NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION // 12. 1992.
UNA BEJTOVIC // STUDENT AT MUSIC SCHOOL
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

December 1992

Una Bejtovic
Music School student
NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION

‘We received a package of ZDF TV station, which were sent to the employees of TV BH. Those were presents that contained all the necessary ingredients to make pizza. That was a kind of ‘Becket’ situation, because we had nothing to bake pizza in, so we had to make a fire and heat the whole kitchen. We had yellow cheese and catch-up and everything else that are necessary for such a meal. There were different kinds of pizzas inside that package and that was something new for the whole family. That made things look less dark than they were and we were in a good mood. We didn't watch television. We listened to music that was played on cassette players, which were connected to power batteries. People with batteries were happy, and I'm glad that I was one of them. Usually we would listen to music, we didn't dance, and if we had no battery, then a good old acoustic guitar was always accepted. New Year's celebrations were very interesting because, we had four war celebrations, every time we would say to each other, By God, next one will be in peace. Four times it didn't work, but finally we managed to have them after war.’

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DECEMBER 1992


• Due to the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina and the siege of Sarajevo, the prevailing general attitude of the international community is that "the Serbs should be reasoned with, but not be defeated by us; we should leave them room for an honorable exit from a situation they themselves have created."
• Satish Nambiar, Chief of Staff of the United Nations for Bosnia, says: "This is a vicious circle. I do not really see a solution. "
• A conference of Islamic countries is held. The decision is made to request the repeal of the arms embargo on BiH. The oil reserves controlled by Islamic countries give power to this request
• Religious, scientific and literary institutions in Sarajevo send a letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton; these include ANUBiH, "La Benevolencija", "the Pen Centre", “Napredak”, “Preporod”, and the University of Sarajevo.
• Geneva, December 2nd, 1992. A resolution by the Commission on Human Rights is adopted unanimously that clearly identifies the aggressor and its atrocities.
• Bosnian Serb forces launch a heavy attack on Otes, a suburb of Sarajevo.
• Each Sarajevan is entitled to 0.333 kg of bread; 0.174 kg of flour is delivered instead to those parts of the city where bread can’t be delivered.
• Croatia ultimately abolishes the transit visa.
• OSBiH General Stjepan Siber protests UN organizations allowing Bosnian Serb soldiers to use white UN vehicles to drive across the airport runway.
• City’s Red Cross Center tends to refugees in refugee camps.
• The OSBiH is forced to retreat from the suburb of Otes in the face of the aggressor’s artillery attacks. Residents are evacuated. As they flee they cross the Dobrinja river.
• The Sarajevo branch of the HVO organizes a Christmas tournament for indoor soccer. Sixteen teams participate, the tournament lasts 17 days.
• Through the humanitarian organization "Adra" a large shipment of packages arrives from Belgrade.
• Russia does not want to deliver gas to Sarajevo because of its large debt for gas. The BiH delegation is in Moscow negotiating the release of gas.


• At the peace conference in Geneva, the delegations are working on maps. The BiH Foreign Minister suggests that BiH be divided into 13 cantons.
• The airport is closed. Sarajevo awaits a new round of humanitarian aid.
• Due to the difficult situation in the city, a ban is passed on coffee shops and bars staying open after 6pm.
• OSBiH soldiers take back a position on Zuc hill 850 meters high. This hill was one of the fiercest Serb strongholds for shooting at the citizens of Sarajevo.
• In Sarajevo the 'Blessed builders of peace' arrive. At the "Radnik" cinema they hold an ecumenical gathering
• At the peace conference in Geneva all three sides give written guarantees that they will not shoot at planes so that Sarajevo airport can be opened again.


• The President of the Croat-formed Herzeg-Bosnia, Mate Boban, blocks the entry of weapons for OSBiH before Sarajevo. Sarajevo is now besieged by three layers: the Bosnian Serbs, the UN, and Herzeg-Bosnia.
• The leader of the SDS, Radovan Karadzic, in Geneva makes a statement on ending the war on December 17th, but his assembly needs to adopt a resolution on the termination of the war.
• In order to be published daily, the newspaper "Oslobodjenje" needs a barrel of oil for its electrical generator, while journalists have one hour to prepare the news. Due to the small number of copies of the newspaper, citizens post copies on city walls.


• Counterfeit banknotes are noticed in the city in denominations of 5,000 BiH dinars. 1.2 million counterfeit banknotes have entered the city.
• The Bosnian Serb television network in Pale, "Srna", exerts constant pressure on Serbs in Sarajevo to leave the city.
• "Spiders" (tow-trucks) tow away improperly parked cars. The utility company "Rad" urges the public to stop parking on the streets.
• Geneva, December 18, 1992. A ministerial conference on the former Yugoslavia is completed on December 18th, 1992.
• Lawrence Eagleburger says that Milosevic and Karadzic systematically violate the agreements that they themselves have signed; pledges to punish all war criminals, naming some of them; suggests that the UN Security Council review the arms embargo on Bosnia; says that pressure must be exerted to open up pathways for humanitarian aid and efforts to prevent the spread of the war, particularly in Kosovo, should be stepped up; and that sanctions in order to stop the war as soon as possible should be strengthened
• New York, December 18th, 1992. The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution in wich they request the Security Council to lift the embargo on arms exports in Bosnia and to authorize military intervention if Serbia and Montenegro continue after January 15th with their violations of previous Security Council resolutions. 102 countries vote in favor of this resolution, with 57 abstentions and none against.
• At a session of the BiH Presidency it is decided that Alija Izetbegovic will remain president during the war.


