SAMARAN IN SARAJEVO // 02. 1994.
IZUDIN FILIPOVIC // DIRECTOR OF THE BH OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

February 1994

Izudin Filipovic
Director of the BH Olympic Committee
SAMARAN IN SARAJEVO

‘I had the honor personally to take Mr Samaran to the balcony from which in 1984, from where 10 years earlier he had closed the Olympic Games in Sarajevo with the well-known words ‘Goodbye dear Sarajevo’. This time I got the impression that he was unable to say a single word, they stuck in his throat when he saw the ruin and destruction of Sarajevo. Zetra where the UNPROFOR troops had been was wrecked, water, snow, rain.’

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FEBRUARY 1994


• Prediction of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman: Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible only as a NATO base.


• Sarajevo visited by the president of the Turkish government, Tansu Ciller, and the president of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. From Sarajevo, the two presidents send universal messages to the world about civilization, tolerance and coexistence.


• Massacre of civilians at the football field in Dobrinja.
• UPI, the agricultural directorate, provides tips on raising plants in an apartment.


• Massacre at the marketplace "Markale" in downtown Sarajevo. 66 dead, 197 wounded. Reactions across the world: NATO Secretary General William Claes: "Attack!" The U.S.: "First, we need to determine who fired the shell." The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the U.K., Douglas Hurd, "We need to return to negotiations." UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "An abhorrent act of violence."


• The Mayor of Sarajevo, Muhamed Kresevljakovic, tours the marketplace - the site of the massacre - with the UN General Michael Rose, Yasushi Akashi, and Jean Cote. Akashi asks for a complete ceasefire.
• BiH authorities demand that the Bosnian Serbs remove their artillery from the surrounding hills. The Bosnian Serbs refuse to withdraw their guns.
• By order of the police (MUP), all the markets in the city are closed.


• Statement of the Croatian government regarding possible sanctions for Croatia due to the entry of the Croatian army in Bosnia and Herzegovina: "If Croatia is hit with sanctions we will expel all of our Bosnian refugees to the countries which support these sanctions."


• The French Foreign Minister Allain Juppé demands decisive action or the withdrawal of troops.
• In Paris, a demonstration for the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. The philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy organizes the demonstration.
• SDS leader Radovan Karadzic seeks an immediate expert investigation of the shell crater at the "Markale" market and autopsies of the victims: "The fate of all nations, as well as the fate of Europe itself, now depends on it."


• NATO sends an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs: Ordnance must withdraw to 20 km from Sarajevo. If not, air strikes will follow. On this occasion, the U.S. president, Bill Clinton, says: "With NATO's decision, the United States has shown it will no longer be only an observer to a conflict that offends the conscience and endangers peace."
• A UN team of experts makes a ballistic analysis: "The direction from which the missile approached was approximately at an angle of 18 degrees between north and east, which corresponds to the wider region of Mrkovici, which was controlled by the Bosnian Serbs."
• The U.S. recognizes Macedonia.


• UN troops are placed along the line of demarcation.


• Stocks fall on European stock exchanges: world capital concerns over the possible eruption of conflict in the former Yugoslavia.


• Negotiations in Geneva fail. Thorvald Stoltenberg: "Will the Serbs withdraw from territories that the Muslims are asking for? We were unable to resolve this issue. In late February or early March we expect to continue negotiations. "
• BH Olympians participate in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.


• The Bosnian Serbs halt the handover of heavy weapons, setting new conditions. "Hercules" planes monitor them by night and locate places where the Bosnian Serbs are hiding weapons.
• Croatia lays out requirements for the withdrawal of the Croatian army in Bosnia: They request that the UN insure the security of the Croat enclave in central Bosnia.


• U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin meet: They agree on their respective roles: the U.S. will influence the Muslims and the Russians the Serbs.
• Meeting between Akashi, UN and NATO representatives. They discuss air strikes. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali gives authorization to Akashi to perform the strikes. Officials at embassies are leaving Belgrade because of the danger of attacks.


• February 21st is D-Day for the withdrawal of the Bosnian Serbs′ heavy artillery. The procedure for the strike and the beginning of the strike: Commander of UNPROFOR, General Michael Rose, revokes the strike, while Yasushi Akashi approves the strike. British Prime Minister John Major has the task of convincing the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin that the Brussels ultimatum does not mean that the West is leaning toward the government in Sarajevo, but rather is an effort to end the massacre and terror against civilians.
• In Sarajevo, a new round of humanitarian aid, containing: 1,250 grams of beans, 333 grams of oil, 300 grams of sugar, 1 kilogram of flour.
• Sarajevo doctors complement professional medical nomenclature: dispersio corporis or total disappearance of individuals from the effects of an explosion.


