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People from the former Yugoslavia and their lived experiences of war, exile and resettlement Djukic, Branka 2009

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PEOPLE FROM THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND THEIR LIVEDEXPERIENCES OF WAR, EXILE, AND RESETTLEMENTbyBRANKA DJUKICB.Sc., The University of Sarajevo, 1989B.A., The University ofBritish Columbia, 2005A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIALFULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREEOFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Counselling Psychology)THE UNWERSITY OF BRITISHCOLUMBIA(Vancouver)August 2009© Branka Djukic, 200911ABSTRACTThe latest war in the former Yugoslavia officially ended with the Dayton Agreement inDecember of 1995. As the country disintegrated, people of the former Yugoslaviasuffered enormous losses. One whole way of living disappeared. Many of these peoplewere forced to leave their homes and fmd shelter elsewhere. In most of these cases,therewas no way back and people had to resettle in other countries. To live through andexperience war, exile, and resettlement implies experiencing multipletraumas. Over thelast two decades, researchers became interested in studying positive psychologicalexperiences of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in peoplewho lived through traumatic lifeevents. Also, psychological process of meaning makingout of adverse events occupiedresearchers’ interest. These have been attempts to broaden ourperspectives onexperiencing trauma, in addition to studying psychological distress.This study attemptedto find potential evidence of posttraumatic growth,psychological distress, and meaningmaking process in participants’ stories in order to verifyif these concepts are viable forsample of people from the former Yugoslavia. Fiveparticipants from the formerYugoslavia, 2 men and 3 women, were asked to sharetheir stories about their personallived experience of war, exile, and resettlement.These stories were explored andanalyzed in order to see how people construct theirstories and make meaning out of theirlife experiences. Also, the storieswere scrutinized for evidence of any positive ornegative changes in the aftermath of severely disturbingevents. The main question askedin this research was “ How do people from theformer Yugoslavia describe their livedexperiences ofwar, exile, and resettlement?” Throughoutthe interviews, it becameobvious that these people were still experiencing asignificant amount of emotional111distress and that negative psychological effects resulting from these life experiences werestill present. Several themes in this study were common for all participants: negativepsychological effects, walking shells, and dreaming of return. No evidence ofexperiencing PTG was found with these participants who still struggle to make sense outof these events. This might indicate that the concept of PTG should not be readilyassumed when working with clients from this world region and clients who experiencedthese multiple adverse life events.TABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACTiiTABLE OF CONTENTS ivLISI’ OF TA]3LESviLIST OF FIGURESviiACKNOWLEDGMENTSvfflDEDICATIONixCHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION1Yugoslavia1Researcher’s subjectivity5Research question and purpose of the study8Why are these experiences important to study?9ChAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW11Theory of trauma and posttraumatic stress11Posttraumatic growth17Meaning making22CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY25The qualitative research paradigm25The narrative research design26The researcher’s reflexivity27Data collection28Participants28Procedure32Data analysis34Validation of fmdings37Ethical concerns in narrative research38CHAPTER 4: NARRATIVES39Nikola39Dijana59Boria71Tatjana94ivVZdravka.108Impact of event scale scoring results132Well-being question132CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, LIMiTATIONSAN])CONCLUSION134Across narrative themes134Consequences of multiple traumas — evidenceof continuing distress 135Enduring distress135“As good as it gets”- PTG in Bosnian way146Meaning making — or the lack ofjt149Implications for theory, research, and clinicalpractice 152Limitations of the study155Conclusion156References158i.PPENDICF,S163Appendix A: Recruitment flyer (Serbo-Croatian)164Appendix A: Recruitment flyer(English)165Appendix B: Letter of initial contact(Serbo-Croatian)166Appendix B: Letter of initial contact(English)168Appendix C: Informed consent form(Serbo-Croatian)170Appendix C: Informed consent form (English)173Appendix D: Impact of event scale(Serbo-Croatian)176Appendix D: Impact of eventscale (English)177Appendix E: Interview guidelines178Appendix F: Ethics approval certificate179viLIST OF TABLESTable 1. Population and the ethnic makeup in the former Yugoslavia 1Table 2. Themes across narratives 134viiLIST OF FIGURESFigure 1. Ethnic map of the former Yugoslavia 3viiiACKNOWLEDGMENTSI would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Bill Borgen, for his expertise, guidance,understanding, and support throughout this undertaking. I would like to thank mycommittee members, Dr. Marla Buchanan and Dr. Mary Westwood, for their expertise,time, valuable comments and above all a genuine interest in this research.I would like to thank my husband Dragan, and my children Katarina and Tomislav fortheir generosity, patience, encouragement, and support.I would like to thank to all of my participants for their trust and their willingness to openup and share their personal life stories with me.DEDICATIONI dedicate this thesis to all refugees, past andpresent, from theformer Yugoslavia withhope theyfind their inner peaceix1CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTIONYugoslaviaYugoslavia (Figure 1) used to be a country in the South East Europe that coveredabout 255,697 square kilometers. That was three times the size of Austria and larger thanthe size of Great Britain (Palmer, 1964). The main language spoken in Yugoslavia wasSerbo-Croatian. Slovenian was spoken mainly in Slovenia and Macedonian inMacedonia. However, most people throughout Yugoslavia could speak Serbo-Croatian.According to 1991 census, Yugoslavia had population of 23,542,815 inhabitants(Stanovnitvo Jugoslavije, 2009). It consisted of 6 republics and 2 autonomous regions(Table 1).Republic Population Ethnic groupsSlovenia 1,965,986 88% Si, 3% C, 2% S, 1%M, 6%0*Croatia 4,784,265 78% C, 12% S, 10% 0Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,377,033 40 % M, 32% S, 18%C, 5.5% Yu4.5% 0Montenegro 615,035 62%Mo, 5% M, 9% S, 7% A, 7% 0Macedonia 2,033,964 65% Ma, 22%A, 4%T, 3%R, 2% 5,4%0Serbia 5,790,803 87% 5, 4% H, 4% Yu, 2% Mo, 1%C,1%R, 1%0(Vojvodina) — AR (2,031,992) 60%S, 17%H, 9%Yu, 4%C, 3%Sio,2 % Mo, 2%Rmn, 1%R 2%0(Kosovo) — AR (1,956,196) 82% A, 10%S, 3%M, 2% R, 1%Mo2%0Table 1. Population and the ethnic makeup in the former Yugoslavia*Si=SlovenesMMuslims S=Serbs C=Croats Mo=Montenegrians A= AlbaniansMa=Macedonians TTurks HHungarians RRoma RmnRomanians Yu YugosiavsO0therThere were 6 natural geographical zones in Yugoslavia. The first was theextension of the Alps, which covers western Slovenia. The second zone spreads alongthe Adriatic coast and has Mediterranean vegetation and Mediterranean climate. Behind2the Adriatic coast, there is the Dinaric Chain of mountains, which runs down the entirecountry, broadens in the south and continues into Albania and Greece. The mountainsare cut by lots of short, fast-flowing streams and by a deep fjord, the Boka Kotorska. Eastof this chain are alluvial plains of the rivers Danube and Sava, stretching from theAustrain frontiers to Vojvodina. The sixth zone was the Balkan Mountains that sweptacross Macedonia (Palmer, 1964).At the beginning ofthe XX century, two thirds of the Yugoslav lands were withinthe Austro-Hungarian or Turkish Empires. Only Serbia and Montenegro wereindependent countries at the time. They became independent in 1878 at the BerlinCongress. The first Yugoslavia was created in 1918 after the WWI. Even though someforeigners thought that the state of Yugoslavia was against common sense with so manydifferent nationalities, cultures, and religions, there were three binding forces. Themajority of the people were South Slays, the majority of people shared a commonlanguage, and together these people could resist outside oppression. During the WWIgroups of Croats and Slovenes who had escaped from Austria-Hungary joined the Serbs,who fought valiantly on the same side as British and French, in striving for the right of allsouth Slays to determine their political future after the war ended. This first country wascalled the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and king of Serbia ruled over thiscountry. In 1929 the king established the dictatorship in Yugoslavia and subsequentlyKing Alexander was assassinated at Marseilles in 1934.In 1941, Yugoslavia collapsed after less than 2 weeks fighting with Germany andits allies. Without declaring the war, Germany mass bombed Belgrade on the earlymorning of April6thof 1941 after which they invaded the country. Then civil war came,3and the people of Yugoslavia experienced horrors like no other country. Local fanatics’cruelty shocked even invaders. The population of Yugoslavia was decimated in WWIIwhen 1,700,000 lost their lives. The second Yugoslavia was born out of this experience.Figure 1. Ethnic map of the former Yugoslavia (CIA, 1989)4The second Yugoslavia was created in 1945 with marshal Tito as the head of one-party communist state. Yugoslavia parted with the USSR in 1948, and developed its ownsystem that no other country had. The workers’ self-management system tried tocombine the Western efficacy with Marxist philosophy. Even though this system wasfull of imperfections, Yugoslavia prospered at great pace. The standard of living wasmuch higher than in other communist countries (Borowiec, 1979). h addition to this,Yugoslavia had a policy of free frontiers where citizens were able to travel and workabroad. Yugoslavia was also a leader of non-aligned nations and was a recognizedmember of the international community. Economic growth was significant up until early80’s. Tito was a powerful and charismatic leader and after his death Yugoslavia startedhaving problems. It seems that a combination of internal and external factors contributedto the collapse of the country in the 1990’s. Potential internal factors that contributed tothis collapse were: economic crises, foreign debt, hyperinflation, unemployment,corruption, and nationalism (Lidal, 1989). Potential external factors that iiifluencedYugoslavia were the collapse of eastern block, the fact that Yugoslavia was the onlyremaining communist country in the area, and significant activity ofright wingextremism of Croatia and Serbia that had been very active abroad (Borowiec, 1979,Lidal, 1989). The legacy of this war is a huge death toll, a huge number of refugees,destroyed resources, and ethnic animosity that will live on.5Researcher’s subjectivityI came to Canada 14 years ago from Serbia where I lived for 2 years after I had toleave Sarajevo. My ancestors lived in what used to be Yugoslavia for a very long time,and in Bosnia for several hundred years, both from my father and mother’s side. I alsowas born and lived in Sarajevo my whole life until the war began. My life was there. Ileft for vacations to different places, but I never considered living anywhere else. Thisplace was where everything was, family, friends, home. I knew all the places, lots ofpeople, and everything felt close and familiar. I belonged. I liked the diversity thatSarajevo and Bosnia had, this place where Orthodox, Catholics, Muslims, and Jews livedtogether for a long time in the same city. I knew the most important customs from allreligions, I knew all celebrations and how to go about them.When the war started in Sarajevo, I did not believe it would last long. Actually, atfirst, it felt strange and unreal, like a movie. In the first days of war, I would go out tosee the streets because everything looked different. But then, it started to get moreserious. We stopped going out ofthe apartment completely, grenades were flyingaround, military tanks were passing by the buildings, and food was rimning out. I vividlyremember one Sunday in April of 1992, about five weeks after the start of the war. It wasa mild spring afternoon, I was watching through the window at the lime trees outside. Itwas very cairn, there was no wind, and I thought how strange it felt not to see people onthe street. Streets were completely empty. The contrast of the beautiful spring day andthe ominous situation that we were in was frightening. My realization that I could not goout was defeating. Up to that point, I felt strong in my town and I did not feel fear. Thiswas the first time when I fmally realized that something very serious was happening.6After that time, the situation quickly worsened, we heard that people were leavingthe city, but I did not want to leave because I did not know where I would go. My sisterand my mother did not want to leave either, and my father was the only one who wasscared and anxious for us to leave the city. It seems that he was the only one whounderstood how difficult and unpredictable this situation could turn out to be. He wastwelve years old when the Second World War started, and he remembered that war well.His father was killed in that war, and his mother was tortured in front of her five children.My father was the oldest of five.After a long talk one night, my family decided to leave. In order to leave the city,we needed to split up to be less visible. We were afraid that armed people in the buildingor on the street might start asking us questions and not let us go. My sister and I left first,and my parents left the day after. That morning, as my sister and I were about to leaveour home, my mother was standing in the hallway to see us leaving; I will never forgetthe expression my mother had on her face. She was not saying anything, she onlywatched us. My father was rushing us to make sure that we got out soon because thebombing stopped and it was quiet on the street. That was the last moment in my homewhere I lived my whole life. We never returned back. My sister and I fled first forSerbia, and then my parents left Sarajevo but stayed in Bosnia. We never returned, theynever returned. The only belongings we had were the clothes we were wearing at thetime. We heard later that in about 10 days after we left Sarajevo, some people movedinto our apartment. We knew what happened in cases like that. These people kepteverything they liked and needed and destroyed everything else. I thought I made peacewith not having any physical memories from my past. I was afready in Vancouver in71995 when I ran into one of my Sarajevo’s neighbors on Robson Street. He told me howhis aunt, who was my first neighbor in Sarajevo, got very upset when she saw myparent’s wedding photograph in the garbage container in front ofthe building. She didnot dare take it, and honestly it was not worth a risk when everything else was destroyedanyway. I had a hard time dismissing this image from my mind, but than I realized thatall that is not important. Life is bigger than photographs.Many things have happened in my life from the day I left Sarajevo and manyadversities have been overcome. Now, my sister and I live in Canada, my father passedaway almost three years ago, and my mother lives alone in Bosnia. There was this senseof a terrible tragedy and enormous devastation for so many people that I had to strugglewith. In my own story, it is not only that I got separated from my family and relativesand I lost my physical home and all belongings, I also lost my friends, community,country, and culture. What a struggle it has been for me to come to terms with theseevents, and to understand and accept that what happened cannot be changed, and thethings cannot be as they were before. But it seems that our entire human history has been“a paradox of devastation and recovery — an ebb and flow of suffering anddisintegration,alternating with social unity and hope” (deVries, 1996, p.399). And as I go on living, Itry to make the best of my life, but this does not go without beingsad because of whathappened.When I thought of topics that I wanted to research, for the longest time, I did notwant to pursue this one because it was very personal and painful, but it continued comingback to me. These events would not be denied, and they asked to be talked about againand again. Nothing else had the same meaning and importance for me. There is a power8and creative energy in the stories about difficult times that we lived and witnessedfirsthand (Herman, 1992). That is why I explored stories people from the formerYugoslavia construct about their lived experiences of war, exile, and resettlement. I dobelieve that we learn valuable things from stories people tell on how they managed to goon even though the unimaginable happened and that is the main topic of thisresearchstudy.Research quesfion and purpose of the studyThis research study is deeply personal, it stems from my need to understand howother people deal with events that areextremely disruptive and how they manage to comeout of these extremely difficult times, find new meanings, strength, and joyin living.The main research question I asked in this study was “How do people from theformer Yugoslavia describe their lived experiences of war, exile, andresettlement?” Thepurpose of this study was to explore the stories people from theformer Yugoslaviaconstruct about their experiences of war, exile, and resettlementto arrive at a betterunderstanding of the meaning making process and positive changesthat might occur inthe aftermath of living through severely disturbing events.My interest in the topic of the meaning making processand eventual positivechanges creates additional questions that I wanted to explorein this study: What is theprocess of meaning making that people go through aftertrauma ofwar, exile, andresettlement? What are the factors that are important for thisprocess? Because of theseexperiences, how have participants’ values, identities, perspectives,and expectationschanged? Because of these experiences, how have their goals, purposes, andindividual9beliefs changed? Is there evidence of positive changes in the aftermath of trauma? Isthere evidence of continuing distress?Why are these experiences important to study?After people experience a traumatic event, “the range of reactions is possible”(van der Kolk, 1996, p.162). In the scientific literature, traditionally, the focus has beenmainly on psychological disorder that can result from encounter with trauma. However,as it has been documented (Joseph & Linley, 2008; Tedeschi & Calhoun,2004;Tedeschi, Park, & Calhoun, 1998),there are other types of responses people can have totrauma, but these have not been studied as heavily as PTSD. Anyunderstanding ofreactions to trauma must take account of potential for positive as well asnegativechanges if it is to be considered comprehensive (Joseph & Linley,2008).In the last decade, the research on positive changesfollowing a traumaticexperience has been growing. However, the majority of publishedresearch is NorthAmerican and this notion of posttraumatic growth andwhat it consists of came primarilyfrom North American samples. The posttraumaticgrowth inventory (PTGI) identifiesfive domains of PTG (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996). These are: greaterappreciation of lifeand changed sense of priorities; warmer, more intimaterelationships with others; agreater sense of personal strength; recognition of newpossibilities or paths for one’s life;and spiritual development (Tedeschi & Calhoun,1996). It has been found, however, thatdifferent groups have different structures of posttraumatic growth.A study of Bosnianwar refugees in Sarajevo (Powell, Rosner, Butollo, Tedeschi &Calhoun, 2003) shows asomewhat different factor structure in a translated version of PTGI. Also,the overallmeans were considerably lower than reported in most studies(Powell et al., 2003). This10might indicate that people from cultures other than North American might have differentpatterns of understanding of change after trauma and different patterns of growth (Pals &McAdams, 2004).Therefore, I hoped that this study might shed some light on the process ofmeaning making and positive changes in the aftermath of severe trauma in a sample fromformer Yugoslavia and might also identify different growth patterns for this culturallydifferent sample. According to Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004), who coined the termposttraumatic growth, little is known in general about the processes, concomitants, andexperiences of this phenomenon.In addition to a theoretical contribution, this study has clinical implicationsaswell. It may help clinicians to know more about the process thatpeople go through whenthey deal with significant negative lifeevents. They should be aware of the potential forpositive change in their clients following trauma and adversity.They should also beaware of the different ways of expressing these positive feelingsabout difficultexperiences. Ifthey understand better the possible range ofreactions, counsellors will bebetter positioned to facilitate the integration ofthe negativeexperiences and promotepositive change in the aftermath of trauma. Furthermore,the research in counsellingpsychology has consistently supported meaning inlife importance through studies thatestablished positive relations between meaning andpositive affect, life satisfaction, selfesteem, and optimism (Frazier et. al., 2006). It is hopedthat my study will contribute tothe study of optimal human functioning through tryingto understand the ways meaningdevelops in the face of adversity (Frazier et. al., 2006).11CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEWThe purpose of this literature review is to present current theory and research thatare important for my study and serve as its framework. The concepts thatare importantfor this study are posttraumatic stress, posttraumatic growth, and meaningmaking.Theory of trauma and posttraumatic stressScientific study of trauma started in the late XIX centurywith works of Janet,Charcot, and Freud, however; it waited almost a centuryto get an official diagnosis inDSM-ffl as posttraumatic stress disorder orPTSD (van der Kolk, McFarlane, &Weisaeth, 1996). This was an important milestone as itcreated an organized frameworkfor the systematic study of trauma and “thescientific investigation ofthe nature of humansuffering” (van der Kolk & McFarlane, 1996, p.5).PTSD is a psychological disorder thatmight develop in the aftermath of severelydistressing event that is experienced withintense fear, terror and helplessness.The usual symptoms are hyperarousal,numbing,avoidance, and reexperiencing the event (Janoff-Bulman,1992).It has been found that a high percentageof refugees suffer from PTSD anddepression among both community andclinical population. The empiricalevidencesuggests that over time symptomsdiminish, even though a considerable number ofpeople remain symptomatic. In thelongitudinal study (Vojvoda, D., Weine, S. M.,McGlashan, T., Becker, D. F.,Southwick, S.M., 2008) with Bosnian refugees,it has beenfound that 31/2 years after resettlementin the USA 24% of the sample (sampleof 45participants) was still symptomatic incomparison to 76% shortly after arriving. Similarfindings have been found in other studies.Schmidt, Kravic, and Ehiert (2008) comparedPTSD and self-concept in 29 Bosnianrefugee women currently residing inSwitzerland12and Liechtenstein with 26 women who were internally displaced in northern Bosnia and32 non-displaced women. They found PTSD symptoms present in all three groups;however, the internal refugees had more severe symptoms than other two groups.Sundquist, K., Johansson, L-M., DeMarinis, V., Johansson, S-E.,and Sundquist, J.,(2005) found that the prevalence of PTSD symptoms among the Bosnian women 3-4years after arrival in Sweden were 28.3% and also these women were at significantlyhigher risks of symptoms of other psychological disorders, especially depression andanxiety when compared to Swedish control group. Momartin, S., Silove, D.,Manicavasagar, V., and Steel, Z. (2004) found that not only refugees have a high level ofPTSD symptoms but also they have a high level of comorbid disorders, especiallydepression and this combination might be particularly disabling and associated withlonger-term psychosocial dysfunction.Thulesius and Hakarsson (1999) used a larger sample than most other studies.They screened a consecutive cohort of 206 Bosnian refugees and found the prevalence of18 to 33% among refugees in comparison to .3 to 1% among the participants in thecomparison group. While refugee experiences resemble combat veterans experiences, itwas found that refugees report more reexperiencing than avoidancesymptoms, and this isconsistent with fmdings from Holocaust survivor literature (Vojvoda Ct al., 2008).In his theory of trauma, van der Kolk (1996) explains how the human bodyremembers trauma. Brain, body, and mind are inextricably linked, and it seemsthattrauma affects people on multiple levels of biological functioning. So we can talk aboutpsychophysiological effects, neurohormonal effects, neuroanatomical effects, andimmunological effects of trauma.13Abnormal psychophysiological reactions occur in response to specific remindersof the trauma, and in response to intense but neutral stimuli, suggesting a loss of stimulusdiscrimination. People with PTSD have a highly elevated autonomic response (i.e., asignificant increase in heart rate, skin conductance, and blood pressure) to sounds,images, and thoughts related to specific traumatic incidents. The trauma response iscomplex: hypermnesia, hyperreactivity to stimuli, and traumatic reexperiencing coexistwith psychic numbing, amnesia, avoidance, and anhedonia. Emotions loose theirfunction to alert people to pay attention to what is happening. People with PTSD go fromstimulus to response without being able to figure out what is presently happening, butrather they have fight-or-flight reactions, which cause them to freeze, or overreact andintimidate others. Ultimately, these people may experience having feelings as dangerousand to be avoided. Traumatized people try to compensate for their chronic hyperarousalby “shutting down” on a behavioural level, by avoiding stimuli that remind them of thetrauma, and on a psychobiological level, by emotional numbing to both trauma-relatedand everyday experience.When an organism is under the stress, stress hormones, like catecholamines,serotonin, hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and endogenous opioidsget released to help organism to deal with the stress effectively. In people with PTSD,there is a chronically increased sympathetic nervous system activity, which means thatincreased levels of norepinephrine cause a down-regulation of adrenergic receptors.There is a low urinary cortisol excretion and there is a decreased CNS serotonin level,which in humans is implicated in impulsivity and aggression. Lastly, nature providesprotection against pain via stress-induced analgesia. It was noticed in the WWII that14strong emotions could block pam. Today it is known that this is attributed to the releaseof endogenous opioids, which inhibit pain and reduce panic. Both excessive endogenousopioids and norepinephrine interfere with the storage of experience in explicit memory.Freezing and numbing responses may help organisms not to experience traumatic eventconsciously or not to remember a situation of trauma but this also keep people fromlearning from experience.Amygdala and hippocampus are limbic structures that evaluate the emotionalmeaning and record the spatial and temporal dimensions of experience. It has been foundthat people who suffer from PTSD also experience shrinkage in the hippocampus. Thismight be the effect of increased levels of cortisol. Also, it has been found that whenpeople re-experience a traumatic event, the amygdala is very active while Broca’s area isturned off. This might suggest that people with PTSD experience emotions physicallywithout having words attached to these emotions. It seems that these people are not ableto integrate successfully their affects and thoughts and this results in a high non-reflectivereactivity to the environment.It has long been speculated that traumatic stress might undermine the immunesystem. It was found that women with history of chronic sexual abuse have significantimmunological abnormalities. It is still hard to tell in what way these fmdings will helpto improve lives of people with PTSD (van der KoIk, 1996).The trauma gets “engraved” in the human body with a mode of thinking that ischaracterized by powerful images, feelings, and sensations which do not go away after atraumatic event. When time fails to heal the trauma, PTSD takes over. In this case,15traumatic events continue to exist independently and they do not get integrated andaccepted as past experiences (van der Kolk & McFarlane, 1996).Judith Herman (1992) says, “Psychological trauma is an affliction of thepowerless” (p.33). Herman says that trauma leaves a legacy in a disrupted body,disrupted sense of self, disrupted social relationships, and disrupted sense of meaning.She also speaks about commonalities between people who experience different type oftraumas as they potentially suffer similar psychological harm. She points out that thetraumatic symptoms between victims are as similar as their recovery. According toHerman, the many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder fall into three maincategories: hyperarousal, intrusion, and constriction. Hyperarousal refers to the constantexpectation of danger, intrusion reflects the permanent imprint oftrauma, andconstriction reflects the numbing response of surrender. Herman suggests that, “Thefundamental stages of recovery are establishing safety, reconstructing the trauma story,and restoring the connection between survivors and their community” (p.3). Survivors oftrauma are often on what Judith Herman calls a “survivor mission” (p.207).Confrontation with the spiritual, philosophical, existential, and/or religious themes ofhuman existence are necessary for a full recovery of a person.According to Janoff-Bulman (1992), the traumatic events shatter our fundamentalassumptions about benevolence and meaningfulness ofthe world and of our self-worth.In this way, these traumatic events leave a psychological imprint and make permanentchanges in the psychological world of traumatized people. Janoff-Bulman proposes thathuman beings, from their very beginnings, by having a “good-enough” caregiver, develop16fundamental beliefs about benevolence, meaningfulness, and self-worth. Even thoughthese beliefs are positively biased illusions, they are proved to be very resistant to change.People use different strategies to maintain these beliefs and positive feelings associatedwith them. These beliefs change gradually as people mature to accommodate livedexperiences, however, when tragedy strikes, these beliefs get shattered and the dramaticchange often cannot be easily accommodated and understood. The key in the process ofcoping with trauma is to understand that our basic assumptions are shattered and we needto rebuild them. This process is done at first by automatic coping where twocontradictory processes alternate. Those are denial and emotional numbing andintrusions and re-experiencing ofthe trauma. The effort to reinterpret new data follows,and the interactions with others also play a crucial role in this process. If the personrecovers, that means that her new assumptions reflect the acknowledgment of misfortuneand awareness of vulnerability. There is an awareness that tragedy can strike at any time,however, the new assumption that people build in the aftermath of trauma are not entirelynegative. People remember what happened to them but try not letting that entirely definethem. When people successfully integrate negative events into their lives, they possess“a new, special sort of wisdom” (Janoff-Bulman, 1992, p.175) that allows them to bemore aware of their everyday existence.All ofthese trauma theorists acknowledge that trauma can also have longitudinalconsequences other than the onset ofpsychological disorders. McFarlane and Yehuda(1996) say, “Traumatic experiences can become powerful sources of motivation for someindividuals” (p.164). Janoff-Bulman points out that “it is not unusual for survivors toreevaluate their traumatic experience over time and to see the traumatic event as a17powerful teacher of life’s most important lesson” (p.133). van der Kolk suggests that inany consideration of the long-term outcome the range of posttraumatic outcomes needs tobe kept in mind, van der Kolk & McFarlane (1996) also say,However, beneath the tidiness of emotional distancing and scientific classificationlie the human vitality and energy to struggle against, and to create meaning out of,what appears to be the random cruelty of fate. This struggle to transcend theeffects of trauma is among the noblest aspects of human history (p.574).With these words in mind, I turn now to the concept of posttraumatic growth.Posttraumatic growthThe great interest in studying positive changes following traumatic events is partof the greater general movement towards positive psychology. These positive changeshave been defmed in the literature with different terms; for example, positivepsychological changes, perceived benefits, stress-related growth, flourishing, discoveryof meaning, positive emotion, and thriving (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). Tedeschi andCalhoun coined the term Posttraumatic Growth in 1996 when they developed aninventory designed to measure such growth. Since that time, it seems that researchershave widely accepted this term if we are to judge by the number of studies on this matterpublished in the last decade. However, as the authors note, the term might be new, but theexperience of psychological change that they are referring to have been known forthousands of years.According to these authors, “posttraumatic growth is the experience of positivepsychological change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging lifecrises” (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004, p.1). There is a wealth of empirical evidence forexistence of this phenomenon. The majority of this evidence is quantitative. Proffitt,Cairn, Calhoun and Tedescbi (2007) investigated how 30 Judeo-Christian clergy delt with18personal crisis and what factors are related to psychological well-being and the possibilityof psychological growth. A moderate amount of growth was found among participantsand a relatively high amount of well-being. Clergy used both, positive and negativereligious coping strategies that promoted growth. However, it was found that as clergyhas a complex social role in North America, they felt social constraint to reveal their ownstruggles with meaning and relations with God. Powell, Rosner, Butollo, Tedeschi, andCalhoun (2003) examined levels of PTG with PTGI among 136 former refugees anddisplaced people in Sarajevo, and found low to moderate levels ofPTG depending on theage of the participants. Authors believe that the lower than other studies scores can notbe attributed only to cultural differences existing before the war, but the fact thatparticipants’ micro and macrosystems have been changed or destroyed. Particularly, the46-65 year old group showed low levels of perceived growth in this study. Ai et al.