September 1994

Zdravka Gutic

‘There was this exposed spot, where we waited in line for water; it must have seemed to us that the hill was so far away that they couldn’t see us, because we didn’t see them. In the meantime we like all women, talking about our recipes. We exchanged war recipes, how, what to make out of nothing. And then at some point, we heard a shell that fell very close by. But even then there wasn’t much of a reaction on our part. Suddenly bullets started whistling by. In that moment, all the women threw away their canisters and they all bent their heads down, covered them with their hands and bent over towards the ground, so a man, who was the only one standing in line with us waiting for water, he said: ‘Well, I look at you, you behave like ostriches. You have all covered your heads, but why have you stuck out your behinds. Do you think that it is less lethal?’ Well, it must have been that. So we looked like a bunch of ostriches that stuck their heads into the sand, actually we tried to save our heads.’



• Sarajevo airport: A Serbian liaison officer announces that the Serbs cannot guarantee the security of planes that land for more than 30 minutes.

• Pope's arrival is confirmed. On the streets of Sarajevo, posters appear with the image of the Pope and the message: "You are not alone, we are with you!"

• Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, arrives in Sarajevo.

• Papal nuncio Francesco Montesi visits Pale. After his visit, he sends a report to the Vatican. The UN is responsible for the safety of the Pope at the airport, while MUP will be responsible for it in the city.
• On the occasion of the Pope's arrival, the head of the Catholic Church, Vinko Puljic, makes a statement: "Out of all the news from Bosnia, Pope always knew that the news is true. If Holy Father does not come, life goes on, but the pain will remain in heart. "
• The Jewish New Year is celebrated in Sarajevo: L’shanah tovah tikatev, 5755.

• The Pope does not come. UNPROFOR could not guarantee his safety.

• "Blessed are the peacemakers" arrive in Sarajevo. They had come to see the Pope. They carry flags, and sing and dance in the streets. After all, in Kamerni teatar 55 the evening had been prepared for the occasion of the Pope's arrival: the actors recited the Pope's poems, choir “Trebevic” sang Pope’s hymn
• Increase of prices on the market. Bananas now cost 6DM.

• At the hydropower plant Jablanica, there water supply will last for just 10 days. At the substation in Sarajevo, the process is ongoing to shut down power to those substations that have illegal electrical connections.
• Akashi meets with the Mayor of Tuzla, Selim Beslagic: "The Serbs will allow the opening of the airport in Tuzla."

• Increase of prices on the market. Bananas now cost 6DM.The Bosnian Serbs attack Bihac. The UN commander for Bosnia and Herzegovina warns the Serbs that they will be exposed to strikes if they do not stop their attacks on Bihac.
• Snipers again fire at Sarajevo.

• Paraplegic marathon held.

• The Popemobile stays in the city. There is a possibility that the Pope could come before the end of the month.

• Ongoing deployment of observers on the Serbia and Montenegro-BiH border. In return it is expected that sanctions against Belgrade will be eased. A ban is placed on the Bosnian Serbs for any travel abroad.
• Risto Dzogo, TV commentator on the extreme nationalist television network of the Bosnian Serbs, "Srna,” is killed. His corpse is found in Zvornik Lake.

• On Sarajevo streets once again containers are used for protection against snipers.

• Attacks on Sarajevo. General Rose warns the Serbs to stop attacking or air strikes will follow. The Serbs ordered their troops to pull out all heavy weapons from UN checkpoints.
• The city returns to its old scenes - lines for water, canisters.

• In honor of his guest tour of Sarajevo's MESS in Paris at Peter Brook's theatre, the famous director says: "Thanks to culture, they can endure in the face of absolute negation. They say whoever lives will have the last word. They came here to allow us to share their safety with them. "

• The UN issues an ultimatum for the Bosnian Serbs to withdraw heavy weapons from the "safe area". Due to a shell landing in front of the Sarajevo Cathedral, UNPROFOR publishes a report: "The entry trajectory has not been identified, or the position from where it was fired; however the radar antenna was oriented such that part of the downward trajectory was registered as well as the location of its flight."
• Because of the UN ultimatum, Radovan Karadzic says: "We will attack the international force when and wherever we choose."
• U.S. General John Shalikashvili: "Whenever we have attacked them, the Serbs have understood the message and retreated."

