EXECUTION MOMENT UNKNOWN // 09. 1992.
HARIS PASOVIC // INTERNATIONAL THEATRE AND FILM FESTIVAL
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

September 1992

Haris Pasovic
Director of International Theater and Film Festival
EXECUTION MOMENT UNKNOWN

‘Everybody in the city was under sentence of death and nobody knew if or when the sentence would be carried out. That death sentence for an unknown crime touched on everything we did.’

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SEPTEMBER 1992


• 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.

Dart Game

On the fifth of April, 1992, around Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had about 500,000 inhabitants, around the city in the valley of the river Miljacka surrounded by mountains which made in the host of 1984 Winter Olympics, in the very center of what was Yugoslavia, appeared: two-hundred-sixty tanks, one-hundred-twenty mortars, and innumerable anti-aircraft cannons, sniper rifles and other small arms. All of that was entrenched around the city, facing it. At any moment, from any of these spots, any of these arms can hit any target in the city. And they did hit, indeed - civilian housing, museums, churches, mosques, hospitals, cemeteries, people on the streets. Everything became a target. All exits from the city, all points of entry, were blocked.

Haris Pasovic
He was born in Sarajevo in 1961. In 1984 he graduated the Academy of Art in Novi Sad. His professional training includes the Fulbright Scholarship, High Level Training for Directors (Festival d’Avignon, UNESCO), work for Nordic Theatre Institute Holstebro in Denmark. Haris Pašović was directing in the most important theatres in former Yugoslavia before the war and has won almost every major theater award. His work has included Aristophanes’ “Birds”, Bunuel’s “Hamlet”, Jarry “Ubu Roa”, Wedekind’s “Spring’s Awakening”, “Marat/Sade”, Kiš “Simon, the Magician”.

THE SIEGE
During the siege of the city, Haris Pasovic continued to direct theater performances (“City”, “Silk Drums” based on the Japanese classical theatre, Euripides’ “Alcestis”, “Silk Drums II” “In the country of last things”, by Paul Auster) and films and organize screenings and exhibitions. He has been running the Sarajevo International Theatre and Film Festival.

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
I wouldn’t come back.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
Freedom.

What is you biggest loss?
Freedom.

What is your biggest gain?
A new look at freedom and that I do not hate anybody.

When and where were you happiest?
Moments, moments...

What are your lost illusions?
A healthy society.

Describe your day at work.
Waking up, reading, administration, creation, reading, sleeping.

Sarajevo?
Sarajevo?

What words don’t you use anymore?
How do I remember?

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes.

Where would you like to live?
In nature.

How have you survived?
By accident, for now.

What are you afraid of?
A world war.

Does the past exist for you?
Yes.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
It would be nice if it was intelligent.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Once you find the recipe it is often too late.

How would you like to die?
I would not like to die.

Do you need hope to live?
After hope and after fear.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
Difficult years.

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

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
Yes, but I cannot answer the second part of the question.

DANGEROUS ZONES

Every area of the city was a dangerous zone. At every moment, from all the places in the mountains surrounding the city the snipers could hit every target in the city. Therefore the most dangerous zones were those directly in the line of fire Bridges, crossroads and streets exposed to the mountains. Those were the places where the possibility of getting shot was somewhat lessened if one was a fast runner. Such places also seemed less terrifying than other parts of town where one was never sure whether one should walk fast or slow. Would the shell land where you are or in front of you? The signs DANGEROUS ZONE or WATCH OUT, SNIPER, as well as the signs showing the direction of traffic were written in oil-based paint on pieces of UNHCR plastic sheets, or on pieces of cardboard, wooden board or simply written with chalk on the wall.

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