AT THE OLYMPICS IN BARCELONA // 07. 1992.
SENADA KRESO // TRANSLATOR
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

July 1992

Senada Kreso
Translator
AT THE OLYMPICS IN BARCELONA

‘I remember that August 2, when I got to the studio at 9 o’clock the first news was a picture of Christian Amanpour just below my balcony, the balcony was covered with smoke. Then I realized that morning very early one of the fierce bombardments had taken place. What was important about that day? It was one of a whole series of shelling that had taken place while I was in Barcelona. I ran to telephone but I couldn’t get Sarajevo. All lines had been cut that morning, the relay center on Trebevic was out and all connections with the outside world were cut off. I stayed another two weeks and I didn’t the whole time know if anything had happened to the people in my house, especially my mother and my relatives who had only just managed to escape from the hell of the airdrome district, if they had survived. Then my colleagues, who really had tried their best to save me that journey back to Sarajevo, understood what it means not to know what’s happening at home and whom you will find alive. Then they stopped trying to organize my life somewhere else.’

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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.

Senada Kreso
She was born in March 1951 in Mostar. She studied English language and literature in Sarajevo, worked for Sarajevo television and radio. She translated stories, poetry, essays, and did journalistic work occasionally. She traveled when it was possible.

THE SIEGE
Since the seventh day of the attack against Sarajevo until recently she worked for the Bosnian Information Ministry. For almost a year she has been the deputy minister. She always tried to help foreign journalists report about the impossible hell of the siege. She recently started working for UNESCO. “Work, lots of work, and from time to time, laughter or attempts to laugh, so we would set aside the bitterness of the survived and the things we lived through”.

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
In the same.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
Something like that does not exist.

What is you biggest loss?
People around me lost a lot, it would be cynical to speak about me.

What is your biggest gain?
Experience.

When and where were you happiest?
Happiness has various shapes, and it cannot be measured.

What are your lost illusions?
By losing some I learned, by losing others I was frustrated.

Describe your day at work.
It would not be too interesting for you.

Sarajevo?
A miracle city.

What words don’t you use anymore?
None, but some have lost their meaning.

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes, it still is.

Where would you like to live?
Here, but I would like to travel to, let’s say, New York or Barcelona.

How have you survived?
With irony and skepticism.

What are you afraid of?
Of fear that I could not overcome.

Does the past exist for you?
Yes, as an experience.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
The one that is about to end, which is so absurd, does not give me any worthy answers to this question.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Ironic distance - especially towards oneself.

How would you like to die?
While dreaming.

Do you need hope to live?
Of course.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
Shocking. Difficult. Sickening. Brueghel and Chagal at the same time.

How would you call this period of your life?
A period of comprehension.

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
A message to whom? To those who have stayed, or those who are leaving. I am afraid that neither have an ear to hear the message.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
There is not enough room for answering this question.

THE OLYMPIC MUSEUM

The former Mandic family villa housed the American Consulate before the Olympic Games. After the Games the Olympic museum was opened in the building and it became the site of art exhibitions, the documentary film festival and a meeting place, especially in its outdoor cafe. In 1992, a few days after the mayor announced that the American Embassy would be housed in the villa, it was destroyed. First it was hit by inflammable shells and when the fire broke out, snipers and mortar shells prevented the firemen form extinguishing the flames. Its ruins were the site of several art exhibitions during the siege.

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