ARIJANA SARACEVIC GETS THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR COURAGE// 11. 1993. • ARIJANA SARACEVIC// JOURNALIST- TVBH
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Journalist - TVBH
ARIJANA SARACEVIC GETS THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR COURAGE
‘On 17 November 1993 I heard that in a few days I should go to New York and Washington where 26 November I was to get the World Journalist’s Award for Bravery. The news came like a shock of cold water. I felt it was the worst possible moment to leave Sarajevo. It was the period of the worst shelling, when the greatest number of people were being killed, when there was the worst cold and hunger. At first I was categorical that there was no reason for me to leave Sarajevo and BH to get an award. Then my colleagues persuaded me to think about it. But there were problems. I didn’t have a UN card. Without card, it wasn’t possible to get out of Sarajevo. At that time I was out on assignments every day and I was not going to waste time trying to chase a card. Thanks to Jean Cot and Victor Jakovich then American ambassador to BH I got the card and went to get the award. At that time my family were refugees in Germany. They had had to leave Jajce and I hadn’t seen them for a year and a half. I began to think about the possibility of seeing them on my way home. But at that time it was impossible to get a German visa because I was in transit for America. I tried in Zagreb but couldn’t get one. The whole time I was in America I was sad thinking that I wouldn’t see my mother and brother, and at some conference in Washington I happened to mention it, just accidentally. After 5 minutes someone called me and told me everything was OK. Jacqueline Kennedy had heard what I said and thanks to her connections I got a German visa and spent five days on the way home in Germany.’
• 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.
The only papers you can buy during the siege are OSLOBODJENJE and VECERNJE NOVINE Once upon a time, OSLOBODJENJE had a format like the Times or Frankfurter Allgemeine. It had thirty-two, twenty- four or sixteen pages. Since June of 1991, its size started to diminish. Now it is of a mini-format, with eight or, more often, four pages. People who sell it are the journalists themselves - between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. Due to the shortage of paper, editions came down to 10,000 copies. After November 1992, they came down to 5,000, which makes the time of distribution no longer then twenty minutes. Stronger readers seem to be winning. Radio Bosnia and Herzegovina, Studio Sarajevo, is broadcasting 24 hours a day. When there is electricity, one listens to more than just news. The news is broadcast every hour and everyone is waiting for it. Television today is no more than a few informative broadcasts, live programs and a press-conference held daily in the International Press Center.
THE RADIO TELEVISION BUILDING
The massive cement building which had been built to comply with war-time standards of construction suffered frequent shelling. It was one of the first buildings shelled by a modified airplane bomb, an invention of the Serbian commander accused of war crimes by the Hague court in 1996. On that occasion the building underwent the heaviest damage. Even that did not stop the broadcasting. The reports from Sarajevo by foreign television crews were all made in the building.