Subjects: 1970, 1990s, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslavia, blindness, Sarajevo, mining, military
Hyperlink: Former Yugoslavia
Subjects: General Josip Tito, Communism, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, East Germany, Capitalism, Socialism, education
Hyperlink: Josip Broz Tito
Subjects: Bosnia and Herzegovina, summertime, chess, radio
Hyperlink: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Subjects: 1980, Communism, Nationalism, Croatia, Slovenia
Hyperlink: Death of General Tito, death of Yugoslavia?
Subjects: confusion, former Yugoslavia, Bosnia Herzegovina, family, Srebrenica, Croats, Serbs, Muslims, Soviet Union, Serbia
Subjects: 1991 Croatia and Slovenia gain independence, 1992 Bosnia Herzegovina gain independence, military, chaos, control of information, political election, news, military repression
Hyperlink: Breakup of Yugoslavia
Subjects: Sarajevo, law school, 1991, ham radio, former Yugoslavia, Jews, Croats, Serbs, Montenegro, former Yugoslavia
Subjects: Sarajevo, 1992, barricades, 1993, United Nations, Serbian governments, 1995, hospital, ham radio, Srebrenica
Hyperlink: Bosnian War
Subjects: Srebrenica, Slovenia, Orthodox, Muslims, Concentration Camps, rape, uncles, para-military from Serbia
Subjects: Srebrenica, 1993, United Nations, genocide, mass graves
Hyperlink: Mass graves in Srebrenica
Subjects: property, water, United Nations, Serbian para-military, 1993, blindness, California, 1994, Canadian forces, 1995, Srebrenica, biological weaponry, Kentucky, tear gas
Hyperlink: U.N's failure to interfere in Bosnia
Subjects: Unites Nations, 1993, ham radio, Croatia, freedom, family, Srebrenica, hospital
Segment Synopsis: missiles, family, communication, ham radio, Srebenica, mobilization in the military, front-lines
Hyperlink: Fighting in Bosnia
Subjects: communication, 1995, family, Tuzla
Hyperlink: Srebrenica massacre
Subjects: Frankfort University, Tuzla University
Hyperlink: Bosnian refugees in Germany
Subjects: last contact with family, funeral for father and brother, church, mosque, disagreement with mother, Srebrenica, Sarajevo
Hyperlink: Ethnic distribution in Bosnia before and after the war
SLOAN: Today is August 14, 2015. We're with Mr. Abdulah Hasic at his apartmentin Fort Worth, Texas. This is Stephen Sloan. I am with Melissa Sloan and Nathan Roberts. They're a part of the team that's doing a grant for the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and we're here to interview Mr. Hasic about his experience in his home country of Bosnia.
Thank you, Mr. Hasic, for sitting down with us today. I know you were born in 1977--
HASIC: Nineteen seventy. Sorry--
SLOAN: Nineteen seventy-seven?
HASIC: Nineteen seventy.
SLOAN: Nineteen seventy.
SLOAN: Okay, 1970. So you and I are about the same age, but you're holding up alot better than I am. You look better than I do. (laughs) So, we're going to talk a lot about your experiences in the 1990s and the challenges in your country in the 1990s. But I'd like to know a little bit about your family and 1:00about your early life, if you can tell me a little bit about that.
HASIC: Okay. (clears throat) Basically, I'm born in 1970 in Bosnia andHerzegovina. It was [at] that time former Yugoslavia. And my family all live near [the] city [of] Srebrenica. This is mostly, basically, little city with [a] lot [of] village[s]. Like, basically, mostly former Yugoslavia. And my family was live in one of those village near Srebrenica. I had two brothers and two sisters--basically five of us--mother, father, uncles, so on, so on. And later 2:00on, I lost my sight and I have to go in the school in Sarajevo. Basically, there I was finish elementary school, high school, and start college: one semester, basically law school.
SLOAN: I see. So, how did you lose your sight?
HASIC: Doctor's mistake. I had at first some high fever, and then doctorsconsidered that they have to make surgery, and they make two or three surgery. One of those surgery they give me--uh, what you call? Bad anesthesia? And then I was wake up on the almost middle [of the] surgery. I remember when I wake up and I just grab with my hand doctor's hand, and doctor was in shock. And then, when 3:00they are done, after that, I lost sight and so on and so on. Basically, that was the story about that.
SLOAN: Now, since you were sighted before you were six, do you have memories?
HASIC: Um, kind of. Little. Yeah. It was far away and so on.
SLOAN: Yeah. What are some memories that come back to you or that stick with youfrom when you had your sight?
HASIC: Mostly, start when light, when I turned on lights and I couldn't seelights. I was just close eyes and start crying.
SLOAN: Um-hm. I see. What was your father's occupation?
HASIC: My father work in the--as mare underground.
SLOAN: A mayor?
SLOAN: Oh, he was a mayor. So a city official?
HASIC: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It's, you know, when people do underground,4:00like pull out some gold, and on--
SLOAN: Oh, he was a miner.
HASIC: Yes! Miner.
SLOAN: Ah, he was a miner. Yeah. I see. A very hard life. A very hard occupation.
HASIC: Well, he choose that. He had a better life, but he didn't want to. Hecould be some general but he didn't want to choose that. They offered to him but he didn't want.
SLOAN: They offered for him to stay in the military?
HASIC: They offered to him stay in military and be a general, and he didn't want.
SLOAN: I see. This is under [Josip Broz] Tito?
SLOAN: Uh-huh. I know in your country the 1980s was very hard--a very hard time.
HASIC: If I see now from this distance, and since I learned and had goodeducation, I can think opposite than you do. Because in former Yugoslavia, 5:00basically, people have more freedom than any Communist country on Earth.
HASIC: Former Yugoslavia was Socialist and Communist both.
HASIC: And was more better than any Communist country. As well, freedom was,kind of--I don't know what people think of freedom, but if you think of the freedom that you can curse somebody or whatever it is, I don't know. It was little distinction, but it not so bad how other people thinks. It was bad but it is not so--I don't know. It depends what people looking and what they want to say it is bad. Later, I learn--I mean, later from this distance, it was better than maybe--no maybe, for sure--in that time and now, than in Syria, Egypt, 6:00Saudi Arabia, even Libya, what was not Communist country. Better than Russia. Better than Cuba. And better than in East Germany and many, many, many other country. Only we was not capitalist country, it was Socialist and Communist. It wasn't perfect, but--
SLOAN: But especially with what's to come, it was a good time. You have goodmemories of that time.
HASIC: Yeah. Very good, and education was free. You could educate how much youwant to. It was free. Only you have to pay books. (laughs) And, and you have to pay kind of a living, but mostly if you are student, you could get scholarship, and then that pay for your dormitory, food, and whatever else. Well, it's kind 7:00of half [and] half. You know? But for sure, it was better than war.
SLOAN: Yes. Well, can you tell me a little bit about, before we get to the war,what was your country like? What was your experience like growing up in Bosnia?
HASIC: (laughs) In that time, you know, I was kind of still--if you want to mego--you mean, when Bosnia was in former Yugoslavia?
