ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL // 02. 1994.
BOJAN HADZIHALILOVIC // DESIGNER
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

February 1994

Bojan Hadzihalilovic
Designer
ADVICE FOR SURVIVAL

‘We prepared a kind of message from Sarajevo to the world, to the outside world. We created a little work of art through postcards. Postcard after postcard, message after message, which we wanted to send to the outside world using symbols known throughout the world such as Coca-Cola, Hollywood, man on the moon, Marilyn Monroe, symbols that can be easily communicated to the world. And we put these symbols into a Sarajevan context. We wanted to send the messages to our friends. There were about thirty or forty messages that we created one after the other over a period of seven days. And then we held an exhibition for the tenth anniversary of the Sarajevo Olympics. That show consisted of those 40 messages, presented as big posters. It was a lot of trouble to make those posters because there were no more, I don’t know, tempera paints. We had to get them from some kids, since we were already more than a year into the war. It was terribly cold at the Collegium Artisticum, where we did all of the work. We even wrote a little note on the postcards showing that they were printed under wartime conditions. We wrote: No electricity, no water, and no gas. Just good will. It was kind of like our document that was also a piece of art. In addition, the preparations for printing out a small series of let’s say 100 copies sometimes lasted for two or three months. Sometimes we had to trade cigarettes for paper, or buy something in return for paint, and then have to wait for there to be water so that the printers could clean the presses, set them up, and so on. You constantly had the impression that five or six people were risking their lives just in order to print a set of postcards that you wanted to be a record of that moment. The opening was on the tenth anniversary of the Sarajevo Olympics. About one hundred people gathered there. They had to risk crossing the bridge to Skenderija. We constructed a big installation made out of empty Coca-Cola crates, which were supposed to remind people of our message, ‘Enjoy Sarajevo’. Which expressed the idea that however you look at it, we still enjoy Sarajevo, our city.’

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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.

Exhibitions

Once a week in the partially destroyed Red Cross building in the “Sniper Alley”. Exhibitions by the local sculptors, painters and “conceptualists”. Hot tea is also served. The gallery owned by “Scena obala”.

CULTURAL SURVIVAL

Sarajevo is a unique city on the planet. It is the site where our civilization has been dismantled in the course of intentional violence.
But Sarajevo is also the symbol of civil defense, the site where violence has been fought back with tolerance, fascism with art and culture, destruction with rebuilding, death with humour, the outburst of rural culture with the one that's urban terror with stubborn maintaining of normal city lifestyle.
Sarajevo has been deprived of all the civil, existential and social rights. It has been deprived of the right to live. Everything that makes normal urban living has been taken away from Sarajevo and its citizens, everything that could have been taken away has been taken away, all except for the right to survive by maintaining the right to culture.
But among all that destruction and dying, kids are being born, birthdays celebrated, weddings carried out. In the city surrounded by the deadly circle of primitivism the exhibitions are being opened, movies made, festivals organized, theatre plays and musicals performed.
Sarajevo lives the post-cataclysm. It is the picture of civilization emerging out of cataclysm, making something out of nothing, giving messages for the future.
Not because the future is necessarily a future of wars and disasters, but because humans are growing older and being born into a world which is ever less secure.
All that has been left under the ruins of Sarajevo, all that has survived the shelling of our civilization is the spirit of the cultural survival. The reconstruction of that spirit, the spirit of Sarajevo must start – now. Otherwise – Sarajevo will become the graveyard of the principles of multiethnicity and human rights.

Design

There are several design studios and groups in the city. The most prominent are the Studio „Trio“ managed by Bojana and Dado Hadžihalilović, who have created and produced a collection of posters and postcards of wartime motifs with reference to pop-art works, and Amra Zulfikarpašić who designs posters for newly established firms and exhibitions.
The Studio Zulfikarpašić has designed for the „Survival“ project a new game, The Sarajevo Darts. The players of the game are supposed to throw darts at the targets on the Olympic map of the city.

Bojan and Dada Hadzihalilovic
THE DESIGNER GROUP TRIO
Dada was born on July 12, 1966, Bojan on June 6, 1964. In 1984, they started at the Sarajevo Academy of Fine Arts, which they graduated from in 1989 Together with Lejla Mulabegovic, they founded the designer group “Trio” in 1985. From its founding to April 1992, they have designed some 50 important projects, including record covers of the most popular rock bands from Bosnia, numerous designing projects at many festivals in the former Yugoslavia, designs of books, newspapers, films... For their pre-war work they have been awarded by Saatchi&Saatchi. They have taken part in numerous exhibits in the country and abroad (Moscow, Berlin and Sarajevo).

THE SIEGE
They have created a serial of propaganda posters “The Aggression Against Bosnia”, they have designed the uniforms for all Bosnian athletes who competed at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. They have designed a collection of postcards “Greetings from Sarajevo,” a collection of posters “Do You Remember Sarajevo,” the poster “Sarajevo Spring 1992.” They have also designed most of Sarajevo magazines: The Tennis Magazine, BH Dani, The Jewish Bulletin, The Cocktail, The Cineast, Triumph, Bosnia, Avaz...

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
As a flower. A dandelion.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
A Chinese Wall around Sarajevo.

What is you biggest loss?
That real people left Sarajevo.

What is your biggest gain?
That there are new real people in Sarajevo.

When and where were you happiest?
When we returned home after being unable to cross the Sarajevo airport runway.

What are your lost illusions?
That we will have gas like in Auschwitz.

Describe your day at work.
Cannot be described.

Sarajevo?
A word of eight characters.

What words don’t you use anymore?
“Hey Slavs you’re still alive...” (former Yugoslav anthem.)

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes, but not a crucial one.

Where would you like to live?
In Hitler’s bunker.

How have you survived?
Cannot be described.

What are you afraid of?
That the situation in Sarajevo will be like it once was.

Does the past exist for you?
Yes.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
Back to the future.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Work.

How would you like to die?
Quickly.

Do you need hope to live?
Yes.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
Real fuckin’ chaos.

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

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
The message is that there is no message.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
Please cut the shit.

SKENDERIJA

Before the war the Skenderija building was a cultural, sports and shopping youth center. One wing of the building - the Youth Hall - was burnt down. In the former “Bosna” club basketball court “small” soccer tournaments were held. The underground part of the Skenderija functioned as a shopping center in whose coffee shops the citizens could meet safe from shelling while its boutiques sold the clothes from 1992. The rest of the building was surrounded by barbed wire and housed UNPROFOR French battalion.

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