Journalist – ‘Oslobodjenje’
ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL
‘The building I lived in was shelled and so were the surroundings but in spite of everything we took our walk every day at the proper time in spite of everything that was going on around. But sometimes the dog wouldn’t go, wouldn’t get out of the building not for anything. I got cross and angry but after a few seconds it occurred to me there were a lot of reasons. And a few seconds later a shell landed just at the place we would have been, or the glass was blown out of a window or even masonry fell. I am sure that the dog actually saved me. Later my neighbors would look out and see if my dog was outside before they went out. How did I manage to feed him? Quite well by going short myself. Our whole family would regularly put aside some of their own food.’
• 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.
It is adapted to the potential sources of danger. Corridors and living rooms have been turned into wood-sheds. Hosts and visitors are sitting around the stove, feed it and stare into the fire. Everything is within the reach: books, tea cups, clothes, water, food. Everyone is ready to run into a staircase at the sound of a grenade, or into a basement, if there is one. In the basement everyone has a place, either the one that was fought for, or the one which had to be accepted. This space is ruled by the laws of community. Basements and staircases are special territories. In the beginning of the war, a new social category emerged: owners of staircases. They established office hours. Those who are idle write down the name of each visitor, the ID number, hours of arrival and of departure - all very precisely, in a little book. A real spy book, in fact, like the proof needed by a jealous husband, or wife.
The city was shelled y mortar shells of 82, 120, 150 and 250 millimeters. The 82mm and 120mm shells were used in the Market and the Vase Miskina street massacres. The larger caliber shells, often incendiary, were used to destroy important buildings. Guided missiles of the Maljutka type as well as plated shells which could penetrate several walls before exploding were used for the some purpose. Anti- aircraft guns and machine-guns were used for random shooting. The biggest destruction was achieved by the modified bombs, the so called “sows”, which were fired from specially built launchers. The shells, unless they are plated, explode at first contact. When it rained a wet spot on the ceiling usually meant that there was an unexploded shell (“an Alien”) in the attic. When the shells explode they produce shrapnel. There is almost no building in Sarajevo without shrapnel. The mark made by a shell explosion was called “a rose”. At the time when the 120mm shells were used the most extensively the city bulletin ran the headline “120mm Is Not Much” signed - Cicciolina.