HASIC: In that time I was very young, and for me, things was good [at] thattime. Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state republic under former Yugoslavia was with federal. Yugoslavia had many resources for everything. All resources was 8:00export[ed] [to] the other states of the former Yugoslavia. And other states make goods, and then return and sells more expensive to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Like example, Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia. And still [life] was kind of good. They exploited [us]--but still was that time you're young, you just thinks how can you have somewhere party, how can you go in school, whatever it is. Make, kind of, in that time, what good for you. And I did at that time also many occupations. Like examples: playing chess, start going in some contest, occupied with ham radio operations is also good, and, kind of, get some better and good 9:00education and so on.
SLOAN: Can you talk a little bit more about those two interests? About when youbecame interested in ham radio, and what age, and what was that like for you?
HASIC: I was interested when I was fifteen years old about ham radio. Chess, Iwas interested in already when I was second grade in school. Chess was kind of one of the good, because you are practicing your brain. I loved to play that, and I was also in the tournament with other people, with other clubs, and even on the state and on the federal tournament on the chess. 10:00
SLOAN: National competitions.
HASIC: Exactly. And also on the ham radio, I like challenge. I like new stuff.And when I start, I go in first, try, can I do it? And I learned that you have to think and also challenge your brain and practice. You have to know Morse code for the ham radio. For to get--in that time, we had call "C Class"--you have to recognize and make on the paper between 50 and 60 letters and numbers in the one minute. And if you want better license, then you have to know between 80 and 120 11:00signals in the one minutes. Like letters, numbers, all those signals. So in other words, someone is typing, and you have to put on the paper. And then see, did you do good or not? And you have to know about electric, how to make antenna for the ham radio, how to make contact with other people in the state, country, Europe, continents, and so on, so on. How much electricity you need for your radio station, input, output, and so on, so on.
SLOAN: So did you develop relationships with ham radio operators in other areas?
HASIC: Yes. It was kind of also one of the good things, better than today--we12:00have Skype and Facebook. In those field, in ham radio, you cannot find criminals. You cannot find--I hate called, but let's go, say, kind of stupid people. You will find mostly intelligent people, mostly good people, and people with whom you can learn something. And people who is very nice, friendly, and if you sometimes need help, anytime they will help you. Those is in ham radio, and similar it is in chess. And that's why today that mostly people doesn't do that. 13:00It's a lose kind of thing for that. Used to have, but still many people do ham radio. And today, we have computers with what is kind of good; one side good, one side bad.
SLOAN: It was the original Internet: a way to communicate across big distances.
HASIC: Yes, but basically I use them a lot. But as I use them a lot, also I hatethem. Everyone can go on internet. That is good. I don't--doesn't--mind about that.
SLOAN: (laughs) Even the stupid people can go on the internet.
HASIC: Well, it's not problem with that. I also can handle that. But problem iscriminal people have access in those things. You have cybers [cyber 14:00criminals]--you have people who steal things and so on. There is problem, but everything I can handle. It's not problem about that.
SLOAN: I can tell you're a person who liked to learn. You were curious. So whenyou're talking to these people outside the Soviet Union, particularly in Europe, what are the sorts of things you are asking them? Or what sort of things would you talk about?
HASIC: What do you mean that? Oh. Well, in ham radio, when you talk--if you meanlike that?
HASIC: First of all, you have a course on the ham radio. You teach--I mean, youlearn that you cannot speak with many people from many countries freely, and so on, so on. Because there are restrictions, and you are not there to make 15:00problems [for] somebody else. If I ask them about some politic situation and so on, so on, then those people would be problems. Also, as we have today that agency monitor our cell phones, internet, and so on, so on, same way in that times we had also agency who monitor and watch what we are doing on the ham radio. In the whole world, not only former Yugoslavia, but it happened. And I agree with that. I don't have anything about that--against that. It's just one side good things.
SLOAN: Did you ever have any encounters with government officials over your useof your radio?
HASIC: No. I didn't have problems because I know what is my job--where is my16:00limit. And also if I go over limit, I had connection (laughs) and you know, I could that.
SLOAN: You knew where the boundaries were, right? What you could do and couldn't do?
HASIC: Yes. And I had one access in war. It was, I think, '94. I had license andon the license--in your license--what you have license, you have also field where I can--where you can go. Examples: you have ham radio that are going on the eighty meters, forty meters, whatever is it. You know, step by step. And also you have frequency up to you can go to do. And I was over frequency. (laughs) Sometimes, I just go and break rule. In that time, director of the 17:00communication and whatever, and then he go and try interrupt me. I knew that he is. And then he told me, "What are you doing here?" And I told him, "I doing what I'm supposed to do." He ask me, "But you know you can't do this?" I says, "Well, I know, but rule is rule, and when you have to, you have to." He says, "We will punish you." I says, "You can try, but we will see." And then a little--was kind of just an interview later and nothing happened.
SLOAN: So you knew where the boundaries were, but you pushed them a little bit?
HASIC: When you have emergency situation, then it is different so. And I had18:00emergency situation and I have to, and he didn't know. You know how it is when people that have rules and think that they can do whatever they want. And they behave like they are God.
SLOAN: Well, the situation in the former Yugoslavia begins to change in the late 1980s.
HASIC: When Tito died [Yugoslavian president Josep Broz Tito].
SLOAN: Yes. When Tito died. Can you talk a little bit about your memories of thepolitical situation and how it affected your family?
HASIC: When Tito died, many people were sad, because in one hand--he wasdictator but he was not a dictator. It's both. He was, but he was not. All 19:00people who didn't like former Yugoslavia, those countries, they was happy when he died. It's true, he did some things like [Joseph] Stalin did. Many people was innocent, what he put in the jail--maybe he killed. I don't know who was innocent, who was not. But happened was happened up to 1980. And then we have some people who was immigrate from the Second World War who was not agree with Tito's side. That was in Germany, Italy, United States, South America, and so on, so on. And often that time, they are try come in former Yugoslavia when Tito was alive, and try to sabotage some things and do whatever they'll try to do. 20:00That was not successful.
Later on, when he died, change was very fast. Already from the 1982, 1983already start problem for Yugoslavia on the political field. We had six that called republics or states--whatever you want to--and then mostly two states, even three states, was feel competent to be a leader of the former Yugoslavia. It was Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Slovenia most was interest to separate and 21:00go away from former Yugoslavia. Why? I don't know, because they don't have any resource, and it's kind of little state. And no state lived from the other states and still doesn't in the united Europe. I don't know, but happened was happened.
And then there had kind of from the Communist Party people changed tonationalist. You had like Franjo Tuđman was already dead. Slobodan Milošović, also dead. And there was already in political field, even Franjo Tuđman, he was in the jail; Tito put him in the jail, I think 1970, 1972, something like that. And then when came, he wait from the his side and when the open political field 22:00that we can have democratic system--like you can register political party and go on the election, then president of the Croatia. I mean, he was not president, but he made political party of Franjo Tuđman, and then he win. When he win, then he has problem with president of Serbia, who will be president of the former Yugoslavia. How will former Yugoslavia be? Federal republic or confederative? They couldn't make negotiation about that.
And then there was--president of the former Yugoslavia at that time was man fromthe Croatia. When Tito died, that make negotiation that each year was president of the former from the one republic. And when it was president from the Croatia, 23:00then Serbian wanted to kill them, but secretly. And, yeah, so and so on. Things happened like happened. Then, Slovenian senate or congress--whatever you want to call them--go away from the Belgrade. Belgrade was capital of the former Yugoslavia. And then they just go and say, "We separate from the former Yugoslavia." Little was, maybe two or three days, and military go away from the Slovenia and little by little war starts. It was kind of stuff like that.
