AN ASSISTANCE OFFICE FOR ‘PTS’ IS OPEN// 06. 1994. • DZENANA SAMOUK// CITIZEN
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
AN ASSISTANCE OFFICE FOR ‘PTS’ IS OPEN
‘I chose aerobic classes. I felt I needed it then. Apart form aerobic and other activities one could go to the club whenever one felt like it. You could go there to have a cup of coffee, just like that, when there was any coffee, when there was gas, when one could, for a talk. When there was electricity, one could watch television. But just socializing was what we needed in 1994. To socialize, to exchange ideas and recipes in our free time.’
• 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.
He has to have, and on a visible spot, at least one accreditation, seemingly just a piece of paper with his photograph. But beware - accreditation is the law in the besieged city, a proof of belonging to someone which makes you important. Those with local ID. are not more than the second-rate citizens. So, the modern Sarajevan has the accreditation, weapons, a good car, and a complete uniform. The owner of a bullet-proof vest is regarded with honor. The one who doesn’t wear uniform, has an ax in his right hand for cutting down the trees, and a series of canisters on the left shoulder. His image would be complete with a mask against poison gas.
A modern woman from Sarajevo cuts the wood, carries humanitarian aid, smaller canisters filled with water, does not visit a hair-dresser nor a beautician. She is slim, and runs fast. Girls regularly visit the places where humanitarian aid is being distributed. They know the best aid-packages according to their numbers. They get up early to get the water, visit cemeteries to collect some wood, and greet new young refugees. Many are wearing golden and silver lilies as earrings, as pins, on the necklaces.
Sarajevo is a city of slender people. Its citizens could be authors of the most up-dated diets. No one is fat any longer. The only thing you need is to have your city under the siege - there lies the secret of a great shape. Everybody is wearing their youthful clothes of teenage size. Sarajevans lost about four thousand tons (400,000 citizens lost about 10 kilos each). They greet each other with - TAKE CARE!
Sarajevo's Art and Philosophy of Survival
Two and half years into war our city has stabilized. We have created a new city, new way of life and new philosophy of living in post-cataclysm environment. 2 000 shells daily brought destruction, theft, black market, death. The war destructed hardware of civilization – buildings, water, electricity, gas lines. But Sarajevo has not died. Under this destruction there is a thin line of purity. People work in spite of terror and nothingness to retain essential elements of this society and community.
We have survived so far because we integrated humour and innovation into every part of our life. The essentials of humanity have distilled into the obvious, such as food and water, and more subtly, community and art. Art significantly improved our spiritual strength, even in the worst imaginable conditions. All artistic forms, models, techniques, the new and the old, were important during all levels of survival, even the most fundamental. Creativity provided us with mental freedom, which in turn encouraged the spirit of tolerance and multiculturalism. With this renewed ethical approach towards living, our minds cleared and we once again felt like human beings capable of a free flow of emotions. Sarajevo is an example of freedom in process. Our ability to exit out of nothing is a mirror image to Steven Hawking's physical theory – the disintegration of stars creates the appearance of nothingness, but within this nothingness is a black hole, an exit.
The siege Sarajevo experienced will happen elsewhere in the world during the 21st century. Sarajevo is a hopeful example for the future, a self contained model of how an urban city anywhere can survive a modern cataclysm. The knowledge and skills accumulated during the siege has the potential to inspire and prepare the world for the 21st century.
Everything is possible. Subsisting on the bare necessities, Sarajevo no longer uses pesticides or creates much pollution. We are realizing America's New Age objectives of health, ecology, agricultural awareness, recycling, and self-sufficiency. But the perfect model of survival can only be realized through the support of the international community. Sarajevo needs the technology, education, and cultural information from rest of the world. And the world needs Sarajevo's experience and knowledge. We are all ready for the isolation to end and for this exchange to take place.