THE FURNITURE IS SENT TO THE WORLD THROUGH THE TUNNEL// 10. 1993. • HARIS HAZNADAREVIC// OWNER OF A ‘HAZNADAREVIC’, STYLISH FURNITURE COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Owner of a ‘Haznadarevic’, Stylish Furniture Company
THE FURNITURE IS SENT TO THE WORLD THROUGH THE TUNNEL
‘In 1993 a problem occurred and it was planks. I looked for planks mainly in the surrounding foothill areas of the city. I went there and bought, so to speak, plank by plank in various places. Let’s say that a bag of logs was some 30 to 40 German marks. I would buy a bag of logs for 30, 40 marks. I would give that for a bag, take it someplace near [pica, Trebevic, Kromolj, some place I heard there could be planks or some building material. Then I would give the people the bag; I would take a plank or a piece of it, removed from a pigeon-house or hen house. Because I knew how to pick planks I needed for the furniture, so that a suite that went to the Sartre, War Theater, was made of five, five types of walnut-wood from five different locations, I made a complete suite in the shape of leaves which is now in the possession of the Sartre, War Theater. In the same way, I transported one, two or three suites through the tunnel. A salesman got them someplace further, so that I got some more planks without knowing how those suites got transported, because they did, but I couldn’t, I didn’t know how. Because I couldn’t leave the factory. I worked there a bit more.’
• The executive committee of the city reaches a decision on the increase of apartment rent from October 1st.
• An “interreligious event” is held: participants include the Orthodox priest Avakum Rosic, head of the Catholic church Vinko Puljic, Reis-ul-ulema Effendi Ceric, Brother Petar Arandjelovic, President of the Jewish community David Kamhi. A mass is held at the Sarajevo cathedral and liturgy at the Orthodox church.
• During the siege of Sarajevo 120,000 refugees enter the city.
• For the first time during the war the Art Gallery of BiH is opened. There is an exhibition of photographs by Annie Leibovitz. The exhibition is opened by Susan Sontag.
• Susan Sontag becomes an honorary citizen of Sarajevo.
• The Pope sends a message of peace: “Bosnians, you are not alone!”
• “Velepekara” stops working. It has neither gas nor oil.
• The Blessed Peace Buliders wounded in a peace mission across the Vrbanja Bridge. One of them dies.
• Sarajevo Brewery produces 1,000,000 beers a month as a substitute for water. The factory has a stock of raw materials that could last for two years.
• Adi Sarajlic, journalist for the radio station “Zid”, tells his early morning listeners: “260 listeners phone in between 3:30 and 4 o’clock in the morning.
• The HVO wants control over Jablanica. The owners of power plants are set to address the issue of financing Herzeg-Bosnia by exporting electricity to Dalmatia.
• In Sarajevo the smuggling of drugs, works of art and food is widespread.
• Medical evacuations reach an impasse.
• The Directorate for Refugees and Displaced Persons founds a counseling center.
• Survey by the radio station “Studio 99”: The majority of Sarajevans are in favor of the introduction of a protectorate.
• The Sarajevo air bridge is the longest running of its kind in history. It lasts 467 days – longer than that of Berlin.
• In the city frequent gas explosions result of improper installations.
• 10,000 signatories across the world for the establishment of a Court for War Crimes. War criminals cannot bring peace. The declaration is signed by George Soros, Wiesenthal, Umberto Ecco, Ginsberg…
• Serbia under sanctions. Pirates hijack oil on the Danube.
• New members of the Presidency of BiH are appointed: Nijaz Durakovic, Stjepan Kljujic, Ivo Komsic. Miro Lasic and Boras relieved from duty.
• Fikret Abdić, former member of the Presidency of BiH, signs a peace agreement with the Bosnian Serbs. Fikret Abdic works in alliance with Mate Boban.
• Opening of the Film Festival in Sarajevo. Many guests stay in Ancona, not having been able to arrange for UN planes. The slogan of the festival: “We can’t promise you anything.”
• The International Court for War Crimes begins working on November 17.
• Operation undertaken by MUP and the Army of RBiH against the 9th motorized and 10th mountain brigades of the Army of RBiH. 530 people are detained. The main culprit, Caco Topalovic, is killed, and Celo surrenders. MUP and ABiH take back bases from the criminals. According to an “Oslobodjenje” survey, citizens are relieved and believe that rule of law will be restored.
• The Jewish pharmacy in Sarajevo dispenses 10,000,000 medicines to citizens.
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 Dobrinja-Butmir tunnel, a hole some 1.2 meters wide, 1.6 meters high and 760 meters long, is situated under the Sarajevo airport runway. In the official communication between local politicians and UNPROFOR this public secret has been referred to as “the non-existent tunnel”. Foreigners were not allowed into the tunnel and journalists were offering up to 5.000 DM for just one shot of the tunnel. Although the tunnel was an military object and intended solely for the army’s getting in and out of town, the privilege of using it was extended to the American ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Viktor Jakovic, who the aggressor did not allow to leave the city by plane. The tunnel was also used to get the members of Parliament from other towns into the city. Many of them were easily recognized during the sessions of Parliament because they had bruises on their foreheads from hitting the iron support bars within the tunnel. Some comfort was extended to the most respected politicians who were pushed through the tunnel in small wagons.
The commercialization of the tunnel brought about great changes in the economic life of the city. The tunnel became a place full of people dragging bags with potatoes o eggs. Many tradesmen were allowed to “rent” the tunnel from the army. Thanks to the tunnel many became rich, but the prices also fell within the city. The aggressor also knew about the secret tunnel and by continuously shelling its entrance it hampered its usage. They even tried to dig another tunnel of the other side of the airport in order to redirect the Zeljeznica river and flood the tunnel. In spite of everything the hole under the airport became the greatest public good of the city and it’s only link with the rest of the world. If one managed to get a permit to go through the tunnel he or she would be greeted at the exit by a marker-written sign: PARIS 3765km.