SLOAN: Yes. Everyone's vying for power.
HASIC: Exactly. And problem is everyone vying for the power, but in that time in24:00former Yugoslavia, if they want to power, they have to first get own people. To get own people, they have to use [Adolf] Hitler's tactic. And they have to make own people to hate other side--other people. Doesn't matter what they are: Serb, Croatian, Muslim, whatever is it. And if they do that like they did and then get those people to hate other side, it is easy to make war.
SLOAN: Within Bosnia, how is this affecting your family, how is this affectingyour life? This competition that is going on.
HASIC: Competition going on? Still people was kind of confused. They didn't knowthere will be war or not. So no one could believe that will happen war, because 25:00former Yugoslavia was Communist, media make them very hard to think never war happen. And people believe in neighbor, people believe in so on and so on. If you have your neighbor--in former Yugoslavia and Bosnia Herzegovina was not like United States. If I have neighbor, often times--at least one times per day--we will sit and drink coffee together. And they'll know each other. They'll know even how many spoons they have in house. (laughs) Those was people, not only your neighbor, even you know two, three, four, or five village far away from you. You knew all people. People know you. People sometimes, on the month or 26:00week, pass to those villages, sit with each other drinking coffee. If they need help [with] something, they help each other. And they could not think that happened was happened.
SLOAN: They knew your parents. They knew your grandparents. Yes.
HASIC: Not only parents. Not only grandparents. Their children, they'llknow--like I says, maybe on the half cities you knew everything and everyone know you. All like--examples: like I says, city of Srebrenica was not big city, but they have big villages, so many villages. And peoples know each other from one up to maybe five or six villages, so on. If you don't know someone and you go or you meet in city or somewhere someone from the five or four villages you know, and you ask and he knows or she knows maybe next five or six villages. 27:00(Sloan laughs) You could know whole city or whatever is it.
SLOAN: And I know that Bosnia, during this time and later on of course, it'sgoing to change. But even during this time it was very ethnically diverse. You had Croats, you had Serbs, you had Muslims, but you're saying you didn't feel the difference.
HASIC: Before war, no. No. You could not believe that someone can take knife orgun and come and burn your house and shoot you. It was impossible at that time to think those things.
SLOAN: Now, this is a situation in which, of course, the Soviet Union is fadingaway as far as any power and control in Yugoslavia over the chaos that's going 28:00on there. Right?
HASIC: Soviet Union couldn't have at that time any influence on the formerYugoslavia, if you are thinking on the beginning of the war. They couldn't have any influence even if they want to, because of the Soviet Union also started to crashing. Berlin's Wall was a mostly deadly target for the Soviet Union. At that time, Soviet Union was occupied on own mind, own problems in the Russia and Soviet Union because many state of the Soviet Union was separate. Many states wanted going NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] pact, so on and so on. But still they are tried. Only would they have influence and what thinks that 29:00Soviet Union will help was Serbia. Serbian people says they have good tradition, a friend tradition, a friendship tradition, and they have also kind of both Orthodox and so on, so on. But for me, (laughs) I grew up and I know for sure all situation, everything is lie. Whenever Serbia need help, Soviet Union just go away and would help them with words. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you see--examples: if they want to help them, they would not let them occupy Kosovo in 1999 and NATO pact come and so on. 30:00
SLOAN: Things continue to change very quickly in your country. I know in 1991Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence.
HASIC: Yes it is. From that, everything go very fast. Nineteen ninety-two,Bosnia and Herzegovina declared also.
SLOAN: Yes. And so, can you take me through how--and it's all very fast--but howthe situation is changing for your family? What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What are you talking about as a family as these changes are happening?
HASIC: People still was confused and people couldn't think that's happened. Likeexample, you live in Texas. Somewhere on the California or in New York State or 31:00whatever else, media still was biased and media still didn't tell you truth what's going on because there was control from the regime. Regime was in Belgrade. Belgrade was still capitol city. Still first news, real news, people could get when some soldier escaped from the military. And then you can get right news. Even if they tried to escape, in that time former Yugoslavia in the military, every day you have to watch news, before--this is from Tito regime. 32:00Who is military, every day they have to watch news, they had political lectures. When they are kind of beginning--Croatia, Slovenia, and so on--and then there start be more repressive from the military and didn't let them watch any other news, only what military decided to let them do. When they try to send them somewhere, from the military base to--it depends if they want to send them to Slovenia and so on--and now told them, "Well, they have problems--examples Serbia and Slovenia--that they are trying to fight with each other, but we're going to be between them." And when they come on the field, different situation. 33:00
SLOAN: You know how important information is, and so controlling the informationmeant a lot of power. With freedom opening up, did you have a little more freedom on your ham radio to get information and to gather information?
HASIC: Yes, I did. First of all, in that time I was in Sarajevo, starting tomanage law school.
SLOAN: Can you tell me, what year did you go to law school?
HASIC: Nineteen ninety-one, September I start. But before, I was in Sarajevohanging with friends and taking a place for the dormitory where I can live during student days. One night, I was sitting in ham radio club with my friends. 34:00(laughs) We talking about those situation. We knew very well what was going on in former Yugoslavia. But still, somehow, somewhere in our brain, still couldn't believe what we know. Because you know how [it] was up to yesterday and you cannot believe what will be happen. Especially we couldn't believe that will happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Sarajevo, ever. It was a city what was more better than Beirut, where you had everywhere mosque, church, synagogue, and people was mixing. You couldn't know if I was Muslim, Jewish, Croat, Serbish, 35:00whatever is it. And close in building where I live, everyone know everyone. Everyone at least one time per week go in each other's apartment and drink coffee and even have lunch together. You couldn't believe it.
But still, often--one time on the beginning--in September, I remember, in 1991,when Serbish and Montenegro Paramilitary with United--I mean, with former Yugoslavia forces tried to occupy city of Dubrovnik. One of the--my colleague, she live in dormitory where I lived, and I didn't know where she is from. She 36:00lived in the second floor; I lived in the first floor. We know each other, but was not close to friends with each other. And when I go in ham radio club that night--it was Friday night, I thinks--and I found her there. I ask her, "What are you doing here?" She says, "I'm trying to talk to my mom." "Where is your mom?" She says, "In Dubrovnik." And what can you do that? Then you know what kind of situation this--just try to find someone from the ham radio from Dubrovnik and see what can you do. That's it.
SLOAN: Can I ask, why the law? What made you decide to study law?37:00
HASIC: Why law?
SLOAN: Yeah, why that career?
