DEATH PENALTY SUGGESTED FOR THOSE WHO STEAL OIL FROM THE POWER STATIONS // 08. 1993.
MUHAMED KRESEVLJAKOVIC // MAYOR OF SARAJEVO
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

August 1993

Muhamed Kresevljakovic
Mayor of Sarajevo
DEATH PENALTY SUGGESTED FOR THOSE WHO STEAL OIL FROM THE POWER STATIONS

‘That was on the 10th of August. The government, not me, not the mayor, but the City Council, came up with the suggestion to make the stealing of oil from substations punishable by death. Electricity was a matter of life and death for Sarajevans, and such thefts served absolutely no purpose, because it wasn’t something that could be of help to the army or anything like that. Basically, those people, who were mainly criminals, were stealing it in order to be able to drive their cars, which by the way were stolen, so they could show off by driving around town. And this idea was a means of showing that the people had had enough of such behavior.’

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AUGUST 1993


• The Association of Pensioners sends a letter to embassies in 30 countries asking them for help in surviving this most tragic, difficult of periods.


• Geneva: Bosnian Serbs are willing to give up 22% of the territory of BiH, while they currently control 72%; of what remains, 29% would go to the Muslims, and 21% to the Croats.
• Bill Clinton, U.S. president: “We can undertake nothing without the consent of our allies.”


• The BH delegation establishes this condition for the continuation of negotiations in Geneva: the Bosnian Serbs must withdraw from Bjelasnica, a mountain above Sarajevo, by 5pm.
• The market has its own logic. Prices invariably correspond to the arrival of humanitarian aid, the disappearance of electricity and gas; the distribution of cigarettes to soldiers; and political events.


• City library of Sarajevo: “We have more readers than ever, but 130,000 books were destroyed, as well as part of the archives and our technical equipment.”
• The Bosnian Serb Army introduces air-bomb attacks on the city.


• NATO is ready for airstrikes. Warren Christopher and Manfred Woerner reach an agreement. Colin Powell: “Bosnia needs a political solution to end the killing.”


• Premier of the play “Alkestis”.


• NATO unanimously adopts a plan for air strikes on Serb positions around Sarajevo. Now it is up to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary General. UNPROFOR needs to set up at the Serb positions on Mt. Igman.
• Thieves from Sarajevo steal 100,000 liters of oil from a transformer station, which it needed to operate. Mayor Kresevljakovic proposes the death penalty for such crimes.
• The sounds of a piano echo in the city’s deserted streets. Alma, a student at the Music Academy, walks there and in the afternoon practices at her own home.


• No sign of a Bosnian Serb withdrawal from Mt. Igman. Boutros Boutros-Ghali: “The decision on airstrikes can only be made by the UN Security Council.”


• The Bosnian Serbs are given a deadline for their withdrawal from Igman and Bjelasnica, so that peace negotiations can continue in Geneva. If they do not withdraw, NATO will launch airstrikes.
• Prices on the market: peppers go from 35 to 40 DM.
• Warren Christopher: “Breaking the siege of Sarajevo is in the U.S. national interest.”
• Geneva, Radovan Karadzic: “If they strike, the Serbs will start a nuclear war.”
• Part of the “Mir” convoy arrives in Sarajevo. On the Split-Sarajevo road, everything is taken from them. A concert for the pacifists under the name “Dry your tears, Sarajevo sings”.


• Pacifists leave the city.


• Five cisterns of oil arrive in the city.


• The Bosnian Serb Army leaves its positions on Igman and Bjelasnica, burning and looting hotels, bungalows, houses and woods.
• Watermelons from Serbia appear at the market.
• A young girl, Irma Hadzimuratovic, is hit by sniper fire. Under great international pressure she is transported to England for treatment.
• Geneva: Alija Izetbegovic announces: “We accept the division imposed by the West. The world is not ready for military intervention. We must no longer base our actions on those presumptions.”
• Actor Admir Glamocak, who acts in the play “Waiting for Godot”, loses 2 kg between every performance. The play is put on by candlelight.
• Sales begin of “Tahebo” tea in the city.


• Geneva, August 17, 1993. Peace negotiations in Geneva: Alija Izetbegovic demands access to the sea and at least 40% of the territory.
• Departure of the Bosnian Serb Army from Igman, which the world media interprets as the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo.
Brigadier UNPROFOR, Haze: “Humanitarian aid has been blockaded from Sarajevo because of the Muslim offensive in Gornji Vakuf.”
Bosnian Serbs: “Sarajevo has never been under siege.”
Fruer: “Sarajevo is no longer besieged, but surrounded by an army.”
Ejup Ganic, member of the Presidency of BiH: “After this statement Fruer has been deemed a persona non grata.”
• Football match played between SARAJEVO- UNPROFOR. Final score: 9 - 5.


