A GYPSY BALL IS ORGANIZED WITH THE HELP OF SOME SPONSORS // 04. 1994.
BAJRO BEGANOVIC // PRESIDENT OF THE MANAGING BOARD OF THE GYPSIES’ SOCIETY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

April 1994

Bajro Beganovic
President of the managing board of the Gypsies’ Society
A GYPSY BALL IS ORGANIZED WITH THE HELP OF SOME SPONSORS

‘Abazi Alija was president of the Gypsy Society, it was he who mainly organized the Gypsy Ball, financed it himself. We’ve been holding it regularly ever since.’

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APRIL 1994


• The Croatian Party of Rights, regarding the Croatian-Muslim conflict, and the establishment of the Federation: "We will crush the HDZ, which brought conflict between the Muslims and Croats."


• The Bosnian Serbs carry out an attack on Gorazde.
• Stephen Spielberg wins an Oscar for the film "Schindler's List".
• The leader of Montenegro's liberals, Slavko Perovic, challenges to a duel with pistols the Montenegrin Minister of the Interior in a protest over violence against two Muslims who were his guests.


• Only a limited number of citizens and only those with escorts can visit homes and relatives in the Sarajevo neighborhood of Grbavica held by Bosnian Serbs.


• On the occasion of 110 years of Elektrodistribucija BiH the street lights on Titova Street, Ferhadija and Trg Oslobodjenja (Liberation Square) are turned on.


• Sarajevo is heavily shelled.
• Statement of the Basic Court II: divorces are produced as if by assembly line. In most cases the sued party is the wife. If the spouses are separated for two years and if the address of one of the spouses is unknown, the plaintiff automatically receives a divorce.
• A telephone line with Croatia is established. Numbers can be dialed only from the Post Office.


• Because of Bosnian Serb Army attacks on Gorazde and Sarajevo, General Michael Rose requests air strikes, Akashi approves, and NATO carries them out. UNPROFOR telephones Ratko Mladic at 14:00 hours, sends a fax to him at 14:50, and then drops two bombs.


• Because of the air strikes, Boris Yeltsin grows angry at Clinton because Washington did not consult him.
• In Pale, the Bosnian Serbs decided to block all access roads to Sarajevo, including for the UN and international humanitarian organizations.
• The television network of the Bosnian Serbs, "Srna ", shows footage from Somalia with a bound and murdered U.S. soldier and adds the comment: "If this can be done in Somalia, think of what the Serbs can do!"


• Branko Mikulic passes away, one of Tito's closest associates in communist Yugoslavia.


• Bosnian Serb soldiers commit a massacre in Gorazde. The UN sends a message to the Bosnian Serbs that they are not their enemies. NATO strikes do not mean victory for their opponents; NATO is only helping them comply with UN rules. In Gorazde, 200 UN personnel are detained, as well as 58 observers who are kept prisoners.


• Akashi obtains a cease-fire for Gorazde.
• Passengers shot in a Sarajevo tram.


• Because of this new crisis Yasushi Akashi says: "We do not have the resources to cope with the situation, all this is beyond the capability of the UN. Everything depends on the Security Council and Boutros Ghali."
• Heavy artillery attacks on Gorazde.


• Sarajevans hold a meeting on the rescue of Gorazde.
• Michael Rose: "Without large troops it is impossible to protect the Gorazde UN 'safe area'."
• The head of the Catholic Church in BiH, Vinko Puljic, sends an appeal to the world: "If the bases of UN institutions are broken, from which starting point is human civilization possible?"
• The organization "Doctors without borders" seeks the resignation of Yasushi Akashi. Two of their colleagues are in Gorazde and provide help for the people there: "It is shameful how the international community has surrendered politically in Bosnia."


• Russian President, Boris Yeltsin urges Bosnian Serbs to withdraw and permit the entry of UN troops into Gorazde. Yasushi Akashi boycotts Karadzic until he releases the UN workers and lifts the siege of Gorazde. The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vitali Churkin, because of the crisis in Gorazde says: "The Serbs for days were deceiving me." He asks Russia to suspend talks with the Serbs. Turkey wants to lift an arms embargo on Bosnia to save the country.
• In Lukavica, the Bosnian Serbs seize anti-aircraft rifles from a UN checkpoint. 150 Bosnian Serbs confiscate the weapons of 30 UN French soldiers.
• Pale: Serbs have signed the UN agreement on a ceasefire and the deployment of UN troops.


• In Gorazde, the Bosnian Serbs do not slow down. In Sarajevo, the Serbs return the anti-aircraft rifles but they seize an APC form the UN checkpoint. Yeltsin insists that only the UN Security Council can order the strike - in the UN Security Council the Russians have a veto.
• A report from a Sarajevo pharmacy: 30 tons of medicines should be destroyed. The aid shipments were arriving with drugs as many as 10 years old. In the pharmacy for humanitarian aid there is no information about the drugs’ origins and it remains unclear why the UNHCR never checked their information when receiving them.


