EIGHT PEOPLE ARE KILLED AT A FUNERAL// 06. 1993. • MUHAREM OMERDIC// HEAD OF THE RELIGIOUS AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICE OF THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Head of the Religious and Educational Service of the Islamic Community
EIGHT PEOPLE ARE KILLED AT A FUNERAL
‘The massacre on Budakovici took place 15 June 1993. Twelve people were killed a lot wounded. It was one of a whole series of massacres that happened at funerals, and in the war there were 10 thousand funerals. A similar massacre took place at the Lav cemetery when in two attacks 17 people were killed and once 4 men were killed and over 70 wounded. Two massacres like that took place on the Turbe cemetery on Bistrik. Two men were killed in one and one in the other. This shows that the funerals were deliberately targeted and that the enemy was trying to revenge himself on the town and the people who were burying their loved ones. I’m sorry to say our imams had to take refuge sometimes even had to jump into the grave, or hide behind the dead so that they could finish the prayers and the funeral rites. For that reason we tried to have as few people as possible attending funerals so there would be fewer victims then we went ever farther and held the funerals at night so that fewer people would be in danger.’
• 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.”
The beauty of old Sarajevo cemeteries has been ruined by growing needs. They have been reopened when two contemporary cemeteries Bare and Vlakovo - become inaccessible. Small old cemeteries which were active for certain neighborhoods, even streets (mahalska) were closed in 1878, with the arrival of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. More than a century later, they started functioning again. People are being buried next to the mosques, on playgrounds in front of their houses. The old military cemeteries - Austrian, of the First Yugoslavia, German, and a partisan one - are full. Since September, the small stadium in the sports complex Kosevo, was turned into a cemetery, too. Funerals are held in early morning or dusk hours, to avoid the shelling. There is a rule not to go to the funerals and not to have flowers and wreaths. They cannot be bought anyway, even if someone would want to.
Of the two city cemeteries Vlakovo became part of the occupied territory and Bare became the front line. Because of that the citizens buried their loved ones in old cemeteries, around the mosques, in the parks, and even around some residential buildings. The largest cemeteries established during the siege were Kovaci, Alifakovac, Vrbanja and the old Lav cemetery which expanded into the auxiliary soccer field and other green areas around the Kosevo stadium. The funeral processions were often shelled, and the graves were usually dug at night and in advance so as to minimize the risk and to cut the time one was exposed to the fire from the surrounding hills. In 1995, from April to September, funerals and burials occurred only at night.