16 000 BAGS OF SEEDS DISTRIBUTED // 04. 1993.
OGNJEN SAMARDZIC // BH OPEN SOCIETY FUND
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

April 1993

Ognjen Samardzic
BH Open Society Fund
16 000 BAGS OF SEEDS DISTRIBUTED

‘Soon after its foundation and the beginning of its work in BH the foundation judged the situation then existing in Sarajevo which was then blocked on all sides that one kind of humanitarian aid that could be supplied through UNHCR was 16 thousand packets of seed to take the place of things people couldn’t get. Some of it went to besieged Sarajevo, some to the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa. About 16 thousand packets were supplied and were transported by UNHCR.’

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TOPIC RELATED TEXT

APRIL 1993


• Kosevsko cemetery is reopened after 27 years due to the lack of space for the burials of victims of snipers and shells.
• New York, April 1, 1993. The UN Security Council passes a resolution approving the use of force in enforcing a no-fly zone over BiH. At the insistence of the Russian delegation, a paragraph in the resolution is modified so that the use of force applies only to air and not ground targets.


• Cyrus Vance withdraws from his role as mediator in the peace negotiations over BiH. He is succeeded by Thorvald Stoltenberg.
• PTT reaches an agreement with UNHCR on sending and receiving letters through its weekly humanitarian flights on the Sarajevo-Split route.


• The Bosnian Serb Parliament rejects the Vance-Owen plan. The EC gives them a new deadline, April 15th, to accept the plan.


• In Sarajevo the Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated.


• 5,000,000 copies of “Oslobodjenje” are released over several continents.


• In the midst of an offensive by Bosnian Serbs on Srebrenica the international community proposes stronger pressure on the Serbs.


• UNHCR report on the airport runway: six killed while crossing.
• The PTT secures a satellite telephone exchange but cannot transport it into the city.
• In the city business spaces are stolen so that cafes and pubs can be opened. This is the most sought after asset on the market in the besieged city.


• Susan Sontag arrives to Sarajevo and meets with artists and intellectuals.


• George Soros’ foundation establishes a satellite telephone exchange for communication between Sarajevo and the outside world, through America.
• MUP establishes a new traffic system due to the large number of snipers on Strahimir Kranjcevic street.
• Joan Baez comes to Sarajevo. Her arrival is part of a campaign to bring world-famous people to Sarajevo to bear witness on behalf of the world to the fate of a European city at the end of the 20th century.
• Start of the Easter football cup. The football club “Bosna” wins the cup, and in reward receive the cup and a box of eggs.
• In Zvornik, which is under the control of the Bosnian Serbs, Serbian women dressed in black block the arrival of humanitarian aid for Srebrenica, headed by General Morillon.


• The George Soros’ foundation” distributes 16,000 bags of seed for the citizens of Sarajevo to plant in “gardens of survival”. The municipal headquarters of the Civil Defense in Novi Grad allocates plots of arable land to citizens, but without compensation.
• Easter mass is held at the Sarajevo Cathedral.
• Dr William Wagman donates his collection of phonograph records to RTVBiH.


• In an attack by the Bosnian Serb Army in Srebrenica, hundreds are killed in Srebrenica. The UN removes General Morillon from duty.
• OSBiH Commander Sefer Halilovic sends a letter to Croatian Army generals Bobetko and Petkovic. It concerns a convoy of arms for the OSBiH, which had been blocked by HVO forces, and which were intended for the rescue of Srebrenica: “You got 25 % of the arms, by agreement, and because of that you will be complicit in the crimes against Srebrenica.”


• Islam Dzugum, a marathon runner, trains for the Mediterranean Games in Montpelier for the 25 km race.


• The transportation company “Gras” prepares for peace, with reconstruction projects on shattered Trebevic.
• New York, April 18, 1993. The UN Security Council adopts the text of a resolution declaring Srebrenica a protected zone. This decision anticipates that the aggressor forces, the Bosnian Serbs, will withdraw, while peacekeepers will assume responsibility for the defense of the civilian population.
• The Canadian UNPROFOR battalion arrives in Srebrenica. Bosnia lives from one threat to the next, from one promise to the next.
• New York, April 19, 1993.
The UN Security Council adopts a new resolution which imposes tougher sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro if by April 26th Karadzic has not signed the Vance-Owen plan. According to this resolution, the marine transport of goods to or from the SR Yugoslavia is forbidden, aside from humanitarian aid with the requisite approval of the UN Committee for Sanction. Land transport can only take place at only a limited number of road and railway border crossings, also only with the permission of the UN Committee for Sanctions. River traffic on the Danube outside of Yugoslav borders is also banned. Foreign vessels that enter through the Danube into the FR Yugoslavia must be inspected and receive approval by the UN Committee for Sanctions. Twelve miles from the Adriatic coast a sailing prohibition is imposed on the FR Yugoslavia, meaning that no ship will be able to enter its territorial waters except under extraordinary circumstances and with special permission. All funds held abroad by the FR Yugoslavia are frozen. All traffic and transport vehicles found outside the borders of the FR Yugoslavia are retained and possibly subject to confiscation if found in violation of the sanctions. The same measures also apply to transport vehicles of other countries that violate the sanctions. The resolution further prohibits financial or any other ties with the FR Yugoslavia with the exception of telecommunications, legal ties or its postal system. Services related to humanitarian assistance or any other special occurrence must be undertaken with the approval of the UN Committee for Sanctions.


