A RING OF CABLE// 12. 1995. • FERDO KADRAGIC// ELECTRIC COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
A RING OF CABLE
‘In 1995 a 110 kilovolt cable was laid from the direction of Pazaric, actually it was joined with the power system of Jablanica and Kakanj, which means the thermo-electric power plant in Kakanj and the hydro-electric power plant Jablanica to Sarajevo. The German firm Siemens and the United Emirates donated the 110-kilovolt cable.’
• 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.”
Sarajevo by Night
SARAJEVO BY NIGHT means that life follows the line or the sun. Without civilization based on inventions of two Americans - Tesla, who was born in the neighborhood and who we are proud of, and Edison, who they are proud of - you have to learn to go to sleep early and to wake up early. So many evenings are spent in envy of those who have electricity. But Sarajevans have mastered the art of making kandilo, which is the light, usually hanging before an icon. To the Greeks have given the name - kandelos.
Recipe: Fill a glass jar, or a glass, half with water and a quarter with oil. Ten cut five to seven millimeters of a cork, and drag through it cotton string, or a carpet fringe, or any piece of burning material. In order for the wick to stay above the oil and burn, a tin strip of some two centimeters is used and placed above the jar. Through that strip runs the wick soaked in oil. Candles have burned long ago, even decorative ones. People who have saved petroleum lamps are very rare, and for them a liter of petroleum costs 30 DM. Batteries ran out at the beginning of the war. Still, they are being revived by cooking in salt water, five to ten minutes. They can come to life if connected to an automobile battery, if that one can be fed with electricity. All these tricks make batteries live five or six lives.
Of 1800 transformer stations in Sarajevo, more than half are out of use. To steal fuses is a regular thing. Three such fuses will cost you about 700 DM on the black market. Their real value is no more than 15 DM. Foreign currency is needed if you want to bring electricity from the station to the lobby of your house. To plug into a system, in all kinds of weird ways, is very fashionable. Another way is to run cables. You can steal the electricity from the houses which have it - on the right side of the street, and bring in to the houses which don’t on the left side. That has its price too, sometimes a deadly one. Some steal oil from the transformer stations to replace car fuel. To have a car battery in the apartment, that is a real treat. A radio can be plugged into it - and turned on ever hour, for the news. This battery is the source of light, too. Those less capable attach to it stronger bulbs and soon understand that the battery is drained too quickly. As time goes by, we all learned, and here is the advice - take the smallest bulb, like the one from the inside of a car. And carefully watch your lighter. You’ll need it, it, if not for lighting a cigarette, then surely to climb the staircases.
THE “ELEKTROPRIVREDA” BUILDING
Electricity was a rare guest in the city. The citizens made do with car batteries, candles given by humanitarian organizations, home- made oil lamps which required small amounts of edible oil and bits of shoestring, and with a variety of more or less successful inventions. Some people used battery and the so called “SOROS” lamps which required solar energy. Although there was plenty of solar energy the lamps had little capacity and quickly broke down. In the hilly parts of the city people built mini power-generating plants. The “Elektroprivreda” building was on the front line, next to the bridge which borders with the occupied Grbavica district and it was frequently shelled.