ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL // 05. 1993.
VESNA HALEBIC // ARCHITECT
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

May 1993

Vesna Halebic
Architect
ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL

‘You could find strawberry extract and all kinds of stuff like that at the market. People asked me where I got such an idea. I got the idea because I had noticed that people were not looking for that stuff. I wanted to make it as imaginatively as possible. And I would make so many different kinds of cakes for the children, which I hadn't thought were even possible. Once, I said as joke, how much would this cost? What would be the price for this cake that looks like a symphony, like some fantasy? That got me to prepare everything and take one especially beautiful cake into one café. I remember that the café was in New Sarajevo, and I offered it to the owner. This is a whole different story, but they needed cakes because it was a café with a pastry-shop. They were not allowed to sell alcohol. So they needed some kind of decoration, they needed cakes. Of course, the owner liked the look of the cake and he tasted it, everyone tried it. So he said, bring five pieces tomorrow. That was a first order. Next time there were ten cakes. I ran home beside myself with happiness. We had no gas at that time, and for water you had to wait in line. Gas would come after two in the night, and I would prepare everything to bake the cake between two and four because then there was the most gas and only then could you only bake something in the oven. Everything would be done around eight or ten, depending on how many shells were fired on Pofalici. And I'd walk from one café to another. Usually there were a few pieces left over for the next café and that's how I would take over the market. I took over the whole city, From New Sarajevo to Bascarsija. I would return to Pofalici through the tunnel. That was the most beautiful moment. When I came to the tunnel, I was really safe.’

TOPIC RELATED PHOTOGRAPHS
TOPIC RELATED TEXT

MAY 1993


• The first international wedding is announced in Sarajevo. The wedding cake is made from potatoes. The groom, Stephen Peterson, a UN employee, says: “I have a wife, Zorica, we’re renting a house in Sarajevo, we have a garden, our own plums, we even have a dog.”
• Athens, May 1, 1993. A two-day conference on BiH begins in Athens. The co-chairs of the peace conference are Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen. Present at the meeting are: Alija Izetbegovic, Franjo Tudjman, Slobodan Milosevic, Momir Bulatovic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic. Haris Silajdzic, the Foreign Minister of BiH, announces: “The Serbs are buying time by coming to Athens.” Before Athens, General Morillon shows Alija Izetbegovic corrections to the map agreed upon in Geneva. Izetbegovic refuses to discuss the corrections. In Athens, Radovan Karadzic signs an agreement on the condition that the Bosnian Serb Assembly approves it. Alija Izetbegovic: “This signature is a great victory for our country.”


• Officially Washington will not rule out military intervention if the Serbs continue as before.
• MUP Sarajevo issues the proclamation: “If you come across unexploded shells call 985.”


• The textile firm “Alhos” clads BiH athletes at the Mediterranean Games in Montpelier.


• The Bosnian Serb Army launches an offensive against Yepa Alija Izetbegovic requests that Zepa immediately be placed under UN protection. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees recommends that a UNHCR convoy be sent in without the armed protection of UNPROFOR, as this would not provoke the Bosnian Serbs, while if the Bosnian Serbs did stop the convoy they could negotiate for peace.
• The City Assembly appeals to the world for food assistance.
• Drugs enter the city from Posusje, Zenica and Split.
• The Swimming Association of BiH holds a promotion with the aim of raising awareness among citizens on the importance of swimming with the construction of a Sarajevo swimming pool.


• U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher embarks on a trip to Europe.
• The Bosnian Serb Assembly sets nine conditions for the UN. The deadline now is three weeks.
• The first wartime kindergarten is opened in Alipasino polje.


• The Bosnian Serb assembly rejects the peace plan. The Serbian government announces the suspension of all humanitarian aid to the Bosnian Serbs after their reckless voting.
• The “Hare-Krisna” festival begins, a wartime peace festival, with traditional music, Swedish drama and lectures.


• A meeting is held between General Morillon and Alija Izetbegovic. General Morillon: “If we or any other UN Safe Zone is attacked, we have the right and the duty to return fire.”
• The Bosnian Serbs hold a referendum. Russia supports this decision. Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, isn’t ready to support the decision, believing it a trick by the Serbs to buy time to win further territory. U.S. President Bill Clinton announces: “Ethnic cleansing is savage cynicism, an outrage to the world’s conscience and our standards of conduct.”


