ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL // 11. 1993.
ZLATA HUSEINCEHAJIC // BOUTIQUE OWNER
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

November 1993

Zlata Huseincehajic
Boutique owner
ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL

‘Before the war I used to make and sell bridal gowns. I thought that this business was a luxury, and that I probably wouldn't be able to make any money from it in times of crisis. At the beginning of the war we spent the money that we had pretty quickly, everybody did. Then they started, and my boutique was on the front line, so we took everything out of there and stored it in an attic, just in case. And then we forgot all about those things. Until people started coming to me, some time in the end of ‘93 or in the middle of that year, let’s say. My friends started coming around, asking, ‘Zlata, do you have any more of those things?’ ‘Yes, I do.’ And that’s how I started to literally earn our living. Bridal gowns, we sold bridal gowns, we sold less, but we sold more then than we do today, because then war profiteers would come. For some people it wasn’t expensive, and we would rent gowns to them. . I had a little baby at that time. I don’t know I would make one flower at home; you know, like a hair decoration, something specific. And for that I was able to go out and buy a package of disposable diapers. Otherwise, at that time there was no way that I could afford it, because diapers were really expensive then. But then again, my flower was expensive. Still, someone did buy it. Anyway, I love the work that I do, but I am especially happy because during the war I supported my family to a major extent by doing the work that I love, and it turned out not to be so unnecessary and silly after all.’

TOPIC RELATED PHOTOGRAPHS
TOPIC RELATED TEXT

NOVEMBER 1993


• 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.


Price list

200 DM for 1 cubic mater of wood, but you have to pay 50 DM more for the delivery.
170 DM for a bottle of whiskey, or of French cognac.
120 DM for a kilo of garlic.
100 DM for a hare (white, weighing about 3 kilos), or 1 kilo of dried meat.
40 DM - for this you can get 10 packs of cigarettes, or 1 liter of oil, or 1 kilo of beans, or
children’s bicycle, or 1 can of fish and 1 can of pate, or 1 lunch package, or half a kilo of tobacco.
30 DM for a wool sweater (hand made) or 1 jar of fat.
20 DM for 1 kilo of onions, or 2 kilos of cabbage, or a big pumpkin.
10 DM is the price of four batteries of 1,5 V, or of 5 liters of water - at all times except the summer.
Then the price of 5 liters of water raises to 30 DM.
3 DM for a chocolate bar, or a bunch of parsley. A circular saw is worth as much as seven kilos onions. One liter of milk is between 2,5 and 5 DM, but can be gotten for a pack of cigarettes. This is the best exchange between babies and smokers known in history.
What functions best is bartering. For two kilos of raw coffee, you can get a propane gas bottle of 12 kilos. A package of antibiotics is worth two local phone-calls. For a liter of cooking oil you can get a carton of cigarettes and a liter of cheap liquor, or three liters of cherry-syrup. For two liters of oil you can wear almost new Reeboks. A used male winter jacket costs 3 kilos of onions. A once-standard package of 18 kilos of paint is being exchanged for any kind and amount of food. 10 liters of oil, the amount which supplies energy for the two-hour shooting of a TV broadcast about the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is exchanged for 12 cans which supply energy for your private survival.
In handwritten ads on Tito’s street, one finds supply and demand ranging from gas stoves, jackets, shoes to messages such is this: “I am looking for a woman to help me survive the winter.”

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