HASIC: I says to Melissa [Sloan] already, (laughs) when I decide what kind ofhigh school I want to go. In that time, they start school in former Yugoslavia for the computer things, but still was very hard and I still like computer. I couldn't do that because of my sight. And then I decide to go in some school with four year of the high school, because in former Yugoslavia, secondary school is different than United States. You have elementary school. Elementary school is from the one up to eight grades. When you are done, this is elementary school. And then you have four years of the high school: first, second, third, 38:00and fourth grades. And then I go and took two years telecommunications. I didn't like that. And then I make plans for medical school, physical therapy. When I had plans for those things, I have to also pass few things that I didn't have in telecommunications school. Like I have to pass Latin language and some from the medical stuff: biology, anthropology, and so on, so on. Basically, four classes I have to go and take test. What I did, but I did. When I finished that, I know that I want to go in college. I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to be massage therapy. This is hard job. It is true you can find job in Europe very 39:00easy, but still it's hard job, and I don't like basically do hard job. (all laugh)
SLOAN: So you wanted to become a lawyer so you wouldn't have to work hard?
HASIC: And then, still I didn't know what I going to do in college. When thefourth grade is done and I finish high school, I think, "What I going to do?" I know that I don't want to be physical therapist. And then, you know, if I going to do anything, it is very hard. Only two things was left: political science or lawyer. Then I sit on the train and go through Sarajevo. And my friend says, "In the law school, they are still accepting application and you can take TASP(??) 40:00test." And I take off and go--take test even I didn't prepare for those things and I passed. When I passed, then I was lucky. In the dormitory, I found one--basically a few guys was from my city, from Srebrenica. One of those was my roommate. And his aunt was director of the company where my father worked. He go and make influence and he get me a scholarship. That means, after school, for sure I have job. But later nothing happened, as you know. War start and then big crash.
SLOAN: So what was your job that fall in law school? What job did you have?
HASIC: Be lawyer of the company.
SLOAN: Oh, okay. Oh, I see. So after school, he would have a job for you.41:00
HASIC: Yes. In former Yugoslavia, it means when you get scholarship, thosecompanies guarantee you for the work.
SLOAN: Have a job assignment when you are done.
SLOAN: Well, let's talk about when war came. I know you're in Sarajevo, you'rein school, and everything changes. Can you take--
HASIC: Well, first of all I have to take--I mean, I have to apologize for theRoberts, Nathan, because I couldn't find my little books where I had ticket from the Sarajevo.
SLOAN: The ticket you had where you left Sarajevo?
HASIC: Yes. When war start, I was in Sarajevo, like you says. First of all, likeI says, all the time it was confused. War will be, not, will be, not. For sure, somewhere in our heads we accept it, but we didn't want to believe that will be 42:00happens. And one night I was in dormitory and watching the news when former Yugoslavia, a few trucks, try to take weapon from some--probably paramilitary--and then officials and the policemen that stopped them make control and found weapon. There was barricade and so on, so on. But for the few hours, like nothing happened. And next day, Friday night, my friend says, "Let's go in other city. We have Saturday and Sunday nothing to do. Let's go in Tuzla." Sarajevo [to] Tuzla is 150 kilometers. It's around 100 miles. We take bus, go 43:00there, be Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday we want come to back in Sarajevo. But I couldn't because--I think it's February month--it was everywhere barricade--February 1992--everywhere was barricade. Sunday nine or ten o'clock when I start go from the Tuzla. I couldn't enter in Sarajevo until Monday afternoon.
SLOAN: Is that because there were checkpoints you had to go through?
HASIC: Checkpoints. Not only--not checkpoints. Barricade in Sarajevo and bus,train couldn't go. Everything was kind of stopped. And then, after that, I came 44:00to Sarajevo. Almost after one month, one of my friends--he was not living in dormitory, but he study agriculture or whatever it is--and he come Friday ten, eleven o'clock. I came from the law school. I finished with lecture. And he says, "What are you doing?" I says, "Nothing." And he says, "Let's go in Srebrenica and we can come [back] Sunday." And I says, "Let's go." And we go and buy tickets, and when we come it was one, one thirty. We have bus and we enter there around four, four thirty. In Sunday morning, around eight o'clock, when I try to prepare my stuff and go and meet him at the bus station, we switch on TV 45:00and on TV, barricade, everything closed. No one couldn't come into and come out.
SLOAN: This is in March?
HASIC: Yes. And that was war begin. That I stay there up to 1993 and thenSerbish forces burn that was my village. And then I have to go temporarily in Srebrenica. And then United Nations, they make negotiations with whatever is the Serbish governments to take off some wounded people from the hospital to Tuzla. And then I was with them and then I go in Tuzla and I was there to 1995, January 46:00month. And then I work there in the hospital as a massage therapist and I was kind of like the supervisor of the department for a lot of things. And also I work in the ham radio to help people have communications with some in the Srebrenica. That time, ham radio was like today telephone. You didn't have any other communication.
SLOAN: Did you have you ham radio equipment back in Srebrenica when you wentback or was it in Sarajevo?
HASIC: No, I didn't have it in Srebrenica. It was all stuff in Sarajevo. Myindex--I don't know what you know is index, but index is things--one book, 47:00little books, what get every student when they're starting in those university. On the first cover they have your picture, your name, ID, whatever is it and then you each month all semester listen oral lecture. Professor have to sign up that you attend in the classes and they put your grades when you are done with testing and so on. Different than the United States, testing was--we have writing and oral test, both. And when you have oral test also is not like United States. You have commission [committee]--two or three professors sitting and then they take book what you learned, examples--whatever it is you study, 48:00example is biology. And I have book of the biology. And they just take an open book and says, "Tell me something about this." (Sloan laughs) Three question. If you don't know, then (snaps fingers) go and next semester you have to take again those things.
SLOAN: Yeah. Very different. I'd like to ask--so now that the war began in Marchof 1992, or independence is declared, war fully begins. Talk about how life changed in Srebrenica.
HASIC: Still March, April. It's already totally changed. Very rapidly andvery--already people took some family and go as refugee in Slovenia or whatever is it. The next city was Bratunac, from the Serbian side was kind of like five 49:00miles away. Paramilitary from the Serbia, they already come, took all people who were not Orthodox, not only Muslim. Anyone who was not Orthodox, took them and make concentration camp. They had one gym from the elementary school and also they put people on the soccer fields. Woman and child, they are--some of those--whatever they may be--some of those that say they're raped. And mostly they put them in buses and send them to Tuzla where was control authority of the 50:00Bosnia and Herzegovina. Men, from the thirteen, fourteen years old, all male, many of them, they're killed. Especially they choose who is educate[d] and who work for the governments. And other peoples--they would kill all of them.
But they was lucky because of the one few guys who was special agent that keptsome very important of them guys. And then for those fourteen guys they exchange maybe five hundred people or maybe one thousand--I don't know. I know there was my uncle and my uncle's sons in there. And then when they exchanged them, 51:00meanwhile, when they do that in Brutanac, many people left from the Srebrenica city. Some people go in refugee in other country and some people escaped from the villages. And then, those paramilitary start entering into empty Srebrenica. Them job was robbed or stoles--took whatever they have--technology, they have some stove, refrigerator, whatever those. They just robbed and go in the bazaar and sell or whatever it is they do--I don't know.