• The Bosnian Serbs give the UN an ultimatum: "If you do not apologize within 24 hours for ordering airstrikes, we will retaliate. The UN is an occupying force and cannot be tolerated. "
• Demand for wood in the city: a sack of hornbeam wood - 20 DM.

• At the Clinical Center in Sarajevo treatment is performed under field conditions.
• The Bosnian Serbs established restrictions for the movement of the UN.

• U.S. President Bill Clinton in his speech at the UN General Assembly, says that "Sarajevo must be saved."
• Harsher sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs; those against Yugoslavia to be eased.

• United States insists on stronger NATO strikes. The U.K. is against them.


Water shortages may last for days, or weeks. The reasons are always the same - no electricity, or a act of terror. Then the search starts. First, one checks a basement. Then you may go to Konak (which serves only the privileged) then to Sedam brace on Bistrik, where big lines are formed, then in the neighborhood of Pionirska dolina, where one waits under the snipers Those who carry water do so, depending on their strength and the number of canisters, several times a day, traveling several kilometers, waiting in a line for at least three hours. The lucky ones are those with bicycles, which are pushed rather than driven. The same with the owners of baby-carriages and former market carriages. Anything that rolls will do, for everything is easier than carrying the water by hand.
In one of Sarajevo neighborhoods Alipasino polje, someone with a gun made holes in the water pipe running above a little stream. Water was pouring and for hours people were hanging on the rotten bridge trying to collect as much of a precious liquid as possible. The best thing that can happen is a discovery of water somewhere in the neighborhood where you live. It doesn’t matter that the pipe emerges from the disaster left after the big Olympic hall has burned to ground. There is a pipe, and there is water, and there are big lines with people who do not worry anymore whether the water is clean, or not.
One of the ways to find water is using dowsing rods. Life, and your ability to survive is very much about natural talents In this case - you put your electromagnetic waves against those of the water. Gifted magicians are searching for the water. Those more talented and skillful can even advise you how deep you should dig. It is known that even during the First World War, Austro-Hungarian troops had special divisions which consisted of dowsers whose duty was to search for new wells. At that time, the water on the Eastern Front (also known as the Serbian) was very polluted. Yet, with them and without them, it is the rain that brings consolation. Groove gutters are, unfortunately, damaged. People stand in lines, in the rain, waiting with buckets for their portion of rain-water. Day or night - it doesn’t really matter. People drink it and use it for doing laundry. It is very good for your hair, which becomes silky and shiny. Lack of water makes the people of Sarajevo very dose to medieval knights and to French monarchs. They ration water, as if they were Bedouins. Long hair can be washed in a liter and half, the whole body in two or three - all in little pots and pans, with water lukewarm or cold.
The washing machine is a household appliance from some long-gone times. It has no function. The women of Sarajevo are again first-class laundresses. The only thing lacking is a battledore, Iye soap and a clean river to wash what they have.
To run the toilet, waste water is collected, and water is brought from springs - if they are not too polluted - or from the street…


The brewery was built in 1881 during the Austro-Hungarian period and it was the first modern brewery in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The water for the brewery comes from an underground lake under Sarajevo. As one of the rare places where people from all over the city came for water, the brewery was an important strategic target for the aggressor and many people waiting in line for water were killed or wounded. This was the place where people gathered with their carts filled with canisters after walking ten kilometers to reach water. This was also the place where filled, but also the cisterns which supplied water to citizens. In the city which had waterworks for several hundreds of years and which had boasted public drinking fountains on every corner the water supply was one of the greatest problems of the siege, because the aggressor commanded all the springs blackmailing the city, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UN. The citizens gathered rainwater from broken drain-pipes, fetched water from the Miljacka and thawed snow. In 1993 in one of the tunnels leading to Pale the SOROS Foundation built the waterworks which supplied the city pumps.