ARTISTOTEL, PLATO, FROYD AND HEGEL WERE THE BESTSELLERS // 02. 1995.
MEHMED KERKEN-MESA // OWNER OF AN ANTIQUITIES SHOP
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

February 1995

Mehmed Kerken-Mesa
Owner of an antiquities shop
ARTISTOTEL, PLATO, FROYD AND HEGEL WERE THE BESTSELLERS

‘I was left without anything so I began to sell newspapers and when there was no paper I went on to books. At the beginning people really bought and got valuable books for very little money. But it wasn’t money that was mostly involved but exchange of goods. I didn’t have anything to eat and neither it seemed did others. Books were most often exchanged for cigarettes. I used cigarettes for buying various kinds of grass just to keep alive. In time I really began to enjoy the work. I got to know all kinds of fine people, a whole New World. People who like books are different in lots of ways from other people. At the beginning I didn’t know what people wanted and had all sorts of different things. But I began to discover that people wanted books on philosophy and psychology and in talking to them I learned something about all that. And in time I managed to buy everything that was to be bought on those subjects. Young people usually wanted Freud, and his interpretation of dreams. Old people I don’t know why, looking for Adler. I suppose everyone wanted to take difficult books so they could forget about our wartime difficulties. About shells and everything that was round us.’

TOPIC RELATED PHOTOGRAPHS
TOPIC RELATED TEXT

FEBRUARY 1995


• The Bosnian Serbs remember that 50 % of the goods should belong to them if they sign an authorization to open the path across the airport.
• “Sarajevogas” issues a brochure on the use of gas to educate citizens, “Use gas carefully,” in 30,000 copies.


• The government of Yugoslavia issues a statement on its wish to close the “Josip Broz Tito” memorial center.
• The tomb of Alexander the Great is found, near the oasis of Siva, 750 km west of Cairo.
• The English and Spanish monarch have honorary mounted guards - , Croatian president Franjo Tudjman now has one as well.


• France and the U.S. seek to organize an international conference on the former Yugoslavia. This is only one among a number of plans the U.S considers.


• Designer Josip Nosse fashions a device providing security for high and low pressure home gas installations.


• In Russia negotiations are held on the delivery of gas to Bosnia.


• Combat episode involving two UN observers: A Nigerian kills a Finn, because he is mentally deranged.


• Black market in Sarajevo: Dealers will not accept dollars, but give them back as change in sales and sell them. The value of the Swiss frank falls.
• The road across the Sarajevo airport is open from 10am-12pm and from 3-5pm.


• An American space shuttle approaches within 12 km of the Russian space station “Mir”.


• The “blue routes” are a surrogate for freedom. The “city train” operates, providing free transportation.


• Momcilo Krajisnik, one of the leading figures of the SDS, says of the terror in Sarajevo:
“… The war must end in Sarajevo, just as it began there.”
• After the rejection of the peace plan in Pale, the international community deals directly with Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Serbia.


• Shells and snipers batter the city.
• Arrest of Svetlana Boskovic, a UNHCR staffer, who had passed on to Bosnian Serbs information on the names of passengers in UN vehicles on their way to the airport.


• The UNHCR recommends that drivers, Bosnians, not drive trucks of humanitarian aid from the airport into the city as a result of which a crisis involving overfilled warehouses ensues.


• NATO will practice its eventual military support of UN troops before their withdrawal from Bosnia through “computer maneuvers” from the 13th to the 21st of February behind closed doors at Ramstein base.


• The Contact Group is informed by the Bosnian Serb Assembly that they have rejected their plan with a vote of 44 to 6.
• The road in Hrasnica is filled with smugglers and regular citizens who shop in Hrasnica.


• UN report: The ARBiH protects the border of the Bihac safe area.


• Snipers fire at the tram


• The international community in dealing with Slobodan Milosevic makes the recognition of BiH and Croatia a condition for the lifting of sanctions.


• “Type A” flu arrives from China.


• UN report: 5,700 people a day cross the road across Sarajevo airport.


• Announcement of vendors at the Sarajevo market: “Your frying pans no longer have to wait for fish to arrive.”


• Slobodan Milosevic: “The time has not yet come to recognize Zagreb and Sarajevo.”
• Diplomatic relations established between Sarajevo-Moscow.


• Spectacular wedding in Belgrade of Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, a war criminal from Serbia whose paramilitaries killed and plundered on the battlefields of Croatia and BiH, and popular folk singer Ceca. The wedding turns into a world media spectacle..


• The transportation company “Gras” lacks the funds to pay off its debt to Elektrodistribucija. They find that now is not a good time to charge for tickets, and hence have no revenue.


• The Serbs close the road to Visoko after the UN refuses to give them 20 liters of fuel per day.
• Moscow accuses George Soros, financier and philanthropist, of being a CIA agent because his work provides long-term stipends to Russian scholars who later emigrate permanently.
• U.S. Ambassador Viktor Jakovich, on “Krug 99”: “BiH is defending the principles of western civilization.”


• Five passengers wounded on the tram.



Bookstores

are two that are working, and one ‘Book-Club’ - Veselin Maslesa - in which the number and selection of the books is rapidly diminishing. All the storefronts in the bookstores are gone, but no one has been stealing books. The storage of the biggest publishing house in Sarajevo, is now in the occupied territory. The destiny of those books is unknown. What can be seen is the growing interest for foreign-languages books, and dictionaries. Everybody seems to be interested in the languages of the world. Price does not matter.

TOPIC RELATED VIDEO
POLLS
POLL
MAPA SIEGE OF SARAJEVO