(2007) used a convenience sample of 50 Kosovar refugees in Washington state. This wasa 10-month follow-up study in which participants were asked to fill out the surveypackages. The initial survey assessed demographics, war-related trauma, PTSDsymptoms and hope. After participants returned the first set of questionnaires they weresent a 10-dollar payment. 10 months after, the follow up included assessment of copingstrategies, PTSD symptoms and PTG. The fmdings indicate the coexistence of both PTGand PTSD symptoms, and stress the importance of hope and cognitive coping for thissample.In a study with cardiovascular disease patients (Sheikh & Marrota, 2005), 124individuals, recruited through medical professionals, were administered the PTGIquestionnaire. The factor structure in this study did not support the original structure;19however, participants reported PTG, and particularly high score were reported on theappreciation of life scale. Morris, Shakespeare-Finch, Rieck, and Newbery (2005)examined the multidimentioanlity of PTG in Australian undergraduate studentpopulation. Moderate levels of PTG were found in a predominantly female sample (183female and 30 males). Of all factors, the smallest amount of growth was found inspiritual growth domain, and this seems to be the finding in studies done in countriesother than the USA. Maercker and Herrle (2003) investigated the aftereffects oftheDresden bombing in 1945. They found low levels of PTSD and higher levels ofpersonalgrowth, which was mainly associated with the participants’ internal as opposed toexternal control.In what seems to be the first study that used neuroscience methods to explorerelations between brain function and experiences of PTG with 82 participants whosurvived a severe motor vehicle accident, Rabe, Maercker, Zoilner, and Karl (2006),demonstrated that relative left frontal cortical activation is associated with greaterperceived PTG that participants reported on the self-report PTGI measure. Interestingly,the data in this study indicated that the different PTG domains were differentially relatedto anterior asymmetry. Notably, the domain of spiritual change was not associated withanterior asymmetry. The authors are hoping that this type of research might help clarifythe underlying mechanisms that support posttraumatic growth. The first study of PTG inpeople with acquired brain injury (McGrath & Linley, 2005) was done with 2 smallconvenience samples of 10 and 11 participants respectively. One sample was studiedearly in the recovery process (early sample) and the other at least 1 year after their inpatient rehabilitation (late sample). Both samples showed significant PTG, especially the20so-called “late” sample. This study indicates that the PTGI is appropriate for use with abrain injury population. Ho, Chan, and Ho (2004) investigated PTG among Chinesecancer survivors. The translated PTGI was administered to 188 participants, and it wasfound that they reported growth but the confirmatory factor analysis showed structurallydifferent PTG among Chinese patients.A few studies that used qualitative research methods found also evidence ofposttraumatic growth. A study by Salick and Auerbach (2006) looked at people’ssubjective experiences to investigate the psychological process of adjustment andpersonal growth from trauma to recovery in 10 participants with visible impairment fromchronic illness or serious injury. From the interviews, the authors developed a stagemodel of trauma and recovery. They suggested the following stages in their model:apprehension, diagnosis and devastation, choosing to go on, building a way to live, andintegration of the trauma and expansion of the self. Shakespeare-Finch and Copping(2006) used a grounded theory approach to analyze the data and tried to understandcultural differences in posttraumatic growth. They found some similarities between theirAustralian undergraduate sample and US research findings and also some differences,specifically in the areas of spirituality, religiosity, and compassion. The Australiansample displayed a more expansive compassion dimension and an absence of thespirituality! religiosity dimension in comparison to US research findings, which supportsthe perspective that there are cultural differences in the way people experience PTG indifferent cultures.Tedeschi and Calhoun’s theory of PTG developed from Janoff-Bulman’s theoryof trauma (Tedeschi & Cathoun, 2004). According to these authors, PTG is experienced21when rebuilt cognitive schemas account for new and changed reality in the aftermath oftrauma. These new cognitive schemas are more resistant in the face of future traumaticevents. Social support and disclosure are thought to contribute significantly in thisprocess. They also propose that there are certain personal characteristics (i.e.,extroversion and openness to experience) that predispose some people to PTG. Theprocess of PTG has emotional and cognitive components that are both important forlearning and eventual change. There are several ways in which PTG can manifest itself;however, different people might perceive growth in different ways. In general, peoplereport that they perceive positive change in self, a change in interpersonal relationships,and their philosophy of life (Tedeschi, Park, & Calhoun, 1998).22Meaning makingMeaning is essential to pursuing a goal-directed and purposeful life (Franki,1992). Meaning making is a psychological process that illuminates how people makesense of severely disturbing and potentially harmful events that happen to them. It is a“fundamental human process that takes on special significance at times of crises and lifedisruption” (Collie & Long, 2005, p. 851).When traumatic events happen, such as war, exile, and resettlement, these eventscan severely threaten peoples’ meanings in life. In this context, people have to confrontmany issues at the same time, and this can be overwhelming. When people are not ableto successfully integrate disturbing events, they are likely to experience emotionaldistress and difficulties with adaptation (Skaggs& Barron, 2006). Therefore, it seemsimportant to understand how people integrate these events to become a part of their pastlife experiences.In the literature on refugees and meaning, it has been stressed that it can bechallenging and difficult to fmd meaning in these multiple losses. In her analysis, Alcock(2003) talks about the meaning of loss of home, culture, family, and status in the life ofthe refugees. Alcock calls this an assault on meaning and says that,Powerful internal defenses against intolerable loss and inner pain are mobilized tohelp people survive... This price of survival can exacerbate loss of inner meaningand feelings of depletion and emptiness... When home is lost, it is lost forever,and even if we do return, both home and ourselves have changed. We can nevergo back; we can never recover the past. Perhaps it is only when this reality isfaced that we can begin again to live in the present, starting, not from thebeginning, but from the fault line that disjointed our lives (p. 292).23Huttunen (2005) examines the meanings of home in the lives of Bosnian refugeesliving in Finland after the devastating war in Bosnia. Huttunen portrays people fromBosnia who remember Bosnia as a good home before the war but are uncertain aboutthefuture. Bosnians struggle to negotiate the possibilities of new homes in diasporabytrying to salvage the damage done to themselves and their way of living. After thehome(as a private and public space) has been destroyed, it is difficult to find a new place thatone can call home.Researchers have conceptualized meaning in the context of living throughnegative life events in a number of different ways (Park & Folkman, 1997). ParkandFollcman (1997) distinguish two types of meaning: global and situational meaning.Global meaning refers to people’s enduring beliefs and valued goals. Situationalmeaning refers to the interaction between person’s global meaning and the specificeventin person’s life.In their conceptual analysis of searching for meaning in significant negativeevents, Skaggs and Barron (2006), define meaning based on the conceptualization fromPark and Follcman (1997). They also distinguish two types of meaning: global andsituational. Global meaning is defined as a person’s basic goals and fundamentalassumptions, beliefs, and expectations about the world. Situational meaning is defmedasa person’s interpretation of an event that is important and has an impact on person’svalues, beliefs, commitments and sense of order in life (Skaggs & Barron). Situationalmeaning is considered to consist of three components: appraisal of the situation,searchfor meaning, and meaning as outcome. According to Skaggs and Barron, four criticalattributes of searching for meaning are: searching for meaning isa process, it is24temporal, it is unique for each individual, and it is recursive. It seems that people, as theysearch for meaning, may use the following methods: “reattributions, creating illusion,positive reappraisal, problem-focused coping, and revaluing ordinary events” (Skaggs &Barron, 2006,p.567). The consequence of the process of searching for meaning can bepositive or negative. Positive consequences appear when the situational meaning iscongruent with global meaning, and a person may emerge from this process with a senseof personal growth characterized by a new outlook on life, new priorities, goals, and adeeper appreciation of life. The purpose ofthe main research question of this study wasto look at this psychological process of meaning making to try to illuminate how peoplemake sense of lived experiences of war, exile, and resettlement and potentiallyexperience personal growth as outcome.25CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe main intention of this study was to explore the stories people from the formerYugoslavia construct about their experiences of war, exile, and resettlement to betterunderstand the meaning making process and positive changes that might occur in theaftermath of living through severely traumatic events. The main research question thatguided this study was “ How do people from the former Yugoslavia describe their livedexperiences of war, exile, and resettlement?”The qualitative research paradigmIn order to adequately explore the depth and complexity of human experience,methodological diversity is desirable (Morrow, 2007). Qualitative research isthe mostuseful approach to understanding the meanings people make of their experiences and it isthe best approach for examining processes. Also, if a researched process or phenomenonis not well known or understood, this methodology may help discover new or unexpectedknowledge (Creswell, 2003). Qualitative research design fits well with research questionsthat ask “How” or “What” (Creswell, 2003).A qualitative investigation appeared to be the most useful approach tounderstanding the process of meaning making and understanding positive changes in theaftermath of trauma. By using in-depth interviewing, I was able to gather rich data aboutparticipants’ life experiences in a way that it would not be possible by quantitativestrategies. Related to this study, “. . .little is known about the processes, concomitants,and consequences of posttraumatic growth” (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004, p.3), and alsolittle is known about how refugees make meaning and transcend accumulated traumaticevents.26Therefore, my research interest and question lent itself well to qualitative researchmethods, particularly narrative inquiry, where the aim is to create interpreted descriptionof the rich and multi-layered meanings of historical and personal events (Josselson &Lieblich, 2003).The narrative research designNarrative research, according to Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach, and Zilber, (1998),refers to research that uses or analyzes narrative data that can be collected in an interviewor in some other means. The assumption of this approach is that there is “no absolutetruth in human reality nor one correct reading or interpretation of the text” (Lieblich etal., 1998, p.2). In addition to this, stories that people tell are subjective and allow forexpression of individuality, and freedom of selection, while constructed around a realhistoric event (Lieblich et al., 1998). The narrative research design seems particularlysuitable for a study that deals with the personal construction of past experiences and forresearch questions that ask about life experiences of an individual and how they unfoldover time (Cresweli, Hanson, Piano Clark, & Morales, 2007).Narrative analysis may help us better understand the varied ways in which eventsare perceived and experienced. Neimeyer (2004) says, “The human penchant formeaning making through the medium of storytelling is obvious” (p.53). Further, thenarrative method is especially well suited to capture the growth themes within thenarrative accounts of traumatic events themselves (Pals& McAdams, 2004). Riessman(2008) says, “Telling stories about difficult times in our lives creates orderand containsemotions, allowing a search for meaning and enabling connection with others”(p. 10). Tobe understood, these private constructions of identity must mesh with a community of life27stories, or “deep structures” about the nature of life itself in a particular culture(Riessman). It could capture the searching and transforming process contained within thenarratives these people made for others and themselves. The narratives within which welive are not only ways of telling about our lives, they are also the means by which weestablish order and organize our experience so we can understand it and make meaningsof events and experiences that can seem otherwise meaningless (Reissman). Ultimately,we make meaning, create order and social connections by creating, exploring, and tellingour stories (Gilbert, 2002).The researcher’s reflexivityAs I am a former refugee, a Bosnian Serb from Sarajevo, and as I shared andreflected on my own experiences, my personal lived experience of war, exile, andresettlement guided this study in many aspects, from research interest and defining theresearch question, conducting the interviews, analyzing and interpreting the data, andwriting the final document. In narrative research, the researcher listens, interprets andreports on stories she collects from participants. The researcher own experiencesundoubtedly influence the way she does these tasks. Therefore, being aware ofthe waysin which I might have influenced the interpretations and results of the study wasessential.I recorded my thoughts, feelings, and reactions throughout this researcher process.It was essential to stay open to different perspectives and values ofparticipants whomight have lived through similar experiences; however, might have different perceptionsand views than my own. In this study, my own and participants’ ethnicity was a sensitiveissue due to the nature ofthe conflict in the former Yugoslavia. I stroveto be open to28stories from all participants, regardless of their own ethnic background, even thoughthese might not entirely have matched my views and experiences on what happened inthe war in the former Yugoslavia. It helped that I kept the researchjournal and self-reflective memos in order to be aware of the ways in which my own life experience, myassumptions and expectations shaped the research process. I included participants’stories in this document so that reader can evaluate validity and integrity of myconclusions from these stories. Lastly, I thought that both my participants and I feltspecial closeness and connection between us as we shared the same country in the past,witnessed its destruction, and have struggled to make meaningful life anew in Canada. Ithought that this allowed my participants to share their stories with me in a trusted andopen manner. Throughout this research endeavor, my experience and training incounselling helped me in maintaining a high professional standard in this undertaking.Data collectionParticipantsAs the focus ofthis study was to explore the individual lived experiences ofpeople from the former Yugoslavia who lived through the war, exile, and resettlement,participants were adults who came to live to Canada because they had to leave theirhomes in the former Yugoslavia due to the latest war that lasted from 199 1-1995. Tobetter understand processes related to meaning making and positive changes, I collecteddata from people who were adults when the war started.The needed sample size in a narrative study is inversely proportional to theintensiveness of the study. Josseisson and Lieblich (2003) recommend for most29interview-based projects anywhere between 5 and 30 interviews. Relatively few deepand long interviews yield as much material as many shorter, less intensive interviews.To recruit participants for this study, I used the purposeful sampling procedure.This procedure is used when only particular people have information that is important forthe study. The selection criteria were: a) participants were former refugees from theformer Yugoslavia and b) participants were young adults or adults when the war started.I advertised this study, for recruitment purposes, in the Serbian Cultural Centre andCroatian Cultural Centre, and I used word-of-mouth strategies that included personalcontacts to pass information on to potential participants. All my participants wererecruited through personal contacts. Participants also helped me to recruit, as theypassed the information about the study onto their friends.The topic of this research seemed to elicit certain types of responses from people.Some people from the former Yugoslavia were suspicious about the intentions of thisstudy and wondered why I was doing this. They wondered if I was somehow ordered ortricked into doing this. Why would I do something like this? Whose interests do Ipresent? Especially men were suspicious. Some people believed that their stories couldbe tracked somehow, uncover their real identities and cause them harm in the end. Oneman’s comment was “You know everybody says that everything is anonymous, butnothing is anonymous. If you want to fmd out something, you eventually will.”Also, people were genuinely concerned that I might not be able to fmdparticipants. My first participant told me, “You will have trouble finding people to talkabout this topic.” Then I heard, “Nobody wants to talk about this.” One man even askedme, “Why do you want to talk about that for Goodness’ sake?” It is difficult to talk about30something you have been trying to forget. However, once people started to talk about it,they seemed they didn’t want to stop. All but one interview lasted almost 3 hours. I wasthe one who quit first, because I was exhausted from listening. All interviews were donein these people’s homes where they made me feel very welcome. They opened theirhomes for me; they offered me food and drinks, and were very warm and friendly.I interviewed 2 men and 3 women. The ages of these participants ranged from 36to 53 years. They have been in Canada from 10 to 14 years. All participants but onewoman had university education. All participants became upset while telling theirstories. Three participants cried throughout the interview, and a person who was incombat had the most difficult time getting through the story. At the same time, hewanted to go back and tell more. He said to me,” I want to tell you about people whodied for nothing, about people who were crooks, about terrible people and good people.”When he became upset and overwhelmed, I stopped the interview to give him time torecuperate. This was a hard interview for me too. At one point, I questioned why I wasdoing all of this, for what purpose. Three participants were obviously distressedthroughout the interview and I was distressed as well.I debriefed with all of my participants at the end of the interviews. I talked tothem about available free counselling and explained how and why that might be helpfulfor them. They seemed to be somewhat uncomfortable with this suggestion and said tome that they did not need that. In any event, I gave them a list with free counsellingoptions that they would be able to use if they decided to do that. Additionally, I alsoasked for the permission to phone them again within the next few days to make sure theywere feeling well. I got a confirmative response from all ofthem, but all of them31reassured me that there was no need for that. I was concerned about them, however, atthe same time, I did not want to bother them too much. In the end, I did phone two of myparticipants, Boria and Zdravka, as I was quite concerned about them. Boria told methat he was exhausted after the interview, but he reassured me at the time of my phonecall that he felt well. Zdravka sounded well on the phone and said that she was doingwell. I contacted the others via email and ensured that they were at least as well as beforethe interview. Also, participants expressed their care for me at the end and empathizedthat it must have been hard for me to do these interviews. I was very touched by theircare.Because ofthe nature of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, my ethnicity wasimportant from the beginning. I thought that I might have trouble recruiting Muslimsfrom the former Yugoslavia. Three participants were ethnically Serbs, and two had amixed ethnic background. One man, a Bosnian Muslim, at first agreed to be interviewed,however, he gave up in the process. He had all the information about the research and hecontacted me. However, when I phoned him to confirm, his wife responded and Irealized that she was not aware that he would participate in something like this. Myinstinct told me right away that this would not go well. However, as he didn’t phone meto cancel, I drove to our agreed location for an interview. When he showed up, he toldme that he needed to talk to me before we started, and he said that he would not bewilling to give me an interview after all. He said that he didn’t want to talk to me againstMiloeviá now that he’s settling in the new area and has neighbors. He didn’t want somepeople to know how he feels about the subject. I realized that he thought that to put hisname on the informed consent form was too dangerous. He talked to me off record for32about 20 minutes and he said some things, mainly accusations and his thoughts aboutSerbs. I really didn’t have anything to say to him. I was disappointed that he was notable to give me an interview, and I felt offended personally with some things he said,however, I said that if he felt disturbed and upset in any way because ofthinking aboutthis interview, there was help available for him at UBC and New West clinic. Herejected this out rightly. I understood him though. I understood that he also didn’t wantto offend me or hurt me in any way. Losses are enormous and the pain is huge, and heblames Serbs for that. I just wondered why he had an urge to say these things to me,when he already had said that he could not do the interview. We parted nicely, shook ourhands and left. I did my journal after, and wrote down what was said in those 20minutes. I was then in a better position to interview the next person and I felt betterprepared to interview someone who might say things that would be very difficult for meto hear.ProcedureRespondents were given details about the study before they agreed to participate.A time and place for the interview, convenient to participants, was arranged. Details oninformed consent, confidentiality, the potential harm, and the right of participant toterminate participation at any time, if desired, were discussed. I had a form for eachparticipant that outlined the purpose of the study, the procedures to be followed, and thesteps I undertook to protect the confidentiality of the data. Pseudonyms were used toprotect participants’ anonymity. A consent form was signed before the interview started,and I also provided a list of counselling referrals for all participants.33Interviews were the main means for collecting data. Josselson and Lieblich(2003) note that narrative study is impossible without detailed stories that reveal the wayin which people view and understand their lives. I used the conversational style ofinterviewing as it was a less intrusive approach and reduced potential tensions betweenmy participants and me. I used open-ended, broad questions to let participants tell metheir stories in their own way. The preliminary question was” Could you tell me yourstory from the first time you realized that the war was really happening?” I used probeswhen necessary, and asked for some clarifications. At the end ofthe interview, I askedthe well-being question” Where do you fmd yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 as far asyour well-being is concerned?”All but one interview lasted almost 3 hours. All interviews were audio-taped andall interviews were done in Serbo-Croatian. All participants had a choice betweenEnglish and Serbo-Croatian but chose their mother language. I kept a memo on eachparticipant by writing down my thoughts, observations, impressions, and feelings towardsthe interviewee and the interview process, and any questions that came to mind. Afterparticipants ended their story, I asked them to respond to a short questionnaire byindicating the true responses for them. The Impact of Event Scale (Horowitz, Wilner,Alvarez, 1979) has been widely used in clinical practice and research for over 20 years(Sundin & Horowitz, 2000). The questions on this questionnaire ask people about thepresence and frequency of experiencing certain difficulties people commonly report aftertrauma. I translated this scale into Serbo-Croatian, two participants answered thistranslated questionnaire and three participants answered the IES form in English, as they34were comfortable with English language. At the end of the interview, I debriefed witheach participant.For the second part of the study, I contacted participants via email. I sent themtheir narratives in order to solicit their feedback regarding the accurate presentation oftheir stories’ content and to give them an opportunity to add something or to voice if theywish for something to be omitted from their narratives. None of the participants madeany changes to their stories.Data analysisThe primary task of the analytic process is to understand the meanings inherent inthe data and to render them in the form consistent with the research question (Josselson &Lieblich, 2003). The researcher who wants to produce a convincing interpretation ofqualitative evidence, that would be different from what a lay person would arrive to,needs to use some heuristic devices that enable her to go beyond what is obvious.I started data analysis with detailed transcription of the material, and as Iapproached the interview as a co-constructed undertaking where the interviewer is anactive player in the construction of the narrative, my own verbal and non-verbal reactionswere included. This was done to highlight that the words were not spoken in a vacuumbut in the conversation with the interviewer. As all interviews were done in SerboCroatian, participants’ mother language, I transcribed and analyzed the data in SerboCroatian, as this is my first language as well. I translated almost all data myself inEnglish. A professional translator translated only 10 pages of my first interview. I didthis as a check for the quality of my own translation as I wanted to see if this person, whohad been a translator for the past 20 years, would translate the interview much differently35from me. I was pleased with his work, and also confident that I could do a very good jobwith translation myself. By doing the transcription and translation of the interview datamyself, I got to know the data really well.Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach and Zilber, 1998, describe different possibilities forreading, interpreting, and analyzing narrative data. Two main approaches are: holisticversus categorical and content versus form. Holistic versus categorical approach refers tothe unit of the analysis (i.e. sentence or narrative as a whole). When a categoricalperspective is used, a researcher is usually interested in a problem or a phenomenonshared by a group, while the holistic perspective is used when the interest is a person as awhole and her/his development to the present situation (Lieblich et al.). The contentapproach is interested in explicit and/or implicit content, while the form approach looksat the structure of the plot, the sequencing of the event, the style ofthe narrative,metaphors and other form techniques.The categorical content perspective is very similar to content analysis, which is aclassical method for analyzing narrative material in psychology. This method has manyvariations, and I will be following the framework described by Lieblich et al., 1998.Within this general framework, I discovered my themes by engaging in the followingprocedure:1) After reading the transcriptions numerous times,a) I wrote up narratives using first-person accountsb) I sent narrative accounts back to participants for an editing and accuracycheck as part of the “participant check” procedures (seep.47 on Validity)362) In the final narrative accounts, I highlighted all the sections of the text that pertainto my main research questions. Lincoln and Guba (1985) call these sections ofthe text the units of information, which serve as the basis for defming categories.A unit has two characteristics. It should be heuristic and it has to be the smallestpiece of information that can stand on its own. This might be a sentence or aparagraph. When I located the unit, I copied and pasted it in a separate word file.In this stage of work, I erred on a side of overinclusion.3) I defined the content categories through a circular procedure of an open andcareful reading of the text, suggesting categories, and sorting highlighted sectionsinto categories. According to Lincoln and Guba (1995), the essential task ofcategorizing is to bring together units that seem to relate to the same content andthis can be done in the following way:a) The first highlighted section in the text represented the first yet-to-be-named category. Then I looked at more highlighted sections to decide ifits’ content was similar to the first one. If not, that next highlighted sectionrepresented the second yet-to-be-named category. All highlighted sectionswere sorted in this way.b) When each category accumulated enough data (6 to 8 highlightedsections), I started delineating category properties and devising the rule forinclusion. After this, I named the category so that name captures theessence of the rule for inclusion.c) Further sections were included based on the rule for inclusion for eachcategory.37d) I reviewed the categories for overlap in order to minimize ambiguities.For example, cultural shock and feeling discrimination had some overlapand I needed to look more closely at these two categories.e) I drew conclusions from the fmal results by describing the contents foundin main categories to create main themes.Validation of findingsThe concept of validity in qualitative research refers to the credibility orcorrectness of description, explanation andJor interpretation (Maxwell, 1996). To ensurethe validity of findings in this research study I insured the following steps:- I audiotaped interviews and I checked transcription against the audiotapes foraccuracy- I checked my translation several times to insure the quality and accuracy of mytranslation- I kept notes and self reflective journal to keep my biases in check- I solicited feedback from peer reviewers, my committee members and one expertin the field. The aim was to fmd out if my fmdings resonate with them and ifthey saw congruency between narratives and the main themes.- I solicited feedback from the participants (“participant check”) of this study toassure that my subjectivity does not dominate and that participants’perspectives are fairly represented. I sent participants their own storyfor editing and an accuracy check.- I used the “rich” data (Maxwell, 1996) to test my conclusions and to make thedata visible to the reader38Ethical concerns in narrative researchEthical concerns are always at the forefront of any research including humanbeings. In studies like the one I did, it was especially important to be clear about thepurpose ofthe interviews. That said, it was crucial that potential participants understoodthat they were about to engage in a research interview that does not have any intendedtherapeutic purpose.Narrative research consists of obtaining and then reflecting upon participants’lived experience, and it is inherently a relational endeavor. Therefore, I, as a narrativeresearcher, had an ethical duty to protect the privacy and dignity of those whose lives Istudy to contribute to scientific knowledge. I was committed to assuring the free consentof participation, guarding the confidentiality of the material, and protecting participantsfrom any harm that may ensue from their participation in my researchstudy (Josselson,2007). I provided participants with a list of counsellors who would be available for helpif any discomfort or distress arises as a result oftheir participation in thisstudy.As I study real lives of real people where there can be an indefinite number ofpossibilities, I cannot be absolutely certain of the potential impact of the interview.However, I deeply believe that the benefit that arises from the holisticapproach toresearching people in context outweighs the highly unlikely possibilitythat someonemight severely get distressed as a result ofparticipation in a narrative study (Clandinin,2007).39CHAPTER 4: NARRATWESNikolaIt was Bayram, April 6, 1992. It was about 6, perhaps 7, am. The Muslims werecelebrating. It was a big celebration, with a burstof automatic fire that lasted about fiveminutes. I didn’t get scared, but I realized that there was noway a war could be avoided.This burst of automatic fire on that Bayram morning wasa sign for me that it was time toleave town. I had already seen — especially onmy visits to relatives in the country — thatall three sides had armed themselves and werewaiting. They were all nice to each other— neighbours, friends, ordinary folks — but everyonehad a weapon and was ready to fight— and they knew who against. I had no illusions whatsoever,and, being a bit of a cowardby nature, my first thought was to get out of there.I did not want to fight at all, and Iespecially did not want to fight against Serbs.People were prepared for war on all sides,and I was fortunate to have realizedthat. I felt sorry for the people who had gatheredinfront of the Assembly building, and I foundit strange that people did not realize whatwas happening. Weren’t they watchingTV? But then again, I was in contact withruralpeople in different parts of Bosnia,and I had talked to students from my University whohad come from many different places.I clearly saw that they were all thinking in thesame way, but everyone was doing itwithin their own ethnic group. Some wereready todefend Bosnias independence onceit became independent, while the Serbs wereready todefend their right to remain in Yugoslavia.I clearly saw that, as a Serb, I had no businessbeing in that town. I did not consider Alija[Izetbegoviáj as my president, andI did notwant to fight against my own people, whichI would have had to do had Istayed in town.I don’t hate anyone. I had never hated anyone,but it would have been my biggest defeatif40I’d taken up arms and if I’d had to fight against my own people. Again, I did not want togo to war at all because I was afraid of getting killed or wounded, and I only wanted toget out of there. And if they were to repatriate me from Serbia by force, they would sendme to my own people, not to this town.My father, whom I regard as a rational man, did not believe that war would cometo our town. He believed there would be a few skirmishes, a few weeksof scuffling, andthat people would then sit down and talk. He thought that no one was crazyenough toget killed and destroy everything that it had taken years to build. He onceeven told methat I should stay, and if my Muslim neighbour was toget killed, I, his son, should getkilled as well. I completely disagreed with this. However,one day he came home fromwork pale as death. He told us that a 15-year-old with an automaticrifle had stopped himin the street, pushed him against the wall, checked his II)and roughed him up a bit. Thisreally upset him, and he realized that things were different and moreserious than he hadthought. He then said it wouldn’t be a bad idea for my sister andme to find shelter inSerbia for a few weeks until this blew over.The army was evacuating people regardless oftheir ethnicity, and my sistermanaged to leave first. My turn came up a day later. I calledmy Serbian friends. I didnot call any others because I did not know how they would feelabout it if I told them Iwas leaving. They all took note of this information, but no one leftat the time. Theywere all waiting because, just like my father, they believed that everything wouldsettledown after some minor fighting. I had that instinct (a friend of mine calls itan “insect”)that was simply telling me to leave that place. At the time, I hadto use crutches becauseI had injured my knee playing soccer, and because of the crutchesit was relatively easy41for me to move across town, accompanied by my mom. I remember how people feltcompletely lost. I got on a streetcar to get out of town, some were going to work, otherswere going to the farmers’ market, while some people were ditching the place, just as Iwas. People were unaware of what was going on. One could see all kinds of armies, andshots were heard in places. But it was still early at the time. We did not know who washolding which positions, and no one dared to try and control the movement of citizens, sothat no one touched me. I met soldiers from different armies, first the Muslims and thenthe Serbs, and they all let me through because I had crutches. However, I did not succeedin getting out that same day. The crowd at the airport was enormous, so that we spent thenight in some woman’s house, where one of my relatives had been a lodger a long timeago. In addition to my mother and me, two more families with little children spent thenight there.I felt a little ashamed for boarding the plane with those crutches. Everybody letme pass, believing I had been wounded. The Antonov plane was so full of people that ithad much difficulty getting offthe ground. I thought we might hit one ofthe buildingsclose to the airport. After we took off I looked at the town below and felt incrediblerelief. I felt so glad I was leaving that town, the town in which I had grown up and whereI had attended school. I did not believe I would get out so easily. Unbelievable. That’sone of my life’s successes, although I never mention it in interviews as a reply to thequestion “what are you proud of?”When I came to my uncle’s place in Serbia, a load had been taken off my mind. Ihad managed to escape, and now I was following the news to see what was happening.Most of the things I took with me were books because my father advised me to keep42studying and not get too relaxed until this whole thing had blown over. Thus I had morebooks than clothes with me. My uncle’s apartment was small, and I shared a room with amale relative, my sister shared another room with a female relative, while our uncle andaunt slept in the living room.For the first few weeks, I was fascinated by this Serbian city, enjoying mystreetcar rides. The situation was somewhat unusual. All of a sudden, I felt fine, withoutany obligations. More and more people, my friends, arrived daily, some findingaccommodation in hotels, others with relatives. We began meeting downtown,recounting stories and situations and everything that was happening. This made it lesstraumatic for me because there were a thousand people sharing my fate. It was kind ofunreal. All of a sudden, overnight, I found myself in another city. The weather was nice,and we went out every night, talking and sharing our everyday experiences. And we feltbetter for it — it was like therapy. I had a place to sleep and I wasn’t hungry.I then started thinking about what was going to happen to my mom and dadbecause we started receiving increasingly grim news about the killings anddisappearances of Serbian civilians. The inner tension was rising. The Serbs in my townwere undergoing an ordeal, just as members of the other ethnic groups were undergoingan ordeal in Serb-controlled territory. Until then I had done little thinking of my own.My father had it all figured out for me. Now I suddenly found myself ina situationwhere I had to figure out what I needed to do, and I had to be a parent to my sister andcomfort her when she cried for our mom and dad. Things were made easier for us by thefact that Serbia gave us everything. There were no obstacles to my continued education.My friends and I enrolled in the local University to continue our education, while my43sister went to high school. This was basically a very good thing, as we had obligations tothink about. Life went on. As registered refugees, we had medical insurance. I went tothe dentist or doctor whenever I needed to, just as I would in my own country. I reallydid not have any problems in those two and a half years, but many others told me theywere being discriminated against, and here too I have met people who hate that countrybecause they went through all kinds of things there. I became a man during my refugeeperiod, and for me the war was basically a positive thing. I became independent of myfather, who is a great guy, but he controlled my life. I was fascinated by this metropolis,which gave me shelter. I met a whole bunch of people there. That’s whereI saw atransvestite for the first time in my life. The town where I lived beforethe war was aGod-forsaken wasteland by comparison.I must admit I felt ashamed and guilty a little that I was there safe, hangingaround, having a good time while at the same time young men were fighting in Bosniaand Krajina; especially because I had close relatives in villages who had to fight. I wouldimagine often being confronted by the anny police, somewhere onthe street, who wouldsend me back to Bosnia. I always imagined myselfnot resisting butaccepting to go. Ihad all sorts of excuses for everybody around me and for myself for not being in the war.I was saying I had to be with my sister, I was allergic to pollen so I couldn’t be in thewoods, I had problems with my knee, my parents would get killed if somebody found outthat I fought on the Serb side, and I was a true coward. My ffiends always laughedat mywords, they openly said they would never go to fight in this war. I am extremely happynow that I didn’t have to fight and I wasn’t challenged in that way. Again, I hadunbelievable luck.44We were able to talk to our parents during the first month, but then the lines werecut off. That was the hardest part — not knowing what was going to happen to ourparents. My sister and I had been taken care of. A minor crisis broke out when we hadto leave our uncle’s place. My aunt just couldn’t handle this any longer. She asked us ifwe had any other relatives to stay with. We spent three months at their place. They didnot ask for a penny. We slept and ate there. I somehow managed to get in touch with mydad and told him we could no longer stay with this uncle, so my dad made arrangementsfor us to live with another relative. We were so incredibly lucky. His apartment was inthe downtown core, and you could get anywhere on foot. My university was 10 minutesaway, and my sister’s high school three minutes away on foot. That was fantastic. Thisrelative lived alone, and the apartment was very untidy, but we had complete freedom.We ate at the University cafeteria, and it cost us 3 Deutschmarks for a whole month. Wehad everything, including beer and cake. Sometimes we cooked at home. We hadbrought a couple of thousand Deutschmarks with us, and we also received aid asrefugees. My sister registered at the new address, and I remained registered at the oldaddress, so that we got double rations. True, this was a bit fraudulent, but we saved stuffand sent parcels to our parents. We sent about 15 parcels altogether, and our parentsreceived them all. It meant a lot to them because they had nothing to eat or drink. Aneighbour who arrived later told me how my mom had kissed the onions he had givenher. It was really hard after the phone lines were cut off because we heard about bombsgoing off and killing large numbers of people, and we thought: “Oh my God, are theyamong the victims?” The hardest thing for me was when a bomb exploded at the farmers’market. I tuned into a radio station and listened to the list of the names of 150 people45killed in the attack. I was afraid I would hear their names — I would have died if I had —but fortunately, they were not among the casualties. They were alive.I waited for all the convoys arriving from Bosnia because they brought me news.My mom always managed to find someone in those convoys to convey messages to us.Good people would bring letters, which were a month or two old, but at least I knew thattheir spirits were up, and that they were not totally destitute. My dad asked me if I wasstudying, and my mom joked, saying that my dad had been doing fieldwork so they hadfresh fruit and vegetables, which meant he was digging trenches in the orchards. Ourneighbours were gradually leaving town, so I was getting informationabout my parents.I heard that my father had also met with some misfortune. They beat him up, but that’sjust the way he is — he can’t keep his mouth shut. In the end, he no longerwanted to go tothe basement during the shelling raids because he found it a hassle, andas luck wouldhave it, a tank shell hit the neighbour’s apartment. Some neighbours thenaccused mydad of having signalled the gunners and guided the shell. Theytook him and anotherneighbour away that night, but that neighbour’s son wassome sort of officer in a Muslimbrigade even though he was a Serb, so their captors werenot sure about what to do withthem. Be that as it may, they did not kill them. Ijust heardthat my father had beenbeaten up so badly that there wasn’t a single spot on hisbody that wasn’t blue. Thesereports hit me really hard.My father never wanted to leave the city while it was still possible. Hedid notwant to be a refugee and “wear other people’s underwear”,and he always said that no onehad invited him anywhere. By the time he may havewanted to leave, it was afready toolate. My mom did not want to leave him. Otherwise,she would have left right away. It46seems that the knowledge that we were safe made things easier for them as they wereable to focus on themselves and their own survival. The two of them seem to haveexperienced a renewed love during the war. My mom once said that they had not reallyknown each other before and that they truly got to know each other only during the war.It was only at the end of 1993 and in early 1994 that I learned that people wereleaving for Canada. A friend of mine found out about it. I wasn’t doing well at school. Ijust didn’t see any point in finishing it. I then engaged in some petty smuggling, but thatdidn’t work out either. I would buy chocolate and alcohol in Bulgaria and sell them inSerbia off street stands. I felt like a parasite, spending the money we had brought withus. I wasn’t fighting in the war, and I was of little help to my sister — she had alreadyfound her own routine. Those of my friends who had left for Canada were thrilled aboutit. At the time, Canada seemed like a fantastic solution, an easy way out. I wasn’tstudying, I had no job, the situation was only getting worse, I had no possessions of anykind, and they still might have mobilized me for the war. So I decided to leave forCanada, one of the most affluent countries in the world, and to becomea Canadiancitizen. Suddenly a whole range ofpossibilities opened up in my one-dimensionalworld.I decided to stay in Canada for about 10 years and then return,build a house and start abusiness — the usual stuff—just like my compatriots did when they went to Germanytofind employment there as temporary guest workers.When I got my Canadian papers, my parents were afraid how my sister wouldcope on her own. My mom got some documents showing shecould leave town forbusiness purposes, and her bus took her across Serb-held territory.She managed to getoff the bus halfway along the route and walked through some tunnelat the airport, and47that’s how she managed to escape. I remember waiting for her to get off the bus after wehadn’t seen each other for nearly three years. I saw a 90-year-old woman getting off thebus, and I thought that was my mother, prematurely aged. But then my mom showed up,looking the same, only thinner. It felt like we had said goodbyes only an hour earlier —such was the rush of energy because our mom was there. I just know that the three of usembraced each other and cried our hearts out for about two minutes. It wasn’t that wewere sad because we had to meet there, but tears just kept rolling down. That was thefirst time I saw her since she had smuggled me out oftown as a disabled veteran. Butnothing had changed between us. I had worried whether we would have anything to talkabout or if she had changed physically or mentally, but when she got there,it felt as ifthere had been no war, as if nothing had happened. Time was relative, almostnonexistent. Thank God we were so lucky, so incredibly lucky, both those of us whowere refugees and those who had survived after choosing to remainthere. It was suchincredible luck. I had considered myself lucky even before that,and I had never felt theneed to bemoan my fate as a refugee. I simpiy knew how lucky we were. Unbelievable,unbelievable, thank God — that’s all I can say. And I can’t say I deservedit.I didn’t manage to get a visa right away — only on my third attempt,and then Ihad to wait longer because they found some suspicious shadowon my chest X-ray. Allmy friends had afready arrived in a big Canadian city, whileI was sent to a small town ineastern Canada. We were all from the same town, almost from thesame neighbourhood.We had grown up together. My journey to Canadawas also quite an experience. It wasall new to me — the airplane and the small tomatoesthey served during the flight inFebruary. (I was used to seasonal food.) My first encounter withmy destination was48what I saw from the airplane. I just saw frozen whiteness and fog everywhere. Adelegation welcomed me at the airport, and brandy was sipped right away. They wereIrish. They knew that anyone coming from the Balkans was bringing booze. Thehospitality was unbelievable. I had arrived in a foreign country, but I felt that thesepeople were friendly. I felt warmth coming from these Canadians.The atmosphere was so strange. There were people from all ethnic groups fromthe former Yugoslavia, mostly Serbs. The town was covered with snow. Immigrantswereregarded as precious because everyone was tryingto leave that island, and their goal wasto keep as many people there as possible. The English languageschool was fantastic.Everyone was satisfied. So I decided to stay there fora while to study English becausepeople told me that in Toronto and Vancouver they madeyou look for ajob as soon asyou learned a bit of English. That whole summer was phenomenal. We hadsnow untilJune, but when it melted, I realized that the town actuallyhad sidewalks. Town lifecentered round a single street where all the bars anddiscos were located, and we wentthere every evening, just as we used to do in the old country.We liked this small-townatmosphere. Everyone was kind, no one locked their houses,and everybody greeted eachother in the street. To me, that town seemed as iffrom a fairy tale. Up there, in the northof Atlantic Canada, people were amiable, and theirhouses were like from Disneyland,multicoloured, green, yellow and red. They used the paint leftover from painting theirboats to paint their houses with. Each of us rented ourown apartment for cheap. Wehung out as we did in the old country. Everyevening there was a party at someone’splace. We talked and sang. We also went out in the evenings.They had this happy hour49during which beer cost half a dollar for the first two hours. We went there because wehad no money, and later we brewed our own beer.People from the immigration department took us on outings. Theyalso playedtricks on us. They must have known where we had come from, so theyplayedprovocative movies for us, like Philadelphia, which is about homosexuals.We got up,turned the TV off and cursed them for playing that movie forus. That was ridiculous aswe were University educated. It was a shock to mewhen I went to a store and sawpeople with Down syndrome working there. They callsuch people imbeciles back in theold country. In the old country we didour best not to look at them, but then I realizedthat we hid them from others, while here they triedto incorporate them into society, andthis was a bit of a shock to me. Alcohol was anothershock. I went to a store and boughtroot beer. It tasted horrible, and I gave itto some kids to drink. I was surprised by howconservative people were about alcohol. In the oldcountry alcohol is sold on the sameshelf with fruit juices. I was also dumbfoundedby tabloids. I used to think that allnewspapers were serious. One day on thebeach I saw a newspaper headline saying thatNessie from Loch Ness had died, and I thought itwas spectacular news that they hadfound Nessie in the first place. I was foolish enoughto pay two dollars to read it. I didnot know any better.That’s when I spoke to my dad for the first timesince the war broke out. Thewhole town talked about how I ran upa 300-dollar telephone bill. But I did not care. Ijust wanted to hear my dad, and I also talkedto my other family members. I just wantedto let them know where I was.50It was very traumatic for me when Krajina fell in August 1995, and when many ofmy relatives had to flee Krajina. The village in Krajina where I used to spend all mysummer and winter holidays was burned down while I was still in Bosnia. All myrelatives from that village had fled to another place. And now they had to flee that otherplace as well. My grandmother, born in 1910, had to flee on a tractor, forthe umpteenthtime. My whole world fell apart. It was a total meltdown. It really hit mehard to see therefugee convoys, especially as I had relatives and friends there. No one was helpingthose people, and then we heard reports of refugee convoys coming under shelifire.Ithink my whole word fell apart. I began to feel enormous tension.My friends told me Ihad changed. I believe that to be the source ofmy subsequent anxiety.I then decided to leave the town I was staying inat the time and move to westernCanada. Something was pulling me westwards — theocean, the forests and reports of abooming economy. I arrived with friends inthe Lower Mainland, and we rented anapartment there. That’s when I hadmy first panic attack. I thought I was having a heartattack. I was doing some exercises, whenI suddenly felt my heart pounding hard andunstoppably. I was unable to calm down, myheart was pounding, and thenI started tosweat. My hands were sweating. I thoughtI was having a heart attack, and I begantopanic and told my friends to call an ambulance. Firefightersand an ambulance came, andI calmed down a little bit — probablybecause of their presence. They toldme that myblood pressure was a little above normal,but they did not fmd anything elsethat wassuspicious and said they were nottaking me to the hospital. I becamequite withdrawnafter that because I always expected thisevent to happen again. However, it did nothappen until I moved into a newapartment. I lied down to sleep, and, allof a sudden,51my heart started pounding. I thought I was dying. I did not know what it was, and I calledan ambulance. My roommate’s behaviour really appalled me. When the ambulancecame to take me away, he just turned around and went back to sleep. He later told me thesame thing had happened to him before, but not any more. They took me to the hospital,did an ECG, but it turned up nothing. That is probably the only time I felt a littlediscriminated against in Canada — at the hands of the paramedics. One of the men thatcarried me on the stretcher asked me where I was from, and he did not seem ok with thefact that I lived there. He said there was a time when not everyone was allowed to livethere. I thought I was dying, and he was giving me a hard time. It wasn’t my fault thatmy rent was 650 dollars and that my welfare cheque allowed for that.I had also a feeling that staff in the emergency were annoyed with me probablybecause they thought there was nothing wrong with me, and I was just wasting resources.They gave me a card to visit a cardiologist. However, this doctor closed yet another doorfor me. He only asked me if I had an ECG with me, and because I didn’t, he said that thenext time when I get this problem I should ask for an ECG. And that was it. Nobodyunderstood me. I felt terribly alone. Simply, I did not have anyone else to turn toanymore. I went back to my apartment and got another attack that same night. My heartwas pounding, and there was a deafening noise in my ears. There was nothing I could do,so I prayed to God. Somehow I managed to fall asleep, and I woke up in the morningfeeling dead, basically just waiting for another attack to happen.Sometimes I had several attacks daily; on any account, it was at least 3 to 4attacks weekly. When I was not experiencing an attack, I was waiting for the next one tohappen. All my friends noticed that something was off with me, however; I did not52confide in anyone, I was always saying that everything was just fine. But that issomething unbelievable, that feeling, it is a primordial fear that you will go crazy, thatyou will die any moment, that you will disappear, that there is no way back. And then,all of this gets amplified with your negative thoughts and from the enormous exhaustionit comes to an end.I have to admit that I had drunk quite a bit because of this. It was not that I wasthat drunk that I did not know for myselfbut for two years I was constantly somewhatintoxicated. Alcohol helped me to feel better and to relax. Automatically my spirit wasup and after two beers I didn’t think anymore about my situation. However, my drinkingwas significantly reduced when I got married. Also, I lost lot of weight, around 20 kg. Iate everything, all junk food that you can think of but nothing, not a gram gain. Firsttime I lost a lot of weight when I first fled my hometown in Bosnia, but I recovered fromthis, and now this dramatic weight loss again.That was a living hell, that 1995 and 1996, it was the hardest and most difficultperiod in my life. I tried to be around people all the time, so if I dropped down,somebody would eventually call an ambulance. It was a disgrace to go see a psychiatrist,and the worst of all; I did not know what was wrong with me. In all that despair, I wentto the library where I found a book about symptoms of psychological disorders. As I wasreading through, I was relieved it wasn’t schizophrenia. I could tell it was not depressioneither and then I came to anxiety disorders and panic attack. I felt tremendous reliefthatI found what was happening to me. I read it can be cured with medications or without, itis not known how it comes about, it could be due to loss ofjob, divorce, and some othertraumatic experience. Let me get this straight, nobody diagnosed me ever officially, it53might be even posttraumatic stress disorder, but it does look like the panic attack. Ifocused on how it can be alleviated, confrontation with the fear, with what you are afraidthe most. I was afraid that my heart would start pounding, so I was afraid to walk. Idecided not to be the slave of my condition, so I started working on confronting my fear.I felt that I found what was happening to me, and I wanted to get rid off it. As I lived onthe10thfloor of a big high-rise, I started climbing the stairs every day, so to see whether Iwould die, because what kind of life was that going to be if I had to avoid something andlive constantly in fear. My heart was pounding, I sweat amply, but I wasn’t dying. ThanI would think to myself that if something was wrong with my heart I would have died bythen. I also went to the pooi every day where I swam 2 kin, and perhaps I would havedied if my heart had some sort ofphysical malfunction. That physical activity had acalming effect on me; I noticed I got relaxed after physical exhaustion.Also, I found anxiety hotlines that helped. When I had an attack, I would liedown and phone the anxiety hotline. I would listen to it for hours; it had a calming effecton me. Even when you know what is happening with you, you tend to forget, and thenyou have to remind yourself. I have several friends who I believe have the same disorder,however, I think they haven’t been lucky to get out of it successfully.At the end of 1996, I started feeling better. I started taking courses and thathelped. I noticed when I had some sort of responsibility and when I focused on somethingit helped me to feel better. I enrolled into an auto cad course as I had some technicaldrawing background. I worked on black market 8 hours weekly in one café so I couldpay for the course, however, auto cad did not help me to find ajob I wanted. After, Ienrolled into a program for the CNC machinist. This was a 3-month full-time program; I54paid only 300 dollars as government subsidized it. Here I felt a real change for the betteras far as my psychological health was concerned. I would get up at 7 am every morning,I had everyday responsibilities to study, prepare for exams, so I was very active and Iwould get tired and that felt good. I was one of the better students in this program andthat contributed to my overall sense of feeling better. Thanks to this program, I got ajobquickly as a CNC machine operator in a factory. It was shift work. I was still havingattacks but I felt that they were subsiding. I suddenly started gaining weight, for 9months I gained 20 kg. I made more money, and probably that helped me to feel better aswell. I asked for vacation time, but my boss didn’t allow me to go. Out of indignation, Iquit. I simply had to go back to meet my father, mother, and sister.When I first met my father, it was not as dramatic as with my mother, probablybecause we afready had spoken on the phone. In any event, as soon aswe got together asa family, we just went back to the old ways of relating, as if nothing had changed. Mydad didn’t want to talk about the war at all, not even what happened or who beat him. Itseemed that he rationally explained to himself that the war is like that, and itwas a goodthing that he survived. I hope that he truly believes that and not only puttinga brave face.He was still the same old dad who knows the best what needs tobe done and who wantsto control everybody else’s lives. I was always upfront with him,however, I did not tellhim right away about these panic attacks, but later I reproached himthat it was maybebecause ofhim and his control over me that I ended up with panicattacks. However, hestill works in Bosnia. At first, he was laid off, but he complainedto some sort ofinternational justice body in Bosnia and then he was taken back.This is true luck for me,55as I don’t have to send money to my parents, as most of our people have to send moneyto relatives.I did not think about the city where I grew up as my city for at least 10 years.Somehow, it was as if I were angry at it, even though my parents still live there. I simplyparted with it. Everything became ethnically divided, and this city did not belong toSerbs anymore, nor was it possible to live there together with others as we did before.Therefore, I had to say good-by. We did not rejoice about the same things anymore;moreover it was dangerous to rejoice in certain things. I remember the soccer game RedStar vs. Bayem in 1991 when I cheered for Red Star [a soccer team from Yugoslavia]andeverybody around me for Bayem [a German team]. Yugoslavian Nationalteam comesand everybody spit on it but I loved this team. Something had died and I saw that therewas nothing for me there anymore. However, when I went back first time in 19991 feltagain something for this city, and especially in 2002. I drove from Serbia andwhen Icame across river Drina, I embraced Bosnia. Bosnia, all green likea big park, those littlepaths, caws pastures, I just took it all in, and then the entranceto the town. I camethrough that same entrance thousands of times when I wascoming back from my skiingtrips. 