• The first ambassador to BiH is appointed, Croatian Ambassador, Dr. Sancevic.


• The BiH airline "Air BiH" is established, comprised of former JAT employees. A company representative says: "Given that the Sarajevo airport is under UN control, the people of Sarajevo will have to use other airports to travel but all the reservations can be made through the newly formed company Air BiH."
• Three maps for demilitarization are made in Geneva.


• "Velepekara" asks for gas burners from the Medical school in order to enable another line of production of bread because its situation with oil is critical.
• Celebration of Christmas at the UNPROFOR base. The French Battalion, sings "We pray for peace in Sarajevo."
• The headquarters of UNPROFOR is shelled. General Morillon, the UNPROFOR Commander, wants to withdraw because of these events in Sarajevo. The government of BiH gives him guarantees that they will investigate the shelling.
• In Geneva on December 28th, 1992 a peace conference on the former Yugoslavia begins.
• Curfew abolished for New Year‘s celebrations.
• UNPROFOR sends a proposal to the BiH goverment that UNPROFOR can return men who try to run across the airport runway in order to flee the city. They propose to organize joint control with the BiH government over the corridor.

Entertainment and accommodations

Tourism in Sarajevo comes down to foreign journalists and politicians. The latter ones stay in the city only for a few hours and run away. Soldiers and journalists stay longer, but are regularly replaced. Only for the people of Sarajevo is there no exit. They don’t live in shifts. Journalists are either in the Holiday Inn, or with friends who have a good basement. They travel the city in protected cars, and with obligatory bullet-proof vests. Sarajevo has numerous hotels. They are all full, except for the Bristol and Posta. They became homes for refugees. The same goes for the oldest and the most famous hotel, Evropa, in the part which has not burned. With war, the Evropa was completely emptied - of its kitchen, silverware, crystal glasses, tablecloths, paintings, furniture. Food and drinks are gone since April, too.
Guests are accepted only in the HOLIDAY INN, a hotel with two directors. One was appointed by the City Parliament, the other one by the Republic. Of course, not all of the rooms are available, for some no longer exist. During stronger shelling, guests leave their rooms and sleep collectively in the basement, armed with their cellular phones. The hotel is well supplied with alcoholic drinks and refreshments. Only there can you try the best of local couisine - big selections of Viennese and Oriental delights.
Guests are, of course, foreign journalists. There are some locals, too. These are private businessmen, merchants, people for all times and all imaginable businesses. Prices are war-like. The average menu is 50 DM per person. If ready for the black market rates, you may try to pay in the local currency. Service is decent.
At night, the hotel resembles Casablanca.
Culinary specialties are offered, since last October, in the following places:
GURMAN (Gourmet). Location: Corner of Titova and Radojke Lakic Street.
BUJRUM (Welcome). Location: Above the Cathedral, in the Vuk Karadzic Street.
KRALJICA DUNAVA (Queen of Danube). Location: Kata Govorusic Street.
KLUB NOVINARA (Journalist’s Club). Location: Pavle Goranin Street.
The selection of drinks is very limited. As for the food-aside from soup one can get cooked veal, hamburgers (domestic version is called pljeskavica). How the food actually gets there is kept as the biggest professional secret. Silent are both those who order and those who deliver. And those who eat.
There are private clubs, too. In case you have someone to take you there, look for:
MONIK: (behind the Post office at Dolac Malta)
MAZESTIK (close to jugobanka) RAGUZA (next to the main market - Markale)
JEZ (neighborhood of the seat of the Yugoslav People’s Army)
Modern, prewar life of cafes, in which mingled the youth of the city, and its business circles... Good music, excellent coffee, whiskey, home-made brandy. Since November they re-emerged, protected with thick slabs and UNHCR foils, with generators for their own electricity. Their names: Bugatti, Piere, Stefanel, Charlie, Sky, Indi, Holland, 501, S.O.S., GoGo, Tvin...They start working at 11 a.m. and close at nightfall. Some work until the curfew-visit only if you have a friend who knows the city well. Some are open as long as there are guests. All are armed.
There are places where you can gamble, playing cards. It is convenient for foreigners - payment is in hard currency anyway. One shouldn’t have too much self-confidence. Sarajevo gamblers cannot reach Italy or Cote de Azure any more. Their skilled passion has to be fulfilled here.

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