July 1994

Amra Zulfikarpasic

‘And with a curfew, you just can’t stay until 10 o’clock. If you stay until 10, you haven’t experienced anything, you haven’t been anywhere. But if you stay after 10 p.m., then the police can catch you, and if you stay until 5 a.m., then it’s too much of a strain, because you’re thin, underfed, and you definitely can’t hold out the whole night without sleeping until 5. That’s why I resorted to various tricks to avoid getting caught. I would take off my shoes, pay attention to where the police were standing at the end of the street, and then I would creep by very slowly. That’s how I got by a few times. One time I even had a permit for being out at night. But that permit is meaningless if none of your friends have it too. And then a couple of times I found myself out on the street at two in the morning, when it was pitch black, and then I asked myself, ‘what do I need such a permit for if all I can do is wander about all alone’? Then I quickly tore it up so that nobody could use it anymore. My memories of the curfew are excellent, because I lived right across the street from the police station. And it was always a problem to get by the policemen from other precincts when I was trying to get home. And of course when I got to my house the police were always standing there. And they would always say, ‘One day we’re going to have to arrest you, neighbor.’ And I would say, ‘What? I’m a law-abiding citizen. Why would you want to arrest me?’ And he would say, ‘There’s a curfew.’ And then I’d say, ‘Since when? Nobody ever told me about it.’


JULY 1993

• Speaking of the peace plan for BiH, Lord Owen announces: “With this division Musilims will not just get the 10% they control but more than they expect.”
• 300 American Marines are sent to Macedonia.
• Hunger strike at the City Assembly.

• Great public interest in the departure of convoys.
• Jean Cote appointed new Chief Commander of UN troops.
• A coordination committee established for the local Croat community. Dr. Ante Kovacevic announces: “All those who wish to defend the whole of BiH are welcome.”

• Vuk and Danica Draskovic, opposition leaders in Belgrade, in prison. Vuk Draskovic launches a hunger strike in protest.
• Countless barricades set up from Split to Sarajevo. Conducting humanitarian missions becomes impossible.
• HUNGER in Sarajevo. Gardens and balconies become the only sources of food.
• A Sarajevan actor says: “Sire, the actors are dying! On stage I act as if I were sated and we will keep on performing even if there are two catafalques on stage in which actors are truly dying.”

• Russian withdraw from Cuba, having first arrived in 1962.
• Hunger strikers at the City Assembly lose 1-3kg daily.

• Sarajevo becomes HELLISH.

• Although there is no oil, the TV news is still broadcast.
• Almost all work is suspended at hospitals. There are no diagnoses, and doctors skip tests before operations. Even when there is oil, the generators cannot provide enough power to operate the medical equipment.
• Lord Owen calls on the BiH government and the President of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, to agree to the division of the country as soon as possible.

• The Presidency of the City Assembly ends its hunger strike under pressure from doctors and public appeals. Once the strike ends they announce: “Our conditions have not been met, but we’re terminating the strike.”
• Prices at the market: Cooking oil - 30 DM; 1 kg flour - 10 DM or 2 packs of cigarettes.

• Convoys prevented from leaving the city.
• The Draskovics are released from prison, after receiving a visit from Lord Owen who announces this to Slobodan Milosevic.
• Designer Josip Nose fashions a regulator for gas.

• Susan Sontag comes to Sarajevo to direct a performance of “Waiting for Godot.”

• 8,000 new UN soldiers arrive to BiH.

• Publication of the diary of Sarajevan girl Zlata Filipovic.

• Promotion of the slogan of the season, months, years, the ultimate slogan of the siege: “With cigarettes you’re never alone”.

• The famous Nazi war criminal hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, makes an appeal to former camp inmates and members of the resistance movement during the Second World War: “speak out against the barbarism and brutality in Bosnia.”

• Geneva, July 27, 1993. In Geneva, the peace conference on Bosnia continues. Participants include: Alija Izetbegovic, Slobodan Milosevic, Franjo Tudjman, Mate Boban, Radovan Karadzic. Co-chairs: Lord David Owen and Thorvald Stoltenberg.

• New rules: Expecting mothers in Sarajevo must bring with them to the hospital when about to give birth: bed sheets, diapers, soap and water. Immediate after giving birth they must go home.
• The humanitarian organization “Caritas” asks for its own airplane, seeing UNHCR status.