2002 was better than 1999, I guess things calmeddown after the war a bit more.Unfortunately, there are tremendous losses everywhere.It would be the best if we couldall go back to where we where born and lived, but it can’tbe. And those people that arethere now, they deserve to be there, everybody has to live and lifegoes on. In any case, itis a new era now. The town was different when we lived there,and it was different whenthe Turks or Austro-Hungarians were there, it is againa new era, different time.56Religion helped me to go through all of this. My father was a communist, and hedid not allow my grandmother to baptize my sister. He was scared that if this were foundout it would damage his career. He was very angry when she secretly baptized me.People massively went to church to get baptized during the war. I guess they werelooking for some solace in this time of terrible suffering. You see all this sufferingaround you and ask yourself what is the point. When I fled Bosnia, I found a Bible in myuncle’s house. I started reading it, and I couldn’t stop. I was elated by it. There isnothing bad, nothing evil in it, I think it makes me a better man. Thehardest for me wasto divide, because I am a nationalist not a chauvinist (even though peoplesay it is bad tobe a nationalist), religious fate from ethnic nationality. Your religiousfate is not yournationality, meaning love all people, so there is nothingbad in it; you have to work reallyhard to be a good Christian, not an easy task! I understand Christianityas somethingultra clean, uncontaminated, and it helped me. It led me consciouslyand subconsciouslyto understand my situation and to understand that there isno need to moan and groan.Ultimately, I am very happy how things turn out tobe for us. If we had to live throughthis, we had incredible luck, fantastic luck. I considerthese years the best years of mylife, those refugee years in Serbia. Weonly had our souls, we had our feelings, we talkedto each other, very openly, there was no jealousy, andnobody had any materialpossession. It was such a lightnessof being. The only thing that bugged me was thatmyparents were in this town and couldn’t get out. I mean,nirvana, socialism, nobody hadanything and everybody was happy, there was no reasonto be jealous, my underwear wasshabby and yours was a little shabbier.57When I arrived to Canada, I still felt that energy. Then, I felt unhappy that I wasnot as lucky as some of my friends and that was when I felt I became a little envious. Wecame together, everybody was at the same level, and then people started finding jobs,making money, and automatically they became busier, more money, less time for friends,then they started accumulated material things, and we drifted apart. We belonged todifferent classes now. It looked to me that as we gained materially we lost spiritually.I became aware of another phenomenon. The time stopped for me in 1992.Forexample, music doesn’t interest me at all. If there is something from 1989 or 1990,1know exactly who is the singer; I rememberthe music spot from TV because I lived anormal life up to that point. I watched TV, had friends,I knew TV shows, and TVpersonalities, the ones from our TV. Now I amcompletely indifferent. I don’t have anyinterest in anything after 1992. Somehow the lifebroke down. Or I entered into thereality. A brutal reality hit me with the war, and Iunderstood that all that music, TV,entertainment is artificial, that is not thelife. I deeply felt life, a human life throughcommunication with other refugees. You touch thebottom, and it is not the bottom, it isnot the end of the world. I shared mydestiny with thousands of other people; it wouldnot be good if I were the only one. I have positive feelingsfrom that time; unfortunately,I don’t feel guilty for the war. SomehowI was always on the Serb side. I felt sorry forall civilians that suffered, of course, I will alwaysbe suspicious that things were as theyare presented as we are the only guilty side.I will always doubt that, what can Ido, Iwould love to get an absolute truthbut who will say it when everything is so politicizedand every story serves some interest. Simply, Icannot accept that we Serbs are so bad.Throughout history, we have alwaysfought for justice; I cannot accept that we are all of a58sudden the villains. I remember I went to White Rock with a friend of mine, and awoman who overheard us talking asked where were we from. When I said Bosnian Serbshe responded, “Say no more!” I understand her completely. Iran was a symbol of evilfor me because that was how it was showrL on TV, and then here in Canada, I wasshocked when I got to know people from Iran. Great people! I was humble in front oftheir culture and humanity.It hurts me. I think we don’t deserve such a treatment. We, as a nation, sufferedgreatly, I mean, it is terrible 7,000 people in Srebrenica, of course it is terrible,but300,000 people were forced to leave Croatia and nobody saida word, actually, it was saidwe deserved it. It hurts me, I am stupid because it hurts me but it does, andthat is why Ialways say not only that I am a Serb but also that I am a BosnianSerb. Nobody caresabout this anymore; it is old news, however, when it comes to important questionsforSerbia, which I consider my country, all these thingsare used as means to politicallypressure Serbia. I couldn’t care less for Miloevié, buthow come he is a devil, and Alijasuper, Tudman great. They are not even mentioned. Therewere not only Serbs whocommitted the crimes. Everybody knows that, but people turntheir heads the other way.It is very disappointing, what is the truth when everythingserves some interest.Despite everything, I see my life definitively on a positiveside. My children are,thank God, hale and hearty. To be entirely happy, somebodywould need to offer me agood job in Serbia and my wife would need to be happyabout that. I would love for mykids to go to our school where they can learn in our language.I would love for them tohave similar childhood as I had, with a lot of relativesand friends. I wish they could feelthat different life, that closeness and friendships like wehad in the old country. People59are more distanced here;I guess different system anddifferent culture. When I cametoCanada, I sought to make friendshipsonly with my ethnic group.I did not have anythingagainst anybody, but Iknew that we could come intoconflict easily. I couldnot talkagainst my own people,I knew how it would be,we would go back in time, Turkeyperiod, 1918,1941and I decided that I didn’t needthat as I didn’t wanta headache.However, in the end,I have friends and I made newfriends who are both MuslimsandCroats. We have an especiallyclose relationship withone Muslim family whowe got toknow here. They understandme, I understand them,and somehow we coexist.We don’ttouch topics thatare painful for them orfor us. But they got homesick,just like I am, andthey are going back,so my wife will lose herbest friend. My wish togo back is ever-present and I doubt it willever go away. That isa burden for my wholefamily. I don’thave anything here;I am here only physically.DijanaIt started with streetbarricades in April of1992. We were notaware that the warwould happen. Myhusband was ill.He had melanoma. Atthe time, my husband,Zoran, and I wererenting an apartment.I worked in a bankand my husband workedin acar factory, andthe agreement was thatthe companies weworked for wouldbuy us anew apartment that year.So we had been buyingfurniture for ournew apartment andwekept it in this rentedflat. A woman who usedto work with meat the bank had a houseright across fromwere we lived. One day,she was standing on herbalcony and showingsome signs with herhands. At first, I couldnot quite understandwhat she was tryingtosay, but it was thatwe couldn’t get to workthat morning. Shewas saying that thestreetswere blocked and nobodycould go anywhere.My husband and I decidedto go to my60parents’ apartment where my kids were already. My husband returned only once to getsome of my clothes so I had something to wear to work, and that was all he took. We leftthere all our possessions and personal belongings and we never returnedto this placeagain.There was an order for everybody to go to work. My husband was already ill,but I had to go to work every day regardless of everything. There wereno buses, so I hadto walk from my parents’ place about 2 km to getto the bank where I used to work. Wewould go home around 1 or 2 pm, depending on how hard the city wasshelled that day. Iwalked the street side I thought was safer.I went to work until the middle of May, andthen stopped because it was just too dangerous togo. I later learned that I was firedbecause I stopped coming to work. I found out aboutthis when I was afready outside thecity and I asked my father to try and get my documentsfrom the bank. This was whenthey told him that I was fired a long time ago. My husbandalso needed to go tochemotherapy but we couldn’t get him to the otherside of the city where the hospital waslocated. Then my father said to us that we had to leaveuntil the situation in the citystabilizes a little bit. During the shelling raids we wouldgo to the basement butsomehow we still didn’t believe that there would be areal war.It was already June, when my cousin phoned meto let me know that the lastconvoy was organized for people to leave the city.The gathering place was in front ofthe radio television building, so she said thatif we could come to that location we couldjoin the convoy and leave the city. It was not possibleto go anywhere on your own. Youhad to be part of a group. We decided to go,mainly because my husband was in a verydifficult state. The irony was that my cousin didn’tmake it because that day there was a61heavy shelling in the part of the city where she lived. My parents’ apartment was in aMuslim-Croat part of the city and this convoy had to go through the Serb-held territory inorder to get out to Serbia or Croatia. All Serbs went to Serbia, and Croatsand Muslimsto Croatia. I had lots ofrelatives in Croatia because my father wasa Croat. My husbandwas a Serb from Croatia, so we didn’t really have anybody in Serbia. However,becausemy husband was a Serb we had to go to Serbia. My motherwas a Serb from Bosnia. Shewas born in this cityjust like her mother was.When we entered the Serb held part ofthe city the road was blocked behindus sowe couldn’t go back. I felt frightened. Even more frighteningwas when the soldiers putus to sleep in a gym and than the gym was locked. Children werecrying and everythingfelt horrific. In the morning, the gym was opened andwe were ordered to go to the car.We had to write the names and license plate number onthe piece ofpaper and put it on awindshield. Then the convoy split, one part went to Serbia, one part went to Croatia.Wehad a problem; they were not letting Zoran go because of his age.He was 32. Then Ifound a friend who took Zoran to an army doctor who gave him permission to leavebutonly to another small Bosnian town. Then in that other town we had tosee an armydoctor again because they didn’t trust the document we already had.We went to Serbia and then that was horrifying. On my way to Serbia, I phonedmy father to tell him that we couldn’t make it to Croatiaand that we were actually goingto Serbia, and than my father phoned my husband’s cousins who lived ina big Serbiancity who agreed to give us a shelter. I had to place my husband inthe hospital right awaybecause of his condition. I would leave my two girls in front ofthe building to play and Iwould go to the hospital to Zoran every day. Then I wouldcome back to the girls.62Whatever money I had I spent it all. The inflationwas unbelievable. I would exchangein the morning 100 Deutsche marksand in the afternoon that would be nothing.Myfather sent me as muchas he could. The way he did it was thathe would give money tosomebody in Bosnia and thansomebody related to that person wouldgive money to mein Serbia. However, once thetelephone lines were cut oflI didn’t have any connectionswith my parents anymore until radioamateur connection started towork after a fewmonths.I tried to find employment but withno success. Refugees, who came to Serbiaearlier, in April, already foundwork but I tried everywhereand found nothing. I phonedmy father and told him that Icouldn’t survive with my twochildren in this city and askedhim to ask my aunt to take mein with my girls. My auntwas also a refugee from Bosniabut she had her vacation housein Serbia and I thought it wouldbe easier for me to bewith her. Her vacation homewas a 2-3 hour drive from wherewe were. Her husbandwas taken into captivityin Bosnia and he was kept therefor 2 years. My girls wouldstaywith my aunt during the week,and I would go to be with Zoranin the hospital and than Iwould come for the weekendsto see the children. Thegirls played outside all the time,but my aunt told me that whenthe plane flew over they wouldthink they had to runto thebasement.A doctor, who was oneof my father’s students in Bosnia,worked at the hospitalin Serbia. I talkedto him about Zoran’s conditionand he told me there wasno hope.The cancer already spreadto lymph nodes. At theend of August, I took Zoranout of thehospital to bring himto my aunt’s house, and he diedat the beginning ofSeptember. Hedied on the first day ofschool. He was 32 years old.I went that weekend to the cityto63try to get his refugee card, andwhen I got back he had alreadydied. My aunt asked localpeople to give us a piece of landto bury him and we said to themthat my father wouldpay them once the war was over. Andthey gave us a piece of land inthis village so weburied my husband.My father paid for the land aftera few years when he was ableto getthere.One of my friends, who usedto work with me in the bankin Bosnia, startedbaking and selling piesin Serbia so she asked me to helpher. She had two sons whoactually started this business.She would bake pies andthey would sell it around thecity.I was her assistant; I waspreparing ingredients for pieswhile she made the dough. Thislasted about three months andafter that the young men wentabroad. During these threemonths, I had the most terribletime. I stayed again withmy husbands’ cousins in thebigcity and these peoplehad the strangest routine. They sleptfrom 4pm to 8 pm every day,and then after they wouldwake up at 8 pm they would eat,watch TV, and be awake until2-3 am. I worked from 7amto 3 pm and because I knewthat they were sleeping from 4to 8 pm I didn’t want to disturbthem so I walked around the city.I just walked thestreets to kill that time, and thenthe most horrible was when Iget to their place at 8 pm,they wanted to talk to me becausethey just got up, and I would hardlyhold myself on myfeet, because I would be completelyexhausted. So I would haveleft this job anyway, as Ididn’t have anywhereelse to stay but with these people.Then a friend of mine calledme to work in a bank closeto where my aunt had avacation home. I worked therefor 6 months and then this collapsedas well. I couldn’tfind any other work, soI went with my aunt to pick apples,pears, or to dry plumbsduring the nighttime.We needed any kind of work becausewe could not surviveon our64refugee help. Nobody asked me ifI had money to pay the school photosfor the girls. Myaunt did not even get the refugeehelp, because she had her vacationhome there. But shewas a genuine refugee; she fled herhome in Bosnia. We didn’t havefood or money forthe most basic things. This was anabsolutely horrible time.Even bigger problems started whenmy uncle came from Bosnia after2 years ofconfinement there. He did nottolerate my kids and Ito be withthem. He thought wewould stay forever. And true,there was no way back, nobodycould go back to the city,and we didn’t see the end of thiswar. Then I met my secondhusband, Milan. I had toget married; I didn’t haveany other choice. My secondhusband was a local man,a goodman. He was divorced with onechild, and this is where I encounteredanother problem.His first wife left him when she waspregnant, and she had neverreturned to him. Whenshe heard that I was coming therewith my kids, she went to Milan’shome with their son.She had not been there in three years,and Milan’s parents neversaw their grandson, butshe went now and said thatshe would like them to get togetheragain. Milan told her thatshe could go back where she hadbeen those previous three years. Mytroubles didn’tstop there. Her brother threatenedto kill me because he said I stolehis sister’s husband.I could not believe that allof this was happening to me. I wasscared of her brother and Ihad to go to a police station toask for protection. Police took awayhis gun afterwards.This was a different culturethan what I was used to.I lived my whole life in a city, andthis was completely differentfrom anything I encountered inmy pre-war life. I had tolearn to drive a tractor, todo all sorts of different farm work.But what can you do? Allthese were tremendouschanges in my life. At first,we agreed not to have any more65children, but later Milan changed his mind and we had a little girl. I already had twogirls, and he had a boy who lived with his first wife.I had a very difficult time in exile, because I didn’t have any money, and I didn’thave any way to make money. It was better when I got married. It was certainly betterfinancially. I was able to buy books and school bus tickets for my kids. I knew thatMilan would buy this for the kids; he was one of the wealthiest men in the village. Heworked and I helped too; we had pigs and we ploughed the land. All this time, I alsoworried for my parents I left behind, and I still thought about going back. My father was60 and my mother was 70 at the time, and I was their only child. I sent them packageswhere I put some of the long lasting food from my refugee aid packages, like feta cheeseand cans. It was very difficult to survive this war in the closed city but they did itsomehow. One liter of cooking oil was 100 Deutsche marks; there was no bread. Myparents would receive 2 slices of bread for two days. My mother would go to the RedCross to get some cooked food for them. It was my mother who got around; my fatherdidn’t leave the apartment for 6 months. It was not the same for everybody, but for mostpeople it was very difficult to survive. Some neighbors made gardens in the apartmentcomplex, and then people would steal from each other anything that grew from theground. Throughout the war neighbors were not good to my parents. They didn’t wantto talk to them. Neighbors threatened my parents and my father didn’t want to go to thebasement during shelling raids. After the war, it seems to be a different story. Thesesame neighbors who were terrible during the war now ask my mother every day if sheneeds something from the store. They buy her groceries whenever she needs it.66When I think about all this that happened, it looks like a dream.Like in a dream,I cannot believe that all this had happened. And when Igo back there, I see all thesechanges, but it is still hard to believe. I still love togo there. I went for a month lastyear, and for two months a year before that. When I wentthere for the first time after thewar, it was very hard. My childhood friends didn’t change,but everything aroundchanged completely. The city is completely different; itfeels different. People I used towork with that are still there are still the same; they didn’t change.I am not sure, though,about people who came there during the war.I mean, that all was horrifring, that period in exile until Igot married again, it wasthe hardest in my life. When I got married again, it was easier. But then, whatever Milanwanted to do, his father wouldn’t let him. Milan wantedto make a big barn to have lotsof cows, but his father didn’t like that. Then Milan wanted to plant watermelons,hisfather didn’t let him. Then Milan built a restaurant on a highway, but couldn’t finish itbecause he didn’t have enough money, but his father didn’t help out.That’s why we decided to come to Canada. His father couldn’t believe that Milanwould actually go away and leave his big property there. Milan did. But Imust say thatit was hard when we got to Canada. Nine different churches were oursponsors. Therewas a man, who came from Yugoslavia 50 years ago, who acted as our translator.Hegave us all lame advice, like not to go to social services because that would have stayedon our record and we would never get ajob again and stupid things like that. But wedidn’t know and we were scared. There were 5 of us, we had to look for work and wecouldn’t speak the language well. It felt like being severely disabled. I looked for anyjob, just to put kids through school. We looked for anything just to work. I got work67packaging vegetables and I stayed there for 9 years.I was paid well because I worked allnight shifts. After I lost that job, I couldn’tfmd another one for the next 6 months.NowI have this job, I work 2 days and 2 nightsbut I am so scared because I don’t knowif Iam going to stay here.My husband was in a crash and he couldn’t workfor full 4 years; he almost losthis arm. In 4 years, he didn’t make anymoney. My daughters worked, one at theWalmart, and the other one at the Home Depot.When we first came, I was happy to haveranaway from that chaos over there, however,in a little while, when I saw this differentsystem, that you have to take your kid to andfrom school every day, that you worry ifsomebody would steal your child, then Iwondered if we did the right thing by comingtoCanada. I wasn’t sure anymore. I had towork two jobs and Milan worked two jobsuntilhe got injured in a crash. I don’t know,it might be better that I am here, there isnothingover there, there is no work and withoutwork you can’t live. The only thing, Iwould bearound my people that speak the same language, eventhough, I am an outsider now in thecountries of the former Yugoslavia just likeI am here.I don’t know about other people, but my body is hereand my thoughts are overthere. I can’t sleep at night, maybe because I think abouthow it was before when I usedto work in Bosnia and about my friends. I feelas if everything is a dream and I would goback. I don’t have anything here. I feel I can’t breatheand I have to open the window. Ihave a feeling I will suffocate. I constantlygo back in my dreams to how it was before inmy life, only to 1992. I see myselfat work, with my friends. I feel that all this isadream, and I will go back to mycity as it used to be. But there is no return, there is no68return. Wishes and reality are not the same. I could not leave my children behind and Idon’t know where I would go either.I miss my country, my city, I would love the most to go back to my city as it wasbefore, I would only love to go there where I was born and spent my entire life before thewar. But I can’t return. How can I go back? Even if I left my two older girls behind,where would the youngest one go to school? Everything is divided over there. Muslimsgo to their schools, Croats to theirs, and Serbs to their schools. There is no return, and Idoubt that I could get a job.I had my old friends in Bosnia, friends I grew up with, and I had lots of friends atwork as well. I have friends here, a family from Bosnia I know for 13 years now. Myhusband met the father of this family at work, and we became very good friends. Ourchildren are good friends too. With Canadian people I only talk at work, nothing morethan that. When we first came, we would get together with people from the church thatsponsored us, but that was all very formal and we never had any close and warmrelationships. I worked 2 jobs, and my husband worked 2 jobs, so we really didn’t haveany time to get together with people even if we wanted. I still have two jobs now. I haveto. I have no choice.After my husband got money for his injury, he returned to Serbia and left us here.Maybe he was scared that I would spend all of his money, I like to change furniture often.We are divorced now even though we still have a good relationship, and I still hope thathe would come and live with us again. It is more because of our daughter so she canhave a father. It is because of me too, I would have more support and I would be lessscared. I am really scared that I will loose ajob and I don’t know what will happen to us69then. I don’t have anybody here.He is more practical than I am, hecan figure out howto make money even if he doesn’t have ajob. I am not that skilled. If thiscompany shutsdown, I will not sleep again for nightsand nights. After I was laid off thelast time, for 7months nobody phoned me after Isubmitted hundreds of resumes everywhere.It is areally scary situation forme. Before the war, I felt safe. Even whenmy first husbandgot sick, I had my job, my parents,my aunt, and my friends. Now I am alone,totallyalone, and the worst of all is thatjobs are very unstable here; todayyou are needed, thenext day you are not needed. Thiseconomic crisis brought lots of instability.The most important thing for me now is thatI am healthy and that I have a job. Itwas the hardest to live through the exile.At least, now I have a roof over my head,and Iam not hungry. At least, we all have somekind ofwork. I am not fluent in Englishso Icannot expect any special job eventhough I have university education. I worked9 yearson packaging. It was well paid, even thoughI did work all night shifts. But I am not inaposition to be picky, it is importantfor me to work so I can survive.My older daughters are satisfied, even thoughboth say they would love to goback. They were already 13 and 12 whenwe came to Canada. They say they wouldliketo go back and live in Serbia. Thatis what they say, but they know they can’tfind ajobthere. I doubt they will go back.Maybe if they find a good job over there.I thinkpeople would go back if they couldget a decent job over there. I don’t know,somepeople like it here, some people likeit more over there, it is a different culture anddifferent system. Somepeople already went back. Retired peoplecan go back, they canlive over there with their pensions.70My husband went back to Serbia. It is not all good for him though. People ask toborrow money from him. When he says that he doesn’t have any to lend, friendships fallapart. People think that he has lots of money. Milan says to me not to dream anymore,but I can’t. I am always there in my thoughts, only the beautiful part of my life until1992. After the war, things changed over there too. Privatization brought long workinghours, so people don’t have time to get together like we used to have. I saw it when Ivisited my mother. My friend goes to work at 7 am and comes home at 5 pm, almost thesame how I work here. Only that life until 1992 was beautiful, after 1992 they also haveonly work and house. Still I would like to go back because of the language.If only Zoran stayed alive, it would have been different for kids and for me.Milan is a good man. When I decided to marry him, I only thought about safety for mychildren and that he would provide a better life for them. But both my girls had toldMilan a thousand times that he was nobody to them and that he didn’t have any right tosay or order anything to them. The girls would shout at us, and I was scared to doanything about it, because they often told me how somebody’s mom from school calledpolice to kick out her boyfriend from the house. I was scared to hit them; I didn’t knowwhat might happen. If only Zoran stayed alive, they might have even finished university.All this has been very difficult, but we survived, and that’s it.71BoriaI was sitting with my wife drinking our first morning coffee when a first grenadeexploded. I came to the window and saw how grenades were falling on the top of theroofs. It occurred to me the war was imminent. It was April 6, 1992 when the Serbsbombed for the first time that part of the town where we had rented our place. There wasa commotion in the building, everybody ran to the basement. Almost everybody therewas Muslim, only two Serb families and some mixed marriages. Some of our Muslimneighbors already had guns, and they patrolled at night, apparently to protect people fromSerbs. That is what they told us. Serb families were told not to go back to theirapartments while others could go if they desired.I understood that