And then, some organize. People who saw how people passed in the Brutanac, theytry to organize. They didn't have any weapons, whatever. It was funny how they 52:00do that. But you know, when you are in those situations, you have to thinks whatever you--just fought for their own naked life. They took some things--you know, what you--when you make high building and you pull up with those machine. And they take those machines and pull up, hide them, and go up on those things. When paramilitary from Serbia, they enter into Srebrenica other way. They did not go on the right way, and they go around. And when they few times do that when they try to go from the Srebrenica on the right way, then they make barricade and kill them and some of them go away and they didn't come anymore. And that is time was Srebrenica free from those paramilitary. And later on, when 53:00they start try defensing and when they kill some enemy that they'll find guns, this is only way how they'll get weapons. They did not have other ways. And then people didn't have food. People didn't have many things. And people who was in village, they'll grow food and they'll try to share with people who didn't have it. But was everything very, very bad.
SLOAN: Do you remember conversations in your family about whether you shouldrun, whether you should try to stay, whether--
HASIC: (laughs) Even if you have conversation, was for nothing because youcouldn't run. Where? Where run? Nowhere. Because everywhere--you can think this 54:00room. Srebrenica was like this. Everywhere else, on other side, Serbia border. If you go, they will catch you and then send you to those paramilitary. If they send you to paramilitary, 90 percent you will be dead, 10 percent maybe you will be alive. And just stay and wait what will be happened. That's what [it was] like [for] all people.
SLOAN: When was your family rounded up and relocated?
HASIC: Nineteen ninety-five. July, I thinks 15.
SLOAN: No. In Srebrenica.
HASIC: Oh. It was--in Srebrenica, it was March 1993.
SLOAN: Ninety-two or '93?
SLOAN: And you were taken from there and you said you were in this gym and youwere on soccer fields. Where were you at? 55:00
HASIC: No, no, no, no. From there we had aunt. She had houses. And she give ushouse to be there. But 1993, there was--in March month--it was United Nations, when they came to Srebrenica and said, "Srebrenica is now protected of the United Nations." From that time, all bad things more are rapidly going to be worse than was before.
SLOAN: So was your family able to stay together up until that time?
HASIC: Yes. They was together up even in that time, but I don't know--and todayalso I ask myself why we have United Nations and why they are lie [to] whole 56:00world. Because everywhere where they are came, genocide was. In Srebrenica they came in 1993 in March month. That time, Serbia had get more control. Okay, maybe people was kind of trying to hang up. But, even I can tell you that. But 1995, they did nothing to protect those people when genocide basically happened. For the three days they killed around 10,000 peoples, a few hundred raped, and so on, so on. You have even memorial center in Srebrenica-Potočari [Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center and Cemetery]. If you see that, they have child who was just born--just born--and if you think that any human being, when 57:00child coming out from mom, and they'll just (makes bashing motion) with legs and just go away like nothing happened. And they have documented and they have cemetery in there now. I think years ago they find them in some mass grave and now they bury them there.
SLOAN: Still identifying--
HASIC: Still identifying because they have first mass grave, they have second,and they have a third. They tried to hide those mass graves and some of the Serbish people who can't hold it inside, they'll go and tell somebody and then they'll go and locate those things.
SLOAN: Well, talk a little bit more about how the situation changed in '93 andhow--I know it got worse in '93. 58:00
HASIC: Whole years up to '93, people who lived on the village, they couldproduce little food, like flour for the food, some corns--because mostly of those people who lived in the village, they have land and they could go and put in the land and take and grow and then make food. We also had enough water. Every house had own water. They didn't use city water. People who was refugee who came, they could at least--very, very hard--but handle. Mostly people have houses and took one or two family or three family in those house and then take 59:00what matters. Pull out all bed from the house and just--emergency, emergency, you have to do what you have to do--and sleep all together. And those things was kind of--still--it's not good, but it's not bad; could be worse.
When 1993 came, when United Nations came in Srebrenica, then Serbia start makemore pressure, not only with paramilitary. There came force from Serbia with few thousand on the one way from the Bajina Bašta called--it's city, what is border with Srebrenica. They come from the kind of little mountain, what they called 60:00Tara, that could see from the Serbia whole Srebrenica, and they do with artillery, with battery, on the shell, grenades, and rockets, and so on--I mean missiles. And then they put--when you put whole village people they have around Srebrenica in one place, you can forget food. You can forget everything. Then you can thinks how terrible situations is. When you put--examples: around twenty five, thirty thousand people on the place where lived maybe between three and six thousand people, then you can think how situation is. Forget food. Forget other things. They didn't have food. They didn't have salt. But it is also 61:00important for the people. Basically, just they have naked life. That's it. And then, was kind of callous.
And then coming April 1993, between April 5 and 10, Canadian battalions cameinto Srebrenica as United Nations force. It was between three hundred and five hundred soldiers. That was sunny very good days, and people go on the soccer field to play. Some people playing instruments and others [were] dancing. Serbish with three missiles from around Srebrenica that time killed 63 or 64 62:00people, around 120 wounded. It was very bloody days. One guy was fourteen years [old]. He was Sead Bekric. He is now in Florida. He lost both eyes and he was in coma. One lady from the California, she heard about those things and she says, "Just bring him to United States and California." And they was transfer him to Zagreb. And from the Zagreb he came to California. He was in coma. And they was blow out his eyes with missiles but still was kind of, like, hanging. And then 63:00from the California, he was there in California, and after two or three months he [regained] conscious[ness] and then she help him. He finish school and now he lives in Florida--Tampa--but without eyes. And he was just fourteen years old.
And then, that day passed, so on, so on. Canadian battalion was in from theUnited Nations. April--I think it was 24, 1993, like I says, I was also go from Srebrenica to Tuzla. And then later was, I think--I don't know for sure--it was December, January 1994--was forces from the Netherlands, United Nations also 64:00that was changing with Canadian force--replaced it. Then, 1995 from the February, March month, intelligence and some special agent, they report to the United Nations. They report to governments in Sarajevo that Serbia is bringing more troops around Srebrenica. They are bringing more equipment. They says, "Don't worry. We will do it. We are United Nations. We will save you. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."
And even in July 3 or 4, 1995, and United Nations--when Serbia start to fightingand try to occupy Srebrenica, night before, intelligence of the forces of the 65:00Bosnian governments, they're sitting and making meeting. And they make plan to protect staff from the general from the Canadian battalion--not Canadian, sorry--from the Netherlands. He came and says, "I know what you are thinking about. Tomorrow from the six in morning up to ten, anyone who would be--who will be on those field--NATO pact coming and I will drop bombs." And they gave up, but [the general] was just lying. And Serbish stopped fighting. But from that times was everything late. People try a few days, but they didn't have any more bullets and they have to just go through force, try to come on the territory 66:00under the control of Bosnia and Herzegovinian military. Many of them didn't have weapons. Some of them [were evacuated to or escaped to] Tuzla. Many of them that are catch, killed. And they do. Many of them there would not catch them but they use also biological weapon.
HASIC: How I know, I have my friends also. My uncle, he is now in (snapsfingers) Kentucky--legal. He also talk about those things. You have some people who just start taking off clothes and says, "They will kill me. They will kill me." And (slaps leg) directly go from those for to shoot them. And even after 67:00those things, after a few days, when they occupy Srebrenica, blah, blah, blah--I mean, after a few months, even a few years, they are still catching people who survive in the forest and tried to camp somewhere, because many of them didn't know the way to Tuzla. When they make barricade, when they try fighting with some of those people from Srebrenica, many of them lost in the forest. Those biological weapon, teargas, and all things what they use, it is very hard. I heard one guy, he was eight year old, his name Adel, he live around Sarajevo right now. He says they catch him and they force him to wash knife when they 68:00have killed men. He was very depressed and he's very, very, very sick. Let me just--I know probably you have more--but when I told you in the beginning of the story how people lived with each other--basically, like one guy who was in paramilitary, his name is Dragan Nikolić. He was in the Hague Tribunal. You heard about that?
