MAY 2nd 1992 / IT WAS A NICE AND SUNNY DAY
2008
MAY 2nd 1992 / IT WAS A NICE AND SUNNY DAY
The morning was peaceful. A nice and sunny day. Many citizens were skillfully simulating some type of normal life walking the streets of the city. Many celebrated the 1st of May, Labor Day. Written on the cover of “Oslobođenje” with big letters was: “No negotiations with the artillery”, that was a quote from a text about the Lisbon negotiations between Cutileiro and...

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MAY 2nd 1992 / IT WAS A NICE AND SUNNY DAY

 

The morning was peaceful. A nice and sunny day. Many citizens were skillfully simulating some type of normal life walking the streets of the city. Many celebrated the 1st of May, Labor Day. Written on the cover of “Oslobođenje” with big letters was: “No negotiations with the artillery”, that was a quote from a text about the Lisbon negotiations between Cutileiro and Izetbegović that had fallen through. The column “In focus” brings a text by Emir Habul titled “The times of crime”. The author familiarizes the readers with the fact that what is happening in BiH is not a “normal war”, but on the contrary – such warfare hasn’t yet been recorded. Besides noting about the countless violations of the Geneva Convention he draws attention to a serious suspicion that in parts of Eastern Bosnia “the hardest sort of war crime is being committed – genocide”. Near the bottom of the cover page there is a title “The aggression must stop”, taken from the text of the declaration by senior officials at CSCE in Helsinki. Also, there is info about Germany introducing visas for citizens of BiH. Inside the newspaper, new details about crimes in Foča, news about conflicts in the surrounding area of Zvornik, about planes sweeping over Konjic… We are finding out that Zenica is still one of the most peaceful cities in BiH, as well as that five died in the destruction of a bridge in Donji Vakuf. The radio transmitter on Vlašić has been attacked, and after a hostile takeover of the radio relay on Trebević the radio connection with Emergency was cut. Despite shelling, citizens of Mostar celebrated Labor Day in some neighborhoods. There are also texts about the document of the EC about the succession of SFRY, about fighters from Zlatište, info about the state in the Sarajevo dairy factory… Titled under “17 dead” there is a text about riots in Los Angeles. A curious text about an unusual toy made by some Japanese toy factory. Safety points dedicated to fighting thievery have been set-up on the area of the Stari Grad municipality. Citizens of Sarajevo are informed about an increase of public transportation prices, and the Department for Transfusion appeals to citizens to donate necessary blood. A shortage of medical supplies in the Koševo hospital. In the sports column we are finding out about the success of Sokolov in the pre-Olympic tournament in Barcelona, and the text titled “Blues get the silver” reads about the success of Yugoslavia in the Olympics for blind chess players in Palma de Majorca. At the top of the page is a result of the basketball finals where Partizan won against Crvena Zvezda. The column “A guide through work” isn’t lacking either, and a few “mini ads” are published… “Peace on the Kupres plateau?!”… Bad news incoming from Živinice that were bombarded from a MiG-21 airplane, and Široki Brijeg where in a hellish night the citizens were exposed to fire from “Orkan” rockets. From the international peace center they are saying “The aftermath of genocide will be felt by generations to come”… Under the title “Refugees in my city” we are finding out that 17.000 refugees in Sarajevo note Sarajevo as their permanent place of residence. Also published are “Exchange rates”, as well as a TV programme for May 2nd 1992.

The seemingly normal situation suddenly started shifting into the exact opposite. It’s as if in an instant everything had changed. Like in fairytales, when chariots turn to pumpkins. Only the day remained nice and sunny.

It would require multiple books to describe what was happening in Sarajevo on that day…

Just one of these books is the one you are reading now. This is a collection of stories, notes and photographs that are inspired by a single day from the siege. If we consider the beginning to be May 2nd 1992, it lasted for a total of 1395 days, exactly until February 26th 1996. Each of those days had its stories.