the war was on, and I couldn’t eat or sleep, I was very nervous.Knowing our history, I was scared that my wife and I would be butchered. I trulybelieved in that, especially when a strange man came to live in our building. He was thefirst to come out armed, and he was enforcing order. I thought that he must have beensome sort of organizer and that he was not there by chance. He was actually theexecutioner. I knew what happened in the WWI and what happened in the WWII, I feltlike a lamb ready to be killed. I told my wife that we had to run away from there. I saidthe same to another Serb family, however, the young man was wary how would we passthe barricades on the roads; according to him it was futile even to try.On the third day we were allowed to go back to our apartment, and than the nextday all armed neighbors went to defend a Muslim army line; rumor had it that Serbs weretrying to get through. As nobody around us had guns, we decided to run for our lives.We ran to our car, I don’t even remember how we reached the bridge. I remember this72older man, around 70, asked us if we had guns, where we were headed, and he let us go.I drove probably 100 km/h through the center, as I heard that snipers were shooting.We were lucky to get to my wife’s parents place, but there was a constant shellingin their neighborhood. We stayed there another 3 or 4 days, and as these were the lastdays when one could get out of the city, we managed to get to the main bus station andgot on a bus to my hometown. There were barricades on the road but we got through.In my hometown, everything was still quiet; there were no armed people or anybarricades. But it was a dangerous quiet before the storm. My older brother advised menot to stay there but to go to Serbia. In his own words, “I was not made for what was tocome”. I attended university and stayed to live in another city, so my connections withlocal people were not as strong. In light of this, at the end ofthe April, my wife and I leftfor Serbia.I distinctly remember this journey. Untidy, bearded people with arms stopped ourbus at least 15 times at various barricades. I was not sure who that was, but who ever itwas, they let us get out from Bosnia.We stayed with my mother’s relatives in Serbia. I tried to get into some sort ofroutine there, but then I heard that “Bosnia was in flames”. My brother got woundedwhen they fought their way through a corridor that connected this western Bosnian citywith eastern parts of Bosnia. He was hospitalized for a month and a half. After he wasreleased from the hospital, he came to see us in Serbia. He told me that if I didn’t goback to Bosnia then, I would have been considered a traitor and runaway. On top of this,we started feeling our relative’s irritation with us. They could not bear any longer tohave us at their place, and we felt that we were not welcome there anymore. Besides, we73were refugees, and we were treated as such everywhere. As soon as you say a wordwithyour Bosnian accent, they knew it. Among men, I felt that they considered me a deserter.They thought that my place was in Bosnia where I should defend my people. I wasastronger believer in going back than my wife, but on any account, we went back toBosnia on August 3’ or4th•This journey stuck in my mind. We traveled at night a route where I had nevertraveled before, and I had driven to Serbia and back likea million times in my life. Thebus took some village roads; we would stop often and pickup soldiers who were goingon a home break from combat. All these people looked bloodyand all of them had guns,like a scene from the movies. Then stories they were tellingon the bus about battles, andjust the fact that those were real guns and bullets was so unreal.I mean, a real bullet, areal gun. I was terrified. I felt numb. I rememberthe look on my wife’s face. We werelooking at each other in disbelief as to say “Oh my God where arewe going!” But wedid not have a clue where we were going. I realizedthe first day when I arrived in myhometown when they sent me immediately to combat.My brother told me to go straight to the army headquarters.On August5th1wassleeping in a trench. I would stay 20 days on my shift withoutbath or bed. I was soafraid, especially, because we came two weeks after a bigbattle against Croats andMuslims when 120 people were killedon our side. Croats and Muslim had tried to breakthrough our army line. Nevertheless, when I went to registermyself at the armyheadquarters, they dispatched me to this hill andmy brother’s reaction scared me. Hejust asked “why there?” That sounded so ominous while I was still trying to understand74what was happening around me. I just came back from this sleepy part of Serbia, andhere there was shooting and shelling every day.I realized that here like elsewhere, interpersonal relations were corrupted andcorrupted people were in charge. Not everybody ended up in a trench, depending onpersonal connections. Who did not know anybody in charge and did not have any moneyended up in a trench. I ended up in a trench.My hometown used to have around 30,000 residents, and this was reduced duringthe war to about 3000. It became a ghost town. Residents fled, and left behind theirproperty. Things were up for grabs. The human rapacity showed its worst face. Peoplewere grabbing everything; they were completely wrecking havoc on other people’sproperty. They were taking away doors, windows, hot water tanks, faucets, even dry wallpaper, anything and everything.It so happened that my wife who started working at the municipality office,managed to find work for me in the office. They needed professional people, and I hadbeen trained as an engineer. Even in the town it was not safe, because there was a Muslimmilitary tank on the top of the bill that would shell streets daily. One could not walkstreets just like that. People were killed daily. However, it was still much better thanbeing in a trench. I could sleep in bed, eat normally and have a bath.Unfortunately, I did not stay long at this job because I did not follow certainunspoken rules coming from powerlIii people in the town. This ruling group all belongedto the same party and they knew each other well. I came into a conflict with thembecause of something I did. My job was to clean the town of abandoned vehicles thatcrowded the streets. I would try first to find out the owners and than tow all of these75vehicles to a designated parking lot. What happened to these vehicles afterwards I didnot know, but I was guessing. There were a lot of cars, big trucks, and constructionmachinery. Some were very expensive, I would say anywhere between 200,000 and 300,000 Deutsche Marks at the time. I came across three big expensive trucks in front of oneabandoned Muslim house in one of the suburbs. I towed all three of them to a designatedspot. The next day, a man came into my office with documents to pick up these trucks.Apparently, the trucks’ owner gave a power of attorney to this man to look after histrucks. The document was dated from before the war started. I realized that this man hada bad reputation as he had his own paramilitary troop; however, as he had this document,I gave him a permission to remove those three trucks. Hardly an hour had gone by whenthe owner of the company who provided a tow truck phoned. He was related to themayor of our town. He screamed at me from the top of his lungs, called me all sorts ofnames because I let these trucks go, and it did not pass long I was back in the trench. Isimply got a summons.It was all a scheme. They were selling other people’s vehicles and putting moneyin their own pockets. I felt horrible; I came back to defend my people from Croat andMuslim attacks but I realized that while most poor people were in combat every day,these people, municipality officials at the time, were the crooks. The truth is that in thewar only bad lot benefits, and ordinary people suffer. The same happened on all threesides.In any event, the next three years, I spent in combat. Fighting, wounded people,killed people, wounded friends, dead friends. I lost at least 30 close friends in this war,people that I shared everything with. We were in trenches together. And they died for76nothing; I don’t even dare to think about their families. All those were young men, about20 years old, some of them just married with babies. That was the hardest period in mylife and I lived through many difficult times in this war.I ran again into some interpersonal problems. There were 6 of us, in our troop,who were better educated than the rest. Mainly, soldiers were local peasants, and we kepttelling them that we had been bleeding for the crooks. The culmination of our revolt waswhen they sent us as a paid army to help out Croats to defend the territory they took over.Croats expelled Muslims from the neighboring town, but they did not have enoughpeople to hold that territory and protect from the Muslim counter attack. So theyexpelled Muslim population, women, kids, men, elderly, and pushed them towards Serbheld territory. Serbs in trenches had opened the fire; they did not know who was comingfrom the other side. These people started running back straight into the Croats fire. Theysaid there were between 70 and 80 people all together. A slaughterhouse. Horror. Atleast, this is the version Croats told us.Six or seven of our troops came to help out Croats and we were ignorant that theypaid for us. They told us that there was a price-list. For every killed soldier, they wouldpay 700 Deutsche Marks, and for wounded depending on the degree of a wound. We sattogether in a café and they showed us a movie how they decapitated a Serb and thenkicked his head on the ground. We told them we did them the same way up on the hill.Those were kind of sick war jokes. We confronted our commander about the money andwhat he asked us was where did we think arms and ammunition came from.As I was the loudest, one day I was summoned to the anny authority. Threepeople had sat around the table, and they started asking me questions. One of them77pointed a lamp in my face. They had warned me that if I continued talking too much,something could happen to my wife or me. I had my gun with me. I did not go anywherewithout it and I was ready to use it. I said to them again that I was thereto defend myfather and my town, but not to be a paid soldier and defend territory for Croats.My brother decided to flee Bosnia at this time. I did not blame him. We had beenwitnessing a sickening rapacity everywhere. It was extremely difficultto endure thatonce you understood what was happening. These peasantsdid not believe me when I wastelling them. They didn’t see the point of me telling that,because what other options theyhad. Should they stop fighting? I did not have an answerto this question. In their mindswas only how to do the work around their houses, how to reap crops,feed cattle, pigs.They didn’t have time for politics; they only thoughthow to stay alive. I kept saying tothem that we had to go home to protect our homes because Muslimscould come anddestroy everything while we defend Croats.I have to admit that in this part of Bosnia,Croats and Serbs had had traditionally good relationships.Croats had let us know severaltimes that Muslims were preparing attack and theysaved us. I heard that Croats helpedSerbs to get out of Zenica. I guess it depends on theregion. In Lika and Herzegovina,Croats had been the worst butchers of Serbs,but in northern Bosnia, it was different.In addition to the war horror, I still had interpersonalproblems. I just did notwant to be there anymore, I had it with them,and they could have done whatever theywanted with me. My army superiors offered me togo with the advance guard so not tobe in a trench anymore. That was a group of 20 to30 people who went across the armyline to make reconnaissance,to see where is the other side’s line, to look for and putaway mines. When there was an action, we went first.We routinely lost one or two men78every month, and we would get new people. Thesewere all young, very young men,from 17 to 20 years and as an olderguy, I was their leader. There was another olderguy,a drunkard, who spent the whole war withthis group. One half ofmy war experiencewas in the trenches, and the otherhalf was with this advance guard.I don’t know whichone was worse. In trenches, it wasdifficult to keep watch the whole night,and to enduresleeplessness and poor food. Onthe other side, in this advance guard,I lost so manypeople. Kids, kids, those were kids.They didn’t think much; they wentwithout fear.We were telling them, think, don’tgo like that. There might be somebody thereor there,there might be a mine. They didn’t think thatway; they just wanted to carrythe order.They behaved like Rambo. Nevertheless, ittook lots of courage to go likethat when youknew somebody was there on theother side ready to fire or there weremines everywhere.These were very brave young men.Whenever I think ofthem, I can’t stopmy tears fromrolling down. They didn’t haveany military training, didn’t really knowhow to read atopographic map or use a compass.Sure enough, we had some classesbut that was notenough. They were killed in thatnumber because they wereso young and inexperienced.Some were killed because a grenadeor bomb would come down allof a sudden and thatcould happen to anyone, but someof them went without fear straightinto fire. Iremember once, we werelying down in a shelter on the line,waiting. And one of theseyoung men, all of a sudden, got upand started running straight towardsthe other line.We were numb; we couldn’t believeit. He must have known thatthe other side wasready to shoot, what was inhis mind we had not known.Miraculously, he stayed aliveeven though he had totally riskedhis life.79There was this girl who fought forthe Croats. Her face is imprintedin mymemory. I hardly heard her ever talking,but when she would get a command,she wouldjust go, even though everythingwas on fire and detonationseverywhere. She didn’tcare.When you stay in combatfor a longer time, let’s say twoweeks continually, either youare attacking somebody,or running away but don’t knowwhere you are running, whenyou are in combat, you start doingthis as this is normal.Once, when I was in atrench, I got up and went tosmoke a cigarette.I went tothe part where a sniperwas shooting. I guessI just didn’t care anymore. Ihad it witheverything, I could notsuffer anymore, so I thoughtif I were wounded they wouldtakeme to the hospital and Iwould not have to stayhere anymore. It was away out of thismisery. It was a total misery,four years ofmisery.I believe that all thesepeoplesurvived four yearsof utter misery and despair.The advanced guard wentahead of other troops.One day before the action, wewere told theexact time of the action, and wehad actions every month.Later, we startedfaking. So they wouldtell us go here and here.We would go, find a goodshelter, andstart firing. The otherside would start firingback right away. Therewould be such afire, that one would thinkpeople are dying therefor sure. Than we wouldwait untileverything becomes quiet,and we would go backand say that there wasnothing wecould do as they sawus coming. Once we wantedto fake it like that but raninto aminefield. Two ofour men were killed. Therewas a yelling fromthe other side to takethe bodies away sothey don’t stink when they rotclose to their line.They promised notto shoot, but we didnot trust them entirely. Somehowwith crawling andhiding wemanaged to take the bodiesof our two dead friends.80I remember particularly one action.It was a serious action. We wantedto moveinto the Muslim held territoryto remove that tank that was shellingthe town from thehill. I didn’t sleep the wholenight; I had a knot in my stomachbecause I knew thattomorrow I could be dead.I did not have any choice, I wouldbe transported on theMuslim side, and there is noway you can hide somewhere.It was August, earlymorning, I remember the stillness,the smell of summer,I heard birds singing, as we weremoving into this territory.Indeed, this action wasfiery. I cannot even begin to describethe intensity of fire. We werefiring through the smallopening on the tank, and I hadahard time filling these frameswith bullets that is how muchammunition we spent. Thatlasted about an hour anda half, the main attack, after whichwe got out of tanks buttheyran away. Like a movieTerminator. Oneof us got killed, and lotsofpeople werewounded. What wasthe worst of all, after this fight,I was completely exhaustedandhungry, but I had to stayanother three days to guardthis territory we had capturedand tosleep on the ground. Afterthree days, we went backand other troops came tostay.However, Muslims madea counter-attack and pushedour army back again.We went up again toclose the line. Our commanderdidn’t tell us whosearmywas up there, just goand close the line. Theline was a half-circleshaped trench on thetop of the hill. Thistrench was an adult’sheight at the ends andthen as you walkedtowards the center, it loweredto your knees. Somehow,we split while we wereclimbingand I stayed alone. Icame first to the trench,jumped inside, andstarted walking. I wasextremely tense becauseI expected any moment torun into somebody. Iwas ready toshoot. Suddenly,I saw a man squatting downwith a gun, lookingsomewhere downtowards Muslims. Athousand thoughts ran throughmy head, if I shouted todrop the81gun, he could have shot me; I did not have anywhere to hide. In a split second, I justthought I had to fire and save myself. Luckily, I noticed another man coming from theother side and I recognized him. We fought together at the beginning of the war. He wastalking something to this man, and I realized that I could have killed an innocent man.That was a horrible feeling, and it still lives in me. I did not tell them anything.There was another similar situation. Muslims started fighting among themselvesand we helped out one of the sides. This fighting was in the city, street combat fromhouse to house. I was hiding behind one house when I saw a man come outside. He waslooking for something, about 20 meters from me. I watched him and than shouted “Heyyou fool go inside, I could shoot you any moment”! He stopped fora moment, turnedaround and ran inside. It never even crossed my mind to kill somebody just like that.Ibelieve that I was in a similar situation at least 3-4 times where somebodywas watchingme and could have killed me but didn’t. That means that noteverybody was abloodthirsty animal. We were normal people who simply were drawninto this war, notbecause we wanted to fight but because we were sucked into it.Crooks stayed in townsto steal and pushed us to fight. We did not have a choice. I did notwant to run away, thatwas my country.I waited for the end and the end came after the Daytonagreement. It was reallythe end. We were so happy, because we knew that no one wouldbe killed anymore. Wewere truly happy. We stayed as soldiers longer, we couldn’t go hometo sleep, but armiesstarted to empty lines and UNPROFOR was taking over. It wasan incredible relief itwas the end of the war, and we understood that we were going to stay alive.82I cannot decide in my thinking if I did a right thing by staying in the war. On oneside, I believed I had done the right thing because I protected my parents so they couldstay in their house, on their land and did not have to leave like some of my neighbors,Croats and Muslims had to. My school friends had to leave, they couldn’t stay to livethere anymore, just like Serbs on Croat and Muslim sides had to leave. Sad. It isheartbreaking to see people who worked hard their whole life in Germany like temporaryguest workers, saved money, build homes, only to abandon those and loose everythingbut life. There was nothing I could do about this. There were some killings I heardabout, but you cannot put yourself between a maniac with a gunand a victim. I wouldbecome a victim. You cannot talk to these people; they are not normal people. After“Operation Storm” happened in August of 1995 thousands and thousands of refugeeswent through our town. There were soldiers among them who still had guns. Some ofthem took revenge on local people in this town. If they heard that there wasa Croat or aMuslim in town they would go there. That was how my neighbor,a Croat, died. I wassad for this man; he had been a good neighbor. He had stayed in his house the entire warand nobody touched him. He felt safe near my brother and me. I wasn’t there when hewas killed, but even if I were there, I doubt that I could have done anything. Icould haveonly been killed instead of him.On the other side, when I think how those who ruled, who grabbed everythingthey could, used us, I feel like an idiot. Bags of money disappeared from banks withoutatrack. How could they otherwise all of a sudden drive these most luxuriousvehicles, ownrestaurants and cafes other than from stolen money? I felt torn throughoutthe war, on83one side, I felt pride that I was defendingmy people and my heritage, andon the other, Ifelt that the town leaders used usfor their benefit.I felt lost, insecure. I was not sure whetherI was doing the right thing or not.Ifelt I wasted my time. Maybe notso much at the time, but now I clearlysee I wasted mytime. While people in other partsof the world lived, worked, acquiredthings, I wastedmy time in the war. Just to livethrough that was horrible. It wouldhave been better forme if I had stayed in Serbia as arefugee. I would have not experiencedthese horriblethings. I don’t have nightmareslike some of my friends I talk to,but I have daily badmoments. Especially, whenI have a break at my work, I spendthat 1-hour breakthinking about my parents, brothers,friends, war, and then whenit’s time to go back towork, I don’t feel I can work. I feelsick; I am preoccupied withthese thoughts so Icannot go back to work. I feelI am wasting my energy; Ifeel tired, because I pushmyself. I have problemsbecause of these events andI know that. I try to fight it; I stillhave energy to fight that,especially because now I havea child, job, and I am aware thatI should stop thinking aboutthese things and concentrateon present and future. Iam ableto do that more and more, even thoughI think it is impossible forme to forget that war.The hardest for me is knowledgethat these things should not havehappened.People say that what happenedcannot be undone, but that shouldnot have happened. Ican not comprehend that thathad happened and alwaysthink for myself why did ithappened and I am always lookingfor who is guilty for this, and thatis a waste of timeand energy. SometimesI think that whoever wantedto destroy Yugoslavia is guilty.Yugoslavia for me wasSFRY, and I blame the West fora conspiracy against Yugoslavia.Of course they had supportof the inside forces, just like in WWIand WWU, traitors who84wanted to destroy the system. All these presidents of all these new countries after thecivil war are guilty of war crimes. Of course only Miloevié and Karadié areproclaimed guilty but starting from Slovenia, Croatia, and the rest who started all thismess, nobody took any responsibility for war crimes. Nobody took any responsibility forcrimes against Serbs in Croatia. I hold Slovenia responsible the most for the war, andAustria and Germany, and also they had support of others, like Great Britain and USA. Ican say that Canada also sent their bombers to bomb Serb’s positions in Bosnia in 1995.I witnessed consequences of these bombings, I saw killed civilians on the ground. Theyknow the best who bombed and killed innocent people.I believe that we are not the only responsible side for the war in Bosnia; I feel weare the least guilty. The war was forced on us, and those stories that we wanted toethnically cleanse areas are not true, because we were happy in that Yugoslavia.Somebody destroyed that Yugoslavia, and I believe that the West did not like thatYugoslavia as it was. Then they brought me here to build their country, and I don’t feelgreat about that. What can I do now? What the heck, maybe it is better to be here than inBosnia where everything is destroyed.I have to say that when I first got papers for Canada, I was happy. I felt at thetime that I fought for crooks and I was happy to leave. However, as time went by, peoplestarted to live normally again, now I think that I might have made a mistake. If I werethere, it would have been much easier to go through these traumas because I would havebeen with my people. I miss everybody. I was not able to attend my father’s funeralbecause I did not have a passport. That was a terrible feeling. I only talk with mybrother on the phone, I don’t see him, I don’t see my cousins whom I have known my85whole life. The social life inCanada is completely different andit doesn’t suit me. Takefor example TV. I turn on theFrench channel because I see thatwe are culturally closerto them.I don’t have anything in commonwith these people around me,save family life. Iwould say that in that areawe have similar goals and relationships;however, everythingelse is different. For example,work ethic, cultural ethic,books ethic, traffic ethic, allthese are different. SometimesI fear that my child, because sheis a product of thissociety, will be this way and I fearI will not be able to accept that.I will never be able toaccept this system as my system.I feel that I don’t belong here, I amtrying to adapt as much as I could,but I fear Iwill never be able to accept thisculture. It bothers me terriblywhen they say that we livein a multicultural community. Thatis a lie. I can see from the behaviorof people whosefirst language is English that theythink that they are somehow aboveus. Of course theywould not say that openly, however,from their behavior I could tellthat they do thinkthat they are somehow better. Howelse could I explain the fact thatI am paid lessbecause they don’t like my English.At the same time, when they displaymulticulturalpride at every corner, I feel cultural discriminationeverywhere. I mean literallyeverywhere. When I go with my daughter tosoccer, if I say a word with my accent,everybody looks at me as if I camefrom Mars. I don’t see a reason for that.I don’t liketo live with people like these,that is why I say that I will never belong herebecause I feelthat people don’t like mehere. I would not feel that if I had stayedwith my people inBosnia. This really bothers methe most. I would agree to be lesspaid but tell me whyare you paying me less. BecauseI have an accent and it takes methree days to write a86report in English. But I solve problems quicker than those colleagues who write reportsfaster. I am very frustrated. There is lots of residue from the war, and there are lots ofthings inside me. It is very difficult to find a good job if you have an accent and whenyou are coming from elsewhere. Plus it is very hard to start from scratch in your 40’s.I didn’t anticipate that this would be happening to me in Canada. When I came, Iwas very happy because there was no shooting, no commanders, no municipality officialsto fight with, no crooks who stole everything they could and now they are the big shotswho kick us who fought and bled in this war. I felt great when I got here, they gave me alittle bit of money, but I was content because I came from the country where there was nomoney for four years. I mean there was money but it was not worth anything. I lived onbread and water and now here I could sit down to have a coffee without anybody yellingat me and sitting on my shoulders. There was no war here, and that peace was sobeautiful for me. I did not notice any cultural differences or any other differences. I wasnot looking for a job, I wanted to learn language first, and everything looked rosy, likenew life was starting again.In reality, I was blind and dumb; I did not see what lies ahead of me. I am nottalking about reality that one has to work to live, but I did not expect such a difficult way.I did not want to clean my whole life. At least, I had a degree; I was trained as anengineer in Yugoslavia. I wanted to do the job that I had the training for. But I did noteven dream how difficult it would be to get a professional job, especially for a nervoussystem like mine that is undermined in the war. I had to invest five times more energythan somebody who finishes school here. It was more difficult for me than forimmigrants from Rumania, Bulgaria, or Germany. These immigrants come here to87change their lives, they come with some money and they have a recent work experience.I spent four years in the trenches; I didn’t even know what was ordinary life anymore.I made a mistake and I know that now. My child was born and goes to schoolhere. She is a Canadian, and I have to accept her as such. I know that her future is hereand that is my sacrifice. I am trying to change myself, to convince myselfthat is not asacrifice but life. This is my life in Canada, this is a reality, and I am a Canadian now.But this is very hard to accept. This is a constant struggle that goes on inside me. I wantto convince myselfthat I am a Canadian, that I came of my own will, I accepted to come,but I can’t. Past cannot be forgotten. It has been a continuous friction and an insidestruggle, and it might never cease, even though time helps. I succeeded at least in someareas in Canada, I work as an engineer now, and I am becoming more content. But thishas been so hard that I cannot put it in words. This topic would be good forDostoyevsky. I read War and Peace by Tolstoy to ease my struggle, but I couldn’t findmyself there. I read books in hope that will help ease my misery. I go to bed but thenstart thinking about all this. I try to stop, but I can’t. Than I try reading books to findsomebody with whom I could identify, who have similarly suffered and it helps me.My struggle is a result of everything that happened, I couldn’t separate the warexperience from my Canadian experience. It is like a ball of wool all intermingled. Attimes, I have a feeling that it was easier during the war than in Canada because it is sohard for me to relate to Canadians. I am faced with prejudice everywhere, at my work, insocial situations, in grocery stores. If there is a native English speaker in line ahead ofme, a cashier is kind and considerate, and when my turn comes, if I say a word with myaccent I run into unkindness, rudeness. Not everybody is like that, but the majority. I88might be exaggerating, because this is constantly cooking in me. People instantly changetheir facial expression when they realize you are an immigrant. The expression goesfrom a smile to a serious look saying “oh there is another one who can’t speak English,who knows where this one is coming from, another dirty immigrant.” There is disgust ontheir faces. This might be my imagination, but I am certain that they are not glad to seeme, or to talk to me or to relate to me in any way. I don’t know what is in their heads, buttheir expression tells me that they don’t like to talk to me. They might be thinking that Iam coming from a different culture and they need to be cautious with me. They might bescared of me; they might think I am barbarous and aggressive. Why did they kill thatPolish man at the airport? Why did they pull a taser gun at him? From my point of view,he might have behaved normally, but for them not, and they killed him. That is a proofthat they behave differently towards people who can’t speak English. My kid doesn’thave any problems in school because her English is good, but I will have problems until Ilive.Bad manners bother me. At work, a person who sits next to me does not evengreet me upon arriving. This type of behavior is killing me, because it pushes me to closemyself, because if he doesn’t want to talk to me than I totally don’t want to talk to him.There are people who don’t pay attention to this stuff but I do. My nervous system hasweakened in the war, and if the war didn’t happen, I would not have had been here.Relationships between people here and in the old country are very different.There was a spiritual closeness and connection, not only with relatives, but also withffiends and colleagues. There is nothing like that for me here. People don’t have time toget together, and everybody is somehow reserved. We only get together with people89from our own ethnic