• The commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic: "We will not withdraw our weapons, we will not leave our people defenseless before fanatical Muslim units." Radovan Karadzic, leader of the SDS, "The Atlantic Alliance wants to show its power to the Russians over the Serbs. This could lead to World War III, and the Serbs have never lost a war.”
• China is against attacks.


• Juan Antonio Samaranch visits the former Olympic city, Sarajevo.


• Vitali Churkin hands a letter to Yeltsin requesting the Serbs withdraw their weapons in order to stop the bloodshed. The Serbs promise to withdraw their weapons.


• Clinton rejects Yeltsin's proposal for holding an international conference on Bosnia. In the future, yes, but not now.


• UN checkpoints where the heavy artillery of the Bosnian Serbs is kept are guarded by 10 UN soldiers. The checkpoints are located in populated areas making air strikes impossible. Even if the international community wanted to perform an intervention over these weapons, they would not be able to do it.


• Manfred Woerner, NATO Secretary General: "We will follow the recommendations of Akashi, Rose and Cote not to carry out a strike, but if they attack Sarajevo we will intervene."
• Russia has a diplomatic breakthrough. A Russian UN battalion arrives in Pale, the capital of the Bosnian Serbs. Radovan Karadzic: "With the Russians beside us, we have nothing to fear."
• Question from journalists for UNPROFOR General Michael Rose: "What will you do one hour after midnight, when the ultimatum expires?" Rose: "I'll be in bed."
• Radovan Karadzic: "We'll shoot back if we‘re attacked."


• In an interview for TV BiH, Alija Izetbegovic states, "They have retreated, and it is our victory, because they are not killing us anymore. You can let your kids go skating freely, they can go to school. "
• Moscow: "This is our diplomatic victory. The ultimatum has not been strictly respected, and a penalty has not been imposed. "
• Re-establishment of the "air bridge."


• In Washington, negotiations start between the Croats and Muslims on the establishment of the federation.


• The UN Security Council discusses the French proposal of lifting the siege of Sarajevo and setting up a civilian administrator.
• Life returns to the city. People walk on the streets, children play.

Recreation

Everyone is in sports clothes, for they are warmer, more comfortable and enable you to run quicker. Most of the members of the Bosnian Armed Forces wear deep white sneakers with the logo Yugosport. Their uniform, at the beginning, consisted of jeans, masking parts, ingenious improvisations made of bright colors. Bulletproof jackets are very rare They can be found at the price of 200 DM. Citizens renew wear and footwear by moving into abandoned apartments.

Walking
Six kilometers a day-that is the average for those who don’t need to go far. Some believe it helps you to keep in good shape.

Running
That is the favorite sport, practiced by everyone in Sarajevo. All cross-roads are run through as are all the dangerous neighborhoods. One runs with stolen wood, to the line where others are standing. Something is on sale, and you will know it only when you join the line.

Rock-climbing
Urban rock-climbing is a compulsory sports discipline. Instead of adequate ropes, one uses sheets. Climbers are solving distances between balconies, from higher to the lower ones which are not yet reached by fire.

Soccer
Often played with soldiers of UNPROFOR. On the other side - Bosnian Armed Forces, police and professional city players who are still here. Games take place in the hall of the burned Skenderija. The game is hard, masculine, with lots of injuries. Foreigners lose here, as they always did.

Chess
Played on staircases, in basements and in shelters. Sometimes even in the chess club Bosna, which has a good and very expensive buffet.

Tree-cutting
An entirely new city discipline. Tools for this sport are an electric saw and axes, small and big. One gets trained by cutting, trimming, splitting and piling the wood on the balcony or in the room, where they don’t suffer so much humidity. Wood is stacked in the bedroom, hall, living room, in the next apartment whose owners have left of disappeared.

THE ZETRA

The Zetra sports hall was the place where the Winter Olympic Games were closed. Before the siege it was the venue for hockey games, skating championships and concerts. Although it had not been built of flammable material after innumerable hits from the surrounding hills it became engulfed in flames which melted its copper roof. The photo of Zetra in flames greatly saddened the President of the Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranh, who had closed the Winter Olympic Games by saying: “GOOD BYE, DEAR SARAJEVO”. The Zetra basement was used as a shelter and the storage space of many humanitarian organizations.

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