Encyclopaedia: The Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996 (Edition in Bosnian)

Year of Production
Location of Production
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Belgrade, Serbia
Original format
Printed Book (text / photographs)
No. of Pages
The Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996 / The Fall of Yugoslavia 1991-1999 / Negotiations of the Dayton Peace Accords (1995).
Research Period
1980 - 1999
First of its kind compilation of FAMA projects produced between 1992 and 2000. It is the most comprehensive presentation of the Sarajevo siege, with special supplements about the Fall of Yugoslavia and negotiations of the Dayton Peace Accords. It shows different levels of the siege phenomenon, from existential to cultural, political, military, religious, educational, mental and personal survival. In addition to its rich and unique content, the project was able to launch a new approach to education and research methodology.
The project was supported by Youth Initiative for Human Rights / Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava in Belgrade (Serbia). It was one of the first projects in the region to establish models of dealing with the past.
FAMA in partnership with YIHR, Serbia


Author and Editor
Suada Kapic
Project Director
Miran Norderland
Project Manager
Neven Popovic
Contributors / Associates
Jelena Oksenfeld, Muhamed Kapic, Veda Kapic, Emir Kapic, Branimir Markovic, Maja Razovic, Zeljko Puljic, Borislav Cosic, Amina Begovic, Ognjenka Finci, Nura Dika Kapic, Mirza Halilovic, Amra Zulfirkarpasic, Miroslav Prstojevic, Emir Kasumagic, Nedzad Begovic, Miroslav Prstojevic, Veda Kapic, Aleksandra Wagner, Tiskara Meic, Aida Zubcevic, Ljuba Gamulin, Ozren Pavlovic, Nenad Dogan, Milomir Kovacevic, , Aleksandra Majhrovski, Nihad Kresevljakovic, Nedzad Imamovic, Drago Resner, Vildana Selimbegovic, Dalida Jugo, Strajo Krsmanovic, Lejla Pasovic, Enes Sivac, Vlastimir Mijovic, Dzenana Karup, Miljenko Uherka, Semsudin Cengic, Dragan Rokvic, Suzana Ceric, Rijad Ljutovic, Jelena Lovric, Gianni Fazlagic and Natalie Hijazi
Branimir Markovic
Printed in
Valjevo, Serbia
© FAMA International


Because of their influence, those who watch, observe, analyse and explain meaning to the masses are considered a kind of elite; however if this elite use faulty methodology or have impure intentions, it can lead to disastrous consequences. We, the founders of FAMA, the first independent multi-media company in the former Yugoslavia, were fully aware of the sensitivity of the area in which we chose to invest. From the very beginning of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, we knew that documentation, of all types and forms, would play a vital role in the fate of current and future generations. In keeping with our own personal principles, our methods rely on fact, oral history and recorded documentation (documented documents). It is through our unique insight and gift of foresight that we have been able to develop a step by step methodology that 'makes the obvious visible'.

Gaining insight. This involves watching events attentively with an open mind as an observer rather than a participant, in order to note significant elements of the observed phenomenon; then putting these elements together to identify early signs of any emerging dominant trends that might launch a new process of cause and effect.

Continuing research through oral history. Those who participated in an observed event talk about their own experience of it, without commenting on other participants. These elements are recorded in photo/video format.

Structuring the research. Putting first hand facts and documented documents of a particular event, period or phenomenon into a structure that transfers this knowledge in a form acceptable to an audience, devoid of any indicators that would point to a conclusion. Readers, viewers, students, researchers draw their own conclusions on the basis of the given format.

Converting the structure. This phase involves producing a format suitable for mass production (maps, albums, films, encyclopedias).

Creating a study pack. We have created an educational pack consisting of different sections that can be used for different levels of education, as our unique contribution to the interpretation of the period 1991-1999.

Encyclopaedia: The Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996 (Edition in Bosnian)

The method of creating study packs led us to the encyclopedia format: linking concepts, people, events, photographs, drawings ... encompassing causes and effects and chronicling a new phenomenon that, at the end of 20th century, most certainly changed the way the world media covered wars. The siege of Sarajevo was present in every home in the rest of the world. There were no indifferent witnesses to the dreadful suffering that took place in Sarajevo, and the efforts the Sarajevo citizens made to remain human. During the siege, each Sarajevo citizen became an everyday hero.