• Process of demilitarization in Srebrenica. Working group meeting at the Sarajevo airport. If the Bosnian Serbs attack, the UN will protect its people.
• Start of the “Sarajevo Winter” festival.
• The HVO fires at the hydroelectric plant in Jablanica, breaking off power lines to Sarajevo.


• The HVO commits war crimes against the Muslim citizens in Central Bosnia.


• The President of the self-proclaimed state of Herzeg-Bosnia, Mate Boban, and the President of the Presidency of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic, sign a new peace agreement.
• Radovan Karadzic, leader of the SDS announces: “If tonight we decide to sign the peace plan, the Serbian people will triumph, but if we decide not to, the Serbs will triumph regardless.”


• The Bosnian Serb Assembly rejects the peace agreement. This elicits the following reactions: the Secretary General of NATO Manfred Woerner advocates bombing the Bosnian Serb Army. Russian President Boris Yeltsin announces: “The Russian Federation will not protect someone confronted by the entire world community.” The Minister of Foreign Affairs BiH, Haris Silajdzic: “We cannot expect to fight against tanks with kitchen knives.”
• In Sarajevo an initiative is undertaken to revitalize the “Bentbasa” pool. Plans are immediately drawn up.


• The sanctions against the FR Yugoslavia are carried out: its borders are closed, assets and property frozen, and control is established over traffic on the Danube.
• Lord Owen: “It’s too early to bomb the Serb positions.”


• Meeting in London: Haris Silajdzic: “Let us defend ourselves. No one has the right to deny us that.”
• Slobodan Milosevic asks Radovan Karadzic and Momcilo Krajisnik to reconsider the decision of parliament, threatening to cut off economic aid. A new meeting of the parliament is scheduled for May 5th.

George Soros

Why should I do it? I wouldn't do it. „So, yes; I do take a moral view and I fight for what i believe is right against what I believe is wrong.“
If the latest agenda is to fight a moral crusade, it seems also to include proving that perhaps, as Henry Kissinger once wrote, history is fueled not by impersonal forces but by personalities.
In recent years, Soroš has cast himself as an international policy guru and a savior of nations. Having made his fortune, he now aims to shape history through the 89 offices, in 26 countries of his foundations and Open Society Funds.
The two worlds of George Soros occupy three floors of a mid-Manhattan office building. Below the 3rd floor trading room of the Quantum Fund are the offices of the Soros foundations, buzzing with news from Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Bosnia...
How to promote democracy in the country?

(The New York Times Magazine, April 3, 1994)

Open Society Fond – Sarajevo

With our actions through humanitarian aid OSF BH were trying to relieve the suffering and help survival, while through culture, education and science, media and human rights programs it tried to contribute to general social revitalization and preserving of democratic initiatives. We are intending to basically continue with all our already established activities redefining and remodeling them where we found it needed. Maybe the biggest challenge for the open society movement at the moment is Bosnia and Herzegovina.
One point is the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-confessional centuries old milieu of Bosnia and Herzegovina in itself an ideal social context for the implementation of ideas of modern open society philosophy.
The war time is not the best time for democracy, but the challenge in that respect – is bigger. And in spite of this „rule“ democracy is something essentially needed for the surviving of the idea of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