community. I don’t have any Canadian friends. I have not run intoanybody who would show some sincere interest in getting together, I tried but it didn’twork out. People associate only because of some gain. My daughter has a play date withother kids, but we as a family, as adults, have not established any relationship withanother Canadian family.People move constantly, they go after work, and we lived there where we wereborn. My father died in the place where he was born. That is an important matter; it is aspiritual question. You don’t have that here. Even here, people might wish thatgrandparents look after the kids, but the economy dictates differently so you have to keepmoving.I miss tremendously the presence of my closest family and friends. The life doesnot consist only of a child, work, and your immediate family; I miss profoundly myextended family. I cannot afford to go often to see them, we talk on the phone but that isa poor substitute for being with them. I have not found friends here like I had there. Idon’t have time to get together with people. I also worked 8 hours a day in Yugoslaviabut that didn’t stop me from being with friends all the time.There is an economic reason for being in Canada, especially when you think thatBosnia went back in time 100 years, that means there is no future there for my child.Personally, if I had survived the worst time there, I could live there any time. I do thinksometimes that I should have stayed there because I would have probably gottenrecognized in my profession and I would not have lived through this cultural shock, andthat feeling that people didn’t care for me which is hard to take. I feel like a second ordercitizen here. This is ever present, and I am extremely happy when I run into Canadians90who are open and kind, I love to talk to them but I have not had luck to have arelationship with any of those people either because of different age or status.The only reason for me to stay here is the future of my child. When people whomean something to me in Bosnia die, Bosnia will not be close anymore either. Whether Iwill die in Bosnia or here is all the same to me as long as I am close to my child. Shedominates in my life, she is my priority, and she determines my feelings and what andhow to do. Ifnot for her, I would really have to ponder over what am I doing here, Iwould rather go to Bosnia to be with people I love until they are alive just as I had livedwith them for 35 years. I miss it. I miss love. I don’t feel love here. Whether I go towork or anywhere I go I don’t feel love, I feel that people are prejudiced against me andin some way I feel hatred. I feel alone. Lonely, uncared for. I feel all by myself. Whodo I have here? A few friends who are in the same situation, who probably think and feelsimilarly, and have the same problems like I do. I don’t have anybody to talk to whowould understand. I miss people, I miss intimacy, and I don’t have that here. I grew uplike that, I was surrounded by lots of relatives and friends, and here I am alone. It wouldhelp if I started taking drugs, it would help me to forget reality. But I don’t want to. Istill have strength to fight. Time heals everything.I used to be a hippy Boria, when I lived in Bosnia. I loved music, friendship. Iused to be relaxed, peaceful, wordless. Even during the war, my only worry was to stayalive. I did not have this burden on my shoulders and this knot in my stomach that isconstantly present here. I turned into a frightened animal that is scared of everything,from bank to my boss at work. I worked in Bosnia too, but I was never scared of myboss. I was well aware that I could be let go anytime, but I knew that I could fmd91something else and there were my people everywhere who cared and who would help. Ifelt close to people and safe. I don’t dare even think about the possibility of being laidoff, banks are at my back, boss is at my back, and the whole world is at my back.Constant anxiety. All I think of is how to pay bills, then problems at work, will I be laidoff or not. This economic crisis brought a lot of worries for me. I carry a debt that Iwould not be able to pay if I am unemployed. Most likely, I would have to declarebankruptcy. I realized that my best friend in Canada is the bank because they lend memoney to live. My father borrowed money from his sister and brothers to build his houseand buy a car and then he paid them back with no interest. I haveto pay high interest tothe bank, but that is how this system works, so at the same time bank is your best friendand your worst enemy.It would be terrible to be laid off. My daughter would have to stop all heractivities. The economic insecurity is high for us because westarted out late andeconomically we are very unstable, and then the communitydid not accept us the way wethought it would.In essence, I am one very nervous human being. I usedto love people. I used tolove to talk to people, to listen to their problems, always readyto help, I wanted to help.I saw myself as a person who was there to help othersand that filled me with happiness.I loved people. Here, I don’t love people because I feelthey don’t love me. And that ismissing in my life. For 35 years I used to be one kind of a personand now somehow Iam different. There is only emptiness now; there is nothingto fill in the void. There ismy child and my wife. It is sad to say, but I used to be fullof love for my wife. She toldme recently that I don’t have any understanding for other people anymore. Shetold me92how I changed and I have to admit it was not easy to hear what she had to say. Myrelationship with my child is the only one where I try to be a good, patient Boria.Everybody gets on my nerves, and I reject a priori everything people say. I don’t like thisnew Boria. I would rather be the old one, the relaxed happy one. I am a miserable andunhappy one.Canada has been one big struggle. I have never had a steady job, I did everythingfrom pizza delivery, toilette cleaning, building maintaining to an engineer who is almost50 years old. There should be a law against treating people in this way. You cannot treatpeople this way. Not only that I felt humiliated but I also felt deep down that somethingwas wrong with me. If I worked as an engineer before, and now I am cleaning waterclosets, something is wrong with me. I am not against any work, however, peopledon’twon’t to have anything with me when I clean water closets for my work.I must say that the Canadian consul in the embassy told me that I had a smallchance of getting work in my profession. However, at that time, I would have comeregardless. I didn’t care. After 4 years in the war, I didn’t care what I woulddo; Ineeded piece and quiet. However, when I later realized that I might be morecapable thansome people around me who do professional jobs, I became restless. I had a lot ofproblems with a lack of recognition of my degree from Yugoslavia. If I hadhad a degreefrom UBC, I would have gotten ajob right away, but I experienced a lot of difficulties.Another problem now is that all I do is work. I don’t have any other aspect ofmy livingbut work. I have to work all the time to make ends meet.Regardless of the problems, Canada is special for me because wegot a child here.We could not have a child for a long time and we got it in Canada.This child has93changed me in numerous ways. The life looks now empty without a child. I was happywithout a child but now I cannot even imagine my life without her. I don’t know what Iwould do, how would I spent my time? I spend all my time with her. I take her toactivities; we play piano together, do her homework. I lost my interest in other things,save my profession.There is emptiness in my entire soul, a drought. I wish I could go back to Bosniabut how can I start again from scratch at 50. Going back is a dream that will never goaway. It is a reverie, similar when people daydream about winning a lottery. That is howI daydream what I would do if I went back. Everything is in weeds now; nobody takescare of my father’s land. It is a shattered dream, my father lived long enough after thewar stopped, we could have done something, and we could have lived some of ourdreams. I cannot forget these things. I have always been very emotional, it would beeasier if I were not, it would be easier to fall asleep at night, I would not think somestupid thoughts like why Canadians don’t like me, why there is a cultural discriminationand such? I became a very suspicious person, and I have never been like that. Thissystem made me that way. It hurts to be like this. I never hated anyone, I always lovedpeople. Why people cannot give any love back? I did not growup like that, surroundedwith this indifference. I became very close with my fellow soldiersin the trenches.Those were good, emotional, simple peasants. There was a real connection betweenus. Iam like them. I could not get along with crooks that manipulated people.Somehow,educated people were more inhumane than simple uneducated.My life has been destroyed. Nothing happened the way Iwas hoping it would. Ifeel that my life has been destroyed. I try to compensate for thiswith some things; I try94to help myself. I say to myselfthat my life is good, I have a family, I have a job, but thissentence “Your life has been destroyed” is like a verdict. It is always there; I cannot getrid of it. You are not yourself anymore; you don’t live like you wanted to live. I thinkabout things from my past and I think about Yugoslavia, I think about the ways I learnedto work. Everything reminds me that my life has completely changed and I translate thatinto destroyed. It should not have happened this way, my personality cannot accept thisand I cannot find peace.TatjanaOn the morning of April6th,1fled the city in Bosnia where I attended university.I was a second year student of English language and literature. My girlfriend and I renteda place where we stayed during the week and on the weekends I would go to myhometown to stay with my family. The day before I left, I received a frantic phone callfrom one of my friends who lived in a student dormitory. She screamed on the phone andI could hear lots of commotion in the background. She told me that they had been kickedout from the dormitory and that they had to leave. People with guns were kicking themout, everybody was running away and she phoned me to say that I should not stay anylonger in the city. It was Bayram that morning, there was a lot of shooting and it was akind of a scary situation. My and my roommate’s boyfriends had picked us up and weleft for my hometown. All four of us were from the same town.When we arrived there, everything seemed as usual. I couldn’t feel any tension.Honestly, I was not aware of any tension in the city I fled either, but my social life in thatcity was scarce. I mainly studied, attended lectures and spend weekends in myhometown. My parents did not think that anything could happen at home. My brother,95who was 26 at the time, did not think anything would happen either. However, some ofmy parents’ friends, a Muslim family, that had a close ties with the army, cautioned me toconsider finding a shelter elsewhere. They said because I was a young woman, it wasbetter to be safe than sorry. They influenced my decision to leave my town and go toSerbia for a little while.Before I left, I phoned my best friend, a Muslim, to tell her that I was going toSerbia for a few days. I felt uneasy when she said that it was good that I had somewhereto go. She didn’t have anywhere to go. This was difficult for me to hear.Around April20thI left for Serbia to stay with my relatives. Both of my parentswere born in Serbia and all my relatives lived there. I only had a little backpack andbooks because I thought I was going for about 10 days to study for the exam and I wouldbe back. There were no signs that things would turn out the way they did. True enough,after 10 days I had enough of Serbia and my relatives. I cried every morning when Italked to my mom on the phone. I wanted to go home badly. However, all of my friends,who were of all ethnic backgrounds, told me to stay put for a little while. Everybody wasapprehensive about what would happen on May15th,the date the Yugoslavian army wasleaving the town. People were aware of the incident that happened in another towninvolving the leaving army convoy. Indeed, on the May15th,a catastrophe happened.Around 200 soldiers were killed when they were leaving the town in a convoy. Mymother in law watched this through her apartment window. She saw young soldiers’bodies on fire. The night before somebody put the explosives in the asphalt. After thishappened, the town was shut down. There was no way out or in. My boyfriend left the96town that morning just before the army convoy. My aunt and uncle also left the town thatmorning but my parents and my brother decided to stay.After this, months of complete insanity came along. I talked to my family on thephone for the first three months until August when all connections were cut off. Up untilthen, at least I could talk to them and I knew they were alive. All this seemed unreal tome. I could not believe that this was happening to me, in my own life, especially becauseI left behind my closest family. My mother was so scared that borders would close andwe would not see each other maybe 20 or 30 years. Something like that happened inGermany.Every day, when I was coming back to my relatives’ house, I hoped to see theirred car Lada. I hoped they would somehow sneak out oftown and come here. I just didnot believe that this was happening, and I thought this must come to an end soon, so I didnot even try to enroll into another university in Serbia. I expectedthat by September Iwould go back to my home and the university I attended. The wholeof Bosnia was inflames and I thought I would go back to study there. I just could not believe otherwise.Everybody I knew, of all ethnic backgrounds, did not believe otherwise. However,mymother was telling me in July that I needed to continue my studies in Serbia because sheheard that other students were doing the same. I transferred very late, butwith help of apersonal connection, I was still admitted to the one of better universitiesin Serbia.The most difficult period in my life started when phone connections werecut off.This lasted until October when I was able to connect with my family via amateur radio.But in this period from August to October I did not have any news about my family.Thiswas horrific. My brother was 26 and I thought he was mobilized for sureto fight in the97war. Then the news on TV and in the newspapers was all about terrible things happeningin my hometown. Mass killings of Serbs, concentration camps, like 5,000 Serbs closed ina soccer stadium in wire, mass rapes and other horror stories. This war propaganda waswell and alive on all sides but in my case this Kit me especially hard because I did nothave any way to contact my family. I simply did not know if they were alive and whathappened to them. This is when my insomnia started. I could not sleep. I did not sleepliterally one entire month, maybe an hour per night. I just could not sleep.Unfortunately, up to this day, I still have trouble with sleeping.Along with all this, I had lots of trouble with my relatives, especially with myuncle, who was an alcoholic. It was very difficult for me to stay with them because theydid not want me there. I felt like a burden. The whole situation did not have any end insight. I heard all these stories how refugees from Bosnia and Croatia are to be blamed forall the hardships that people in Serbia have to endure, and because of refugees, Serbiasuffers. I received help for refugees, but this help was very scanty because somebodyalready went through these packages and took away good things.When I started attending school again, I moved away from my relatives. Studentrefugees, and I was one of them, were given accommodation in an abandoned hotel thatwas located about 20 km from the city where the university was. Everything in this hotelwas old, and some things were quite dangerous too. It was not safe to drink the water,plumbing and electricity were unsafe, pipes were rusty, and an old man who used to workthere asked all of us not to shower there. He was afraid that electric shock could killsomebody one day. We could not use toilet because it was always plugged, so we had touse the nearby bush instead. There was only a railroad leading to this hotel, and the train98was always late 2 to 3 hours. We would miss lectures daily. It was a complete chaos.One tried to study but that was extremely hard under the circumstances. A lot of peoplegave up studying and school. People were completely lost. The whole situation that wewere in was surreal. People were looking for a way out of this chaos, for a way to forget.I guess this was how these big parties started to happen. Students in the hotel startedthem. They partied non-stop. One night, an older man who worked there in the hotel,rushed in on one of these wild parties. He was very upset and addressed all of thoseyoung people, especially men. He told them that they should be ashamed of themselvesbecause they had ran away where it was safe and all they did was party violently whiletheir parents and others had been dying every day in Bosnia. There was only silenceeverywhere. Once their masks fell, there was obvious despair on these young men’sfaces. I guess they were trying to run away from this reality and this old man broughtthem back in the middle of it by confronting them in this way. I never attended theseparties but I was aware that they were happening and this night I happened to be there towatch this.Later I succeeded in getting a place in a normal student dormitory. All this time, Iwas in a trancelike state. I only thought about my family, my friends, my town, I was notpresent at all. Once my cousin, who was giving me a ride to somewhere, told me that Imust try to adapt because I was doing myself a disservice in this way. That was reallyhard for me. Nothing else existed for me and I hated this town and everything elsebecause I was forced to be there. Then at one time during 1993, the terrible awarenesscame over me. I understood that there was no way back. Something broke in me than,because I had been constantly imagining how I was going back, and all my friends and99my whole life. Then I realized there was no return. This was very hard to live with.Earlier there was this hope that the war would end and I would go back to continue livingmy life, and after this realization there was no hope anymore. I had to cross out myhometown, my friends, and my previous life. After this realization, there was no beautyin my life anymore.Even though my parents were aware of my difficulties with relatives andgenerally in Serbia, they were happy I was not with them because at least I was not indanger of being killed. My brother stayed with them, and he was their biggest worrythroughout the war. Despite all fears, he stayed alive. Our Muslim neighbor, who was apoliceman, warned him for about 90% of the raids. One time my brother was caught andtaken to dig trenches for 7 days. Generally, throughout the war, nobody beat my parentsor brother, but they were humiliated in other ways. My brother used to be a storemanager before the war, and he was demoted to a doorman, than to janitor, and than hewas fired. My father, who held a high position before the war in the company, washumiliated in various ways, and he was forced to retire early. My mother had the samedestiny. She was a teacher, and she tried to show her loyalty by opening so called“basement schools”. She was the first to organize these schools when the war startedbecause kids did not go to any school. However, she was also forced to retire early dueto various pressures at work.My parents say that if this happens again, they would just close the door behindthem. They would just leave. In this war, they were at the bottom. They almost died ofhunger. Nothing was left to be sold in the house. An old TV and old rugs wereworthless, and in the first years of war they had afready sold car, piano, clothes. Later100only gold was accepted for food. They were hungry and cold. Their pension couldhardly buy 1 kg of rice. It was not the same situation for everybody. Some neighborshad more than the others. My mother said what ajoy it was when somebody wouldinvite her for a cup of coffee, not so much for coffee but for sitting beside the furnace.Croats in the town had good help from “Caritas”, an organization that had a specialpermission to enter the town. Some neighbors were honorable people throughout thewar, while others were not. I can understand that, even though my family never didanything to anybody and they stayed there and shared this tragedy with everybody else.But people were caught in this tragedy, they were lost, they were enraged, and somebodyhad to be guilty. They would kick my parents out of basement during the shelling raids.But my mother said as the war went on they became deadened to shelling, and theywouldn’t even run any more but keep walking even though grenades would be falling allaround.I was hopeful to the very end that they would succeed in sneaking out of the town,but it never happened. They said that was impossible for them. First of all, there was aprice to be paid for that and they didn’t have any money for food, let alone to paysomebody to take them out of town. Also, it was very risky, because these people youpay would accompany you up to the certain border and then you would have to gothrough mine fields and then through territory of different armies. You could try, but youdidn’t know whether you would get out alive. My best friend, a Croat, came this way toSerbia. When he showed up at my door in dormitory, I almost fainted. It was the sameas seeing somebody who rose from the dead. Later he left for England.101I wanted to quit my studying because I did not have any money. However,everybody around me encouraged me to continue. My mother pleaded with me over theamateur radio not to quit. I simply did not have any money either for food or clothes.My boyffiend worked long hours, and it was a huge shock for me when he offered mefinancial help. I never thought that I would be in a situation like this. I took the moneybut only when he said that I should not take it if I wouldn’t be ready to do the same thingfor him. My friend Diana, a Croat, who fled to Germany, had sent me 20 DM in a letterand some nice clothes. This meant a lot to me. I hardly had any clothes, and just thethought that she cared about me meant a lot.My friends fled to different places, and we are now scattered all over the world.My friends are in Germany, UK, Canada, Bosnia, and other countries. My best girlfriendwas a Muslim girl, Aida. We grew up together, and we were like sisters. I miss hertremendously. When I first went back home in 1996,1 could not find anybody I knewthere. Only when Aida came back to visit her parents, I had somebody to spend timewith. At the same time, here in Vancouver, just in one block I see 20 people I know frommy old country.I never wanted to go anywhere else to live. My boyfriend, on the other side, hadalways wanted to go somewhere, even before the war. He tried different countries, likeAustralia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada. After sending 5 applications to theCanadian embassy, he got through. The fifth application was successful. The funnything was that he had sent the6thapplication in the meantime, and that one was rejected,but we were afready in the process of getting papers because the5thwas accepted. Welaughed about that.102This was another shock for me. I was 22, and I needed to tell my parents viaamateur radio that I was getting married and going to the end of the world. They werestill in Bosnia, and the war was raging everywhere. They did not have any chance ofgetting out. My father had sent me the most beautiful letter to support me. I felt horrible.I did not know when I would see them again because the whole of Bosnia was in flames.They were not present either on my wedding or at our farewell to Canada. The mostdifficult was when at the wedding the parents were called to take their designated seats. Idid not dare turn around to look; I felt so much pain. I thought if I did, I would fall apartright there. My aunt reacted fast and helped me to feel better. She pulled my uncle andanother cousin and they took those seats. My boyfriend’s father was the only parentpresent. I simply never imagined myself like that. I never thought I would marry at 22and then leave far away from my parents and my town. I knew that my boyfriend wasthe right person but still everything happened somehow too fast.My boyfriend was overjoyed when Canadian embassy responded favorably. Iwas more uncertain. I was glad to leave at that time, because it was a complete chaosover there. All values were overturned, at that time our university professors were forcedto sell things off street stands to survive. That was an unbelievable chaos. Hyperinflationwas daunting; 100 DM in the morning was worth 50 DM in the afternoon of the sameday. In addition to this, I had that understanding that there was no return home, and alsowhere I was at the time was not home either. Because of all this, I thought it would notbe bad to check out other places in the world to see how people live there and what washappening elsewhere. People around us were so excited for us; everybody from thestudent dormitory came to congratulate us. Literally, people were wondering why bother103coming to lectures any longer when we had visas to Canada. To most of these people thiswas like winning the lottery. No wonder, considering our circumstances at the time.Having opportunity to leave that inconceivable chaos looked indeed like winning thelottery.We asked for Vancouver as we had some friends in this town, and also becausemy husband did not care for harsh winters. When we first arrived to Vancouver from thatdespair and uncertainty over there, it was like our honeymoon. We came in July. Theweather was beautiful; it was like in a fairy tale. We were so exhausted with everythingthat happened in the old country, that we were quite happy for a few years here inCanada. Especially, in the second year, we borrowed a 10,000-dollar loan and sent thismoney to our families to help them to get out the town as the war was still going on.However, it was too risky for them to leave and that money helped them to buy foodinstead. I was very proud that I was able to help them in this way, because it wasimpossible to do much from Serbia. We could not send anything from Serbia, even foodpackages. I tried but they never received anything. When we talked via amateur radio,they would ask me what did I pack for them. I would say I’d put some bacon, and Iwould just hear them sighing. They told us that thanks to that help we sent from Canada,they were practically reborn.I have a tremendous nostalgia that forces me to go to Bosnia at least once a year.As soon as it was possible to get into my hometown, I was on my way. The first timewas 1996. I cannot describe how much I was afraid for my brother during all those waryears. Also, one dumb thing happened just before I left for Serbia in April of 1992. Wehad a fight over some stupid thing, and we did not talk for two days. I lived with that for104more than 4 years and I didn’t know if I would ever see my brother alive again. When Ifirst met him in 1996, I was completely overwhelmed. My body collapsed completely. Itshook violently and we both wept as we embraced each other. He waited for my arrivalmore than 5 hours because the bus I was on was late as we were held at the bordercrossing. Also, it was very risky for him to get to that place and wait for me, and myparents thought that somebody probably arrested my brother because we were so late.They were completely drugged when we came home.Everything was so emotional. When I entered my hometown for the first timeafter believing that I would never be able to go there again, the emotions wereoverwhelming. If my husband was there with me, and somebody said stay, I would havestayed forever there. However, almost everybody said that it would be different to stayand live there, and it is different to come for a vacation.It seems to me that things really improved there in the last 6 to 7 years. The realvalues came to the forefront again. People with integrity hold good positions again, andpeople started to live well again. They again can afford to go to the Adriatic and toskiing vacations and they live in their town. That is missing in my life. I miss my home.I don’t feel grounded here. I envy people who accepted Canada as their home becausewe live here after all. I miss something. Everything is great here. We have lots offriends, and we get together with people and we travel but somehow deep down in mysoul, there is emptiness. I cannot fill this void with anything. I miss my parents, myhome. When I was growing up, I felt so secure, I had a beautiful childhood, and thensuddenly I was ripped away from them. I am completely different person from who Iwas and from who I wanted to be. I am much more cynical than I would have ever been105if I didn’t have to live through all of this. I grew up over night. I admit I was not a baby,but when I look at the 19 year olds here around me and when I think about my brotherwhen he was 19,1 see that something was taken away from my life. My life wasshattered in that nice period when I should have been worriless and surrounded with myfamily and friends. I had both positive and negative experiences with people along theway, but we all came through this experience. How much all of us are damaged invarious ways because ofthese events is a different story. I miss my girlfriends withwhom I grew up. We had this special relationship that I cannot find anywhere withanybody else. There was this unlimited trust and freedom between us. I knew I couldtell them anything and they would be ok with that. Somehow I cannot fmd that here withanybody. I do have good friends here with whom I share good and bad things in ourlives; however, I feel somewhat reserved and not entirely free with them. It could be thatI am the problem. I might be asking for too much, and I want things to be perfect. I missmy family and stability they give me and I miss people.We’ve got a chance in Canada to try whatever we want. I haven’t felt restrainedin any way. One of the most honest experiences in all this was a farewell speech aCanadian ambassador made in Belgrade. He said that we were their best investment,beside humanitarian reasons. It was not a chance that exactly we were there leaving toCanada, all young and educated people. What can you do? I often think how would webehave if a situation was different and they had to come to our country. I am not surehow would we behave. I think Canada is an open country and people here are used topeople from all over the world. I had a phenomenal experience with my former bossfrom the place where I worked. She embraced me from the beginning and said that I was106her6thchild; she afready had 5. She said she was going to be my mother in Canadabecause my mother was far away. There was so much room in her heart. She did haveher own difficult life story, and probably that was why she offered so much love to me. Idon’t think she is a typical Canadian, because other people around me are kind but not soopen and accessible.I am satisfied with my life in Canada, but I am not happy. I don’t feel thatserenity that I feel when I sit in a café in Belgrade watching people go by. It just feelsgood to be around those people there. I feel grounded. I feel that I belong. I don’t feelthat here. I live, work, everything is normal and I am not miserable and unsatisfied butsomehow there is a hollowness. I think I would be entirely happy if Dejan said we weregoing back to Belgrade to live there. I could work as a translator and I would love that. Iwould have time to read books; my mother would be close by, my aunt, my cousins.Then I would walk with my friends, go for coffee. I could leave my kids with grandmaover the weekend. That is why I think that my brother made a good decision