The idea for this book was provided by Zenica-born Sabina Šabić – Zlatar that came to her at the moment when she recognized the emotional intensity with which men and women of Sarajevo speak about what had happened on that day. The project as a whole was initiated about a year ago, and in the meantime over 50 different stories were collected. We are absolutely certain about the value of such a book. We are equally aware that its only fault are the remaining couple hundred thousand stories we hadn’t gotten. As you will see, we are not only publishing writings by those who had lived through May 2nd 1992 themselves. We really didn’t want to limit this subject by any means. Not by form, nor by having experienced May 2nd 1992 yourself, seeing it on TV or having heard about it from others… In that sense I will mention some stories which you will not find inside here, but which I had the opportunity to hear while working on preparing this book. A story of a Partisan soldier from World War II who gave a museum piece gun used in the Battle of the Sutjeska to liberation defenders on May 2nd. One of those stories is the one about a Sarajevan woman who can’t at all remember May 2nd 1992, because her parents found themselves in Foča at the time. The concern for her parent’s fate made her completely indifferent toward what was happening to her and around her… Finally, there is also a story of a man in Split. He was a Sarajevan who found himself there. Watching the footage coming in from his city on May 2nd 1992, his heart was breaking. Are those not sevdalinke??? Simply because of that one Bosnian in Split, I was especially glad by the submitted story from Boris Dežulović, who wasn’t in Sarajevo at all on the 2nd of May. It’s clear that you could have been a part of this city in different ways at the time. Nobody, in any part of the world, who had a chance to see the images via TV coming in from the Olympic Sarajevo just couldn’t remain indifferent. I know that many of those who had written their stories simply couldn’t. Some just didn’t have the urge. Some have given up writing their story entirely considering that they have nothing to write.

Some had issues remembering, which is totally justified, like the extraordinary photographer Rikardo Larma remembered by many for his impressive color photography at the time. He writes: “Remind me what happened on May 2nd? In those years, like I am now, I was on a daily deadline for all news reports, so please understand. Each day was like May 2nd to me.” Luckily, we got one of his photographs from that period. Another one of our photographers Damir Šogolj replies: “Unfortunately, I don’t have the photographs dating from May of ‘92, ‘93, ‘94, and ’95 because I was carrying just an empty camera as a reminder of a better past and a wish that I will eventually insert a film into it and start taking pictures…”

Some dear people considered that returning to years of war would take away from time and energy needed in securing a better present and future, and Lajla Zaimović didn’t have a crystal clear idea at first, after which she tried to remember May 2nd to a detail, then noticing how she almost has “some involuntary blockade in her head of such days and events…” Some, like beloved Semezdin Mehmedinović, Faruk Šabanović, Senada Kreso, but also many others who just couldn’t manage to send their stories in. We are sure that all of them would be interesting and good, for a simple reason, since each of them has a value of its own. Still, we had left a space in the book for all of you where you can add your own story by yourself.

We were also thinking over whether to publish the authors’ biographies, but ultimately we decided not to show any difference between them. Above all, those are primarily human stories… However, we were left short of much interesting information. Stories about them seemed to require an entirely new book. For example, almost half the authors got wounded in the following years of the siege. Dr. Silva Rizvanbegović died at work soon after the report that has been recorded on TV news, which we are bringing forth inside this book. Many participated in the armed defense of the country like Almir Imširević, Darko Jelisić, Jasmin Viteškić, Saudin Bećirević, Almir Kurt, Izudin Bajrović, Zoka Ćatić, Aco Seksan, Edo Zubčević and many others. Thanks to photographs by Milomir Kovačević – Strašni, a treasure has been left behind in the sense of testimony of days of the siege. Some authors were doctors, some were musicians, some firefighters, mothers, and some just children… Altogether, they were part of what was recognized under the term cultural resistance from the aggression at the time. Some stayed in Sarajevo until the end of the siege, some left, some would leave then return, and some weren’t at all there on May 2nd 1992… I am noting all of this because I want to emphasize how all of the authors surely have their own personal dates beside May 2nd 1992 which they remember for something special. In the sense of proofreading interventions in the text, we had decided for a liberal approach, and complete artistic freedom. Nedim Zlatar was led by the thinking of professor Midhat Riđanović: “Who’s he to correct me???” That is how freedom of language of each individual was respected at the most.

