RATIONING PROGRAM // 09. 1993.
IRFAN DURMIC // DIRECTOR OF THE ELECTRIC COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

September 1993

Irfan Durmic
Director of the Electric Company
RATIONING PROGRAM

‘In August the power plant Jablanica and partly Grahovica came on line so that we had some 150 megawatts in the system. In the whole system. Which fact of course improved the situation in the city? Nevertheless, it was just sufficient for the most important customers and very, very little was left for general distribution that is for residential use. So it was possible that once in 21 days or a month we got electricity into our homes.’

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SEPTEMBER 1993


• Soup kitchens are opened for the survival of pensioners.
• Geneva, September 1, 1993. In Geneva peace negotiations continue. The following representatives from the BiH government take part: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Miro Lazovic, Ivo Komsic, Irfan Ljubljankic, Muhamed Filipovic, Fikret Abdic, Kasim Trnka and Mugdim Cukle.


• Geneva, September 4, 1993. Peace negotiations collapse.
• In Sarajevo the paper “Zadrugar” is published, with advice on the topic “How to Survive.”
• Mario Braco Kolak, graphic designer for “Oslobodjenje” newspaper, makes a hydroelectric generator on the Miljacka to supply electricity.


• The Ukraine battalion of the UN is charged with smuggling and importing heroin hidden in oranges
• BiH receives the international telephone code of 387.


• U.S. President Bill Clinton meets in Washington with Alija Izetbegovic.
• Large amounts of electricity enter Sarajevo. Elektroprivreda makes a reduction plan.
• Humanitarian aid only comes to the city through the air bridge; land convoys are halted.
• Islam Dzugum, marathon runner, does not reach the Mediterranean Games in Montpelier but is held up at Jablanica. Nevertheless, his views on training: “My task is to train, and the day will come when I will show how much it paid off.”


• The Children’s Embassy and the air transport company “Air-Commerce” seek out an air corridor for the return of refugee children in Sarajevo, as well as a means of delivering food into the city.
• For the organization “Nasa djeca”, the children of Sarajevo draw pictures for the children of New York, while those of New York do the same for those of Sarajevo.
• The writer Valerijan Zujo works on compiling his lexicon “Sarajevo”.


• Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, announces a complete cessation of humanitarian aid until a political agreement is reached to end the war.
• Geneva, September 15, 1993. In Geneva, Alija Izetbegovic and Franjo Tudjman sign a Declaration on terminating hostilities and ending military conflict between the Army of BiH and the HVO.
The resolution
1. Insures an immediate end to all hostilities and military conflict between the ARBiH and the HVO, in accordance with the agreement of July 30, 1993, effective immediately, no later than September 18, 1993;
2. Ensures the mutual unconditional closure of all camps and the release of prisoners in territory under the control of the ARBiH and the HVO, effective immediately, no later than September 21;
3. Ensures both sides create conditions for the free and unimpeded passage of humanitarian convoys and the activities of charity organizations;
4. Establishes working meetings for the supervision and protection of human rights in the territory under the control of the ARBiH and the HVO in accordance with the directives and recommended resolution of the peace conference on BiH;
5. Establishes a working group on the issue of territorial demarcation between the two republics for the planned union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the issue of sea access as a common development interest;
6. Establishes a working group for the development and implementation monitoring of the restoration and strengthening of trust and co-existence among the Croat and Muslim peoples, including media and other programs to overcome existing hostility.
Signatories of the Declaration on behalf of the BiH delegation: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ejup Ganic, Muhamed Filipovic, Ivo Komsic; on behalf of the Republic of Croatia: Franjo Tudjman, Hrvoje Sarinic, Zeljko Matic, Miomir Zuzul, Hidajet Biscevic.


• 50 years of the newspaper “Oslobodenje” celebrated. As a sign of support, guests from across the world attend the celebration in Sarajevo.


• Ana Mrdovic, agronomist, gives advice to Sarajevans on maintaining a garden during the fall.


• In Sarajevo a cigarette is worth more than gold. An older “golf” is worth three cartons of cigarettes.


• In a meeting at Sarajevo airport a ceasefire is proclaimed between the HVO and ARBiH.


• Celebration of the Jewish new year.
• Formation of an international firefighters brigade.


• On a U.S. aircraft carrier, the “Invisible”, in the Adriatic Sea, a meeting is held between Alija Izetbegovic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic with Lord Owen. Izetbegovic seeks access to the sea at Neum. The Croats are against it.


• The BH “Pen center" is accepted into the world “Pen center".


• The Presidency of the City Assembly decides: “Thieves of transformer oil will be shot without warning.”


• Lord Owen: “The Bosnian Presidency holds the keys to the peace plan.”


• The Children’s Embassy plans the opening of “Child Land”.


• Tow trucks appear on the streets of Sarajevo, towing away “improperly parked automobiles” to the delight of Sarajevans observing this spectacle. .


• The Office for transport publishes a list for the departures of convoys. Those eligible for work detail are removed from the list.


• NATO is ready to send peacekeeping troops.
• CSB discovers miniature marijuana plantations in apartments in the city.
• The Government issues a decision introducing daylight saving time.


• “Bosnalijek” produces 20 new medicines in small batches.
• “Velepekara” lacks oil even for transport, let alone to operate generators
• Geneva, November 29, 1993. In Geneva peace negotiations being. Participants: Alija Izetbegovic, Franjo Tudjman, Slobodan Milosevic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic.

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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