THE DOORMAN COORDINATES THE SHELLING OF THE TOBACCO FACTORY// 08. 1992. • SEFIK LOJO// DIRECTOR OF THE TOBACCO FACTORY IN SARAJEVO
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Director of the Sarajevo Tobacco Factory
THE DOORMAN COORDINATES THE SHELLING OF THE TOBACCO FACTORY
‘Almost all the workers who hadn’t left the factory or gone to the enemy side or run away from Sarajevo kept working. Among them there were also workers who were of Serb nationality. One of them worked for those he loved, meaning the Serb side. So that whenever there was shelling, which happened several times a day, he would inform them where the shells fell so that they could correct their aim and hit what they wanted to hit. what he got for that I don’t know but I know that our guys caught him and that he was later exchanged.’
• A convoy leaving for Germany carrying parentless children is fired on by Serb snipers, killing small children on one of the buses.
• Roma from the neighborhood of Butmir leave for the winter for Italy.
• The aggressor blackmails the city with water. The Bacevo reservoir is cut off. 90% of the city is without water.
• The airport is closed due to shelling.
• The home for the elderly now in a terrible state, being located in no man’s land.
• Israel participates in the air bridge and the provision of humanitarian aid.
• Statement of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the events in Bosnia: “Every time the international community says that it will not use force it encourages the aggressor.”
• UNPROFOR becomes the intermediary for restoring electricity and water in the city. Repairing the destroyed power lines is a Sisyphean task. Workers from the state electric company first seek approval from UNPROFOR. Later on the ground they are constantly exposed to snipers and shelling. They repair power lines that will once again be destroyed – and once again they start from scratch.
• Dino Merlin composes the Bosnian national anthem.
• Sarajevo music studios produce numerous hits.
• The Children’s Embassy suspends work. Protests follow by mothers against the Presidency of BiH.
• A Jewish convoy leaves Sarajevo.
• The President of the Yugoslav government, Milan Panic, arrives unannounced in Sarajevo. Alija Izetbegovic refuses to receive him.
• New York, August 14, 1992. The UN Security Council adopts two resolutions on BiH: Resolution 770, approving the use of military force to carry out humanitarian actions in BiH; and Resolution 771, condemning human rights abuses in BiH and enabling the use of military force to enter concentration camps.The UN Security Council confirms resolutions 713 from September 25, 1991; 721 from November 27, 1991; 724 from December 15, 1991; 727 from January 8, 1992; 740 from February 7, 1992; 743 from February 21, 1992; 749 from April 7, 1992 godine; 752 from May 15, 1992; 757 from May 30, 1992; 758 from June 8, 1992; 760 from June 18, 1992; 761 from June 29, 1992; 762 from June 30, 1992; 764 from July 13, 1992; 769 from August 7, 1992. The Security Council reiterates the necessity for an urgent political solution through negotaitions to the situation in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim of enabling the country to live in peace and secure its borders.
• The Security Council, acting on Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations:
1. Reaffirms its demand that all sides and interested parties in BiH immediately cease hostilities;
2. Urges all states to take the necessary measures in cooperation with the UN or through regional agencies and arrangements to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Sarajevo and other parts of BiH, wherever needed, by UN humanitarian agencies and others;
3. Requests unimpeded and continuous access to all camps, prisons and internment centers for the International Committee of the Red Cross and other relevant humanitarian organizations; and that all prisoners be treated humanely, and be provided with adequate food, shelter and medical care;
4. Urges all states to submit a report to the Secretary General on measures undertaken in coordination with the UN with the goal of implementing this resolution, and invites the Secretary General to continually consider further measures that could used to secure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid;
5. Requests all states to provide appropriate support to actions undertaken that are pursuant to this resolution;
6. Requests that all sides and interested parties take the necessary measures to insure the safety of the UN and other personnel engaged in humanitarian aid;
7. Requests that the Secretary General periodically issues reports to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution;
8. Reaches the decision that will actively follow this issue.
• A Papal envoy attends mass at the Sarajevo Cathedral for the Feast of the Assumption.
• Shelling of Hotel "Evropa”.
• A Children’s Embassy convoy leaves for Belgrade.
• The Airport is closed because a British Hercules C-13 was shot at.
• War vouchers become currency and replace the Yugoslav dinar. The BiH dinar is printed but cannot enter Sarajevo.
• The last active Orthodox Priest Dragutin Ubiparipovic leaves Sarajevo.
• Nenad Kecmanovic, absconded member of the Presidency of BiH, issues an announcement through the Yugoslav news agency “Tanjug” that he is no longer member of the Presidency of BiH.
• Bobby Fisher plays a match in Sveti Stefan, despite the embargo on Yugoslavia.
• A football game is held between the Sarajevo and Zeljo clubs; the final score is 8 – 5.
• The National Library burns after a heavy artillery attack.
• London, August 27, 1992. A peace conference in London begins on the former Yugoslavia under the joint chairmanship of British Prime Minister John Major, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd of the United Kingdom. The BiH delegation is led by Alija Izetbegovic, and the delegation includes Mile Akmadzic, Haris Silajdzic and Nikola Kovac. The Croat delegation is led by Mate Boban, and the Bosnian Serb delegation by Radovan Karadzic.
• Jose Cutilliero resigns from his position as EC chairman.
• The Serbs are given an unconditional ultimatum to withdraw its heavy artillery within 96 hours.
• In Sarajevo hospitals doctors and medical workers are starving.
The tradition of famous tobacco from Herzegovina and more than a century of the existence and production of the Sarajevo Tobacco Factory left a bad impact on Sarajevans. It spoiled them - people were used to the best cigarettes and tobacco for which special pipes, cigarette-cases and cigarette-holders were made.
Today, cigarettes are the biggest luxury and need. No one is quitting. You can buy them on the black market. Members too, are to be found only on the black market.
On some markets you can find tobacco dust, which before served as a high quality fertilizer for plants and vegetables. Today, that dust is precious and hard to find. Tobacco leaves are even more expensive and very rare. The most passionate smokers are smoking tea. They are drying chamomile, Swiss chard, leaves, and cut it into ‘tobacco’. That tobacco is then being rolled into regular paper or daily paper. Filters are made of toilet paper which comes as a part of lunch packages. It seems to be easier to find a pipe.
THE TOBACCO FACTORY
The “Marlboro” cigarettes produced in the factory under the Philip Morris license was one of the most prized cigarette brands in former Yugoslavia. There is the cult of the cigarette in Sarajevo. Although a large quantity of the stored tobacco was destroyed, the factory managed to produce small amounts of cigarettes throughout the siege. In spite of their inferior quality they were eagerly bought sometimes at 100DM ($70) per carton. Cigarettes were the most valued barter commodity. For a pack of cigarettes one could get several tins of humanitarian food. Due to the lack of paper, cigarettes were rolled into various textbooks, books and official documents. You couldn’t read on them warnings about health hazards but you could learn, for instance, about the process of producing copper. The citizens were often telling the story about how Sarajevo would have surrendered had the cigarettes disappeared.