised ambulances. The maternity hospital has been shelled and is out of use, so babies are born in the regular hospital. When visiting the dentist, you should take your bottle with water, and gloves, which she can use while treating you.
Pharmacies are working, but medicine is mostly missing. Bring your own vitamins. In emergency - look for the locations of Benevolencija and Caritas.
In Spring 1992 the public-health service in the Old Town was shelled. In May 1992 the State Hospital was intensively shelled and it was hit by more than 200 shells during the siege. The victims were patients. The Kosevo clinic suffered the same fate. Its operating theaters and intensive care units were hit. The hospitals were usually shelled with plated shells which would pass through several rooms The patients were often evacuated and the surgeons frequently performed operations without electricity or water, using candles and five-liter canisters. Hundreds of citizens were admitted to hospitals each day.