‘LIFE IS MADE UP OF LITTLE THINGS!’ // 12. 1993.
FARUK UGLJANIN // OPRESA COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

December 1993

Faruk Ugljanin
Opresa Company
‘LIFE IS MADE UP OF LITTLE THINGS!’

‘Life’s made up of little things. Of something happening in a town. In December ‘93 there was nothing happening. Everything was dead. We want to do anything to start life up again, for the town to have some life in it again. We tried setting up kiosks; places to buy what things there were to buy. One thing that couldn’t be bought was a cigarette. People began to think that if the kiosks opened up there’d be cigarettes. Unfortunately there weren’t any. Cigarettes didn’t appear for sale until ’94. But there were things. What things were there? The little, small things that people need and we wanted to sell those little small things at regular prices, regulated prices, not at prices that were drastically different from normal prices like they were being sold in the town then and that was that. It was very risky at that time to open anything because there was still shelling. At that period of 170 kiosks only one was left. Literally one and that was in Podhrastovi not in the town. There wasn’t one in the town. The first kiosk that we adapted lasted three days. It suffered a direct hit and disappeared again. We had some children’s games because the children were mostly indoors. There were some small children only just big enough to play and we gave them toys. Unfortunately there were very few batteries and our toys needed batteries. There was no electricity, but we managed somehow. With small thing, like blades, shaving apparatus, all kinds of creams including face and hand cream, hair spray, decorative things, lipstick and makeup and so on and so on. Anything that couldn’t be got.’

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DECEMBER 1993


• Peace negotiations in Geneva: negotiations on maps and percentages of territory. The BiH delegation requests: access to the sea, to the Sava and to a harbor.


• Yasushi Akashi appointed Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the former Yugoslavia.


• UNICEF helps establish a radio-school. Classes are held over this medium.


• Rounds of humanitarian aid to the citizens of Sarajevo include: a liter of cooking oil, 300 grams of beans, 200 grams of sugar, 400 grams of mackarel, 200 grams of detergent, and 2 candles per household.


• “Opresa” opens a small store in the city with the slogan “Life is about the small things”.
• The Soros Foundation donates a piano to the organization “Nasa djeca”.


• Mate Boban, President of “Herzeg-Bosnia”, promises to close camps holding Muslims.


• Founding of counseling for psychological help: “Staying Sane in Bosnia”.


• The theft of electricity in the city goes on in different ways: setting up of illegal connections, underground cables, connecting to prioritized sources and transformers.
• The Soros Foundation finances the production of 10 tons of rat poison. The active toxin is “Sanofarm”, but because the poison is not registered by law it cannot be distributed.


• “Oslobodjenje” receives the “Sakharov” award. Zlatko Dizdarevic, journalist and editor, receives the award at the European Parliament.
• The fairytale “A Dragon in Love” is shown in one of the apartment blocks in Alipasino polje.


• The bobsled team trains for the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, but do not know how to leave Sarajevo. They train every day, lift weights and run, depending on the shelling. On average they lose 5 kg of weight. The team must borrow a bobsled because theirs is burnt.


• The Russians reveal their own peace plan. Foreign Minister Vitali Churkin travels extensively in major European cities.


• Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, and Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, present a plan on the division of BiH. 33.33% would go to the Muslims and 17.5% to the Croats. Lord Owen must convey this plan to the President of the Presidency of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic.


• The Sarajevo Tobacco Factory wraps cigarettes in book pages. “Toward the History of BiH Literature” is next in line”.


• In Sarajevo Cathedral a ceremonial Christmas concert is held.
• On the occasion of Catholic Christmas, the Pope sends a message: “Let light shine on upon the suffering peoples.”


• The city lacks electricity, water and salt for bread.


• The Festival “Sarajevo Winter” organizes screening of cartoons for children.
• A kitchen opened for people working in the public and culture sectors. UNPROFOR gives them food.

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