• Peace negotiations in Geneva: Ceasefire signed and free passage for a convoy of humanitarian aid, as well as non-aggression towards UNPROFOR.
• The Bosnian Serb Army attacks UN troops, but air strikes are absent.
• Geneva, July 30, 1993. In Geneva at the peace negotiations, Izetbegovic, Karadzic and Boban order an end to the war. They agree that daily meetings will be held at Sarajevo Airport between the commanders of the armed forces, together with UNPROFOR commanders. Owen and Stoltenberg offer a new compromise peace plan for BiH. Under this plan the country will be divided into three republics, but not along ethnic lines, and will be under loose federal control.

• Geneva: BiH remains a single country within its existing borders, with three republics not formed exclusively on the basis of nationality.
• The U.S.A. seeks support from France and the U.K for air strikes to lift the siege of Sarajevo.

Modern Sarajevan

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!

Experience of Survival

During two years of war, Sarajevo has stabilized within its post-cataclysmic environment. Sarajevo became a new city with a new way and philosophy of living. The 4,000 shells falling per day onto and into this urban landscape brought destruction, but it also brought another insight into the understanding of humanity; the answer to the question of how individuals can create a community out of nothing, and how this particular community in Sarajevo can create a new social group for the 21st Century.
This new philosophy exists in Sarajevo. It is called Survival. It is a philosophy created as a response to terror, a way of recapturing freedom by retaining the fundamentals of humanity; a set of morals, a culture, creativity, tolerance, a clarity of mind, a lack of fear. Humour and innovation have been integrated into every part of life. Even without the hardware of buildings, water, electricity or gas, Sarajevo has not become a dead city. It actually – and in spite of everything – has the software the rest of the world needs.
Sarajevo became a self-contained model of how an urban structure can survive a modern cataclysm. The time of the Warsaw ghetto entered history. The siege of Leningrad has been almost forgotten. The siege of Sarajevo, its 900 days under siege, surpassed all the horrors we've seen in documentaries and read about in history books. Sarajevo's fate, its actual day to day life has become something we've only seen in science fiction movies. Sarajevo's The Day After has proved that the city holds the skills and the knowledge needed to respond to the greatest degree of change in life, using human instincts and keeping the ideals of humanity on a practical level. The knowledge and the skills Sarajevo has accumulated are the knowledge the rest of the world needs in preparation for the 21st Century.
Everything is possible. Subsisting on the bare necessities, Sarajevo doesn't use pesticides or create pollution. It has become the greatest of all green cities on Earth. The entire city is trying to realize the New Age objectives of health, ecological, agricultural awareness, recycling and self sufficiency.
But, this perfect model of Survival can only be realized through the support of the international community. Sarajevo needs technology, education, and cultural information from the rest of the World.
The World needs Sarajevo's experience of Survival.

Amra Zulfikarpasic
She was born on May 26, 1946 in Sarajevo where she got a degree in graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts. She worked in the marketing agency of the publishing house “Oslobodjenje” for 14 years. She has participated in many exhibitions in the country and abroad. She received a large number of awards. She founded her own studio.

During the siege she worked on the project “Jelly Bomb” and put up two solo exhibitions “Opening of the Parcel” and “Design and Means of Survival”. She worked as art director on the “Survival Art Museum”. She conducted an advertising campaign of the Fund for Rebuilding and Constructing the Clinic Center in Sarajevo. She designed many papers, theater advertising materials, posters, she wrote for the American paper “Virginia Pilot”, in which she published articles about life in Sarajevo.

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
As a perfect human being.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

What is you biggest loss?
Killed, raped and expelled Bosnians.

What is your biggest gain?
I wait for it anxiously.

When and where were you happiest?
Thinking of happiness has been my favorite psychological gymnastics during the war. It seems to me that I was happy very often.

What are your lost illusions?
I thought that fascism had disappeared forever.

Describe your day at work.
I am happy that I do not have an everyday scheme.

My love!

What words don’t you use anymore?
Brotherhood and Unity.

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
I have my own morale.

Where would you like to live?
I live where I always wanted to live, in Sarajevo.

How have you survived?
The struggle will never end.

What are you afraid of?
Of illness and of weakness.

Does the past exist for you?
My past is my material for a happy future.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
If it will be built on the foundations of this one - it will be a poor one.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
I do not give recipes for the cakes I don’t know how to make.

How would you like to die?
It would be nice to die naturally, if they allow it.

Do you need hope to live?
I never separate from hope, my good life companion.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
The most important years of my life.

How would you call this period of your life?
The years of living dangerously.

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
Do not buy houses - they’ll burn; don’t keep your money in banks - you’ll loose it; don’t own companies someone will confiscate them. Only knowledge and experience cannot be taken from you - that is real capital.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
I am happy that I am alive, even though my chances for survival are minimal.