Director of the independent Radio and TV Studio 99
DECLARATION ON A UNITED SARAJEVO
‘On 11 August ’94, Circle 99 started collecting signatures on a declaration about a free and integral Sarajevo. We had some previous experience because at the end of ’93 intellectuals had organized an appeal against the division of Sarajevo. At that time about 6 thousand, this was at the end of ’93, 6 thousand people signed in Sarajevo plus 18 thousand signatures in Switzerland. The signatures were handed in on 20 December ’93 in Geneva, and I suppose that they had some kind of influence on that fact that the division of Sarajevo was not signed. On the basis of this experience, in August ’94, Circle 99, began a new collection, but now we didn’t want to be the only ones who were organizing the collection of signatures, we wanted to include all associations of citizens, all political parties, everyone who considered that two things were basic to preserve Sarajevo. First, the idea of people who belong to different religions and ethnicities living together, and second the idea about keeping the town true to the principles of human rights and freedoms. And really, I must say, at that time almost all the organizations in the town accepted the idea. Finally, in a month, because collecting signatures began in October, that is it went on all through October ’94. We managed to collect 183 thousand signatures in Sarajevo, we think that over two thirds of the population in the free parts of the town at that time signed. Later we collected almost another 8 thousand signatures from all over the world. I think, from 56 countries on all the continents.’
• The Contact Group, composed of the U.K., France, Russia, Germany and the U.S. will present a map with the territorial demarcation of BiH and a set of threats in order to ensure acceptance of the plan.
• The U.S. Senate votes to not allow unilaterally lifting the arms embargo. The vote count is 50 - 50, but Vice President Al Gore casts the deciding vote against.
• Conflict between the Franciscans in Medjugorje. Fra Zovko, "Herzeg-Bosnia is the same as the creation of the Bosnian Serbs."
• Opening of U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.
• Geneva, July 5th, 1994. Geneva peace agreement between the Muslims and Croats on the city of Mostar, placing it under the supervision of the European Union. Alija Izetbegovic and Kresimir Zubak sign the agreement.
• Top diplomats representing members of the G7 adopt a map dividing Bosnia and Herzegovina. They decided that with warnings and incentives they can compel the Muslims and Serbs to accept it.
• Gorazde: UN soldiers increasingly frequent target of attacks.
• The Contact Group proposes a portfolio of maps for all of the delegations. Concessions were made to the Government of BiH by preserving Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single state within its existing borders.
• The citizens of Sarajevo gain weight.
• On roofs in Sarajevo green gardens are cultivated as a means of survival.
• NATO appeals to the warring sides to accept the peace plan.
• On the plan presented by the Contact Group, Alija Izetbegovic says: "The plan is bad, but all of the other options are worse."
• U.K. Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, and the Foreign Minister of France, Alain Juppé, arrive in Sarajevo on the occasion of the opening of the French Embassy.
• Increased sniper fire.
• The Parliament of the Federation BiH accepts the Contact Group plan.
• The Bosnian Serb Assembly has not yet announced a decision on the peace plan proposed by the Contact Group.
• Flights to Sarajevo airport are suspended because the a "C-141 Hercules" plane is hit.
• The UN Special Envoy for Human Rights, Tadeusz Mazowiecki: "My statements were not taken seriously, and my recommendation was not accepted, because that is how the governments of some European countries wanted it to be."
• The Bosnian Serbs reject the new peace plan. The international community is now left without a new initiative.
• In Mostar the administration of the European Union is established.
• Because of the Bosnian Serbs's rejection of the peace plan, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, says: "We hope that the Russians put pressure on the Serbs to accept the peace plan."
• The Bosnian Serbs close the "blue routes" around Sarajevo.
• NATO is ready to provide air support to UN troops. The Bosnian Serb Army attacks a UN convoy on Mount Igman.
• Geneva: The Contact Group brings sanctions, but no military intervention.
• Sarajevo: A tram comes under sniper attack. Passengers wounded. Tram traffic suspend. UN soldiers return fire from an APC and thus stop the sniper fire.
Those with batteries/generators can listen to the government radio and some independent, privately owned stations. The most popular are the urban stations “Zid” and “Studio 99”.
The independent radio station „Radio Zid“ (Wall) founded and managed by Zdravko Grebo, is a station concerned with propagating an urban mentality. To be urban in Sarajevo means to participate in Sarajevo as an urban community. The station addresses itself primarily to the people who constitute the urban population but it also tries to create and educate such audience. It transmits around the clock.
„Radio 99“, managed by Adil Kulenović, is privately owned radio station which gained its popularity during the war. It brings together young journalists and those who were not journalists before the war, but became attracted by the spirit of civil resistance.
The station operates from a basement and is powered by a battery.
The troupe „Surrealists“ was one of the most popular satirical comedy troupes in the former Yugoslavia. They have a show „Microphone on Duty“, produced by Boro Kontić, on the Radio Sarajevo First Program. Their satire on the radio, transmitted every Sunday, is a smash hit with a society at war. „Mustering up humour in the face of death and despair has been an antidote for the war. Members of the comedy troupe Surrealist Hit Parade are applying the medicine in Sarajevo, lobbing barbs on the radio while all around them shells are falling“
(The New York Times, July 6, 1993).
He was born on November 15, 1949 in Bihac, Bosnia. Occupation: Professor of philosophy and sociology. He published works in scientific magazines and daily and weekly newspapers. He initiated the magazine “Slobodna Bosna,” and he is one of the founders of the Association of Independent Intellectuals “Krug 99.”
He has worked as the editor-in-chief of the Independent Radio “Studio 99” since the beginning of the war. He hosts the show “Interview of the Day” in which he has interviewed during the war more than 400 public figures in Bosnia and the rest of the world. He initiated the Independent Television “99” and the magazine “Free Thoughts 99.” He is one of the initiators of the Declaration on a Free and United Sarajevo, signed by over 180,000 Sarajevans and more than 100,000 people outside of Bosnia.
It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
In the same shape I am in now.
How do you describe perfect happiness?
To be on a path toward a goal that is being achieved.
What is you biggest loss?
Naiveness, I don’t live with my children.
What is your biggest gain?
The disappearance of taboo, the feeling of freedom.
When and where were you happiest?
In February 1993 on the Sarajevo airport when I first left and came.
What are your lost illusions?
That I know people.
Describe your day at work.
Between 8 and 9 I get up with the first phone calls. Between 9 and 10 the disgusting morning shaving. Between 10 and 14 at least 50 different conversations and contacts. From 14 to 17 conversations, plans for the next day and the analysis of the previous. From 17 to 19 the interview of the day with personalities. From 21 to 23 listening to news and reading of the paper. From 23 to 1 finally for myself, reading and writing.
The truth of the modern European civilization.
What words don’t you use anymore?
General well-being, collective interests, people are always right.
In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Morale is, unfortunately, a cry of the helpless.
Where would you like to live?
Still in Sarajevo.
How have you survived?
Persistence, risk, luck.
What are you afraid of?
Of weakness to resist something.
Does the past exist for you?
Yes, like a nice dream from the previous life.
This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
Orwell was right.
Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Work on the move.
How would you like to die?
While on the move.
Do you need hope to live?
Hope is one of the conditions for survival.
What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
In 1992 I believed in the world of human rights, in 1993, I thought that the world powers will decide upon our fate, in 1994, I thought that force and violence are only lasting factor that determines history.
How would you call this period of your life?
A period of maturing.
Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
A rebellion is the only true condition when a man is worth freedom.
Do you like life, and what is life all about?
Yes, I do love it. Life is when you are thrown into the world without sense and goal, and when the individual bas to make it work.