SLOAN: Um-hm. Yeah.
HASIC: For the genocide and war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. And he getjustice for twenty years. He says after that he was very sorry and like he says, it was nightmare. And one guy who was also in Sarajevo in justice, his name is 69:00Borislav Herak. He describe in detail [during the trial] how he did with people when they catch them, how they are trained--and he says few months before then war start, they practice how to slaughter men on the pig, on the pork. And he describe how they slaughter humans. What I was read[ing this], even [though I had already] heard many stor[ies], I was shaking.
SLOAN: The move to Tuzla in 1993--did the UN [United Nations] organize the move?How did that happen?
HASIC: UN organized just a few people who was very, very wounded. I should not70:00be in those things. Like I told you (laughs) on the beginning, somehow, whatever, I was maybe lucky. One guy, he--he was a--what do you call--he was surgeon--doctor. He came from--he was from Tuzla. He came often times from Tuzla through forest past enemy territory and try to help what could he help. And he helped me to go in those helicopters and go to Tuzla. But I couldn't go with those things. And he told me, "If you don't go with those, you will go with me."
SLOAN: I see. Now, what was the situation like in Tuzla in '93 when you got there?
HASIC: When I was--when I go in Tuzla, it was totally different. It was71:00civilized. It was like in Fort Worth. When I go in ham radio club, I told them, "You can talk with God from here." Because on the things what I have, but what we have in Srebrenica. [In Tuzla] they have everything, like normal situation. Because that could go from Tuzla to Croatia, you know, way was open. But those things like Srebrenica, Žepa, Goražde was in the secure from the Serbish paramilitary force. Nothing come in. Nothing come out.
SLOAN: You had freedom in Tuzla. Yeah.
HASIC: And Tuzla was kind of totally different.
SLOAN: Now, did your family stay behind in Srebrenica?
HASIC: Yes. Only my brother was with me.
SLOAN: I see. And how did your brother get to go to Tuzla?
HASIC: Because doctor says he has to go with me as guidance.72:00
SLOAN: I see. So where did you live in Tuzla? What was your situation? Wherewere you staying there?
HASIC: First, they give us in the sports center [SKPC] Mejdan. It's where I wasplay basketball and so on, so on. All those refugees. And then I had from Sarajevo my friends, who go from Sarajevo and go in Tuzla. And they are starting in college and they lived in dormitory. And they accept me because condition was totally different than those sports center. And then from there, like I says to [Nathan Roberts], they offer to me go into Tuzla hospital work. And I ask them, "Where I going to live?" They says, "Wherever you are now." I says, "I cannot live now where I am right now. This is just temporary." And I didn't accept 73:00those job. And then I go Gračanica; it was around, let's go, say, twenty miles from Tuzla. A little city and they give me house, accept me for the working as massage therapist, and like I says, supervisor of the department of the massage, and they give me work on the ham radio, help them communicate with Srebrenica and make communication between those people who is in Tuzla and conversing with people from Srebrenica. It was kind of excellent life. Those people was kind of good and very nice.
SLOAN: So you were able to get information from Srebrenica, what was going onthere, and what the situation was like there?
HASIC: Yes. I could--able--often time I was also--I was make connection between74:00chief commander of the military in Srebrenica with his wife. She was in Tuzla. But we didn't talk about those things because on those things, everyone could listen--everyone who have ham radio.
I want tell you one situation when I was--they had changed places for the hamradio many times in Gračanica, and one time they put ham radio station on elementary school, third floor. I was there afternoon--was like three or four o'clock. I don't know what day it was. One lady, she had three child, but she came--walk almost two hours to come in Gračanica and talk to her husband in 75:00Srebrenica. And I was manage those conversations and found people in Srebrenica that'll find her husband, bring them, and so on, so on. When she start to talk with her husband--Ozren was mountain where was also Serbish paramilitary. They sent one battery, one grenades--kind of like little missiles--and hit edge on the windows. When they hit edge on the window, those things where they was, they all fell down. And my situation, [as I] said, was very tough. You have to think very--you have to very, very fast think. If they knows their target--you know, 76:00goal--then you are done. They will send more and more. And lady (laughs)--lady was under table. I took her from the hand and then just go under table. But I didn't let her to throw away microphone. Then I took microphone and I just said, "She is just drinking water. She will just be on the way." And then when I take off microphone, from Srebrenica, they says, "What is that? Is it missiles or what?" I says, "Nothing. Just raining and lightening." (laughs)
SLOAN: Yeah. You had to be careful what information you shared. Yes.
HASIC: Well, because we know that--especially forces, they're catching and77:00they're listening. If they know, then [they will fire more artillery at the same target]--and second, behind me in the same building was kind of one part of the commands of the Bosnian forces. I don't know what they are try to do, but almost they're target.
SLOAN: Did you see--in your time in Tuzla, did you see more and more of the warcoming to Tuzla?
HASIC: In Tuzla--was not war in city of Tuzla. But there was--far away fromTuzla, around mountain--Serbish forces on the mountain. Military of the Bosnia and Herzegovina was also around them. And they was kind of just stopped there. 78:00They're just trying to fight with each other, but was like that and those territory was free. Only what they do sometimes send missiles on to Tuzla; that's it. Because they couldn't do anything else. And other cities was very hard. Like examples--like I says--maybe forty, fifty kilometers from Tuzla was Brčko. That was very hard. East from Tuzla, also one city was Teočak, was also very hard situation. And also from Tuzla to middle Bosnia was also hard situation. But Tuzla is Tuzla. Tuzla, Srebrenica, Gračanica was so, so.
SLOAN: Yeah. How often were you able to talk to your family?79:00
HASIC: Maybe I could do every day. But I didn't want to use situation orprivilege what I have it. Once per week or month I do that. I could do it for the few places in Srebrenica, but like I says, I didn't want to use privilege what I have on the other peoples. You know, situation is, if I scratch your back, then I expect you scratch my back too. And I didn't want to put myself in those positions. Because all other ham radio [operators] from Srebrenica probably have also some people in the Tuzla, Srebrenica, or whatever. But if I insist to give them [messages for] my family every day, then they will probably do the same way. And if I do that same way, many refugee would I have in Tuzla 80:00and from Srebrenica that will make whatever strike and make me problems from here. Like I already had one problems where I have to use police to try and make things supposed to go.
SLOAN: Yeah. So too much talking would draw attention.
SLOAN: To you and your family, probably, on the other side. What does yourbrother do when he was in Tuzla?
