REGARDING THE PHENOMENON OF RADIO STATIONS IN THE WAR // 12. 1994.
ADI SARAJLIC // JOURNALIST - RADIO ZID
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

December 1994

Adi Sarajlic
Journalist - Radio Zid
REGARDING THE PHENOMENON OF RADIO STATIONS IN THE WAR

‘My favorite film was Goodbye Vietnam that’s about an American DJ sent to Vietnam to do a program; he did the morning program every morning. It began with the words “Good morning Vietnam” and James Brown’s song I Feel Good. I felt it must be an ideal thing to be a radio presenter. And to find yourself in such an inspirational position. But when the war came and I found myself in a situation like that - to be a radio presenter during a war, and to do more or less what that guy in the film was doing. Then the film stopped being my favorite. I don’t believe that I’ll ever look at it again, though I used to look at it endlessly. The reason is that you come to see that what the film showed was - well - twisting the truth - lying actually. Every morning when I came to work I had to sprint over the intersection and then on Sunday morning, when I did the morning program I would say ‘Good morning all of you, listeners young and old, I’m still alive if you’re still alive’? You simply had nothing to do. Only the box existed with little people living in it who were talking, or playing music, or singing and so on, and so on. And there was no electricity, you had to get contact through the telephone or find an accumulator, and live your life through others. With no TV, no MTV, no news, no food, no nothing, except a world which for a moment helps you to forget what is happening and creates indirectly or directly a feeling of it being a lie.’

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DECEMBER 1994


• The Serbs set up anti-aircraft defenses near Sarajevo.
• Willy Claes, NATO Secretary General: "The important thing is unity within the organization - Bosnia has created conflict between us.


• Sarajevo: The Bosnian Serbs close the valves on the gas lines.
• Bihac Krajina: The Fifth Corps manages to repel attacks; the aggressor is losing power.


• Radovan Karadzic threatens to order fire on NATO planes if they continue to monitor the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


• Missile attack on the Presidency building.
• A child killed by a bullet from a sniper.


• "Oil War": In 10 days diesel fuel for the UN will be gone, and in three days there will be no gasoline. The UN will stop all activities: no repairs, no escort for humanitarian aid, no anti-sniper teams.


• In the city on the post office building graffiti appears: "THIS IS SERBIA!" A reply written next to it: "THIS IS A POST OFFICE, YOU IDIOT." At another building: “TITO, COME BACK TO US!" The written reply:" I'M NOT INSANE." - with Tito's signature.
• The city takes action collecting signatures for a declaration on an undivided Sarajevo. Moscow: at the organization of the European Cultural Club, 120 public and cultural workers sign the declaration on an undivided Sarajevo.
• The Pope receives a visit from the Sarajevo choir "Trebevic."
• Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rabin, Arafat and Peres.


• Danish convoy with fuel hijacked near the airport. They were surrounded by Bosnian Serbs with rifles pointed, who then jumped into the trucks. Ilidza is now popularly called the Bermuda Triangle, because it’s where equipment and fuel disappear.
• Gas pressure increases, the price of firewood is dropping: sacks of firewood - 15 DM.


• Chess Olympiad in Moscow. BiH – Ukraine; 3 -1 in favor of BiH.
• Moscow does not want UN troops to leave BiH, since it would mean that the arms embargo would be lifted for the Government of BiH.
• In Belgrade, Podgorica, Zagreb, France and Spain people give their signatures to the declaration for an indivisible Sarajevo.
• A new round of humanitarian aid in the city: 1 kilogram of rice, 200 grams of beans, 150 grams of oil, a can with 340 grams of processed meat, 2 kilograms of flour.
• The anti-sniper team returns fire 19 times.
• Discussion at NATO: Is the UN pulling out from Bosnia or not?
• Employees of the UN learn over the television news that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter comes to Bosnia with the latest peace initiative, at the invitation of the Bosnian Serbs. Karadzic calls CNN in Atlanta and presents this initiative to the public. On the occasion, Jimmy Carter says: "I come as a private citizen and as a representative of the Carter Center."
• Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "The UN has no money. Bangladesh could not furnish their UN team and this is why the situation is so dire in Bihac. "


• The U.S. government supports Carter's mission.
• For each released "blue helmet" UNPROFOR gives 1 ton of fuel to the Bosnian Serbs.
• 179,653 signatures collected from 35 countries for "Sarajevo, an undivided city."


• Carter meets in Zagreb with Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, and Prime Minister of the Federation of BiH, Haris Silajdzic.
• Vatican: After talks with Carter, the Pope says: "It's time that peace reign."
• Prime Minister of France, François Léotard: "We decided to deliver humanitarian aid, regardless of the consequences, to deploy a new peacekeeping force and open corridors, because otherwise the Americans will lift the arms embargo, and with that we will be forced to leave."


