QUEST FOR WOODS
‘It was terribly expensive. Nobody had the money to buy it. Personally, I would go looking for wood every day, both in the morning and in the afternoon. But I would wear brown pants, a green blouse, and a green kerchief over my hair so that the chetniks wouldn’t be able to see me from Borije or Trebevic. I would go up past Dzavid Haveric, up past the school, every day. I would bring back five bags, two under my arms and three I would kick. But it wasn’t hard wood. It was pine needles from fire trees. They were just pine needles, you understand. And when I took them home, then, we had this little stove that I used for making coffee. It was just a miniature little thing that stove. But whenever they felled tree, I would get up in the morning, whenever I heard a chain saw being used up there, I would run up there in the woods, believe it or not, and try to get some of the wood. Whenever a big tree fell, a swarm of people would attack the tree. And I would take whatever little was left over. I was satisfied, though. And if I got a branch, that would be like a bonus for me. Then I would tie it to my back with some cord and carry it back home so that we would survive.’
• 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.
Cold weather and the arrival of winter brought about new arrangements in the apartments. Chimney outlets were opened even in houses with central heating. From the basements and from the attics, from friends are acquaintances, old stoves were brought. Boiler-rooms are not working. In the absence of chimneys, people fix extra flues and stick them out of their windows. Flues are lurking on streets, smoking. Cooking still continues on the balconies, among empty flower-pots, housewives stirring the fire with newspapers. The basic stove is a tin one - furuna, made by craftsmen on Bascarsija or even by self-taught masters. Material and imagination define the form, size and the purpose (for coffee, cooking, or heating). Furuna are being sold on several markets, but only for DMs. But the major problem is fuel. You cannot buy wood or coal.
During the first summer, all dry benches, trees and wooden material were collected. This fall, parks, alleys, courtyard and cemetery trees started to fall birches, poplars, ash-trees, plane-trees, plum- trees, apple-trees, cherry-trees, pear-trees, all the way down to brushwood. Wooden backs of benches in parks were taken away, frames and doors of ruined apartments, handrails from the hallways, shelves from abandoned stores and kiosks, wooden stools and bars from restaurants, even the crosses and pyramids from the cemeteries. All bombed houses and barracks were dismantled with enviable speed. But fuel is still scarce. Those who were wise took scrap wood from their garages early in the summer. Now paper versions are being manufactured. Plastic bags, a part of US lunch packages - a leftover from the Persian Gulf War - can heat five liters of water... UNHCR supplied the city with a numerous but not sufficient thermal foils for windows. On every window, from the outside, one can read their name: UNHCR - they are the owners of our lives. November temperatures were very nice. Meteorologists have informed us they were very high, by comparison with times no one remembers any more: about 9 degrees C (Centigrade) in the apartment. It was warmer to take a walk then to sit inside. Fortunately, everyone can get warm while searching for water and wood.
In 1992 and 1993 the price of wood in Sarajevo was 350 DM per cubic meter. Parks were places where citizens got their wood. The wood from Sarajevo parks could be bought at markets, neatly cut and packed in bags. The prices varied according to the weather forecasts. Even the park benches ended up in the hand-made stoves. The best preserved city park is the first park established in the city - the Central Park. Parks appeared relatively late in Sarajevo, during the period of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, because there were so many green areas that there was no need for them. The first parks were actually redesigned old Muslim cemeteries.