ORGANIZING THE ARRIVAL OF FOOD FROM MACEDONIA// 11. 1993. • HILMIJA HODOVIC// BANKOPROMET COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
ORGANIZING THE ARRIVAL OF FOOD FROM MACEDONIA
‘We organized 22 trailer trucks of goods to a value of 480 thousand marks. They mainly, carried potatoes, eggs, onions, rice, sugar, The foods most needed in Sarajevo. There was really not enough of these things and they seemed to us the most important. The townspeople and we organized the takeover of the goods. And they began to pay in advance, paying on the assumption that delivery would be 100%. But we in fact had funds from another source and so we did not take payment from the Sarajevans. That food delivery was so organized that people really thought it was 100% successful and it would go on like that. The beginning of the journey was truly impressive, the sendoff from Macedonia, the transit through Serbia, crossing the frontier in Zvornik. It all looked so optimistic and we felt sure it would get through to Sarajevo. But you know what happened. The Bosnian Serbs authorities found some formal reasons, that all the papers were not in order, though we were sure they were. If they hadn’t been they wouldn’t have got as far as Pale, but they declared these formal deficiencies and took the goods themselves and probably divided them with someone else. The convoy never got to Sarajevo to the great sorrow of the townspeople and the whole of Europe who were following its progress. I remember well there was a dreadful snowstorm when the convoy got to Vlasenica. It was on TV. That was November ’93. The TV crews followed it. It was on the TV screens in Skoplje, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Paris. But the goods never got through to Sarajevo.’
• The French UN battalion helps residents of Alipasino polje with repairs, house painting, expelling water from their basements, and bringing materials for the supply of gas.
• Death of the great Italian director Federico Fellini.
• ARBiH in conflict with the troops of Fikret Abdic in the area of Velika Kladusa.
• For weeks the city is without electricity, water, gas and humanitarian aid. The situation is worsened by the BiH delegation’s refusal to sign the peace agreement.
• The First Corps of the ARBiH issues a decision to abolish the HVO General Headquarters in Sarajevo, integrating the HVO brigade “Kralj Tvrtko” into the ARBiH 1st Corps. George Soros visits Sarajevo.
• George Soros visits Sarajevo.
• The HVO destroys the old bridge in Mostar.
• Massacre of students in Sarajevo. Classes are suspended until security measures are introduced
• UNPROFOR discontinues its service of accepting and sending letters on behalf of Sarajevans. In Split, 50 sacks of letters addressed to the people of Sarajevo are thrown into the sea.
• Another massacre of the citizens of Sarajevo.
• Presidency member Ejup Ganic refuses to receive Thorvald Stoltenberg.
• On the occasion of the massacre, American President Bill Clinton states: “The only thing we can do, if Sarajevo is shelled heavily is to receive approval by the UN for NATO and the U.S. to use airstrikes.”
• Rules introduced for the holding of classes: school sessions last 15 minutes. From December 24th till March 1st the students will have a break. Regardless there is no heating.
• Exhibition of the Sarajevan paintings “Witnesses of Existence” at the BiH Art Gallery.
• U.S. Embassy on November 10th relocates to Vienna.
• A joint declaration signed on the free movement of humanitarian convoys.
• A convoy carrying food for Sarajevo from Macedonia is held up because of ice and snow on Vlasenica. It consists of around 20 trucks. The Children’s Embassy appeals to UNPROFOR for aid.
• Symposium held on war medicine: “Medicine during War '92-'93”.
• A package arrives in Sarajevo of 960,000 candles from the Czech Republic worth about $48,000.
• The convoy of food from Macedonia is stopped in Pale.
• In Geneva, negotiations continue.
If you are well connected, travel with help of UNPROFOR, Caritas, Adra, Red Cross, Dobrotvor. Their journey lasts between forty-five to eighty days. Their content is conditioned by the fierce rules of the aggressor. The weight cannot be over 24 kilos, it can’t contain meat, vegetables, cans. It happens sometimes that instead of the expected package with food, one receives a piece of a uniform, or stones. More valuable packages don’t reach their destination.