SARAJEVO WINTER SCREENINGS OF CARTOONS FOR CHILDREN // 12. 1993.
IBRAHIM SPAHIC // DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE CENTER
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

December 1993

Ibro Spahic
International Peace Center
SARAJEVO WINTER SCREENINGS OF CARTOONS FOR CHILDREN

‘At that moment I was a witness that 11 thousand intellectuals the world over /about the same number of those that had been killed or died as civilians in the war in Sarajevo/, raised their voices in favor of Sarajevo, of Sarajevo as the cultural center of Europe. The greatest organized action in the world among intellectuals for a city like Sarajevo.’

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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.

Cinema

“Scena obala”. Once a week at 1 p.m. The place is safe. The auditorium sits 100 people. Heating by battery. Movies are on video tapes. The cinema is also a meeting place for intellectuals, foreign newsman and artist.

The Sarajevo Winter

A traditional festival which used to take place every winter and which brought together actors, musicians and artists from all over the former country. The festival under the directorship of Ibro Spahić also took place in 1993.

Ibrahim Spahic
He was born on May 10, 1952 in Sarajevo. He graduated from the Philosophy College (comparative literature and theater science). He has been the director of the festival Sarajevo Winter since 1984. He is the president of the Sarajevo International Peace Center, the president of the Sarajevo Citizens Forum and the president of the Bosnian Civic Democratic Party. He is into publishing and the editor of the magazine for human rights and freedoms “Why.”

THE SIEGE
He received many peace, human rights and humanism prizes from various international organizations. He says his biggest acknowledgement is that a European family named its child Ibrahim.

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
In the same shape.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
As happiness of perfectionism.

What is you biggest loss?
The deportation of my family.

What is your biggest gain?
The return of my family.

When and where were you happiest?
In Sarajevo April 28, 1984.

What are your lost illusions?
Illusions about the values of the European “human rights.”

Describe your day at work.
Meetings visits, designing, coordination, reading, listening.

Sarajevo?
Sarajevo!

What words don’t you use anymore?
I hate the misuse of words and people.

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes, if virtue is moral.

Where would you like to live?
In Sarajevo.

How have you survived?
As a Sarajevan.

What are you afraid of?
Of women’s weaknesses.

Does the past exist for you?
Just like the future.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
The one who knows that this is the end of one civilization knows what the next one will look like.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
You cannot give a recipe for mental health.

How would you like to die?
If we knew this, life would have no meaning.

Do you need hope to live?
Yes.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
And ’95?

How would you call this period of your life?
Magma.

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
Earth is, as poet Mak tells us: “Forgive me, but spiteful even of a dream”.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
I do love it! But, what is the secret of life altogether?

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