A CLASS LASTS 15 MINUTES// 11. 1993. • IBRO FAZLAGIC// STUDENT
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
A CLASS LASTS FOR 15 MINUTES
‘So, on November 11, 1993 I was in the 8th grade of elementary school. The classes were held in a kindergarten, a former kindergarten, which had become an elementary, school and later a high school. The classes were held around two tables, like kitchen tables. There were some thirty of us in that kindergarten and there were two grades in the same room. The classes lasted for 15 minutes; therefore it was very short. And shells were falling everywhere around us. So although the instruction was short the shells were falling, and the conditions were terrible. There was no electricity, no water, and no gas. And we had to learn something in order to enroll into some high school. To choose, so to say, the future course of life. This was by no means easy. During those classes, which were supposed to be sort of normal, the professors tried to help us as much as possible, although to tell the truth, we also tried to help them, to make their job easier. So, of course, we studied and didn’t skip classes like we do now when peace has come. Even though we could make up a lot of excuses. For instance, we could make up myriad times that the shells were falling, that a sniper kept shooting at us, and so on. But we didn’t do that because we wished to learn from our professors as much as possible. They understood that and, of course, helped us. And in the end all of us got the grades we wanted, but we deserved them. After all, what was it like when we were getting our education? And the atmosphere during those classes was extremely pleasant, much more pleasant then when the peace arrived. We all somehow loved each other and the professors used to tell us at the end of each class to be careful and we asked them how they were, and it wasn’t just, good day, good bye. So the greetings have completely changed. We didn’t stand up when the professor walked into the classroom. There was no need for that at all because they respected us as much as we respected them as we all lived in the same hellhole and there was no need for formalities.’
• 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.
Not working since April, 1992. In the beginning, so called staircase-schools emerged where everyone gathered during the shelling. Now the education continues in the apartments, with children from different grades. Both high schools and grammar schools became homes for refugees. Classrooms and labs became dormitories and kitchens. There is laundry hanging on every school’s window. Colleges work, exams are given, but only where danger isn’t too great. Yet, many have managed to graduate. There is a lot of time to study. Computers and all the technology from the schools and from the colleges of the University has been stolen.