not to cometo Canada. We had all the papers done for him but he gave up. I think he made the rightdecision. He married again and has another child. You know hiswife takes a nap everyday when she comes home from work. She can do that. I cannot even picture myselfnapping, that image does not exist because here I constantly run to get to places and to doeverything I have to do. It’s been so hard to have a full time job and look after two smallkids. My husband travels a lot and kids need to go to daycare. That’s beena hugeproblem for me, the daycare. It is very expensive, it is hard to fmd a spot formy twogirls, and the quality of care is low. I don’t even try to remember namesof these womenwho look after them because every day is somebody else. I literally don’tknow who is107looking after my kids. There is lots of room for improvement in this area in Canada. It isactually hard to imagine that Canada, one ofthe most developed countries in the world,has such a poor childcare system.I believe that this war was forced on us. I believe it happened because of theforeign interests. There was no reason for this to happen. People could say whateverthey want; we had a fantastic life in that country and when somebody says there wasethnic hatred in the country! What hatred? My best friends, I thought ofthem as mysisters, who would do anything for me and I would do anything for them, were a Muslimand a Croat, Aida and Diana. What hatred? I simply do not believe in separating peopleaccording to anything - let alone ethnic background. I never lived like that, nobody in myfamily believed in that and nobody around me, none of my friends behaved like that.Maybe I was in a unique situation in my town with my friends, but it is hard for me tobelieve that because I had met other Croat and Muslim people not from my own town andI don’t see any difference between them and my friends. Everybody’s lives wereshattered in some ways with all this that happened to us, and everybody has a story totell. Everybody suffered. No normal person of any ethnicity ever wanted this to happen.In those years of war, the worst lot came to the surface and did terrible things. Thevalues were completely overthrown and we ran away from that becausewe knew that thewar would eventually stop but we did not see anything good coming out of it. That iswhy all these people left. Out of desperation. I knew some men frommy own hometownwho became big warriors. I knew they never had a normal life. They lived their ownfrustrations, because in normal times they didn’t amount to much. Their time came in theworst of times. I do believe that now the time is better again in Bosnia and that the right108people are getting to right places. I wouldn’t mind going back myself. Lots of people aremoving back, especially people from Serbia. My good friends are moving back thissummer. They bought an apartment, and they will have a job. Their kids will go toschool. There is no reason for them to stay here anymore. There will be not muchdifference in their economic status, and they will be among their own people. Beingfrom Bosnia makes everything more complicated. Somebody would have to offer a goodposition to my husband somewhere in Serbia and he might go for it. My fear is that aschildren get older, it will be more and more difficult to return.ZdravkaIt was April 1992. My husband, Dragan, and I got up as usual in the morning andstarted for work. We had a 10 minute walk from our house to the company we workedfor. We started working at 6:30 in the morning, and I would usually take kids to thedaycare. They were 6 and 7 year old at the time. That morning, I would never knowwhy, I did not do that. I had my brother in law and his wife living on the upper floor ofour house and I thought I would just leave my girls to sleep and my sister in law wouldbe there if they needed anything.When we stepped out of the house, something felt different. Therewas thisstillness everywhere. Usually, in the morning, we would see other people walkingtowork and this morning nobody was to be seen anywhere. My husband and I walked butnot together as usual; first he walked ahead of me, than I walked ahead ofhim. We werenot saying anything, but our looks were saying all the words. I heard about barricades onthe news, but I thought of that as just news, not that we would have a war. Ourdoormanwaited for us, flabbergasted. It never happened that nobody showed up for work.109Usually, at that time of the morning, buses would be arriving bringing people to work.This morning only a few buses arrived to tell us stories about barricades. Nobody wantedto stay at work, and we all decided to go back home. It was very unsettling. We rushedback home because our kids were alone without us. When we were halfway across thebridge, I noticed a man in a uniform, like the one old army use to wear, climbing up on tothe bridge. I got really scared, and I felt shivers. Luckily we went over the bridge, just intime, because only 5 minutes after, the bridge was shut down and we would not be able togo home from any direction. When I realized this, a fear came over me so I didn’t knowif I was walking or standing in one place.As we were approaching our home, we saw both girls peeking behind the curtain.My brother in law and his wife came down so we could all be together. We all stayedinside, turned on TV and starting listing the latest news. Children did not go outside andyou couldn’t see anybody, as if everything died. I started knitting a sweater to calmdown and stop my thoughts. All of a sudden, there was a rapid fire from a machine gunand I thought I was dreaming. We heard that barricades were on the roads so it was notpossible to get through. Neighbors started organizing themselves for patrols to protecthouses. After 4-5 days, I still expected that this would eventually calm down, and I saidto Dragan that I was going to the bank to take the paycheck and buy some food becausewe didn’t have enough in the house. I went to our bank, it was still possible to take themoney out, and like a fool, I didn’t take all I had on my bank account, I took enough forgroceries. I thought I would buy something for about 10 days until this craziness wasover. Stores were already empty and I found a bag of flour, pasta, and liver cans.110Nobody talked on the streets; you could only hear people rushing and their footsteps.Everybody knew something was happening but nobody was saying anything.The situation actually deteriorated over the next 10 days. Nobody in our housewas putting on pajamas anymore; we could not sleep anymore. One early morning,around 5 am there was a tremendous noise at my front door. Dragan went to open eventhough I was hesitant. It was my brother, Zdravko, who came to take my kids and mewith him to his house. He could not openly ask Dragan because he did not want tooffend him, as my husband was a Croat and my brother lived in a neighboring Serbpopulated area. My husband didn’t want to separate from us and my brother took us allwith his car. We had to go through a Serb and a Muslim barricades. The Serb barricadewas scary because my husband was a Croat and the Muslim barricade was scary becausemy brother was a Serb. My brother talked to all these people. He said that we weretaking kids out and asked them not to keep us long as it could start shooting any moment.Sure enough, everybody let us go.We came to my brother’s house safely. My sister lived 2 km away in her ownhouse and my mother lived in a small town an hour drive from there. At night, we wouldshut down all lights, we would sit in the dark, and nobody was talking.My children werenot aware of where we were and what was going on. Zdravko and Draganwould go toget food and finish small jobs. Everybody knew that my husband was a Croatbutnobody had any problems with that and they were not stopped from goinganywhere.They even fetched my mother from a Muslim held town. They went throughallbarricades and successfully brought her to be with us.111Then it was May6th,St. George, my sister’s family patron’s day, and we weregetting ready to join the celebration. We were about to leave, and I was holding my olderdaughter’s shoes in my hands at the front door when suddenly there was a hugedetonation. My ears were deafened, my brother pushed girls inside and my husband felland pushed me. That was a first grenade that fell on this place from a neighboringMuslim area and then shelling and snipers became daily. All neighbors came to mybrother’s house because he had a safe basement. We were like sardines on the floor. Mybrother’s house was very exposed, on the top of the hill, so we brought down the gasrange, fridge, everything that we could use in the basement, so nobody had to go on theupper floor. Shelling and snipers happened daily and people started leavingthe area.One day my brother came and said that situation was not looking up and we needto take the children out of this place. Men of army age were not allowed toleave, onlywomen, children, and elderly. Thanks to my brother’s connections,my mother and sistersucceeded in getting on an army truck, and all the children and myself got inthe car withmy brother. We had trouble keeping up with other trucks because the roadwas veryrough, and he had a small car. The army vehicles wereall-terrain vehicles and theydrove much faster. We tried to keep up, but when wecame to one intersection, we didn’tsee the direction the convoy took, and we got lost. Wetook the wrong way, and that wasscary. We drove and drove for hours. There was only forest everywhere,a deep gully onone side and a sky above us. Children got sick in thecar. My brother didn’t sleep fordays and I was so afraid that he might loose control over the car and we wouldend up inthis deep gully. We didn’t know where we were, we didn’tknow what was the time, andI was concerned for my mother because she would be very worriedifwe didn’t show up.112After 5-6 hours of driving we reached the asphalt road. After another hour driving onthat asphalt, four civilians with guns suddenly jumped from the bush in front of our car. Icould tell from my brother’s face that he was very scared. They started asking questionslike who we were, where we were going. As luck had it, somebody from behind said mybrother’s last name. My brother played drums and this man remembered seeing him atone of the parties. I would never forget the sign of relief on my brother’s face, the smileand happiness. They asked my brother for a cigarette, and as bewildered as he was, hegave them a whole box. They said we were extremely lucky to be alive if we had comethat way we did. We explained that we got lost, and they said that we were unbelievablylucky to have made it.On one side, we felt really happy that we were safe andsound after traveling thatroad, but on the other side, we were worried how was my brothergoing to make it back.With a help of army phone lines, we found outwhen that same convoy we lost was goingback and my brother succeeded in joining themand going back home. I also found mymother and we took a bus to my mother’s aunt whoinvited us to her home in Serbia.My husband stayed with my brother but he didn’t wantto fight and he sat athome. After some time, some people started havingtrouble with him sitting at home,while all other men had to go to the army lines. Zdravkotalked to Dragan and said that itwas not safe anymore to stay there, and they arrangedto transfer Dragan to my mother’sapartment. From there he was supposedto go to the little town where his father wasborn. This town was entirely Croat populated.He succeeded going through all armylines, nobody fired at him and thenmy mother’s neighbors, Muslims, helpedhim to get to113the town where his brother was. After all this, Dragan made decision to go back to ourhome.That was the last time I talked to Dragan. I was already in Serbia, and he wentback to our house. He told me than that he had asked his colleague in Serbia, a directorof a company my husband had a business relationship with, to help us out in any way hecould. After this, the phone lines were cut off and I didn’t talk to him fora year and ahalf. I didn’t know whether he was alive or dead, and where he was.I didn’t knowanything about whereabouts of my husband.This director helped us out a lot. He found ajob for my sisterand me in a localstore. We worked different shift so one of us wasalways with children so that my motherwas not alone with them. He also managed to fmda daycare for our children, so theywould have some activities and be able to play withother children. All the workers fromhis company collected money and bought foodand clothes for us. We had enough foodfor 6 months. We also received a fantastic humanitarianhelp from the town. These wereall high quality domestic productsthat people with good salaries could often not afford.All seasonal fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, salami,you name it, and all of this in highquantity. We even helped some local families inneed. We had good paychecks, and itwas peace there, that was all right, but I constantly expectedto go home soon. I stillcould not comprehend that there wasa real war and that war was going to last. I couldn’tfmd out anything about my husband, and I became absentminded and distracted, I couldnot sleep, I could not concentrate on the job with customers.Then when I got back fromwork, my children would cry, especiallymy older daughter who was very close to herfather. I would sit with them on the floorand hold them both. With time, my mother’s114aunt became very nervous because we were there. Everything was getting on her nerves,so the children were whispering rather than talking with normal tone. We realized thatwe had to leave this house. The children did not want to stay there anymore.We found out that there was a collective accommodation for refugees in thesouthern Serbia. Three hotels, usually used for winter and summer tourism, wereavailable for refugees’ accommodation. We all decided to go there, my mother, mysister, our children and I.It was a late summer and early fall of 1992 when we got there. The weather wasbeautiful and at first we had a nice time there. The children had activitiesand theystarted school. However, the real fall was more threatening up inthe mountains withheavy winds and rain. The closest populated place was 10 km fromthere. There were400 women, children, and elderly in those 3 hotels.In each room there were 20 people of all ages, and we all shared one bathroom.Young children would cry. Older people would walk aroundthe room entire nights; theycouldn’t sleep as everybody left somebody behind in the war. Peopleleft their closestfamily in the war. We had 3 meals and there was enough food. Wegot milk from thevillage. Farmers didn’t want to take money from us so weoffered help to harvest corn.We became very close with these people, and on weekendswe would get together withthem. My sister and I were chosen to distribute humanitarianhelp to all people and alsoto work for the Red Cross. I had always known howto cut hair and I did this for peoplein the hotels. They would give me cigarettes so we didn’t haveto buy them. My childrenalso distinguished themselves in school and all activities.115There was always someone who wouldn’t leave us alone. There was a womanwho I believe was jealous that we were so involved and skilled in many different things.She was romantically involved with a hotel manager and she told him that my husbandwas a Croat. One day, at lunchtime, when everybody was there, he addressed everybody.He said that he had learned that some of us had husbands and fathers who were not in theSerb army. He didn’t say my name but he looked in my direction. Than the problemsstarted. Other children were bullying my children by saying that their father was“Ustaa”. Those were children from more rural areas and they probably heard that fromtheir parents. My older daughter withdrew, my mother cried a lot after this; it was evenharder to be with those 20 people in the same room under these circumstances. OnenightI couldn’t sleep so I went outside around 2 am. I heard footsteps behindand there wasthis woman who didn’t really communicate with anyone. She saidto me that she knewhow I felt as her husband was a Croat as well. She did nottell anyone. I did not either,but people somehow found out. She cried and said thatshe couldn’t stay with herrelatives in Serbia because they couldn’t tolerate tohave her staying with them while herhusband might have been fighting for Croats.Because of this, we decided to go back to Bosnia. Wehad a train at 2 am to thebig city. I remember it was very cold, and my daughterhad 40° Celsius fever. But wehad to leave on that train. The crowd was enormous;we struggled to get on. In the bigSerbian city, a cousin waited for us and we stayed inher apartment. We stayed there afew days, enough to take my daughter to the doctor.We registered as refugees and gotsome food and even some money.116And then back to Bosnia. It was October 1993. We took a bus to the small Serbtown at the outskirts of a big Bosnian city where we slept in a school gym. We werelucky to meet an acquaintance of mine. He transported coal on one of three army trucksto one of the suburbs that was along our way. There was a terrible commotion there,people and refugees everywhere. People were trying to get to places and this was a rareopportunity for transportation. It was not easy to get on those trucks because lots ofpeople were trying to find any kind of transportation, so my mother and my daughterwere pushed on one truck and the rest of us went with the other. I wasn’t sure if mymother saw that my daughter was on the same truck and I was worried that my daughterwould get lost in all that commotion. It was risky to travel that route because the sniperwas shooting, and maybe that is why our truck went the other way. We got stuck withthe truck and it took us 9 hours to get there. The other two trucks probably got there inan hour or two.When we got fmally to that place, it was very dark because there was noelectricity anywhere. I cried without stopping because I wasn’t sure that my child waswith my mother. We checked the police, because my mother might have talked to them,but learned nothing. We were standing there not knowing how to get from there to mysister’s house. Then we noticed a young man walking toward us andcalling my sister’sname. He told us that he was actually waiting for the bus, which was really hard tobelieve because there were no electricity, no nothing, and yet the bus wasoperating. Itlooked unreal. But it did come.The driver overheard my sister talking about my mother and my daughter, and heremembered driving them a few hours ago. He said that girl was around 9 years old and117she was saying that she didn’t have a mother or father. I knew then that was mydaughter. When we reached my sister’s house, my daughter was exhausted and wasalready sleeping. I came to her and stroked her forehead gently and said “Mia honeymama is here”. Everybody was crying. My sister’s father in law couldn’t stop crying.He couldn’t believe that we came back when it was the worst war in Bosnia. That wasactually when I understood that this was a real war.I could have stayed at my sister’s place, but I preferred being with my brotherbecause he was alone. At that time, he actually went to Serbia to see his children whowere sheltered there, and than a cousin offered us to stay with her until he comes back.She fed the army in her house. My children and I kept crying and she was trying tocomfort me. She was saying that ifmy husband were killed I would have heard that forsure because “ good news travel fast but bad even faster”. Soldiers who ate there gave allfruit and sweets to my kids. They all knew my husband, as they were local people. Theyloved my daughters, especially the younger one who was always asking questionsnobody could answer.When my brother returned from Serbia, he was stunned to find us there. He criedtoo. He couldn’t believe that we would come back then when it was the most difficulttime in Bosnia. Staying in his house was horrific. Nobody was around; everything wasabandoned. He went every night to the anny line, and every morning around 2-3 am hewould quickly visit us to make sure we were all right. There was a constant fire fromboth sides, we couldn’t get outside either during the day or night and children did notstop crying. However, when they would get too tired they would simply fall asleep. I118couldn’t sleep. I never know where I found the strength. I tried to sleep but my eyeswould not close.One day I heard that a cousin was going to a place close to where my house was.This is when I decided to go back to my house, which was on a Croat side ofthe city. Iasked her to lend me 20 Deutsche marks so I could pay my cousin to drive me. I couldn’tendure like that any more. I couldn’t go on like that anymore. I didn’t know if myhusband was alive, nor did I have a house anymore. But I wanted to go. I was hopingthat my husband was still in our house, or his uncles might have been there, or I wouldfind somebody to tell me any news about my husband. I couldn’t get over the bridge, butI went to my husband’s cousin who lived on a Serb side of the neighborhood. She wasmarried to a Muslim, who had always been a wonderful man, before the war and duringthe war. Because he lived on a Serb side of a city, he didn’t go anywhere; he was insidethe entire time. When you have a different religion in that situation, anybody can comeand harass you. When he saw me at the door with my kids, he couldn’t believe his eyes.He was truly happy to see us, and yelled to his wife to run to see who was at the door.They couldn’t believe that we came back to Bosnia at that time.Two days and nights we talked without stopping. They told me that Dragan wasin our house, and also all his uncles and aunts. Over the bridge, there were all Croatshouses, a little bit of Serbs and Muslims. That was hard for me. If he only knew that wewere there, he could have walked to the bridge, and I would be able to wave at him fromthe balcony. But 2 km from the bridge, the sniper was operating and nobody went there.I went to the company I worked for to say that I was back. I was afraid to greetpeople because I didn’t know how would they react. I always waited for somebody to119greet me first. Dragan’s secretary was happy to see me. She said that since this damnedwar started two of us were on her mind, because I was a Serb and Dragan was a Croat.She was wondering if we were together, if we had problems. She couldn’t even think ofa situation that Dragan was separated from the children. Usually, when he would cometo the office in the morning, his topic was his girls. He talked about them so much as ifnobody else had children. She gave me several paychecks and vacation money that Inever received from the previous year. I returned 20 Deutsche marks I borrowed earlier.I was still staying with Dragan’s cousin and her husband. We shared everythingwe had. After 4-5 days, I heard that some sort of a big attack would happen. And itreally did. That was unbelievable, 4 days and 4 nights shelling and gunfire didn’t stop.5 tanks were located in front ofthat apartment building where we were staying and all 5were firing in direction of my house and my neighborhood. I knew that my husband wasthere, and his uncles, whoever, people were there, all the same 4 nights and 4 days theshelling and gunfire did not stop. After all this madness finally stopped, on the5thdaypeople didn’t know where they were going. There was an army police standing justbefore the bridge and controlling movement of people across. They let people out, butnobody was allowed to go in from this side of the bridge. As luck had it, I met apoliceman who came to visit his wife in the refugee hotels in Serbia. He couldn’t believethat I came back. I said to him to let me go to my home. And he did, but he told me notgo in because sometimes people when they had to leave their homes leave explosives andbombs behind.I would never forget that feeling when I went over the bridge and when I waswalking toward my house. I felt as ifthe wind was carrying me. What I saw was120horrific. Everything was in ruins, destroyed, demolished. I could see houses burneddown, smoke coming from them, but our house still stood upright just as if God saved it.Everything on the house was wide open; people were going in taking things out. Oh myGod, dead people lay on the street, such a chaos, but I was going and not looking I justwanted to come home. In all that chaos, you just didn’t know who was going where andwhat people were carrying, I could see people running, screaming, crying, some carryingwhat ever they could on their backs, other pushing wheelbarrows, my God, I came to myhouse, the door wide open on the both floors. In that situation, when some people wererunning away and others were coming in robberies occurred.All Croat and Muslim citizens were taken to the local school. There were busesfor whoever wanted to leave to neighboring Croat held territory, and who thought hecould stay, he stayed. Only some older people decided to stay, all younger people left. Iwent to that school and found Dragan’s uncles. The oldest uncle, who lives now innorthern Europe with his son, started crying. He couldn’t believe that I came back andbrought children with me to this madness. He said to me “ Why did you come back?Why did you bring the children back? We thought you were safe, now is the worst timesince the war started!” They told me that my husband ran away the first day when theattack began to a Muslim-Croat part of the city.I tried to save as many things as I could, others’ and mine. I left things in friends’houses, whoever I knew stayed on the Serb part ofthe city. I was afraid that otherswould take everything from my house. I don’t know where I found the strength to moveall those machines, furniture, and clothes. I literally lifted a washing machine, put it on awheelbarrow and took it to my friends’ house. I would stay during the day in the house,121and with the first dusk I would go over the bridge to Dragan cousin’s house. I wouldpush a wheelbarrow full of things bended down while I heard bullets flying over myhead. I had a wood stove in my house. I cooked meals and took it with me to others atthe nighttime. There was no electricity or water.We had a big yard behind our house, 1,400 square metres, with fruit trees, apples,pears, you name it. Dragan made lots ofjams as if he had known that we would comeback. Dragan was in charge of distributing humanitarian aid to people so he had oil,sugar, flour so he was able to make jam. Also he planted vegetables, carrot, cabbage, andcauliflower. I had to cut all of these and hid it in our basement because people werestealing food. I also had meat. My friend’s stepfather smuggled meat and she wouldgive me fresh veal, beef, and pork.My neighborhood was now part of Serb held territory. People went to work, butalso men kept the lookout on the lines. This friend of mine who gave me meat didn’tknow where her husband was either. She heard that my husband spent some time withher husband in the city after my husband fled the house. We heard there was a wire lefthanging down from a pole in a neighboring area. Apparently, ifyou brought yourphoneyou could connect it to this wire and you could phone in the city. When we arrivedthere,a wait line was afready formed. We hid behind the old fridge because the sniper firedatthe line. We phoned her husband and he gave us a phone number where I could reachDragan. From the city, he went to his relatives who lived in the Croat held town. I dialedthe number but nobody was answering. I thought that my friend didn’t writethe goodnumber. Just then, Dragan’s cousin answered the phone. I asked for him, and she didn’task who was it or anything. I just said” Daddy is that you”. He used to call me122differently every day, so he said to me “is that you Roso” and started crying. We lost theconnection and we didn’t say anything to each other. Tomorrow we went again to thiswire to phone and this time he was more ready to talk. He was very surprised that I wasin the house. He asked if I were scared to be there.The spring came and I decided to stay in my house over the night as well becauseit was getting warmer. Beside my kids and me, only one other woman was there in herhouse. Nobody else. Even though everything was as it was, children were happy to beback in their home. They slept well. I was happy because I knew that Dragan was aliveand I felt strength to live and to be in my house. This woman had asked me to give herone child to sleep with her, and at first I did. Then I realized that somebody could comeat night and kill both her and my child so I took my child back. I offered her to be withus in my house but she didn’t want to leave her house. When the nights came, it wasreally dark because we didn’t have electricity. There was no glass on any window, onlynylon with lots of holes. I would cover us with all blankets I had in the house but still Icould scoop ice from the blankets. It was still cold. I couldn’t find a water pumpanywhere, that was all stolen so I had trouble fmding water to wash clothes. I would beinside my house with my children and people would come, look through things, and takewhat they needed. I could not convince them that was my house. Nobody believedthat Iactually lived there with children because it was a ruin. One day a woman, refugee fromanother town, came in. She took the freedom to look through my girls’ clothes and shetook everything with hangers. At the same time, a man came in and he took the table.He just put it on his head and carried it out. I said to them that was mine andthey didn’tbelieve it. Than I luckily found one photo with my children to show them. I would fmd123my photos on the street, because people would take something from one house and theywould decide they didn’t like it or they would fmd something more suitable in anotherhouse and they would just leave things on the street. I felt for one young soldier. He wasalso a refugee from another town. He had a 9-year-old daughter at the time and shedidn’t have any clothes. He asked me if I could give him some of my older daughter’sclothes, and I did because he actually asked me. I gave him some of Dragan’s clothes aswell because this young soldier didn’t have anything.I was scared at night, because different annies would go by and they knew thatthese were Croat houses. Local people knew Dragan and me, but soldiers from othertowns didn’t. One day, a soldier came and wanted to take away a circular saw thatbelonged to my godfather who lived next door. My younger 8-year old daughter saw thatand didn’t let him take it. She said to him that belonged to her uncle and he couldn’t takeit. I was in the kitchen and I could hear them talking. Then he asked her where was herdad. I almost passed out. I thought if she said that her father was a Croat, God knowswhat would happen to us. But she was very clever; she said that her father was woundedand that he was in a Serb hospital. To my amazement, she added that I phoned him onthat wire and he was doing well. After this, everybody left us alone. When soldiers wentby my house, ifthey saw my girls outside, they would give them cigarettes for me so Ihad something to smoke. Even though, I didn’t like my girls to be outside because therewas a sniper shooting from a nearby reffigerator plant.In March of 1994, my children and I decided to leave the house and go to be withDragan. We needed proper papers in order to leave the Serb side and go to the Croatside. I was concerned that I might run into problems there because people in the124municipalityoffice knewthat my husbandwas a Croatand that he wasnot with us.Theyassumed thathe foughtfor the CroatArmy. I didn’tknow anythingabout that andIcouldn’t tell themwhat I didn’tknow. In anyevent, they letus go. The Serbpolicemanon the bordertold me to godown the pathand I wouldeventually see theCroat ramp.AsI was walkingdown that path,I was aware ofthe springsunshine, I heardbirds singing,Iwas ecstatic.I am certainthat this wasthe happiest dayin my life. Wewalked for15-20minutes and Istill didn’t seeany ramp. In asecond, paniccame over mebecause