LEARNING LATIN AMERICAN DANCES // 10. 1995.
DJUZEPE POSTAJ // THE BOLERO, DANCE CLUB
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

October 1995

Djuzepe Postaj
The Bolero, dance club
LEARNING LATIN AMERICAN DANCES

‘In that period our dancers were supposed to go to Denmark to compete in the First World Championship of Latin-American Dancing in Copenhagen. On 9 September 1995, for the first time in the history of the Dance Alliance, we sent the pair Damir Karaman and Nina Zisko to the World Championship that was being held in Copenhagen in the Arhaus. This was the first time we sent representatives to such a major championship. In ‘95 we also organized the second, State Championship in Zenica. This State Championship in Zenica was very difficult to organize, however. Competitors had to leave from Sarajevo. There was a time when we wondered whether the state Championship would be held at all, because we couldn’t find a way to take the competitors out of besieged Sarajevo, especially as they were young school children of 9, 10, 11 and 12, and that was an enormous responsibility. We had to get parental agreement, too, and the agreement of bodies that issued permits to leave the town at that time. However, we managed to solve all these problems.’

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OCTOBER 1995


• Izetbegovic: The conditions for a ceasefire open the way to Gorazde.


• Holbrooke: “The U.S. thinks the time has come for the fighting to stop.”


• Holbrooke again in Sarajevo.
• BiH delegation in Russia. Russia is ready to unblock the delivery of gas, but the debt problem remains.
• Borisav Jovic, former president of the new Yugoslavia gives an interview to the Austrian television network SRS: “We asked for support from Russia at the start of the war and a guarantee that they would protect us if the West intervened against us. When they refused support, the Serb aggression began. Symbolically in Slovenia, in Croatia on a wider scale and genocidally destructively in BiH.


• Russia will deliver gas and recognize Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• Mostar: after three years the traffic lights function.
• Sarajevo: head of the UNPROFOR repair team: “There will be electricity by the end of the week, while the matter of its distribution is a political decision."


• The Serb Civic Council of Sarajevo receives the “Just life” award from Sweden for achievements in ethnic acceptance and democracy.


• The bombing of Serb anti-aircraft positions serves as a preventive measure to eliminate a threat to alliance planes.
• Holbrooke in Sarajevo.


• The U.S. requests renewed attacks in case of attacks on the safe areas in BiH. The U.S. will also consider any interruptions in the supply of electricity, water and gas to Sarajevo a breach of the agreement.
• Ceasefire agreed upon on Tuesday, October 10.
• The American negotiating team travels to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb within 24 hours.


• ARBiH nears Doboj.
• Nicolas Burns: “The U.S. will not send its troops into battle. We will not send them into a peace that cannot be preserved, but we will send them to insure the preservation of peace when it is achieved.”
• Assassination attempt against Kiro Gligorov, president of Macedonia.


• The Pope performs mass in Central Park in New York.
• The making and breaking up of Bosnia. For some, defining institutions “through an exhaustive constitution” will strengthen a federal, unified BiH; for others, facilitate its break up.


• Massacre with cluster bombs in Zivinice in a Muslim refugee camp: nine dead, 50 wounded.
• NATO planes fly over the site of the attack, but do not act.
• Negotiations between Russia and the U.S. over Moscow’s participation in multinational forces.
• Izetbegovic: “The conditions have not been met for a truce. There is no gas, no electricity.”
• NATO planes operate in the vicinity of Tuzla.
• After four and a half months, electricity arrives in Sarajevo via Vogosca.
• Yeltsin signs a decree on the restoration of gas delivery which is Russia’s contribution to the lifting of the siege in Sarajevo and fulfills conditions for a ceasefire. An unnamed Russian diplomat: “It takes at least 6-8 hours for the tubes to fill with gas and have adequate pressure.”
• Breaking news: the Russian government informs the Clinton administration that they have allowed the flow of natural gas to Bosnia. It is released at the Hungarian border and takes 4-6 hours to reach Sarajevo.


• The Federal Army liberates Mrkonjic Grad.
• No agreement reached on the length of the ceasefire.
• Yasushi Akashi, at his own request, leaves his position at the UN. He will be replaced by Kofi Annan.


• Commentary of the international community: Akashi is not the right person for relations with NATO at this time.


• Liberation of Sanski Most. The ARBiH and HV on their way to Prijedor and Banja Luka.
• The ceasefire is effective on October 12, at 12:01am.
• Haris Silajdzic: “If you re-establish the supply of electricity to its full capacity we will have a ceasefire.”


