HITCHHIKING IN THE CITY // 08. 1992.
LEJLA HASANBEGOVIC // INTERNATIONAL THEATRE AND FILM FESTIVAL
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

August 1992

Lejla Hasanbegovic
International Theatre and Film Festival
HITCHHIKING IN THE CITY

‘Through three years of war, ‘92 – ‘95, because I live on Alipasino polje and worked in town, on Tito Sq, 10 km, I had to do the journey every day in both directions. There was no public transport and so I usually hitchhiked. Of course I often had to do the journey on foot but hitchhiking was the most usual way to work and home again. There were various ways of stopping people but I had my own way and tactics. Time of stopping, place to stand and of course whom to stop. During the whole war the UN cars never stopped and that only left private cars and not many of them and of course a few lorries that went such as the Company Rad ones. To stop private cars I always stood by myself, somewhere nobody else was standing, for bigger chances.’

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AUGUST 1992


• 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.

Modern Sarajevan

He has to have, and on a visible spot, at least one accreditation, seemingly just a piece of paper with his photograph. But beware - accreditation is the law in the besieged city, a proof of belonging to someone which makes you important. Those with local ID. are not more than the second-rate citizens. So, the modern Sarajevan has the accreditation, weapons, a good car, and a complete uniform. The owner of a bullet-proof vest is regarded with honor. The one who doesn’t wear uniform, has an ax in his right hand for cutting down the trees, and a series of canisters on the left shoulder. His image would be complete with a mask against poison gas.
A modern woman from Sarajevo cuts the wood, carries humanitarian aid, smaller canisters filled with water, does not visit a hair-dresser nor a beautician. She is slim, and runs fast. Girls regularly visit the places where humanitarian aid is being distributed. They know the best aid-packages according to their numbers. They get up early to get the water, visit cemeteries to collect some wood, and greet new young refugees. Many are wearing golden and silver lilies as earrings, as pins, on the necklaces.
Sarajevo is a city of slender people. Its citizens could be authors of the most up-dated diets. No one is fat any longer. The only thing you need is to have your city under the siege - there lies the secret of a great shape. Everybody is wearing their youthful clothes of teenage size. Sarajevans lost about four thousand tons (400,000 citizens lost about 10 kilos each). They greet each other with - TAKE CARE!

Lejla Hasanbegovic
She was born on January 26, 1973 in Sarajevo, where she graduated from the School of Architecture. After high school, she enrolled in the Architecture College in Sarajevo.

THE SIEGE
She has worked at the International Film and Theater Festival since 1993. During 1993 she participated in project “Remembering Hiroshima” and numerous theater plays. In 1994 she worked on the architectural project “Dystopia”, the Summer Festival “Baby Universe” and she acted in the plays “Silk Drums 2” and “In the Country of Last Things” by Haris Pasovic.

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
For sure not in human. As a bird that lives on high cliffs.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
I don’t think of it.

What is you biggest loss?
Freedom.

What is your biggest gain?
It still hasn’t happened.

When and where were you happiest?
Paris, September 1994, the city that I wanted to visit since my childhood.

What are your lost illusions?
I have never had any to lose.

Describe your day at work.
I get up, hitchhike, office, hitchhike, cafe, curfew, washing the long blond hair, curlers, drying hair in an oven, sleeping. I get up...

Sarajevo?
The forgotten city.

What words don’t you use anymore?
Skiing.

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes.

Where would you like to live?
Somewhere in nature, on a mountain, near a river or lake.

How have you survived?
Work.

What are you afraid of?
Of nothing.

Does the past exist for you?
Yes.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
Not much better than this one.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Work.

How would you like to die?
Alone, far away from everybody.

Do you need hope to live?
Yes.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
Confusion, death, hope.

How would you call this period of your life?
War, work, hitchhiking.

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
I want the things that are happening to us to happen to everybody. So, who survives -
survives.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
I love life and I am not interested in knowing what it is about.

TRANSPORTATION

As early as the first year of the siege the official statistics showed that the number of vehicles fell from 105,000 to 5,000; of the 200 city transportation routes there remained one and of the 6,000 city transportation vehicles there remained 60. In May 1992 the city Public transportation depot was shelled and a great number of buses, trams and trolley buses were destroyed. The trolley buses stopped operating. A few buses and trams, provided there was fuel and electricity, took to the streets where they became favorite targets. The VW Golf cars, made in Sarajevo before the war, were the most widely used means of transportation. Due to the high speeds and a great number of drivers without driving licenses a poster appeared during the first months of the siege: DRIVE CAREFULLY, DON’T GET KILLED IN VAIN. It also informed the citizens that THERE WERE 300 DEAD AND INJURED in traffic accidents. White UN vehicles, which killed several Sarajevans, were the most frequent sight on the streets.

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