The entire project was realized as part of Memory Module of the International Theater Festival MESS and Citizen’s Association Videoarhiv. Friendship was an important mechanism in the creation of this book, and the only problem with the participation of so much people is that it’s almost impossible to count them all. Therefore, we thank you all so much, especially the authors who submitted their works to us. The Memory Module programme was initiated at the end of the siege itself with the aim of answering the questions: “How is genocide, destruction of cities, and cultural and religious heritage possible in the midst of Europe? How is the simultaneous interplay of fast technological development and the destruction of what is being created from it possible? How to fend off from it? What is the effect of it all upon art? The intent behind programmes realized so far has been to preserve the memory of a tragic past, but also to recognize all of the values produced in that period by favoring art as a synthesis of ethic and aesthetic norms.

There has never been a dilemma that in question was cultural heritage, one that must be preserved as a special value and an important aspect of creating a single positive cultural identity of our country. It was never about being directed toward the past. On the contrary, our view is directed toward that which is foreseen in some supposed future of a country where differences and freedom of all citizens shall be celebrated as the greatest God’s blessing.

The idea behind the Memory Module programme is being profiled for years now spanning the times when culture and art were exclusively an essential need, just like water and food. We are remembering the times when people would endanger their lives by going to the theater, cinema, concerts, exhibitions… We are remembering the times when we were more aware of the need of goodness and spirituality, much more than we are today in these times of transition, in times of sped-up primary accumulation of capital where man’s needs are being reduced to almost exclusively those materialistic. And that has been one of the reasons why we decided to add extra meaning to this book. So, half of the printing will be donated to the organization “Obrazovanje gradi BiH”.

… And don’t forget that when one genocide is forgotten, another one begins!!!

Nihad M. Kreševljaković

Close

 

 

MAY 2nd 1992 / IT WAS A NICE AND SUNNY DAY

 

The morning was peaceful. A nice and sunny day. Many citizens were skillfully simulating some type of normal life walking the streets of the city. Many celebrated the 1st of May, Labor Day. Written on the cover of “Oslobođenje” with big letters was: “No negotiations with the artillery”, that was a quote from a text about the Lisbon negotiations between Cutileiro and Izetbegović that had fallen through. The column “In focus” brings a text by Emir Habul titled “The times of crime”. The author familiarizes the readers with the fact that what is happening in BiH is not a “normal war”, but on the contrary – such warfare hasn’t yet been recorded. Besides noting about the countless violations of the Geneva Convention he draws attention to a serious suspicion that in parts of Eastern Bosnia “the hardest sort of war crime is being committed – genocide”. Near the bottom of the cover page there is a title “The aggression must stop”, taken from the text of the declaration by senior officials at CSCE in Helsinki. Also, there is info about Germany introducing visas for citizens of BiH. Inside the newspaper, new details about crimes in Foča, news about conflicts in the surrounding area of Zvornik, about planes sweeping over Konjic… We are finding out that Zenica is still one of the most peaceful cities in BiH, as well as that five died in the destruction of a bridge in Donji Vakuf. The radio transmitter on Vlašić has been attacked, and after a hostile takeover of the radio relay on Trebević the radio connection with Emergency was cut. Despite shelling, citizens of Mostar celebrated Labor Day in some neighborhoods. There are also texts about the document of the EC about the succession of SFRY, about fighters from Zlatište, info about the state in the Sarajevo dairy factory… Titled under “17 dead” there is a text about riots in Los Angeles. A curious text about an unusual toy made by some Japanese toy factory. Safety points dedicated to fighting thievery have been set-up on the area of the Stari Grad municipality. Citizens of Sarajevo are informed about an increase of public transportation prices, and the Department for Transfusion appeals to citizens to donate necessary blood. A shortage of medical supplies in the Koševo hospital. In the sports column we are finding out about the success of Sokolov in the pre-Olympic tournament in Barcelona, and the text titled “Blues get the silver” reads about the success of Yugoslavia in the Olympics for blind chess players in Palma de Majorca. At the top of the page is a result of the basketball finals where Partizan won against Crvena Zvezda. The column “A guide through work” isn’t lacking either, and a few “mini ads” are published… “Peace on the Kupres plateau?!”… Bad news incoming from Živinice that were bombarded from a MiG-21 airplane, and Široki Brijeg where in a hellish night the citizens were exposed to fire from “Orkan” rockets. From the international peace center they are saying “The aftermath of genocide will be felt by generations to come”… Under the title “Refugees in my city” we are finding out that 17.000 refugees in Sarajevo note Sarajevo as their permanent place of residence. Also published are “Exchange rates”, as well as a TV programme for May 2nd 1992.