About the project

The encyclopedia is an evidence of an era, the evidence about a phenomenon of the four years long siege and the victory human nature gained over terror. It is undoubtedly a useful resource for researchers of all profiles; whether they deal with history, politics, diplomacy, military doctrine, media, medicine, human rights, crisis management, humanitarian disasters, urban survival, terrorism ... or with human mind, mental map of human endurance, or humanity, and new directions of art. This book does not offer conclusions. Instead, it presents the facts, testimonies, and evidence ... and chronicles the event unique in human history. The world was horrified by the siege, and people suffered looking scenes of violence on their TV screens. No one could know then that at the beginning of 21st century the whole world would be in constant danger: no longer protected, not safe ... urban disasters can happen to everyone, whether as a result of an invisible enemy – terrorism, or natural disasters. In times of uncertainty and reduced freedom of movement for all citizens of the world, fear has become a new common feeling. The Sarajevo experience is extremely precious in that sense. The citizens of this city had to learn how to overcome fear day after day, for four full years. And they proved that the only recipe against terror is freedom from fear. Because terrorists want fear to stop life and to produce new forms of fear which would mobilize new forms of violence. Understanding and adopting the 'heritage' of Sarajevo experience will make it easier for everyone to face the unexpected, and set the full human format against it. So that the positive side of the world could balance the minority of those who threaten and kill.

"Being under siege" is a question of physical endurance and a special state of mind. The hardest thing is to endure the first attack. One must accept the fact of being watched and controlled at any given moment, under all circumstances. The Sarajevo scenario of "putting a European city under siege at the end of 20th century" was to encircle the city from surrounding hills with light and heavy weapons and use them to shoot at unarmed civilians. There were no safe zones in the city – all Sarajevans were exposed to sniper fire and grenades at home, on the street, at school, in parks, hospitals, in places of worship – always exposed to the invisible terrorists and possible death.

The second phase of "being under siege" starts with opposing innumerable kinds of sophisticated terror: deprivation of water, food, electricity, gas, oil, heat, stores, newspapers, TV, telephone, transportation ... "Being under siege" meant accepting the fact that nothing so far known existed any longer, that death was likelier than life, and that the former way of life had disappeared.

The third phase is biological, humanistic and creative (BHC) approach to the new state of existence. While fighting against permanent terror, the citizens of Sarajevo rediscovered incredible resources – of humour, innovation, creation, imagination and wit – as a refuge and a form of freedom. Daily life was all about practical demands; practicalities – not clocks – kept the time: night and day shifts were alternated depending on irregular occasions when electricity was available, and a sudden midnight rain had everybody up and running to collect rainwater. Nights became days as darkness offered protection against snipers to all those who had to cover great distances in search of water.

For four years the seasons were measured by how much food you could collect from your makeshift garden, or how much kindling for fire you could collect in the park, or whether there was snow, or rainwater, as additional sources of water. Such circumstances decided on the state of mind of every individual. In the midst of this chaos, a need emerged for establishing some kind of balance. In order to maintain their mental health, everyone was trying to balance the life as they new it with emerging circumstances. Sarajevo thus experienced the greatest cultural boom during the longest siege in modern history of mankind. The cultural boom became a social trend – a lifestyle. Actors performed, authors wrote, sculptors sculpted, artists painted, journalists published newspapers, film directors made films, the same way bankers and executives went to work in banks and offices without telephones or windows. It took enormous intelligence and concentration in order to find a solution for things thus far impossible.

"The world needs the experience of Sarajevo!" Centuries of our civilization are woven out of important experiences; some of them were forever lost in the chaos of history and are useless for human race, while some (as if programmed in the human brain as some kind of "chip") are transmitted from generation to generation. Experience means lessons and instructions on how to react and survive if we find ourselves in a situation similar to one already experienced (somewhere, by someone). This book enters 21st century celebrating life as a human achievement and ability to use intelligence to survive in the "new world." If measured by human achievements, the four years long siege of Sarajevo could definitely be considered one of the wonders of the world. A place where the human mind and humanity won a victory over human evil and terror.

Sarajevo chose culture as a weapon of defence against terror, and thus became a hope of mankind. People kept exposing themselves to permanent danger of shells and snipers not only while doing things they had to do in order to survive, but also while going to see theatre performances and exhibitions – that was their way of defending human civilization. Their experience can serve to anyone in danger from effects of disasters caused by climate change or human activities.

Sarajevo proved that an urban environment can survive destruction and siege, and still remain humane and civilized, even give its contribution to philosophy of living, mental therapy and arts.

The eyes of the world's media were focused on Sarajevo, each part of the city was shown, each story written, thousands of journalists entered and left the city on UN planes carrying humanitarian aid. Each death was recorded. The world media followed the disappearance of Sarajevo and its strong fight for survival. If it were not for the media, the world would not have seen this terrible struggle between good and evil, and Sarajevo would disappear. The world's media raised their voices and aroused the world's conscience – they influenced political decisions.

Digitalizing experience and memory is no guarantee that they will be preserved. Our experience showed that there are situations when nothing can be saved apart from human ability to think. That is the one thing we can always count on, given that everything man-made can be destroyed. We must preserve our memory of the past in order to provide efficient channel of information for current and future generations on how to acquire and apply knowledge and ensure our Collective Global Memory to be preserved forever, no matter what the future holds.