HASIC: He was at that [time] seventeen, eighteen years old and they are try tomobilize them go in the military forces. And I didn't let them do that. I go in the--I had one friend, he was a chief in the one part of the military. And he get them free and then I go in the chief commander of the military, and I get 81:00them also make them free. But one--you know, they make them free, but you know--he was just high school and young, and he was then narcissistic. (Sloan laughs) And then he says [to others], "You have to go. I don't have to go." And then I have to have conversation with him. I have to tell him, "How can you be stupid like that?" He says, "Why?" [I tell him,] "You see that many people have to go, of course, for just protect you and me; this is number one. Number two, some people is wounded. Some people is killed. What do you think some people on the front line they lost best friends? They came from the frontline and you are talking like that. What do [you] think they are thinking? They will [be] thinking, 'Who are you? Where are you coming from?' Of course not. They will just take gun and finish with you." What is realistic? What is possible? You 82:00know, when you are out of your mind, you don't care who [it is you are killing].
SLOAN: And when you are young, you feel like nothing can hurt you.
HASIC: Not only--you don't think--you know--put yourself in those positions whenyou are in frontline and you lost maybe brother or best friend. And you coming in city, and someone says, "Well, you have to go. I don't have to." How would you behave? In that time he lost friend, or someone, or family, or who knows who. You are out [of] your mind, and you will say, "Yes, I do. You don't have [to], but now you will not go even if you want." Just take gun and--done.
SLOAN: So while you're communicating with your family back in Srebrenica, doesthe situation begin to change there as far as the news you are getting back? 83:00
HASIC: With my family, when I communicated in Srebrenica, like I says, Icouldn't talk with them any of those stuff.
SLOAN: Yes. So you didn't know?
HASIC: I know, but I couldn't--you could not know from that.
SLOAN: From them. Yeah.
HASIC: Because, like I says, enemy listen everything. I just ask them, "Why isthis? How are you doing--this?" Guy, girl, woman, whatever is it. Just basic stuff, and that's it. About food--"How much do you have out there? Have so and so?"--I didn't ask, because in that time, enemy was mostly weapon--food. Make people hungry as much as they can and make more terrible situation in the city. 84:00
SLOAN: Now, during that period did they stay in your aunt's house? Did theycontinue to stay in your aunt's house?
HASIC: Yes, they stay up to end.
SLOAN: I see. Up to '95?
HASIC: Yes, in '95, my mom, my two sisters, they some in Tuzla and father,brother who was 1977, he didn't.
SLOAN: The evacuation--you said in January 1995 is when you evacuated?
HASIC: April 1993.
SLOAN: No, no. When you evacuated from Tuzla to Germany.
HASIC: Oh. From Tuzla to Germany, it wasn't evacuation. I was first--I alsomake--in that time I was, what you call, a mediator between German, Frankfurt 85:00University [Goethe University of Frankfurt(??)] and Tuzla university [University of Tuzla(??)]. And make them some aids from the Frankfurt university to Tuzla university. I had my friend, who was my roommate in Sarajevo. He work, that time, something from the university on the Frankfort, in Germany. And then, there was coming some German people in Tuzla and they see how is life. And then they offer to me, "Come," and I told them very clear, "If I came there, I would not come back anymore." (laughs) You know?
But, I make mistake while I did that. And then, I go from the Tuzla to Germanyand I stay there. And then, 1998, I make application for United--to go into 86:00United States. I thought situation is better than [it is]. And I was in the one interview in the embassy--United States embassy in the Frankfurt--and they let me come. They give me visa. They pay--whatever is, kind of--airplane. And that time, when I came in Texas, basically--first, when I go in interview in Frankfurt, interview was supposed to be fifteen minutes. My interview was like almost one hours, maybe more. I ask lady who was consul--I don't what is her name, I forgot--I ask her very clear, "What would be my situation? What is my 87:00rights in United States? And how about then my continue education? How about my employment?" On the end, when I have so many questions, her word was--I tried to have interview with her on the German language. She didn't want to. She know German, but she want to in English. But we have translator. And on the end she says, "Just go. You will have everything." (Sloan laughs) I told her very clear, "It's easy for you [to say], 'Just go. You will have everything.' But what about when I come there?"
I send letters from the German city of Ludwigshafen to refugee organization herein Fort Worth. And a lady who was translating from the German to English here, 88:00she told me she saw those letters. But I don't have with me those letters. Maybe I have somewhere a copy, but I can't find it in so many of my stuff. And also, what I said in embassy, and I told them very clear, "I don't want to go there like someone who is very hungry and who doesn't have to work, who doesn't have anything." All those things was positive. They says, "Everything will be like you said. Okay." When I came, everything is opposite. Nothing (laughs) like they told me.
And I make one mistake, also, when I came from the Germany. When I--when I go89:00into the police and tell them, "I have to--I want to--now visa to leave United--I mean Germany." And they says, "Okay. We will give you visa and your passport. You can go and be six month out of Germany and then come back." What's happened, when I came United States, after one month--first month, well basically, I wasn't happy. But I thought maybe, you know, you change place and everything will be better and so on, so on. And some people when I meet here, from the Bosnia, they says, "All will be good." When passed six months, I couldn't come back anymore. And this is after all things probably bigger mistake in my life that I make when I came to United States. Not only--not because I 90:00don't like people here. Because I don't like way how they behave to people, how they are treat[ed].
SLOAN: So the mistake was you should have stayed in Germany?
HASIC: Should I stay--yes. I should stay in Germany or I should go back in Bosnia.
SLOAN: Go back home. Yeah. Now, when you were in Germany in '95, when thesituation got very bad in Srebrenica, do you have information?
HASIC: Yes, I did have. I had ham radio with me in Germany. I had license inthat time in Germany also. They gave me license on the German telecom. My call sign was DF6WF. I had those license and I spoke with the ham radio in Tuzla and 91:00some ham radio people from the Srebrenica. When they start to go away then you couldn't make any more contact with those.
SLOAN: So do you remember the last conversation you had with your family?
HASIC: Either last or first was same. (laughs)
SLOAN: Yeah. They didn't change?
HASIC: Yeah. Nothing change. Was all same.
SLOAN: Have you been back to Bosnia since you left?
HASIC: I was 2009 and 2010, when we have funeral for my father and my brother.
HASIC: They found them and then we had to give DNA--and then when they make surethey are those things and then we go and make funeral for them. 92:00
SLOAN: What was that like for you?
HASIC: Was like for me? You know what, basically, it was kind of hard and kindof like you know that you can't change anything. Happened, what's happened. Life [is] still going. And you have to do what is momentarily and think if you can talk and give advice to some people that they don't make mistake. But nothing more. Just--you know, when you come those--when you see people crying--and especially females, and so on, so on. Then, (laughs) then I have also some, after that, fighting with my mom. She want to some--with some religion stuff 93:00what I don't agree with those things. But, it was okay.
SLOAN: Can I ask you about the disagreement with your mom?
HASIC: You know what? Church and mosque is big business. Do it, what is basic,what you have to do it. Nothing less. Nothing more. You don't have to pay to imam what you don't have. And I tell her, "Does he have salary?" She says yes. "Does he have a job?" She says yes. "Then why I have to pay him something extra?" She says, "Yes, but his salary is little." [I say,] "I don't care. If he is not satisfied then he should have to resign--just go away. So many people 94:00doesn't have a job. Maybe someone will be even for the little."
SLOAN: So you still have family in Srebrenica?
HASIC: I have some, but my mom now live near Sarajevo. She have house.
SLOAN: I see. So, you said it was hard but also good to go back?