The seemingly normal situation suddenly started shifting into the exact opposite. It’s as if in an instant everything had changed. Like in fairytales, when chariots turn to pumpkins. Only the day remained nice and sunny.

It would require multiple books to describe what was happening in Sarajevo on that day…

Just one of these books is the one you are reading now. This is a collection of stories, notes and photographs that are inspired by a single day from the siege. If we consider the beginning to be May 2nd 1992, it lasted for a total of 1395 days, exactly until February 26th 1996. Each of those days had its stories.

The idea for this book was provided by Zenica-born Sabina Šabić – Zlatar that came to her at the moment when she recognized the emotional intensity with which men and women of Sarajevo speak about what had happened on that day. The project as a whole was initiated about a year ago, and in the meantime over 50 different stories were collected. We are absolutely certain about the value of such a book. We are equally aware that its only fault are the remaining couple hundred thousand stories we hadn’t gotten. As you will see, we are not only publishing writings by those who had lived through May 2nd 1992 themselves. We really didn’t want to limit this subject by any means. Not by form, nor by having experienced May 2nd 1992 yourself, seeing it on TV or having heard about it from others… In that sense I will mention some stories which you will not find inside here, but which I had the opportunity to hear while working on preparing this book. A story of a Partisan soldier from World War II who gave a museum piece gun used in the Battle of the Sutjeska to liberation defenders on May 2nd. One of those stories is the one about a Sarajevan woman who can’t at all remember May 2nd 1992, because her parents found themselves in Foča at the time. The concern for her parent’s fate made her completely indifferent toward what was happening to her and around her… Finally, there is also a story of a man in Split. He was a Sarajevan who found himself there. Watching the footage coming in from his city on May 2nd 1992, his heart was breaking. Are those not sevdalinke??? Simply because of that one Bosnian in Split, I was especially glad by the submitted story from Boris Dežulović, who wasn’t in Sarajevo at all on the 2nd of May. It’s clear that you could have been a part of this city in different ways at the time. Nobody, in any part of the world, who had a chance to see the images via TV coming in from the Olympic Sarajevo just couldn’t remain indifferent. I know that many of those who had written their stories simply couldn’t. Some just didn’t have the urge. Some have given up writing their story entirely considering that they have nothing to write.

