A TAXI RIDE WORTH THREE PACKS OF CIGARETTES// 06. 1993. • ESAD DZEMAT// TAXI DRIVER
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Taxi Drivers Association
A TAXI RIDE WORTH THREE PACKS OF CIGARETTES
‘In ’93 the price was dictated by circumstances. In the first place the price of naphtha, of fuel for taxi drivers, made our prices disproportionate because we know how much a liter of fuel cost. So taxis drove by agreement. A drive for a box of cigarettes. A drive for a tin of food. And many people couldn’t pay, they were a threatened category in a way, those were our fighters, old people, invalids, and they rode for free. The price of one liter, say of naphtha, was about 30 marks, the price of a tin of food was from 5 to 10 marks, of a box of cigarettes, I know that 10 boxes of Sarajevo Drina, a packet, as we call it, was 40 marks.’
• Massacre at a playing field in Dobrinja. 13 people are killed.
• Dobrica Cosic, President of the Yugoslav government, is relieved of duty.
• Moscow: BH Consul Ibrahim Djikic addresses Moscow’s biased behavior. He is contacted by the head of a Russian center for recruiting mercenaries, who promises to withdraw his men from BiH if the bodies of the three Russian mercenaries who had been killed in combat around Visegrad are retrieved.
• Mustafa Pamuk, of the City Assembly : “Many entrepreneurs have left with the intention of securing a means of getting food into the city; none of them have returned.”
• Viktor Jakovich becomes the first American ambassador to BiH.
• New York, June 5, 1993. The UN Security Council adopts a resolution on the creation of “Safe Areas.” According to this resolution, Sarajevo, Zepa, Bihac, Tuzla, Gorazde and Srebrenica are proclaimed secure areas. Members of UNPROFOR will be authorized to retaliate for any attacks on the “Safe Areas”; to monitor ceasefires; to encourage the withdrawal of military and paramilitary units; as well as to take hold of certain positions. With this resolution UNPROFOR is authorized to defend itself using any necessary measures, including the use of force, as well as to retaliate for the bombing of the “safe areas,” and any obstruction to its own freedom of movement and that of humanitarian convoys. UN members, in this case NATO members, are authorized, in cooperation with UNPROFOR and the Secretary General, to use air power to protect the “safe areas” and the mandate of UNPROFOR.
• Croats increase pressure on the Catholic Archbishop Vinko Puljic to leave Sarajevo.
• Rasim Delic appointed Commander of the ARBiH Main Staff, replacing Sefer Halilović, previous commander of the ARBiH. The head of MUP, Jusuf Pusina, is dismissed and replaced by Bakir Alispahic.
• Klaus Kinkel, German Foreign Minister: “Sanctions should be introduced against Croatia.”
• U.S. Marines enter Somalia, to prevent the spread of the conflict.
• In Geneva a joint session is held of the Presidency of BiH.
• To a question on possible military intervention in Bosnia, U.S. President Bill Clinton replies: “I can’t without allies, but I haven’t changed my mind.”
• The Bosnian Serb Army fires on people praying at a funeral. Eight people are killed at Budakovic cemetery. Mesihat: “It’s only possible to hold funerals at night.”
• Statement from Croatia: “Bosnian politicians must announce their arrivals to Croatia in advance. Visits of a private nature will not be allowed."
• Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic suggest a new map for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• Geneva, June 18, 1993. Peace negotiations in Geneva: Alija Izetbegovic, President of the Presidency of BiH rejects the peace plan.
• Athletes travelling to the Mediterreanean Games in Montpelier are stopped in Jablanica. Twenty athletes manage to get through.
• Bill Clinton wishes for an intact BiH, “…but if they agree otherwise, we will accept it.”
• The Children’s Embassy celebrates its second year with acrobatics, rock and roll, songs, contests and games.
• New York, June 20, 1993. The UN adopts a new resolution implementing the protection of the “safe areas.” The UN Security Council, with the key provisions of Resolution 844, "decide to authorize an increase of UNPROFOR forces in order to meet the UN Secretary General’s report on engaging 7,500 new soldiers.
• Geneva: Lord Owen announces: “Our biggest problem is how to coax the Muslims into continuing negotiations.”
• President of the Presidency of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic, returns to Sarajevo from negotiations in Geneva. Other members of the presidency remain in Geneva to see what it will offer. After fifteen months Abdic, Lazovic, Lasic, Akmadzic, and Boras meet for the first time.
• Transmission lines are destroyed, power plants lack materials, the hydroelecrtic plant is held by the HVO and gas is at the mercy of the Bosnian Serb. There is neither water nor electricity.
• Head Commander of UNPROFOR General Morillon is dismissed.
• Members of the BH Presidency Alija Izetbegovic and Ejup Ganic will not travel to Geneva to continue negotiations because of urgent business. The other members of the Presidency are expected to return from Zagreb.
• The team behind the song entry for “Eurovision 93” sprint across the airport runway in order to reach the competition.
• A fashion show is held at the Hotel “Holiday inn”. The fashion collection is made from UNHCR bags and tarpaulins used to cover broken windows.
• The U.S. bombs Baghdad.
• Pavarotti sings in Central Park in New York.
• Various members of the Presidency of BiH discuss the partitioning of BiH at a meeting held at Sarajevo airport.
• At a session of the UN Security Council a suggestion by Islamic and non-aligned countries to lift the arms embargo on Bosnia and Herzegovina is rejected. The U.S. votes in favor; France, the U.K. and Russia against.
• Dr Bakir Nakas, a physician from the state hospital in Sarajevo: “This year was easier, though it was still terribly difficult. I know what I have, and what I can expect,what I have at my disposal and how long it’s going to last.”
200 DM for 1 cubic mater of wood, but you have to pay 50 DM more for the delivery.
170 DM for a bottle of whiskey, or of French cognac.
120 DM for a kilo of garlic.
100 DM for a hare (white, weighing about 3 kilos), or 1 kilo of dried meat.
40 DM - for this you can get 10 packs of cigarettes, or 1 liter of oil, or 1 kilo of beans, or
children’s bicycle, or 1 can of fish and 1 can of pate, or 1 lunch package, or half a kilo of tobacco.
30 DM for a wool sweater (hand made) or 1 jar of fat.
20 DM for 1 kilo of onions, or 2 kilos of cabbage, or a big pumpkin.
10 DM is the price of four batteries of 1,5 V, or of 5 liters of water - at all times except the summer.
Then the price of 5 liters of water raises to 30 DM.
3 DM for a chocolate bar, or a bunch of parsley. A circular saw is worth as much as seven kilos onions. One liter of milk is between 2,5 and 5 DM, but can be gotten for a pack of cigarettes. This is the best exchange between babies and smokers known in history.
What functions best is bartering. For two kilos of raw coffee, you can get a propane gas bottle of 12 kilos. A package of antibiotics is worth two local phone-calls. For a liter of cooking oil you can get a carton of cigarettes and a liter of cheap liquor, or three liters of cherry-syrup. For two liters of oil you can wear almost new Reeboks. A used male winter jacket costs 3 kilos of onions. A once-standard package of 18 kilos of paint is being exchanged for any kind and amount of food. 10 liters of oil, the amount which supplies energy for the two-hour shooting of a TV broadcast about the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is exchanged for 12 cans which supply energy for your private survival.
In handwritten ads on Tito’s street, one finds supply and demand ranging from gas stoves, jackets, shoes to messages such is this: “I am looking for a woman to help me survive the winter.”