• State Department: “The current ceasefire will be more stable than those which failed over the last 42 months of this Balkan conflict, because it is invested with the credibility of the U.S.”
• New distribution of force: The Federation of BiH holds 52 %, and the RS 48 % of the territory.
• “Hit” Square in Mostar becomes the “Spanish” Square. On the 12th a celebration is held on its renaming, because it marks the day Spanish mariners discovered the New World.


• UNPROFOR report: Water from the Bacevo source can be used after purification through an RS valve to the BiH valve.


• John Fawcett, a member of the civil administration of the UN in Sarajevo: “Sarajevo didn’t receive water from Bacevo for political reasons. Everything was ready, the pump worked. But water was not a condition for the ceasefire.”


• The gas travels 3,500 km - a long way from the western Siberian gas fields through the Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and the RS to Sarajevo. The Russians have made a political, not a commercial decision. This year Moscow has halted supplying gas to Sarajevo at the request of the Government of BiH because the Bosnian Serbs had been diverting it for their own use.


• Dispute between Washington and Moscow: Washington does not accept the dual key for commanding international forces.
• The Pope is desperate to visit Sarajevo.
• UN civil administrator for Sarajevo, William Eagleton: “We failed with one oversight - WATER. We thought that the flow of water into the city would logically follow the arrival of electricity.” In short, the arrival of supply of water to Sarajevo was not specified in the conditions for the ceasefire.


• Discovery of mass graves.
• UNPROFOR Commander General Rupert Smith and Thorvald Stoltenberg are relieved of duty.


• Willy Claes leaves his position as Secretary General of NATO over charges of corruption.


• Market reopened at “Markale”.


• Meeting between Clinton and Yeltsin. The two presidents leave it to military strategists to agree on the command of Russian troops in Bosnia.


• Yeltsin suggests the Balkan leaders first meet in Moscow and then continue to Dayton for peace negotiations.
• Bob Dole, a Republican, calls for Milosevic to be refused entry into the U.S.
• Clinton: “I do not think that anyone in the U.S. should do anything that will undermine an opportunity to end this terrible war."
• Beginning of the removal of a destroyed bridge near Orasje on the Sava.


• The Federation at the negotiations in Dayton appears as a unified front.


• Negotiation meetings in Moscow cancelled. The Russian President Boris Yeltsin has been hospitalized for a month.


• Russia is no longer a world power. But the U.S. preserves this false image, understanding that the truth about Russia’s power would cause internal chaos in the country.


• Holbrooke: “The U.S. wanted to launch attacks earlier. When the Dutch battalion was in danger on their base in Potocari, we couldn’t get them, communication was impossible. The entire chain of command was obstructed and paralyzed on both sides of the dual key, because of the Dutch presence in Potocari. It was horrible, horrible…”
• Pavel Grachev, Russian defense minister: “Russian troops will be under the command of American generals, but not under the NATO banner.”

Cultural survival

The besieged city defends itself by culture and thus survives. Groups and individuals create whatever they used to create before the siege In impossible circumstances they produce films, write books, publish newspapers, produce radio programs, design postcards, stage exhibitions, performances, make blueprints for rebuilding the city, found new banks, organize fashion shows, shoot photographs, celebrate holidays, put on make up... Sarajevo is the city of the future and of the life in the post-cataclysm. In it on the ruins of the old civilization a new one is sprouting, an alternative one, composed of remains of urban elements Sarajevo lives a life of futuristic comics and science fiction movies.

CULTURAL SURVIVAL

Sarajevo is a unique city on the planet. It is the site where our civilization has been dismantled in the course of intentional violence.
But Sarajevo is also the symbol of civil defense, the site where violence has been fought back with tolerance, fascism with art and culture, destruction with rebuilding, death with humour, the outburst of rural culture with the one that's urban terror with stubborn maintaining of normal city lifestyle.
Sarajevo has been deprived of all the civil, existential and social rights. It has been deprived of the right to live. Everything that makes normal urban living has been taken away from Sarajevo and its citizens, everything that could have been taken away has been taken away, all except for the right to survive by maintaining the right to culture.
But among all that destruction and dying, kids are being born, birthdays celebrated, weddings carried out. In the city surrounded by the deadly circle of primitivism the exhibitions are being opened, movies made, festivals organized, theatre plays and musicals performed.
Sarajevo lives the post-cataclysm. It is the picture of civilization emerging out of cataclysm, making something out of nothing, giving messages for the future.
Not because the future is necessarily a future of wars and disasters, but because humans are growing older and being born into a world which is ever less secure.
All that has been left under the ruins of Sarajevo, all that has survived the shelling of our civilization is the spirit of the cultural survival. The reconstruction of that spirit, the spirit of Sarajevo must start – now. Otherwise – Sarajevo will become the graveyard of the principles of multiethnicity and human rights.

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