THE EXPEDITION CONQUERS MONT BLANC // 06. 1994.
MUHAMED GAFIC // MEMBER OF THE ALPINIST EXPEDITION TO MONT BLANC
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

June 1994

Muhamed Gafic
Member of the alpinist expedition to Mont Blanc
THE EXPEDITION CONQUERS MONT BLANC

‘Mountaineers experienced the war as a special way of, to use a police phrase, denial of freedom. Their freedom to move was restricted to Sarajevo and they wanted to get out, to climb high up. The idea came to me about climbing a peak in the Himalayas, a peak more than 8 thousand meters as a good way of getting freedom and reaching some kind of goal. To climb as high as 8 thousand meters was for a Bosnian the equivalent of winning an olympic medal. The idea was concerned with sport but it was also so that our mountaineers might clear their lungs and leave guns and trenches, take an ice-pick and climbing gear and start out for the Himalayas.’

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JUNE 1994


• Kresimir Zubak becomes president of the Federation of BH. The session of the Constituent Assembly of BiH is completed.
• Amendment to the indictment against criminals in the city changes the charge from "opposition to authority" to "military rebellion". Military prosecutor Ismet Mehic says this is intended to calm tensions in the city.
• A fashion show, "Back to No Future," is held.


• The BiH delegation will not go to Geneva for peace negotiations because the Bosnian Serbs have not retreated 3 km from Gorazde.


• The Writers' Union of Russia gives the "Mihail Solohov" prize to Radovan Karadzic for his poetic works.
• Bob Dole, the Republican leader in the U.S., arrives in Sarajevo.


• Peace negotiations in Geneva: cease-fire signed.


• Sarajevans get water during the night, due to reduced power consumption.


• A BiH mountaineering expedition headed by Muhamed Gafic climbs Mont Blanc on June 8th, at 3pm.


• U.S. Congress opposition to Clinton: Congress urges the President to unilaterally lift the arms embargo on Bosnia.


• Larry Hollingworth, a British aid worker, is knighted. He has worked completely alone, without protection, walking in front of the first trucks in convoys with humanitarian aid.


• Inside the building of the burnt out National Library Mozart's "Requiem" is performed. Conducted by Zubin Mehta, Carreras sings to pay tribute to the fallen people of Sarajevo and those killed across the country.


• Sniper incidents occurr- a passenger is injured in a tram near the hotel "Holiday Inn". A UN APC, which is supposed to protect the tram, did not react retreated. A second UN APC arrives to shelter the tram.


• Sculptor Alma Suljevic builds "Centaurs" from the burnt out shells of trams.


• Haris Silajdzic is appointed President of the Federation BiH; his deputy is Jadranko Prlic, who represents Croats.
• Sarajevans attend foreign language courses. The "Interlingua" school operates throughout the siege.

• NATO is ready to send 50,000 troops to implement the agreement if an agreement is reached in Geneva.
• The Humanitarian Organization "Marie Stopes International" opens to counsel for "post-traumatic stress disorder." Based on their votes, most women choose aerobics as their treatment.


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.

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