A TRAM IS SHOT// 12. 1995. • IBRAHIM JUSUFRANIC// EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ‘GRAS’, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
Executive director of the Gras, Public Transportation Company
A TRAM IS SHOT
‘I can only remember hearing that the tram was hit. We didn’t have a radio station, or a security department, we didn’t have anything. We would just hear, by word of mouth, about what was going on. People would come running to tell us what happened. The police would somehow get word to us. We had a hard time. We kept the tram running under impossible conditions. I must say that the people, who used to work then, there were not many of us, were very important for the city of Sarajevo at that point. The citizens considered riding on the tram, although risky, to be easier than walking. It was impossible to walk. People did not have shoes, or clothes. I use to talk with our passengers. They usually say: ‘Let the tram run, those who are destined to live, will live, those who are destined to die, will die.’ That's how it is.’
• Deployment of IFOR troops in Bosnia.
• William Perry: “American soldiers will enter Bosnia in tanks, but not as cowboys that will try to pick fights with the Bosnian Serb Army.”
• UN ends its mandate in Bosnia on January 31, 1995.
• Sarajevo: tram fired upon.
• Javier Solana becomes the new Secretary General of NATO.
• The French in close military cooperation with NATO.
• The French are against the Pale referendum.
• First landing of an American “Hercules” in Tuzla.
• Ivo Komsic, member of the BiH delegation in Dayton: “If the Croatian delegation had supported the Bosnian delegation, we would have been able to obtain Posavina without difficulty, because the Americans were on our side."
• London, December 7, 1995. Peace conference on Bosnia begins in London.
• In Bonn a conference begins on BiH. BiH delegation: Kresimir Zubak, president of the Federation of BiH, Rasim Delic, commander of the ARBiH, Muhamed Sacirbegovic, foreign minister.
• The Serbs dismantle their factories during their retreat.
• Appearance of the deadly “ebola” virus in Zaire.
• Before withdrawing, the Serbs burn houses in Grbavica.
• Release of the French pilots.
• The Dayton Peace Agreement signed in Paris.
• William Perry: “NATO is the biggest and angriest dog in town.”
• Start of NATO military operations, its largest since the end of the Second World War. Operation name: “Joint endeavor”.
• Former UNPROFOR commander, General Rupert Smith, receives as a gesture of gratitude a Bosnian passport and a painting.
• The Bosnian Serbs ask Michael Steiner for 1,000 coffins and 10,000 boxes for packing as they leave the portions of territory - which are graveyards - which now belong to the Federation.
• Sarajevo: a tram is hit.
• IFOR replaces UN troops.
• President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, in Sarajevo.
• In Vitez, a New Zealander UN member dances a traditional war dance before their base.
• Clinton in a speech to Americans: “The U.S. is the world’s main creator of peace.”
• The Serbs exhume the dead to carry with them in their retreat.
• Midnight mass held at the Cathedral.
• Statements of French pilots whom were held by the Serbs after their plane crashed: “We were dying of hunger. Every three days they would throw us food.”
Abundance and color, choice and liveliness are gone from the markets of Sarajevo. There one can see poverty at its worst. Merchandise from all the tables can fit into two nylon bags. All the famous markets - Markale, Ciglane, Hepok, Alipasino polje - are now more like meeting points. Fruit and vegetables have been reduced to some scallions, nettles, cabbage, zucchini, small, rotting apples, green plums. All in small quantities, and all in DMs. During the fall you could find some pumpkins, potatoes from the humanitarian aid, nuts. The entire offer from any of the markets wasn’t more than 20 kilos.
What you can also find on these markets are soaps, matches, lighters, pepper, cotton, old shoes, stolen wear on stolen hangers, salt, raw coffee. During November and December appeared cans from the humanitarian aid, home-made stoves - furune, nylon for window protection. Silverware and tableware, irons and axes, arrived too. Home- based manufactures released some of the most demanded products: marmalades, mayonnaise, cakes, pies, pastries...
As early as the first year of the siege the official statistics showed that the number of vehicles fell from 105,000 to 5,000; of the 200 city transportation routes there remained one and of the 6,000 city transportation vehicles there remained 60. In May 1992 the city Public transportation depot was shelled and a great number of buses, trams and trolley buses were destroyed. The trolley buses stopped operating. A few buses and trams, provided there was fuel and electricity, took to the streets where they became favorite targets. The VW Golf cars, made in Sarajevo before the war, were the most widely used means of transportation. Due to the high speeds and a great number of drivers without driving licenses a poster appeared during the first months of the siege: DRIVE CAREFULLY, DON’T GET KILLED IN VAIN. It also informed the citizens that THERE WERE 300 DEAD AND INJURED in traffic accidents. White UN vehicles, which killed several Sarajevans, were the most frequent sight on the streets.