bosnia report
New Series No: 37-38 January - March 2004
A memory from 1993
by Vildana Selimbegovic

'Commander, where is the President? They have him in their sights! They want to kill him!' It was autumn 1993, perhaps the hardest wartime autumn. A young men dressed in parts of different uniforms was desperately trying to explain to Vahid Karavelić, commander of the 1st Corps, that they had just picked up a conversation from the other side of the siege lines: the Chetniks were seeking permission from Pale HQ to shoot Alija Izetbegović - two of them had got him in their sights. At the very moment they got the order Fire!, however, Izetbegović disappeared into a hut at the Jewish cemetery. It is difficult to describe the fear and panic which gripped the building from which the defence of Sarajevo was being directed, and even more Karavelić's despair which lasted for hours after the end of the emergency. 'Does he know what his death would mean for us?', he kept repeating, unwilling to express out loud all his fears about what would have happened.

Vildana Selimbegović, deputy editor of Dani (Sarajevo)









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