• Former Yugoslav Premier, communist hardliner and president of the Olympic Committee of BiH, Branko Mikulic, sends a letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch: “Our thinking about the future is an act of defiance in itself. We will not be crushed!”
• The director of Kamerni teatar 55, Gradimir Gojer, makes an appeal to dramatic artists across the world to halt performances and bring attention to the birth of fascism in the Balkans.
• Haris Silajdzic formally requests the withdrawal of UNPROFOR personnel from BiH out of concern for the safety of UN soldiers and their impediment to the defense of sovereign countries.
• NATO holds exercises on the issue: “Responding to regional conflicts.”
• Mostar bathed in blood and flames. Fighting breaks out between the HVO and the Army of BiH. A ceasefire is reached over telephone by Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban. The conflict between Croats and Muslims receives greater attention from American media, and further complicates decisions on military intervention and lifting the arms embargo on BiH.
• Serbia punishes the Bosnian Serbs for their refusal to sign the peace agreement by closing the border with Bosnia for 120 km. Biljana Plavsic, one of the Bosnian Serb leaders, is sent back at the border.


• European leaders decided to wait on military intervention until the results of the Bosnian Serb referendum. Lord Owen: “Americans view Europeans as weaklings, and Europeans view Americans as cowboys.”


• A meeting of the BH government is held. They decide “Croat troops must withdraw from BiH, otherwise BiH will seek protection from aggression.”
• Bosnian Serb offensive against Brcko.
• Croat troops destroy the bridge in Bijela (Herzegovina), preventing the arrival of convoys to Sarajevo and Central Bosnia.


• Chetnik Vojvoda Vojislav Seselj announces: “In retaliation for any Italian participation in an allied campaign, we will bombard civilian targets in Italy.” France develops a plan for UN “Safe Zones.”
• General Ratko Mladic, Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, on the possibility of military intervention, announces: “In the case of intervention, Washington will suffer bomb attacks in its large cities. Serb immigrants will carry those attacks out. No foreign soldier that comes to Bosnia will come out alive.”


• Smuggling at the airport runway thrives: one crossing with 10kg of food can earn 1,000DM.


• At the Sarajevo airport HVO and Bosnian Serb representatives meet, without the knowledge of the Army of BiH, an example of their open collaboration.
• Josip Magdic, a Sarajevan composer, promotes “Wartime notes 92”, through the Croat Cultural Society “Napredak”.
• Kamerni teatar 55 holds a performance of “A Prayer for Peace”. They perform the composition “Ave Maria”.
• The “Miss City Under Siege” is selected, Inela Nogic.
• News from “Bosnalijek”: pharmacist Saša Pilipovic produces a drug that had run out - Dexamethasone. Infusion solutions are manufactured.


• Only 105 dogs in the city are vaccinated against rabies.
• Theatre blossoms in the city.
• Pest exterminations are carried out in the city.


• Military patrols of the Army of the Republic of BiH (ARBiH) hold control over the streets. Whoever lacks the necessary paperwork is summoned immediately to the army and placed in a unit.

War Cookbook 1992/1993

Sweets

Bread tart, a la Rajka
1 kilo of old, white bread
5 spoons of milk powder
3 spoons of cocoa
1 and half spoons of sugar
walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins, some rum, vanilla sugar
1 l of cold water
Cut the bread into small squares; mix other ingredients, cover them with water and let them boil. Then add the mix to the bread and mix it with a fork, or with a mixer, in case you have electricity. Pour it in a mold, and spread apple jelly on top and sides of it. The same can be done with pudding or chocolate. (Jelly is sometimes lurking in the aid package.)

Sweet zwieback, ekmek kadaif
In a shallow pan put mildly wet zwieback. In the meantime make sherbe (hot water with sugar, and some cloves), not too thick. Cover zwieback with powdered sugar, mixed with cinnamon, and top it with sherbe which should be added as long as zwieback doesn’t take it all. Serve cold.

Easy Cake
2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of oil 1 cup of water
3 soup spoons of cocoa
1 tea spoon of baking soda
Mix it all and bake. Top it with mix of one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Toss it with coconut flour, ground nuts - anything of the kind that you might find.

Halvah
1 cup of flour
1 cup of oil or butter
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
a bit of powdered sugar, or vanilla
Heat oil in a deep skillet until it boils, add flour and mix constantly, for it must not burn. Flour should get a caramel color. In the meantime, boil water with sugar and add this mix, sherbe, to the flour. Mix until halvah thickens, and then form small cakes with spoon. Toss with powdered sugar mixed with vanilla. Halvah is a very popular delight known since medieval times.

THE BRICK-YARD TUNNEL

The Tunnel is part of an unfinished pre-war thoroughfare. During the siege, besides being a passage-way, it was a place where people could meet without worrying about the shells. It was also used by the cisterns which supplied the inhabitants with water. Using the tunnel meant avoiding several sniper zones and at the same time cutting the distance between two city districts.

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