• A representative of the White House, regarding Carter's peace initiative: "Carter argues that the Bosnian Serbs want peace and that the American people do not understand them. The Serbs were the aggressors in this war. Americans can see what is going on there. Carter says that this is just one side of the story. The motives of this mission raise suspicion, but if it is successful, we will agree to it. "


• Carter: "The Bosnian Serbs agreed to a four-month ceasefire and during that time to begin negotiating a peace plan." Radovan Karadzic, on this occasion: "It’s remarkable, but he brought me back to the negotiating table."


• The Russian army attacks Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.
• At the chess Olympiad in Moscow, the BiH team wins a silver medal. A Christmas concert is held at the National Theatre, organized by the "King Tvrtko" brigade for morale.
• The Ministerial Council of the European Union: "We agree to the mediation of Jimmy Carter, provided he agrees to achieve a peace plan according to a 51:49 division."


• Santa Claus arrives from Cannes.


• Ceasefire agreement for 4 months and 7 days


• Command of the United Nations for Bosnia receives permission from Karadzic's Serbs for 11 convoys of the requested 12.
• Christmas Mass held in the Cathedral. Nine popular Christmas carols are sung by the choir "Trebevic".


• The aggressor does not respect the cease-fire in Bihac.
• At the border of Bosnia with Serbia and Montenegro: shooting at night, so observers hide in nearby houses, while passage for smuggling of "anything" is free. Because of the observers, the helicopters are flying with a false label of the Red Cross. They carry smuggled goods.


• The Mayor of Venice arrives in Sarajevo.
• The Bosnian Serbs give consent for candles, blankets and tarps to enter Sarajevo. Negotiations are ongoing over the delivery of firewood.
• For New Year’s every Sarajevan can turn on one lamp and a TV. The utility company Elektrodistribucija hopes citizens will respect it.
• Among their humanitarian aid residents receive 50 year-old biscuits.


Radio

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”.

Radio

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).

Independent Radio Station – Radio Zid

Radio Zid is an independent radio station not supported by any governmental or other sources.
Radio transmits program 24 hours per day on the frequency 89,9 MHz from Sarajevo.
Radio can be listened by 500/600,000 people. Established at the end of 1992. Radio Zid constantly transmits its program although faced with many difficulties caused by war in the besieged Sarajevo.
Radio Zid promotes the ideas of civil society which is threatened by aggression from outside, as well as by a trend towards „monolithic media“ from inside. Up to now Radio Zid has successfully kept its independence from both pressures.
Radio Zid is not politically close to any party existing in Sarajevo.



Projects – Radio Zid Sarajevo

THE COLORFUL WALL (ŠARENI ZID) – Children's Program was created with the help of UNICEF Sarajevo office.
THE COLORFUL WALL is broadcast every working day from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM and is intend to reach the kids, the greatest victims of this cruel war, in order to free them from the burdens of reality. The program is designed to be educational and entertaining. THE COLORFUL WALL includes 30 minutes of radio school which helps elementary school kids with their regular school courses. THE COLORFUL WALL radio school was, for a while, the only available official school in town authorized by the Ministry of Education of the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is important to note that this was the first and remains the only children's program in these territories created and run exclusively by children.
The children's drama department, part of THE COLORFUL WALL, remains innovative and active, having already produced Sarajevo's first-feature length children's drama „Charlie and The Chocolate Factory“ with the financial help from our friends in England. Charlie and the great Glass Elevator is another project of this department, presently abandoned because of financial difficulties.

TEENAGE PROGRAM intended for an audience of 14 to 19 years of age is in preparation. Teenagers are much neglected by Sarajevo media. Research has shown that under the present living conditions in Sarajevo the teenagers are one of the most jeopardized groups in the city in a psychological sense.
Often well educated, but having been forced to neglect their studies because of the war and re-construct a new youth culture, they are hungry for an outlet for their ideas and concerns. This program, produced, planned and scripted by Sarajevan teenagers, will give a voice to their passions.

THE HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM
The goal of this program is to provide our listeners with the information necessary for them to establish a healthy life style. The program plans to cover and systematically subjects unlikely to be in depth at school or in the work-place.
THE HEALTH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM aims to act preventatively. We want our listeners to be: correctly informed, do some thinking and take independent decisions.

20,000 MINES UNDER THE GROUND
It is well known fact that several millions of lethal projectiles (mines, grenades...) have been fired upon Sarajevo, and that a significant number of them never exploded.
With this in mind RADIO ZID SARAJEVO along with experts in explosives plans to initiate an extensive public information program warning risk groups of the many dangers of unexploded bombs and projectiles.
With this project we hope to raise awareness in the general population and give easy to follow instructions on how to react when confronted with suspicious objects or more obviously deadly devices.

