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Displaced: A Bosnian's Story

By Carmina Osuna

    Upon her return to Bosnia, Lana (23), came to discover that what she once thought of as home had been taken over by a judge.

A town in Bosnia 12 hours away from Croatia was where her home was.  Lana remembers that most Catholics who lived in Bosnia moved to Croatia.  There were about 13,000 people who made it to Norway from Bosnia.  Most of these were families and couples who had inter-marriages households where the parents were raised practicing different religions or non at all. Photo
My family and I stayed in Norway after the second war. There were two wars really, the first between Serbia and the Croats who believed they were performing ethnic cleansing the second was the Muslims against the Croats.  This took place between April 6 1992 and November 1995.  My family and I however, came back to Bosnia in 1998.  Many of the displaced families came back to find that their homes had been taken over by other families whose homes were also inhabited by strangers.  We left everything behind and our memories were thrown away, I guess.  My family like many others had to go to court and prove that the home we claimed as our own was actually ours.  The rule was that people had to have two documents of ownership.  The guy staying at our house was the judge that was to decide our case.  Luckily for us, he voluntarily moved out to another of his three houses.  Others who were able to move back into their home were now in a neighborhood dominated by a different culture of people.  For a Serbian who was in a predominant Muslim neighborhood would switch homes with a Muslim in a predominantly Serbian community.

             Even with some people finding a comfortable place to live there are many more that have yet to find their niche.  Lana says that the displacement of people has been such a big problem to the point that there hasn’t been a census since 1991, when people began to move back to their homelands.

            Lana is currently living and studying general law in Bosnia.  She also recognizes what I recall learning about India youth and education, “the brain drain,” the out-migration of educated professionals from Croatia and Bosnia.   Lana says that she doesn’t understand why students leave after getting a practically free education.  Lana says that Bosnia needs a lot of work and that she plans to be part of the solution.  

The in-class reading, “People Displaced,” includes interviews of displaced people from Croatia.  The interviews tell the stories in a similar way as I did above.  Regardless of why wars are fought it always affects both sides especially in a war where the land borders are close to non-existent.  The Croatian and Bosnian experiences are similar in the sense that there were displaced people from both sides.  Wars undoubtedly affect people and the migration to or form the countries involved.  Many people move because of the military draft or because they simply don’t agree with the politics and don’t see any other solution.  In Lana’s family’s case, as in the case of many others, they had no other choice but to move for their own safety. 

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