‘TO REMAIN NORMAL IN BOSNIA!’// 12. 1993. • NURDZIHANA DJOZIC// EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE MAGAZINES ‘CORRIDOR’ AND ‘ZENA 21’
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Editor-in-chief of the magazines ‘Corridor’ and ‘Zena 21’
‘TO REMAIN NORMAL IN BOSNIA!’
‘By the morning I had sketched out a plan for a paper whose aim would be to help people retain their sanity. To help them to stay normal in not normal situation. Barbara Smith said she never heard anywhere in the world of a popular publication available to a wide readership on how to keep one’s sanity. But she said - let’s try and if we succeed then OK. At first people bought Koridor and came to the first Mental Health Clinic with a certain amount of skepticism. But we worked parallel and both were a success. We managed to break down people’s feeling of suspicion. In the first 6 months 130,000 people came to the clinic, so that after that a second and a third clinic were started. In the end there were seven in different parts of the town. Their aim was to provide a place in busy parts of the town that people could easily get to and talk about what they were afraid of. people at that time were saying that we would all go mad. I lived on Dobrinja then. I moved about a lot and listened to people who were frightened of the shells landing all around us - of the shelling, of the fires, it was hell. Of course people couldn’t feel normal, it wasn’t a normal situation. One kept hearing the refrain ‘We shall go mad, we shall go mad’. All in a popular style, and we used it in all kinds of situations and people began to understand that it was all right to be afraid, that one should be afraid, should cry, scream, that those were all ways we could free ourselves from stress. That it was especially important that people should stick together, that what was happening to them was happening to others too. People would come kilometers and kilometers even when it was dangerous to walk about the town. Finding Company, belonging to a group kept them going. Going to the clinic where they could just talk about what they felt, what they thought. It was very important for people and it kept us up, there were such a lot of people. 200,000 people came to the clinic just to talk about their troubles, their fear.’
• 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.
The daily OSLOBODJENJE which is published in a completely destroyed building. When there is no sufficient paper it is published in small edition and the news vendors stick the sheets onto the facades. Also available are RATNI DANI and BLIC, the magazine TENNIS, the magazine of the Architects’ Association. Travelers also bring into the city old issues of the dailies and weeklies from the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere. These papers circulate from house to house.
The building housing „Oslobođenje“, which published a daily newspaper of the same name, is today a heap of rubble. However, the daily Oslobođenje is still published. Its size, printing run, the colour of its paper and print depend on the circumstances. It is produced, as before, in the basement, under the rubble, and it is sold by its journalists.
Oslobođenje has won numerous international press prizes this year including the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.
There is also a privately owned paper Ratni dani (Wartimes Days) and this fall there has appeared another independent, privately owned weekly – Blic (Flash).
Some other, more specialized, papers are also published in the city: Ljiljan (The Lily), Muslimanski glas (The Moslem Voice), the Jewish community paper, and there is even Tennis for the lovers of the sport.