• The City government in Sarajevo makes the decision to ban alcohol, poker machines, gambling, video games, live music - everything that makes noise and disturbs the peace of citizens.


• 59 people killed in Gorazde.
• Russia is trying to bring military action to diplomacy.
• NATO is waiting ready with 200 aircraft if the Serbs continue with violations in the "safe areas".


• Yasushi Akashi, "The Serbs have complied with the terms of the NATO ultimatum. The situation does not justify air strikes. "
• UNPROFOR Commander Michael Rose yet again goes to sleep. He does not wait for the expiration of the ultimatum. The U.S. and NATO want to strike, but the UN prevents them.
• Former President of the United States, Richard Nixon dies.


• The Russian Duma recommends: "Negotiations, not war."


• NATO ultimatum: Bosnian Serbs must withdraw their weapons 20 km from Gorazde. 4500 troops and 200 NATO aircraft await commands.


• The Bosnian Serbs comply with the ultimatum.
• Sarajevo: The humanitarian association "Roma Brothers", with the help of donors, organizes the "Roma Ball."


• A performance on the Miljacka is held: on the river a raft with a flag is launched. Bottles are thrown with the message: "This is not a wall! Hello Europe, we are the world! "


• The Bosnian Serbs issue their edition of the daily "Oslobodjenje", entitled "Srpsko Oslobodjenje."


• Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the U.K.: "The Serbian attacks on the 'safe areas' is an insult to humanity."

Entertainment and accommodations

Tourism in Sarajevo comes down to foreign journalists and politicians. The latter ones stay in the city only for a few hours and run away. Soldiers and journalists stay longer, but are regularly replaced. Only for the people of Sarajevo is there no exit. They don’t live in shifts. Journalists are either in the Holiday Inn, or with friends who have a good basement. They travel the city in protected cars, and with obligatory bullet-proof vests. Sarajevo has numerous hotels. They are all full, except for the Bristol and Posta. They became homes for refugees. The same goes for the oldest and the most famous hotel, Evropa, in the part which has not burned. With war, the Evropa was completely emptied - of its kitchen, silverware, crystal glasses, tablecloths, paintings, furniture. Food and drinks are gone since April, too.
Guests are accepted only in the HOLIDAY INN, a hotel with two directors. One was appointed by the City Parliament, the other one by the Republic. Of course, not all of the rooms are available, for some no longer exist. During stronger shelling, guests leave their rooms and sleep collectively in the basement, armed with their cellular phones. The hotel is well supplied with alcoholic drinks and refreshments. Only there can you try the best of local couisine - big selections of Viennese and Oriental delights.
Guests are, of course, foreign journalists. There are some locals, too. These are private businessmen, merchants, people for all times and all imaginable businesses. Prices are war-like. The average menu is 50 DM per person. If ready for the black market rates, you may try to pay in the local currency. Service is decent.
At night, the hotel resembles Casablanca.
Culinary specialties are offered, since last October, in the following places:
GURMAN (Gourmet). Location: Corner of Titova and Radojke Lakic Street.
BUJRUM (Welcome). Location: Above the Cathedral, in the Vuk Karadzic Street.
KRALJICA DUNAVA (Queen of Danube). Location: Kata Govorusic Street.
KLUB NOVINARA (Journalist’s Club). Location: Pavle Goranin Street.
The selection of drinks is very limited. As for the food-aside from soup one can get cooked veal, hamburgers (domestic version is called pljeskavica). How the food actually gets there is kept as the biggest professional secret. Silent are both those who order and those who deliver. And those who eat.
There are private clubs, too. In case you have someone to take you there, look for:
MONIK: (behind the Post office at Dolac Malta)
MAZESTIK (close to jugobanka) RAGUZA (next to the main market - Markale)
JEZ (neighborhood of the seat of the Yugoslav People’s Army)
Modern, prewar life of cafes, in which mingled the youth of the city, and its business circles... Good music, excellent coffee, whiskey, home-made brandy. Since November they re-emerged, protected with thick slabs and UNHCR foils, with generators for their own electricity. Their names: Bugatti, Piere, Stefanel, Charlie, Sky, Indi, Holland, 501, S.O.S., GoGo, Tvin...They start working at 11 a.m. and close at nightfall. Some work until the curfew-visit only if you have a friend who knows the city well. Some are open as long as there are guests. All are armed.
There are places where you can gamble, playing cards. It is convenient for foreigners - payment is in hard currency anyway. One shouldn’t have too much self-confidence. Sarajevo gamblers cannot reach Italy or Cote de Azure any more. Their skilled passion has to be fulfilled here.

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