THE ROLE OF AN RFI JOURNALIST STANKO CEROVIC IN THE CITY UNDER SIEGE// 12. 1994. • MUHAMED GUTIC// CITIZEN
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
THE ROLE OF AN RFI JOURNALIST STANKO CEROVIC IN THE CITY UNDER SIEGE
‘I don't remember which local radio station rebroadcast the program of Radio France International. It was broadcast every evening and a number of people in Sarajevo including my family listened to the program. We were not so interested in hearing the news, like we didn't know what was happening in Sarajevo, but we wanted to hear Stanko Cerovic. The person who thought and spoke like someone who is in Sarajevo even though he was thousands of kilometers away. We were amazed that he had such intuition and knowledge that he was able to open heart and soul of every person is Sarajevo with his commentaries.’
• 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.
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“