Some had issues remembering, which is totally justified, like the extraordinary photographer Rikardo Larma remembered by many for his impressive color photography at the time. He writes: “Remind me what happened on May 2nd? In those years, like I am now, I was on a daily deadline for all news reports, so please understand. Each day was like May 2nd to me.” Luckily, we got one of his photographs from that period. Another one of our photographers Damir Šogolj replies: “Unfortunately, I don’t have the photographs dating from May of ‘92, ‘93, ‘94, and ’95 because I was carrying just an empty camera as a reminder of a better past and a wish that I will eventually insert a film into it and start taking pictures…”

Some dear people considered that returning to years of war would take away from time and energy needed in securing a better present and future, and Lajla Zaimović didn’t have a crystal clear idea at first, after which she tried to remember May 2nd to a detail, then noticing how she almost has “some involuntary blockade in her head of such days and events…” Some, like beloved Semezdin Mehmedinović, Faruk Šabanović, Senada Kreso, but also many others who just couldn’t manage to send their stories in. We are sure that all of them would be interesting and good, for a simple reason, since each of them has a value of its own. Still, we had left a space in the book for all of you where you can add your own story by yourself.

We were also thinking over whether to publish the authors’ biographies, but ultimately we decided not to show any difference between them. Above all, those are primarily human stories… However, we were left short of much interesting information. Stories about them seemed to require an entirely new book. For example, almost half the authors got wounded in the following years of the siege. Dr. Silva Rizvanbegović died at work soon after the report that has been recorded on TV news, which we are bringing forth inside this book. Many participated in the armed defense of the country like Almir Imširević, Darko Jelisić, Jasmin Viteškić, Saudin Bećirević, Almir Kurt, Izudin Bajrović, Zoka Ćatić, Aco Seksan, Edo Zubčević and many others. Thanks to photographs by Milomir Kovačević – Strašni, a treasure has been left behind in the sense of testimony of days of the siege. Some authors were doctors, some were musicians, some firefighters, mothers, and some just children… Altogether, they were part of what was recognized under the term cultural resistance from the aggression at the time. Some stayed in Sarajevo until the end of the siege, some left, some would leave then return, and some weren’t at all there on May 2nd 1992… I am noting all of this because I want to emphasize how all of the authors surely have their own personal dates beside May 2nd 1992 which they remember for something special. In the sense of proofreading interventions in the text, we had decided for a liberal approach, and complete artistic freedom. Nedim Zlatar was led by the thinking of professor Midhat Riđanović: “Who’s he to correct me???” That is how freedom of language of each individual was respected at the most.

The entire project was realized as part of Memory Module of the International Theater Festival MESS and Citizen’s Association Videoarhiv. Friendship was an important mechanism in the creation of this book, and the only problem with the participation of so much people is that it’s almost impossible to count them all. Therefore, we thank you all so much, especially the authors who submitted their works to us. The Memory Module programme was initiated at the end of the siege itself with the aim of answering the questions: “How is genocide, destruction of cities, and cultural and religious heritage possible in the midst of Europe? How is the simultaneous interplay of fast technological development and the destruction of what is being created from it possible? How to fend off from it? What is the effect of it all upon art? The intent behind programmes realized so far has been to preserve the memory of a tragic past, but also to recognize all of the values produced in that period by favoring art as a synthesis of ethic and aesthetic norms.

There has never been a dilemma that in question was cultural heritage, one that must be preserved as a special value and an important aspect of creating a single positive cultural identity of our country. It was never about being directed toward the past. On the contrary, our view is directed toward that which is foreseen in some supposed future of a country where differences and freedom of all citizens shall be celebrated as the greatest God’s blessing.

The idea behind the Memory Module programme is being profiled for years now spanning the times when culture and art were exclusively an essential need, just like water and food. We are remembering the times when people would endanger their lives by going to the theater, cinema, concerts, exhibitions… We are remembering the times when we were more aware of the need of goodness and spirituality, much more than we are today in these times of transition, in times of sped-up primary accumulation of capital where man’s needs are being reduced to almost exclusively those materialistic. And that has been one of the reasons why we decided to add extra meaning to this book. So, half of the printing will be donated to the organization “Obrazovanje gradi BiH”.

… And don’t forget that when one genocide is forgotten, another one begins!!!

Nihad M. Kreševljaković

Close