How to promote democracy – OSF Program

- The Islamic faculty – project of publishing a collection of works
- Cultural Society „Napredak“ – printing their national calendar
- Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra – December concert
- „OKO“, Publishing House – publishing drama „Pad“ by Z. Hadžidedić
- Publisher „Večernje Novine“ – publishing „Avanture na 7.000 metara“ by M.Gafić
- Publisher „Moare“ – printing „Sociologija Religije“ by I.Cvitković
- The State Commission for Gathering the Facts on War Crimes – publishing bulletin
- „Bosanska Knjiga“, Publishing House – publishing books titled „Sarajevski tabut“ by A. Sidran, Istorija bolesti by T. Kulenović and „Smrt je majstor iz Srbije“ by M. Vesović
- „Svjetlost“, Publishing House – publishing “Majstori grafičkog umijeća“ by Dž.Hozo
- Sineast film Magazine – financing next issue of the magazine
- The National Theatre in Tuzla – publishing theatrical magazine with long tradition
- The Museum of Eastern Bosnia in Tuzla – buying conservation materials
- The Portrait Gallery in Tuzla – buying raw materials
- The Association of Architects DAAS BiH (WARchitecture Exhibition) – printing the catalogue „Urbicid“
- „Svjetlost“, Publishing House – buying off their war publishing program
- „Bosanska knjiga“, Publishing House – translation of Kur'an by prof. Enes Karić
- The Obala Gallery – exhibit „Witnesses of Existence“
- The International Theatre and Film Festival – project „Sarajevo reconstruction and resistance – DYSTOPIA“
- Writer Ivan Kordić – buying off 65 copies of his book “Laž, mržnja i zločin“
- The AIASN – science meeting by title „Contribution to the research of the musical heritage of BH”
- The gallery „Collegium Artisticum“ support their activities
- Painter Affan Ramić – support for his exhibition

FINE ARTS
- Exhibition of painter Edin Numankadić
- Project „Installations“ of WIG-WAG
- Exhibitions of posters entitled „Pozdrav iz Sarajeva“ – project of Collegium Artisticum
- Exhibition „Na moj 10 rođendan“ – project of Stella Media
- Workshop – project of First children embassy from Zenica

MUSIC
- Concert titled „Smrt i djevojka“ project of „String Quartet“ of Kamerni teatar
- Show of the group „Big Daddy“
- Contribution to the Research of the Musical heritage of BH – project AIASN
- Symphonic concert – project of Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra
- Personal support for Tina Kordić – piano

THEATER
- Performance „Hamza Pogorelac“ – project of War Theatre Donji Vakuf
- Performance „Žućko“ – project of Dragomir Danilović,s group
- Performance „Circus“ – project of International Theatre and Film Festival Sarajevo
- Performance „Svileni bubnjevi 2“ – project of International Theatre and Film Festival Sarajevo

FILM
No project got support, because Mr. Ademir Kenović was absent from the beggining of the year. Therefore, applied projects could not be evaluated

PUBLISHING (literature)
- Collection of Works – project of Vijeće bošnjačkih intelektualaca
- Personal support for the writer Vesko Kadić for the project „Elementi filmskog – riječnika, izraza-pojmova

BOOK
- „Povijest BH u doba Otomanske vladavine“ – purchase of 50 copies of the book and support for printing
- Project of MOST-ART

ART JOURNALS
- Magazine „Slovo“ – project of Društvo pisaca BH – support for publishing of the
first two issues

ELSE
- Photo exhibition „World Press Photo“– project of Gallery „Obala“
- Photo exhibition of pictures taken in Sarajevo and Mostar during the war
- Project of photographer Kemal Hadžić
- Equipment support for Srpsko kulturno društvo „Prosvjeta“

MEDIA PROGRAM 1993
- NEWSPRINT: 200 tones, still in Ploče port
For more than seven months we haven't been able to bring it to Sarajevo.
- FM Radio Station „Studio 99“ in Sarajevo; transmitter
- RADIO BH; satellite receiving equipment; only half of it made it to Sarajevo.
- FM Radio Station „Vrhbosna“ (Sarajevo); still in Zagreb
- Desk top publishing studio for daily newspaper „Večernje novosti“ Sarajevo
- Photo lab for Sarajevo – still in Zagreb
- Video equipment for local TV station „TV FS“ in Tuzla; still in Zagreb
- PC configuration for Culture Magazine „Odjek“
- Technical equipment for video production house „Videopress“, partly accomplished
- Technical assistance for „Vrelo“ magazine in Tuzla; to be realised
- Transmitter for FM Radio Station „Stari grad“ to be realised

GARDENS

Hunger took grip of the besieged city and its citizens started to discover many plants which grew everywhere, finding out that they had a nice taste. Nettles and dandelion found their way to the markets, at quite high prices. Open Society Fund sent to the city 2 million dollars worth of pumpkin, carrot, tomato, lettuce and corn seeds. All green surfaces, the parks, around the houses, boxes on balconies, became gardens, different from those admired by foreign travelers. There were no roses, lilacs and holly.

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MAPA SIEGE OF SARAJEVO