Radio Zid – Art radio

Ever since the beginning of the project we have consciously tried to develop our radio station as an art concept. We thought that defending and preserving Sarajevo's cultural identity was an important as its actual defense. Besides we have tried to transmit in our programs to the people of the city current information about all cultural events in Europe and the world. The Zid was the organizer or helped to organize a large number of cultural manifestations in Sarajevo during the war, some of which were proclaimed the first rate media-events. One of those was the Hiroshima Day on August 6, 1993 which brought together a number of the most prominent artists in the world, while more than 700 of those who could not come to Sarajevo sent messages of support. The „Zid“ was one of the organizers of the two week „After the End of the World“ film festival where some of the best current films were shown and seen by tens of thousands of people. In March and April 1994 we organized a review of the commercially most successful films of the previous year and screened some twenty films, mainly produced in Hollywood. The „Zid“ also promoted in its programs Susan Sontag's production of „Waiting for Godot“ and Susan Sontag whenever in Sarajevo participates in the radio's programs. The „Zid's“ commitment to theatre can also be seen in its contribution to the performance of The Wall (an adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre's short story) which has been filling the theatre for the past three years. The station also gave its support, media promotion and organizational skills to Joan Baez's concert as well as to „Dystopia“ project which brought together some of the world's most acclaimed architects. A part of the „Zid's“ activity is devoted to publishing. It published and promoted the book titled „100&1 Nights“ (Sarajevo,1994) and presented „The Sarajevo Survival Guide“ (FAMA, Zagreb 1993)
The „Zid's“ gallery organized exhibitions of photographs and caricatures by foreign and local artists.
Simultaneously, right from its beginnings the „Zid's“ program has been oriented towards presenting all aspects of culture. Apart from informing about the current cultural production the „Zid“ presents every day between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. specialized program devoted to a variety of arts and culture in general (theatre, film, music, poetry, fiction, architecture, history of art, religion, etc.). Although operating under totally unacceptable technical and other conditions, at the beginning of the year the „Zid“ managed to produce by its own stuff (technicians and actors) the only radio drama in Sarajevo during the past two years. Its presentation of culture differentiates the „Zid“ from all other media in the city, both the electronic (radio and TV) and the newspapers. The mentioned activities and the program orientation resulted in the „Zid“ being officially proclaimed the Sarajevo media event of 1993. Working towards preservation of the city's cultural identity the „Zid“ has also made efforts to break the informational blockade trying to inform people of Sarajevo about all important cultural events in the world. Due to the „Zid's“ successful coverage Sarajevo, even during its siege, was very well informed about all the relevant cultural manifestations in the world.

Adi Sarajlic
He was born on June 3, 1970. He graduated from the building engineering high school, after which he started studying architecture. From 1989 to 1992 he worked for the Bosnian Youth Radio with interruptions.

THE SIEGE
He started working for the Bosnian radio again, in the show “The Voice of the Country.” From October 1992 to February 1993 he started making jingles. He has a high opinion of his jingles because they were all censored and banned. In May 1993, he started working for the radio “Zid”, where he hosts the shows “Burden,” and “Top 40.”

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

How do you describe perfect happiness?
Good wife, guitar and a rich daddy who always does something.

What is you biggest loss?
50 German marks.

What is your biggest gain?
A Havana cake for my first (war) birthday.

When and where were you happiest?
When I reached the peak.

What are your lost illusions?
The peaks of the Himalayas.

Describe your day at work.
My mornings begin at 8, first coffee, raiser blade and a cigarette, fax, drawing, radio!

Sarajevo?
Blood, sweat, tears.

What words don’t you use anymore?
Serbo-Croat (I use only Bosnian.)

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes.

Where would you like to live?
Above the eternal fire (the crossroads between the Ferhadija and Tito streets.)

How have you survived?
As a child I watched the “Survival,” when I learned a lot of tricks.

What are you afraid of?
Of my lies that people understand too serious.

Does the past exist for you?
A man without a past is like a tree without roots.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
I don’t know.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Put your finger in your bellybutton and rotate.

How would you like to die?
Life fast, die young, so you would be a pretty corps.

Do you need hope to live?
No, I need a “hard car.” (armored)

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
Fate played a little game with us.

How would you call this period of your life?
It won’t and it won’t and than it stops.

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
I know that I don’t know, but I am satisfied that others don’t know that don’t know a thing.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
Life is a movie with the same beginning over and over (happy), and the same ending (sad). I love it because of its middle stage, which cannot be predicted.

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