DANI PUBLISHED UNDER IMPOSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES// 09. 1992. • SENAD PECANIN// EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF MAGAZINE ‘RATNI DANI’
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Editor-in-chief of the magazine Ratni Dani
DANI PUBLISHED UNDER IMPOSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES
‘The first issue of the magazine Ratni Dani was published in the beginning of September 1992. At the time the war started I was working as a spokesman at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I thought that doing this job I would be able to contribute, at least in a modest way, to the defense of the city and the country. However, very soon I became discontented with the ideas the then MUP commanders had about informing about the situation in the country. I was intensely against the propaganda according to which Sasa Karadzic, Radovan Karadzic's son, had joined the BH Army or the information that Arkan was buried in Herceg Novi. Or that Radovan Karadzic urinates in bed, etc. I thought that the service whose responsibility it was to defend the country should not function in that way. The fact that we, that is, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, had information about concentration camps in Krajina, chetnik concentration camps in Prijedor, much earlier then Roy Gutman proclaimed it to the world, confirmed that my opinion about our informing was right. However, we paid dearly for that, because, although we had and made public the information about concentration camps months before Gutman, nobody trusted us because of our stories about Sasa Karadzic, Arkan's funeral and others which I opposed. I realized that my ideas about informing and propaganda at the beginning of the war differed from those of the people who were actually creating them. So I decided to start a new magazine. Since the magazine Ratni Dani was not a current publication in those days, it expired even before the war started, about the same time when the Union of Socialist Youth broke down, I decided to start the magazine Ratni Dani with a group of mainly famous journalists. We wanted to have a magazine, which would not be a thrall to any propaganda. I thought that we did not need lies in order to achieve success, that it was enough to have justice and truth on our side. And I decided to have a magazine, which would not try to justify its imperfections by means of the fact that there was no water, or electricity, telephone or gas, paper or money.’
• The Presidency of BiH decides the evacuation of children by the organization Children’s Embassy will only be carried out under the strictest security.
• Slobodan Milosevic dismisses Milan Panic, the new president of the government of Yugoslavia.
• In the Sarajevo neighborhood of Stup, the site of a bustling market, the situation grows tense. The HVO, BiH Territorial Defense and Bosnian Serbs erect barricades against each another.
• The city’s government battles epidemics of entercolitis and dysentery.
• Sarajevo’s Jewish community announces: “We want to be Bosnian Jews. During the Second World War, the Muslims acted the most justly. They protected the Jews.”
• Russian media blames the Muslims for all of the Serbs′ actions.
• Serb snipers fire at journalists from “Oslobodjenje” as they enter their office.
• An overland corridor is established between Split and Sarajevo.
• The Serbs agree to place their heavy artillery under UNPROFOR control after the expiration of the deadline of the ultimatum.
• Associations are established in Sarajevo for citizens expelled from other towns in BiH.
• An Italian humanitarian flight is shot down.
• Geneva, September 4, 1992. In Geneva, under the auspices of the UN and EC, in the Palace of Nations, an international conference begins on the former Yugoslavia.
• Humanitarian aid networks bring the citizens of Sarajevo 400 kg of food daily.
• The Children’s Embassy convoy is put on hold.
• The Ministry of Education issues a statement that enrolment in school is dependent on security conditions.
• Geneva, September 6, 1992. At the international conference, the aggressor’s side is asked to place all of its heavy artillery around Sarajevo, Gorazde, Bihac and Jajce under UN control by September 12. Karadzic doesn’t sign the agreement on placing heavy artillery under UNPROFOR control.
• Despite the deadline given Radovan Karadzic on handing over arms to UNPROFOR control, he continues to negotiate over the size of artillery pieces to be confiscated.
• Robbery of the “Fruktal” warehouse in Stup. HVO units and Juka’s unit compete over who will take more. The headquarters of the HVO in Mostar is given an ultimatum by the Armed Forces of BiH in Sarajevo to withdraw from Stup within 48 hours.
• Premier performance of the play “Skloniste” at the War Theatre “Sartr.”
• The “Holiday Inn” Hotel makes $230,000 in two months because it is the only hotel that can receive foreign journalists and supply them with food, water and electricity.
• Citizens rip out seesaws and benches from parks to survive the winter.
• The citizens of Sarajevo can buy a barrel of water up to 30 liters for 10 Deutsche Marks. Those that are able to get water from one of the rare sources in the city know that one canister of water could cost them their lives because of exposure to snipers and shelling.
• Dr Mario Landeka, at the “Paleta” gallery, displays 22 paintings on the theme of water.
• Bosnian Serb forces place their arms under UNPROFOR control at 11 positions.
• The Bosnian Serbs launch a heavy offensive. HVO units flee Stup, retreating from the city’s line of defense.
• The BiH delegation travels to Geneva for peace negotiations.
• The city lacks chlorine for the chlorination of drinking water, leading to negotations with UNPROFOR.
• The Bosnian Serb offensive on Stup continues, in an attempt to enter the city through its weakened defensive lines.
• The children’s choir “Palcici” writes to Princess Diana to tell her what’s happening to them.
• 20 authors display a portfolio of prints “SA 92”.
• Football league matches are held in Sarajevo under the slogan “It’s important to participate.”
• The city is ravaged by hunger, illness, despair and death.
• Muslims and Croats flee Grbavica, the occupied part of the city, paying ransoms on their own lives to the Serbs.
• A match is played between Sarajevo and UNPROFOR. The final score is 12 - 3.
The daily OSLOBODJENJE which is published in a completely destroyed building. When there is no sufficient paper it is published in small edition and the news vendors stick the sheets onto the facades. Also available are RATNI DANI and BLIC, the magazine TENNIS, the magazine of the Architects’ Association. Travelers also bring into the city old issues of the dailies and weeklies from the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere. These papers circulate from house to house.
The building housing „Oslobođenje“, which published a daily newspaper of the same name, is today a heap of rubble. However, the daily Oslobođenje is still published. Its size, printing run, the colour of its paper and print depend on the circumstances. It is produced, as before, in the basement, under the rubble, and it is sold by its journalists.
Oslobođenje has won numerous international press prizes this year including the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.
There is also a privately owned paper Ratni dani (Wartimes Days) and this fall there has appeared another independent, privately owned weekly – Blic (Flash).
Some other, more specialized, papers are also published in the city: Ljiljan (The Lily), Muslimanski glas (The Moslem Voice), the Jewish community paper, and there is even Tennis for the lovers of the sport.