A MEDAL OF HONOR FOR OSLOBODJENJE // 11. 1995.
MEHMED HALILOVIC // JOURNALIST – ‘OSLOBODJENJE’
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

November 1995

Mehmed Halilovic
Journalist - Oslobodjenje
A MEDAL OF HONOR FOR OSLOBODJENJE

‘That was the time that Medals of Honor were awarded by the University of Columbia in Missouri USA. Oslobodjenje was one of the 6 winners. All the others were from the United States, either from newspaper organizations or outstanding individual journalists. Oslobodjenje was the only foreign medal winner that year.’

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NOVEMBER 1995


• Strong negotiating position for the BH delegation based on the readiness of the ARBiH and HVO to liberate their country if diplomatic efforts do not bear fruit.
• Clinton: “The U.S. wants to end the war immediately”.
• Will the joint institutions of Bosnia’s divided state have enough “connective tissue”?


• Peace negotiations on Bosnia and Herzegovina begin in Dayton.
• The BiH delegation: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Muhamed Sacirbegovic, Kresimir Zubak, Jadranko Prlic, Ivo Komsic, Miro Lazovic
• Croatian delegation: Franjo Tudjman, Hrvoje Sarinic, Mate Granic, Gojko Susak
• Yugoslav and RS delegation: Slobodan Milosevic, Miodrag Bulatovic, Nikola Koljevic, Momcilo Krajisnik, Aleksa Buha, Milan Milutinovic.


• Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin assassinated.


• Geneva, November 10th, 1995. Resolution 1019: the UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1019, which demands that the Bosnian Serbs immediately allow the UNHCR, ICRC and other international organizations access to Srebrenica, Zepa and Banja Luka to inquire what happened to the people registered as missing persons, and demands that officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detained persons so that they can be registered; the Security Council also urges all states to cooperate fully with the International Court for War Crimes at the Hague.


• Dayton peace negotiations: Kresimir Zubak, member of the BiH delegation, objects to the maps presented, claiming he was superficially informed. According to the maps, Bosanska Posavina would remain outside of the Federation’s territory.


• William Perry, U.S. Secretary of Defense: “The Russians must obey the orders of the U.S. general or they will be forced to withdraw their forces.”
• Pavel Grachev, Russian defense minister: “The Russians seek the right of veto on all orders of the U.S. commander George Joulwan."


• Dayton, peace negotiations: Zubak resigns rather than sign the peace plan.
• U.S. troops in Germany ready for deployment.


• Dayton, peace negotiations: BiH Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbegovic resigns.


• Peace Agreement in Dayton: BiH will be a unified state with two entities and common institutions. Sarajevo will remain undivided. Extraditions agreed upon for war criminals.


• Paris will be the site of the signing of the Dayton agreement. Slobodan Milosevic is rewarded with the lifting of sanctions.


• At the same time sanctions against Yugoslavia are lifted, so will the arms embargo on BiH.


• Part of UNPROFOR will withdraw, while another part of the UN will repaint their equipment and join NATO forces under the name of IFOR.
• Radovan Karadzic, message to NATO: “If you try to arrest me, you will be killed!”


• U.S. commander George Joulwan, who will command IFOR in Bosnia: “There is only one option – to succeed.”


• Ivo Komsic, member of the BiH delegation in Dayton: "Milosevic was more willing to sacrifice Sarajevo than to go into reintegrating BiH, because Sarajevo as a district was the start of reintegration." Milosevic tells the BiH delegation: “You deserve for it to be your city.”
• Chirac seeks security guarantees for the Serb population in Sarajevo.

Newspapers

The daily OSLOBODJENJE which is published in a completely destroyed building. When there is no sufficient paper it is published in small edition and the news vendors stick the sheets onto the facades. Also available are RATNI DANI and BLIC, the magazine TENNIS, the magazine of the Architects’ Association. Travelers also bring into the city old issues of the dailies and weeklies from the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere. These papers circulate from house to house.

News

The building housing „Oslobođenje“, which published a daily newspaper of the same name, is today a heap of rubble. However, the daily Oslobođenje is still published. Its size, printing run, the colour of its paper and print depend on the circumstances. It is produced, as before, in the basement, under the rubble, and it is sold by its journalists.
Oslobođenje has won numerous international press prizes this year including the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.
There is also a privately owned paper Ratni dani (Wartimes Days) and this fall there has appeared another independent, privately owned weekly – Blic (Flash).
Some other, more specialized, papers are also published in the city: Ljiljan (The Lily), Muslimanski glas (The Moslem Voice), the Jewish community paper, and there is even Tennis for the lovers of the sport.

“OSLOBODJENJE”

In the summer of 1992 the great skyscraper of the “Oslobodjenje” newspaper publishing house was hit by tens of inflammable shells and it started to burn. The building was being systematically destroyed by everyday shelling. In spite of that, even during fires and the worst shelling, the printing shop plant located in the basement of the building produced newspapers on a daily basis. The journalists were getting in and out under the burning building carrying bundles of newspapers which they distributed throughout the city.

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