HASIC: Yeah. You know, you still see all the friends what was still alive. Yousee your culture everywhere. People is totally changed but still is kind of stand-able. And you can at least go and see places where you was young. You know 95:00when you go somewhere from Texas?
HASIC: And you know you born there? You grow up, and when you come after fewyears you're still like those places. Doesn't matter how is it.
SLOAN: It's still part of you.
HASIC: Yeah. You know, I watch one documentary a few days ago--guy in Montana.And he was grow up, married, and his wife later died. And when his son come and sell his house and he start cry. He says, "This is last parts of me." He grow up and live there.
SLOAN: I want to make sure Nate--I told--Nate and Melissa are here as well--Iwant to make sure they have an opportunity to ask some questions if they have questions for you. Nate, do you have any questions?
ROBERTS: I do. Thanks for talking to us. I'm curious--there will be people96:00watching this video and seeing you. What do you want them to know about the genocide? What do you want them to know about the Bosnian war and your experiences?
HASIC: What I want to that they are [to] know that they don't believe--theydon't believe when someone come and say, "We will protect you." No one doesn't protect anyone; this is number one. Number two, in Bosnian genocide, in Srebrenica, whole world--United Nations--knew 100 percent what will be happen. But they didn't do anything to protect even they could do that.
Why do I say that? Because Samantha Fox, I think is her name [Samantha Powers],97:00she is now ambassador in the United Nations from the United States. Back that time she worked for the Washington Post, I thinks. And she was journalist from the Sarajevo. She sent her text to Washington Post and she says what's going on, what she thinks will be happening. They didn't publish her letters and plus they sent her mail and tell her, "You are there to just tell what you see, not what you thinks or what you know." Allan Little, also journalist from the BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] that time. He have same situation. Even he ask, on the conference in Sarajevo, "Why did you take all weapon from the 98:00Srebrenica residents and Srebrenica military? Why you didn't also take weapon from the Serbish force around Srebrenica?" That time was Swedish guy who was commander of the United Nations in Bosnia and he says, "Whoever try to do in Srebrenica, he try to occupy it--blue flag over United Nations--and we will answer them more stronger." That he says, "I told them, 'I would never wish that United Nations protect my family.'"
I can't to explain those people who are going to see--or whatever is--how [it]was there. I [do not] have the word[s]. Doesn't matter what language you are talking. Only people who [were] there, [know what it was like]. Without food and 99:00on the few square of the miles--thirty-six thousand people--without food, salt, any--any others--things for the change clothes--terrible. You can't explain. You have to be there in those situations.
ROBERTS: You also have a daughter. What is her name?
ROBERTS: Selma. And she is eight. Is that correct?
ROBERTS: What do you want her to know about Bosnia? And what will you tell herabout Bosnia when she is older?
HASIC: Well, I have to be careful with that. First, I have to be carefulbecause, if I told her just right now whole story what's happened, maybe--not 100:00maybe, for sure probably--she will hate all Orthodox. And I don't want her to--I don't want her to say that all Orthodox was false or guilty. And I have to wait to her a little to grow up and then explain to her. She ask often time where is her grandfather. I just says, "He's die." Because you can't just go and try and explain. Maybe she will find also someone here in Fort Worth who is Orthodox and who even knows anything about those things. And she will hate them and will not, maybe, talk to them. And that's why I have to be careful about those things.
SLOAN: I wanted to ask, what did you learn of your family's experience later on101:00in 1995 as far as what happened to them?
HASIC: What I learned for them that they was naïve, including me, and that theybelieve people who [they] shouldn't believe. That--especially in those things. If I told you, like I says, drink a coffee or eat lunch with other peoples was kind of normal every day. We have also those people who was neighbor--had them grow up. They didn't have one of parents or they was very poor. They didn't have food. When war start, those guys come first and kill those family. That is very 102:00sad. But like I says, media manipulated people. Governments from Serbia manipulated people. And also, all those people was open jail. When they come from the jail--all criminals--then happened what's happened.
SLOAN: Well, we've--I appreciate you sharing your story. Are there somequestions I should have asked you? Some things you think should be shared that we didn't get into?
HASIC: Like what?
SLOAN: I don't know. I just want to make sure I didn't miss anything, stories asyou've thought of it. Because I know, as we've led up to today, you've been thinking, probably, about it and what you would like to share. Are there some things that you wanted to share that we didn't get to share yet? 103:00
HASIC: Well--also like Nathan asked me or you also asked me--United Nations andso on, so on--not only United Nations. And you asked me in the beginning how Soviet Union have influence. You have to understand that Srebrenica occupied 1995, like July, maybe--definitely seventh and eleventh. United States CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] directly watch over satellite how Serbish paramilitary killing those people--way how they are killing--and they didn't do nothing. They also knows. And a few days before then they occupied and start 104:00killing--also United States, United Nations, and French generals--I didn't explain this. There was with general of the paramilitary Serbish in Zvornik and talk about those things. Whole world knows. Only people in Srebrenica didn't know what was going on.
SLOAN: You talked about it being hard here for you in the United States. Is thatanother part of why it's hard?
HASIC: No, but another part because--I study political science and I read manybooks and I know how politics [work]. Part of why is hard--transportation system is bad in United States, different totally than Europe. You can't be 105:00independent. Second--maybe this is only in Fort Worth, I don't know--agency what are supposed to help, they don't do it--like, Fort Worth Council of the Blind. Second, things what is also--what I thought is totally different, even more is stereotype in United States to disabled and blind people than Europe. And--if you--examples: if you go in Mexican people or something, they think if you are blind, you are evil. If you try to apply [for] some work, for sure they will not accept you. They have too many, many, many--you have to have good connection, 106:00very good, to prove that you know [how to] do those things. In Europe still, have little, but not like that. It's much better. In former Yugoslavia and Bosnia, for sure not was like that. If you have license, if they know you know how to do, go ahead and do it. Done.
Here it looks like this: I had situation in 2004 when I was in internship forthe massage therapy. When the receptionist get call from the patient that want a massage, I don't know why, but I didn't want to do anything. I just left; she 107:00told them, "We have one student. He is blind." And many patients doesn't want to [have a massage] when they heard that you are blind. What is still totally, I don't know. And also, if you want to be teacher here and you are blind, it is impossible almost.
And now, I have question for you. How many disabled or blind people do you havein your company?
SLOAN: We have many disabled.
HASIC: Don't consider disabled if they have something, but blind or deaf?
SLOAN: Blind or deaf, we have a deaf studies department at Baylor.
HASIC: Okay. It's okay? Deaf studies. Okay.
SLOAN: And so we have a deaf--he's actually done interviews for us on video--a108:00deaf gentleman--deaf professor--interviewing a deaf missionary, actually. So--but yes. I would agree there are limitations that should not be there.
HASIC: Not only limitation. It's no problem with limitation. But problem is onthe huge, huge stereotype of what I--totally surprised of the one huge state with good power, what I consider a good economy, and I thought people was more civilized. (laughs)
SLOAN: Well, we've covered a lot of ground today. I appreciate you sitting down,Abdulah, and sharing your story with us. It's something that we want to take and share with others to understand the experience you talked about now. And you're 109:00also giving us another understanding of your experience being not sighted and what it's like to live without sight here. So, thank you very much for sitting down with us.
HASIC: Thank you for having me.
end of interview