• Geneva, August 18, 1993. Peace negotiations in Geneva: Three delegations make recommendations on the status of Sarajevo.
• The Ministry of Education in Sarajevo tells the city’s inhabitants: “The textbooks have been prepared, but we lack the materials for printing them.”


• The Bosnian Serb Assembly weighs over a plan on the division of BiH. Karadzic warns the BiH government to unconditionally accept the proposed division of the country or face military defeat.
• Ivo Komsic, president of the HSS: “Bosnia has no allies, only verbal support, no one has actually helped. Advisors came to the Serbs and Croats, primary individuals from countries on the Security Council.”
• Herzeg-Bosnia proclaimed in Livno.


• Russia shuts off its gas supply to Bosnia over unpaid bills. Hungary is prepared to deliver 10,000 cubic meters of natural gas an hour from its own supplies.
• At a meeting of the Presidency of BiH a decision is made on the movement of convoys. Already for eight months, people have been waiting with their suitcases packed for a signal for departure. Eighty-seven of them die while waiting..


• New York, August 26, 1993.
The UN Security Council adopts resolution 859, reaffirming the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Republic of BiH
The Security Council confirms that the solution to the conflict in the Republic of BiH must conform to the UN charter and principles of international law. It further affirms the continuing relevance in this context of:
a) the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
b) the fact that neither a change in the name of the State nor changes regarding the internal organization of the State such as those contained in the constitutional agreement annexed to the Co-Chairmen's report would affect the continued membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the United Nations;
c) the principles adopted by the London International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, including the need for a cessation of hostilities, the principle of a negotiated solution freely arrived at, and the unacceptability of the acquisition of territory by force or by 'ethnic cleansing' and the right of refugees and others who have suffered losses to compensation in accordance with the statement on Bosnia adopted by the London Conference;
d) recognition and respect for the right of all displaced persons to return in their homes in safety and honour;
e) the maintenance of Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a united city and a mulicultural, multi-ethnic and pluri-religious centre.


• Alain Little, BBC reporter: “In Geneva their signature marks surrender, but there’s no other way out for the Bosnian people. Their surrender has been dictated by the international community.”

Sarajevo by Night

SARAJEVO BY NIGHT means that life follows the line or the sun. Without civilization based on inventions of two Americans - Tesla, who was born in the neighborhood and who we are proud of, and Edison, who they are proud of - you have to learn to go to sleep early and to wake up early. So many evenings are spent in envy of those who have electricity. But Sarajevans have mastered the art of making kandilo, which is the light, usually hanging before an icon. To the Greeks have given the name - kandelos.
Recipe: Fill a glass jar, or a glass, half with water and a quarter with oil. Ten cut five to seven millimeters of a cork, and drag through it cotton string, or a carpet fringe, or any piece of burning material. In order for the wick to stay above the oil and burn, a tin strip of some two centimeters is used and placed above the jar. Through that strip runs the wick soaked in oil. Candles have burned long ago, even decorative ones. People who have saved petroleum lamps are very rare, and for them a liter of petroleum costs 30 DM. Batteries ran out at the beginning of the war. Still, they are being revived by cooking in salt water, five to ten minutes. They can come to life if connected to an automobile battery, if that one can be fed with electricity. All these tricks make batteries live five or six lives.
Of 1800 transformer stations in Sarajevo, more than half are out of use. To steal fuses is a regular thing. Three such fuses will cost you about 700 DM on the black market. Their real value is no more than 15 DM. Foreign currency is needed if you want to bring electricity from the station to the lobby of your house. To plug into a system, in all kinds of weird ways, is very fashionable. Another way is to run cables. You can steal the electricity from the houses which have it - on the right side of the street, and bring in to the houses which don’t on the left side. That has its price too, sometimes a deadly one. Some steal oil from the transformer stations to replace car fuel. To have a car battery in the apartment, that is a real treat. A radio can be plugged into it - and turned on ever hour, for the news. This battery is the source of light, too. Those less capable attach to it stronger bulbs and soon understand that the battery is drained too quickly. As time goes by, we all learned, and here is the advice - take the smallest bulb, like the one from the inside of a car. And carefully watch your lighter. You’ll need it, it, if not for lighting a cigarette, then surely to climb the staircases.

THE “ELEKTROPRIVREDA” BUILDING

Electricity was a rare guest in the city. The citizens made do with car batteries, candles given by humanitarian organizations, home- made oil lamps which required small amounts of edible oil and bits of shoestring, and with a variety of more or less successful inventions. Some people used battery and the so called “SOROS” lamps which required solar energy. Although there was plenty of solar energy the lamps had little capacity and quickly broke down. In the hilly parts of the city people built mini power-generating plants. The “Elektroprivreda” building was on the front line, next to the bridge which borders with the occupied Grbavica district and it was frequently shelled.

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