DOCTORATE UNDER SIEGE // 12. 1993.
SENAD MEHMEDBASIC // GYNAECOLOGIST
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

December 1993

Senad Mehmedbasic
Gynecologist
DOCTORATE UNDER SIEGE

‘I work as a gynecologist at the city maternity hospital. On May 2nd, 1992 I crossed the Vrbanja Bridge, to go to the maternity Jezero Hospital because I was on duty. And on that day starts my personal family drama. The thing is that on the 3rd or 4th, Grbavica was occupied and that part of the city was cut off. My wife and our two children were still in the apartment. In addition to that, my doctoral thesis was also there, in my computer. Seven years of hard work. The thesis was pneumonia diseases in pregnancy. A very interesting topic, which has not been, explored enough in the world. I would wait till late night for the gas to start coming, and then I tried to put the parts of my doctorate together, because earlier, without electricity, I had no other way but to write by hand and calculate with this pocket calculator. Finally, during '94, my conditions for work improved and I was able to continue with my project. I put everything in order on the computer, worked on the statistics and processed the data. I registered my doctoral thesis at the Medical School and the committee agreed that the defense of my thesis should be in October of ’94, and I received the doctoral degree.I remember one night when we ran out of oxygen and we could not be supplied with another portion. We had three babies in the incubator. A nurse came to me and said that she couldn't to watch those babies die without oxygen because it was really horrible. The staff went outside. No one could stand watching or take pictures.’

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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.

HOSPITALS

In Spring 1992 the public-health service in the Old Town was shelled. In May 1992 the State Hospital was intensively shelled and it was hit by more than 200 shells during the siege. The victims were patients. The Kosevo clinic suffered the same fate. Its operating theaters and intensive care units were hit. The hospitals were usually shelled with plated shells which would pass through several rooms The patients were often evacuated and the surgeons frequently performed operations without electricity or water, using candles and five-liter canisters. Hundreds of citizens were admitted to hospitals each day.

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