Ithought that maybesomebody waslooking at meright then readyto shoot frombothsides or maybethat policemanlied to me. Thepath curved inone section, andaround thecorner I saw theCroatian flag, ramp,and my husbandwho was walkingup and downwith his headdown. We werelate 2 hours becausethe bus ranlate and he probablythought thatwe wouldn’tshow up. Whenmy daughterssaw their dad,they startedrunning. Theywere expectingus. This wasthe first timewe met afterone year andahalf. He didn’tknow who toembrace first,children or me.Everybody wascrying,policemen, soldiers,his cousin, andus. His cousindrove the car,and I sat besideher,and Dragan satwith girls at theback. He heldthe girls, andput his hand aroundme onthe first seat.The girls askedtheir dad to buythem bananas.That was somethingunbelievable,on the Croatside as iftherewere not warat all. Therewas abundanceof food andeverything else,and Dragan’scousin boughtthe whole bunchofbananasfor my girls.Itwas hard forme to believethis because wejust left thewar torn city behindus. This wasonly 10 km awayfrom the totaldestruction.We were givena vacation hometo use andwe planted agarden and plowedthe soil. ThenI went by footthrough the forestsand125mine fields back again to recover all my things that I left with myfriends. I broughteverything but the washing machine; I just couldn’t carry it that far on my back.We alsogot a cow from the town and I had to learn how to attend the cow. Unfortunately,in afew months, unrest started between Croats and Muslims. My husband had to go to thearmy lines. Of course, refugees were first sent to fight, not local people. The goodthingfor families was that these lines were far away, about 10 kin, from werewe lived, so itwas much easier than at my house where the line was 100 m from the house.Everybody there was kind to me. They knew I was a Serb but nobody everoffended me in any way. These people were noble. I got so close with them that I felt Iwasn’t born and raised where I was but I felt very attached to this area wherewe spentthe last years of war. When I first went back to Bosnia from Canada, I spent moretimein this place than with my brother and sister.After the war was over, I managed to get help and repair the first floor of ourhouse so we could move in. According to Dayton agreement, this area, wheremy housewas, fell under the Muslim government. Wetried to go back, but Dragan couldn’t get ajob. Besides, I was a Serb and my husband was a Croat, andeverybody was expected tostick with his or her own people. My children were constantlyasked about my husband’sand my ethnic background. My older daughter becamewithdrawn. My husband wastrained and worked as an engineer for many years before the war,now he had to work ina sawmill as a laborer. Nothing else was available. In this situation, we decidedthat wedidn’t have any other option but to leave. We applied for Australiaand got rejected, andthen we applied for Canada and got approved.126We came to Canada 10 years ago, in April of 1999. We asked for Toronto, asDragan had cousins there, however, we ended up getting Vancouver. All those thingsthat I carried across mine fields on my back, I sold for 500-600 dollars. The Canadiangovernment gave us a loan of 10,000 dollars to get tickets, visas, and othertravel relatedexpenses. So when we first got here, we had already a large debt.The voyage to Canada was very stressful for me. My older daughter, at that time14, cried inconsolably. She did not want to go. For check in,they didn’t let me to takewith me my personal baggage. I tried to explain that in that smallsuitcase I had all mydocuments, but this man did not want to talk to me.There was no name on the suitcaseand I thought I would loose it for sure.When we arrived to Vancouver, they put us in Welcome house. Idid not like itthere. I was terrified that we had to share that apartment with somebodyelse I didn’tknow. They gave us than another apartment where wewould be alone but I had to usethe bed from the balcony. The woman who worked therewas explaining something tome in English even though I couldn’t understand one word.I studied Russian in school.We had 3 bottles of slivovitz with us and Ispent all of it on cleaning bathtub, doorknobs,and sinks. My family had to walk around the city untilI was done. Then a man came topick up somebody who came from Bosnia as well, and heupset me a lot. He said to usthat we were not aware where we brought our children.There is drugs and prostitutioneverywhere. If I had money at that moment, I wouldhave gone back. I was terrified, Ididn’t even cry anymore, I bawled.One Bosnian woman helped us to do all banking documentationand other things.She advised us on where to live for the first while.She suggested a building where127already some of our people lived, where school was close, and ESL classes were close formy husband and me. I did not go to look for anything. I didn’t feel like it. Dragan andgirls looked for a place, I didn’t. I sat and cried. I brought with me dishes from Bosnia,and I went to the store and bought beans, meat and flour. I baked my own bread, and oneman from Bosnia who was replacing the manager in our building smelled it and knockedat the door. I gave him to eat as much as he desired.Our people, who lived here already for some time, drove me crazy. Everybodywas telling me different things. I had a feeling that I didn’t have a head anymore;it feltas if I had rocks in my head. I guess it was from sleeplessness, and constantcrying. Iwas so scared for my daughters. In the morning,I accompanied them to the school, but Icouldn’t make it in the afternoon. After 3 levels ofEnglish, Dragan got ajob for 9dollars an hour in a factory. He was able to fmd workto operate CNC machines. I didn’twork the first year, and then I cooked fora Philippine woman, and cleaned her threehouses, and then I didn’t want to dothis anymore. I found ajob in a poultry factory. Iworked there for 5 years until my arms gaveup on me and I went on disability.I am not happy here. I know that my childrenwill not have to work as hard as wehad to. We do it for them so they would havea better life, even though I don’t seea greatperspective even for them. They don’t have freedomto go out at any time anywhere likewe could do in our old country. Iam sad that girls don’t have any placeto go forentertainment that doesn’t involvealcohol and drugs. Maybe that is whatI see herearound me in this surrounding wherepoor people live. Maybe it is better where richpeople live. There are no Balkans anywhere;you cannot find Balkan soul anywhere. Ifeel here like a slave, I worked fromdusk to dawn. I see that society gives us different128opportunities, to go to school, to get a loan. But this is a hard life. We should not havedone this. We did not need this. I went to school in Bosnia, and I built my house whilemy kids were little. I went to work every day, but it wasn’t hard for me, it wasn’tstressful for me. I lived and I was happy. I don’t like to live here, I will never like it, Iam here only because of my children. If my kids could have a life that we had before thewar, I would go back instantly. I don’t like to breathe this air; I don’t like to be here, Idon’t see anything beautiful here. I mean it is beautiful, but for me the most beautiful isover there. The most backward village with no electricity and no water is more beautifulto me. I don’t like socializing here. My children don’t like that I don’t go anywhere, Ijust sit at home.Even more distressing is to see our young generation becoming similar toeverybody around. They don’t know their mother tongue anymore. Why don’tCanadians learn any other languages? You know, people tell me I have a heavy accent.Sure I do, but I still can speak several languages, while my older daughter’s boyfriend,who is a Canadian, has been with her for 4 years and he can’t say a word in our language.That is sad.I became withdrawn. I changed. I was a person who was responsible for a goodatmosphere at every party. I loved get-togethers and sports, volleyball especially.Nothing can lift my spirit here. I only go where I have to go. When I worked in thefactory, I had to get out of the house. Now, I don’t work anymore, so I don’t goanywhere. When I get up in the morning, I clean the house a little bit, and then sit on thecouch the whole day alone. I don’t visit my neighbors. There are a few of our people inmy neighborhood right now. I don’t feel like talking, I am tired of talking; I am tired if I129have to say something or ask. I don’t like when somebody visits, I don’t feel like makingthat coffee for anybody and talking to anybody. I just don’t feel like it. I feel like sittingon the couch alone the whole day. We have some Bosnian friends who have campingequipment and they call us all the time to go with them. At first, I didn’t want to offendthem so I went along. I stopped doing that. I say to my husband to go without me, Idon’t want to go to spoil their good time. He goes Fridays and come back Sundays. Ifind all that really tiring to go anywhere.I was here for 8 months when my mother died. I didn’t have money to go to thefuneral. When I was leaving she told me “You are going to stay a little while and youwill come back, are you?” My father died as a young man of 41. I have a brother and asister, I miss their children immensely and I miss my brother enormously. There is nonight when I don’t think about those kids and think ifthey had enough to eat that day. Iknow that this is not good but I cannot help it. I try hard to put a happy face for myhusband; I don’t want him to worry about me.My husband is different. He doesn’t talk; he holds everything inside. I try to behappier for him. But you know, when I go somewhere on a sky train, I sitdown and cry.I cry for every child’s birthday, for every anniversary of my parents’ death. Here, therelationships are different. My daughter’s boyfriend went to another province for threemonths and his parents didn’t even come to drive him to the airport. I am afraid whenDragan and I die tomorrow, what will happen to my children.They will have no onehere.My husband says he wouldn’t go back. He says that he would go furthertoAustralia and even further where there is no phone. He says he is tired of life; hedoesn’t130need family or anybody. I don’t know if he drew the line and never talks about anythingfrom the past. He never talks about our house, like to comment when somebody hassomething that we used to have in our house. He never talks about it. When we came atfirst, we liked to hear our language and get together with people, but than that damnedpolitics starts. He doesn’t like to go where people talk about politics, about war, who isguilty, who started. When that starts, he touches my hand as a sign to get ready to leave.I don’t think he minds if somebody calls him “ustaa” but he doesn’t like to talk about it,and he doesn’t like to listen about it. He was brought up the same way as I did. Therewere lots of mixed marriages in his family and they never offended each other, theyactually never talked about it. Our people here are nice and kind, but when there aregatherings; everybody calls their own kind.I talked to people in other provinces, and it seems that our people mix more inother provinces. It seems to me that our people are divided ethnically more here thenelsewhere. My younger daughter had several Croatian boyfriends. As soon as theylearned that her mother was a Serb, the relationship was over. My older daughter has aCanadian boyfriend. Even if we want to go back, we couldn’t because my older wouldn’tgo back and we couldn’t leave her here alone.I still believe that my children are satisfied here. As far as I am concerned, I amnot hungry, and I am not on the street. We still made something for these 10 years inCanada. We put our kids through school, and none of them had any loans, we paid foreverything, so they can have a fresh start. I came here when I was over 40, and I couldn’tgo to school again because I needed to put my children through school. My husbanddidn’t have time to verify his degree because he had to work right away to provide for us.131We don’t have any savings and we haven’t bought a property. But to me that is not soimportant. I value that the place where I live is clean and that my children eat healthyfood.I had a house in Bosnia; I was happy and content. Look at my life now, I workedhard to build something over there, we lost everything and I had to come here in my 40’sto start again, to learn English, to do the worst jobs. I am not young anymore, I cannotlearn and remember as before. When I think about this war, about the misery it broughtupon us, and that all that was for nothing, all those kids on all three sides died fornothing.Everything is different here from what I thought it would be. Actually, I didn’tthink much, I was happy to put my kids through school and for them not to fear becausetheir parents don’t have the same ethnicity and religion. I hoped that they would have anormal life like we had before, when we all lived together and loved one another,visitedone another, and never asked about ethnicity. I was born like that, I live likethat, and Iwill die like that. To this day, I still have the same amount of Muslim friends as before,not because I have a mixed marriage, but because I was brought up like that, to love allpeople. Of course, I have two daughters and they are not the same, so I don’t expect thatall these Muslims are the same, or all Croats, or that all Serbs are not good. I still thinkthat there are good people on all sides.132Impact of event scale scoring resultsThe total score on the Impact of Event Scale reflects the overall impact of theevent. The higher the score the more stressful impact. The maximum score is 75. Thereare two subscales: the intrusive subscale with range of scores from 0 to 35, and theavoidance subscale with range of scores from 0 to 40. The sum of these two subscales isthe total stress score. The cut-off point is 26. Scores higher than this indicate moderateto severe impact, scores that range from 9 to 25 indicate mild to moderate impact, andscores below 8 are subclinical. In this study, 4 participants had very high scores thatshow the high event impact. The total scores were 63,61, 55,4 1 and one participant had asubclinical score of 4. These results indicate that 90% of this sample has PTSD likesymptoms.Well-being questionAt the end of every interview, I asked my participants the well-being question,“Where do you fmd yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 as far as your well-being isconcerned?” The answers I got were 5,5,6,6, and 7. These results would indicate thatthese people are average in their life satisfaction. This clearly does not match theparticipants’ narratives where a high level of distress is pronounced.Social desirability might have played a role in answering this question, because Iwas left with an impression that they didn’t want to be perceived as low in lifesatisfaction, regardless of the story they just shared with me. I believe it is a part of thesepeople’s culture. They do not want to be classified or designated in any way as weak andthey do not want to be perceived as victims. Tatjana said, “I am around 6, well, maybe 7,so you wouldn’t think I am so miserable.” Zdravka’s daughter just came in as we were133finishing this interview, and Zdravka was probably influenced with her daughter presencein answering this question. In addition to this, in hindsight, it might have been better if Ihad asked separate questions for physical and emotional well-being. In this way, theanswers might have been more descriptive of my participants’ true-life condition.134CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, LIMITATIONS AN])CONCLUSIONAcross narrative themesAs I transcribed and translated all the interviews myself (other than 10 pages thatwere part of my first interview which was translated by a professional translator), I got toknow the interview data by heart. After going over the stories so many times, the sharedthemes among participants and also what was particularly important for each participantbecame obvious. In my analysis, there were three periods. These were the war period,the exile period, and the resettlement period. There were several important themes acrosseach of these periods as shown in Table 2. I describe these themes in the pages thatfollow.Period Narrative ThemeThe War Period• Shattered assumptions• Witnessing destruction and deathThe Exile Period• Nightmare-like state• Oh no, they will stay forever!• Guilt for running away. Survival struggleThe Resettlement Period • Culturalshock and discrimination• Walking shells• Negative psychological effects. Dreaming of returnTable 2. Themes across narratives135Consequences of multiple traumas — evidence of continuing distressEnduring distressPosttraumatic stress disorder is a complex disorder that develops when traumaticlife experiences overwhelm people’s capacity to cope with these life experiences. Allaspects of human living are affected by this disorder, from biological and psychologicalto social aspect of living, and this contributes to complexity of this condition. Peoplewho get exposed to trauma often suffer permanent neurobiological changes that mightcause permanent hyperarousal that results in sleep and concentration problems. Inaddition to this, after being exposed to trauma, people might develop negative personalitychanges, like increased suspiciousness, feelings of emptiness or hopelessness, impulsivityand constant anxiety (Wortman, 2004). Throughout the interviews and after analyzingthe participants’ stories, it became obvious that all of my participants have been sufferingfrom some of the above-mentioned instances of psychological distress. Also, the veryhigh IES scores indicate that almost all participants have PTSD symptoms of intrusionand avoidance.The distress started with the outbreak of the war, 17 years ago in a form ofshattered assumptions. People did not believe there would be a war in the first place andalso they believed, once they decided to leave and fmd a shelter, they would be backhome shortly. How could they imagine they would never go back home again!NikolaMy father, whom I regard a rational man, did not believe that war would come toour town... Most of the things I took with me were books because my fatheradvised me to keep studying and not get too relaxed until the whole thing hadblown over.136DijanaThere was shelling and we had to go to the basement, but I still didn’t believe thatit would actually be the real war... My father said we should leave for a littlewhile with kids until this calms down.Tatjana.My parents didn’t think anything would happen at home. My brother, who was26 at the time, did not think anything would happen either... I onlyhad a littlebackpack and books because I thought I was going forabout 10 days to study forthe exam and I would be back.ZdravkaAll of a sudden, there was a rapid fire from a machine gunand I thought I wasdreaming. We heard that barricades were on the roadsso it was not possible toget through. Neighbors started organizing themselvesfor patrols to protecthouses. After 4-5 days, I still expected that this would eventuallycalm down... Ithought I would buy something for about 10 daysuntil this craziness was over.This distress continued in exile where most participantshad trouble understandingwhat was happening and were in a nightmare-likestate. The exile looked unreal. Thelife was put on hold, until the situation at home resolvessomehow. Also throughout theexile, participants lived with fear because they wereuncertain about survival of theirimmediate family they left behind.TatjanaAll this seemed unreal to me. I could not believethat this was happening to me,in my own life, especially because I left behindmy closest family. . .It was acomplete chaos. People were completely lost.The whole situation we were inwas surreal. People were looking for a wayout of this chaos, for a way to forget.The most difficult period in my life started whenphone connections were cutoff.. .1 did not have any news about myfamily. This was horrific. My brotherwas 26 and I thought he was mobilized forsure to fight in the war. Then the newson TV and in the newspapers was allabout terrible happenings in my hometown.Mass killings of Serbs, concentration camps,like 5,000 Serbs closed in a soccerstadium in wire, mass rapesand other horror stories. This war propaganda waswell and alive on all sides but in my case hitme especially hard because I did nothave any way to contact my family. Isimply did not know ifthey were alive andwhat happened to them. This is when my insomniastarted.137NikolaIt was kind of unreal. All of a sudden, overnight, I found myself in another city...I then started thinking about what was going to happen to my mom and dadbecause we started receiving increasingly grim news about the killings anddisappearances of Serbian civilians. The inner tension was rising.It was really hard after the phone lines were cut off because we heard aboutbombs going off and killing large number of people, and we thought: “Oh myGod, are they [parents] among the victims?” The hardest thing for me was whena bomb exploded at the farmers’ market. I tuned into a radio station and listenedto the list of the names of 150 people killed in the attack. I was afraid I wouldhear their names — I would have died if I did — but fortunately, they were notamong the casualties. They were alive.Zdravka.1 constantly expected to go home soon. I still could not comprehend that therewas a real war and that war was going to last. I couldn’t find out anything aboutmy husband, and I became absent minded and distracted, I could not sleep,Icould not concentrate on the job with customers. Then when I got back fromwork, my children would cry, especially my older daughter who was veryclose toher father. I would sit with them on the floor and hold themboth.This experience ofprolonged fear and for men also feelingsofguiltfor runningaway might have set the stage for experiencing later psychologicalproblems. Both maleparticipants in this group felt guilt. They were also ashamed fornot fighting in Bosnia.NikolaI must admit I felt ashamed and guilty a little that Iwas there, safe, hangingaround, having a good time while at the same time youngmen were fighting inBosnia and Krajina. Especially because I had relativesin villages who had tofight. I would imagine often being confronted by the armypolice, somewhere onthe street, who would send me backto Bosnia. I always imagined myself notresisting but accepting to go.BorisaAmong men, I felt they considered me a deserter. They thoughtthat my placewas in Bosnia where I should defend my people.It was my decision more thanmy wife’s to go back. We went back on August3rdor4thof 1992.Additionally, participants’ problems were compoundedwith their relatives’increasing intolerance. In addition to feelings of fearand guilt, there was a feeling of138being a burden to their relatives who, after some time, lost their patience with refugees.Human good will only goes so far, and generally people are more ready to help if thosethat need help are far away from them (van der Kolk). All participants experiencedproblems when staying with relatives because it was afright to stay a little while, but thenfear came that “Oh no, they [the refugees] will stayforever!” Then the home was missedterribly.NikolaA minor crisis broke out when we had to leave our uncle’s place. My aunt justcouldn’t handle this any longer. She asked us if we had any other relatives to staywith.DijanaEven bigger problems started when my uncle came from Bosnia after 2 years ofconfmement there. He did not tolerate my kids and I to be with them. He thoughtwe would stay forever.BoriaOn top of this, we started feeling our relative’s irritation with us. They could notbear any longer to have us at their place, and we felt that we were not welcomethere anymore.TatjanaAlong with all this, I had lots of trouble with my relatives, especially with myuncle, who was an alcoholic. It was very difficult for me to stay with thembecause they did not want me there. I felt like a burden. The whole situation didnot have any end in sight. I heard all these stories how refugees from Bosnia andCroatia are to be blamed for all the hardships that people in Serbia have to endure,and because of refugees, Serbia suffers.ZdravkaWith time, my mother’s aunt became very nervous because we were there.Everything was getting on her nerves, so children were whispering rather thantalking with normal tone. We realized that we had to leave this house. Childrendid not want to stay there anymore.139Because of this, two of my participants decided to return to Bosnia. For thosewho returned to fight in the war and for those who returned to live in the war zoneWitnessing destruction and death were dreadful reality.BoriaResidents fled and left behind their property... People were grabbing everything;they were completely wrecking havoc on other people’s property. They weretaking doors, windows, hot water tanks, faucets, even dry wall paper, anythingand everything.Indeed, this action was fiery. I cannot even begin to describe the intensity of fire.We were firing through the small opening on the tank, and I had a hard timefilling these frames with bullets that is how much ammunition we spent.We routinely lost one or two men every month, and we would get new people.These were all young, very young men... These were very brave young men.Whenever I think of them, I can’t stop my tears from rolling down.ZdravkaThat was unbelievable, four days and four nights shelling and gunfire didn’t stop.Five tanks were located in front ofthat apartment building where we were stayingand all five firing in the direction of my house and my neighborhood. I knew thatmy husband was there, and his uncles, whoever, people were there, all the samefour nights and four days the shelling and gunfire did not stop.Everything was in ruins, destroyed, demolished. I could see houses burned down,smoke coming from them, but our house still stood upright just as if God saved it.Everything on the house was wide open; people were going in taking things out.Oh my God, dead people lay on the street, such a chaos, but I was going and notlooking I just wanted to come home. In all that chaos, you just didn’t know whowas going where and what people were carrying, I could see people nmning,screaming, crying, some carrying what ever they could on their backs, otherpushing wheelbarrows, my God, I came to my house, the door wide open on theboth floors. In that situation, when some people were running away and otherswere coming in, robberies occurred.Other people struggled to carry on with their lives in exile. They exhausted alltheir resources trying to survive. There was no money, the hyperinflation was daunting,there was no work, food was scarce and shelter was not secure. Students tried to study,140mothers did their best to take care of their children, while refugees tried to support eachother in face of overwhelming difficulties ofSurvival struggle.DijanaWhatever money I had I spent it all. The inflation was unbelievable. I wouldexchange in the morning 100 Deutsche marks and in the afternoon that would benothing... I couldn’t find any work, so I went with my aunt to pick apples, pears,or to dry plumbs during the nighttime. We needed any kind of work because wecould not survive on our refugee help. Nobody asked me if I had money to paythe school photos for the girls... We didn’t have any food or money for the mostbasic things. This was an absolutely horrible time.TatjanaI wanted to quit my studying because I did not have any money. However,everybody around me encouraged me to continue. My mother pleaded with meover the amateur radio not to quit. I simply did not have any money either forfood or clothes. My boyfriend worked long hours, and it was a huge shock for mewhen he offered me fmancial help. I never thought I would be in a situation likethis. I took the money but only when he said that I should not take it if I wouldn’tbe ready to do the same thing for him. My friend Diana, a Croat, who fled toGermany, had sent me 20 DM in a letter and some nice clothes. This meant a lotto me. I hardly had any clothes, and just the thought that she cared about memeant a lot.After several years of ongoing war, participants realized that the war was notgoing to be over soon, and they started looking into their options. Options were notmany, but one ofthem was to leave for one of the Western countries. It was, under thecircumstances, relatively easy to get entry visas for most Western countries. This optionlooked like a viable one for most people, because the other countries, first of all, did nothave a war. However, after initial excitement and high hopes, for most participants,difficult reality of different culture, language, and everyday life set in. Majority ofparticipants experienced cultural shock and discrimination that added to their initialstress.141BoriaI don’t have anything in common with these people around me. I feel that I don’tbelong here, I am trying to adapt as much as I could, but I fear I will never be ableto accept this culture. I can see from the behavior of people whose first languageis English that they think that they are somehow above us. If I had stayed inBosnia, I would not have lived through this cultural shock, and that feeling thatpeople didn’t care about me which is hard to take. I feel like a second ordercitizen here.NikolaThese people from immigration played provocative movies for us, likePhiladelphia, which is about homosexuals. We would get up, turned the TV offand cursed them for playing that movie for us.It was shock to me when I went to a store and saw people with Down Syndromeworking there. In the old country we did our best not to look at them, but then Irealized we hid them from others, while here they tried to incorporate them intosociety.I went to the store to buy a beer. It tasted horrible; it was root beer. In oldcountry, alcohol is sold on the same shelf with fruit juices. I was surprised howconservative people here were about alcohol.I was also dumbfounded by tabloids. I used to think that all newspapers wereserious. Once I saw a newspaper headline at the beach saying that Nessie fromLoch Ness had died, and I thought it was spectacular that they found Nessie in thefirst place. I was foolish enough to pay two dollars to read it. I didn’t know anybetter.DijanaWhen we first came, I was happy to have ran away from that chaos overthere, however, in a little while, when I saw this different system, that you have totake your kid to and from school every day, that you worry if somebody wouldsteal your child, then I wondered if we did the right thing by coming to Canada. Iwasn’t sure anymore.ZdravkaThen a man came [to Welcome House] to pick up somebody who came fromBosnia as well, and he upset me a lot. He said to us that we were not aware wherewe brought our children. There is drugs and prostitution everywhere. If I hadmoney at that moment, I would have gone back. I was terrified, I didn’t even cryanymore, I bawled.142Several participants mentioned the language and nation of origin discrimination.They felt they have been discriminated against because of where they came from andbecause of their accent. There are lots of prejudice around us, and even though, inpresent time, people are generally more aware of different cultures, the discriminationseems to be more subtle and it is more expressed in a tone of voice and body languagerather than openly, but this certainly depends on the sophistication of a discriminator.NikolaOne of the men that carried me on the stretcher asked me where I was from, andhe did not seem OK with the fact that I lived in this building. He said there was atime when not everyone was allowed to live there. I thought I was dying, and hewas giving me a hard time. It wasn’t my fault that my rent was 650 dollars andthat my welfare cheque allowed for that.BoriaPeople instantly change their facial expression when they realize you are animmigrant. The expression goes from a smile to a serious look saying “Oh thereis another one who can’t speak English, who knows where this one is comingfrom, another dirty immigrant.” There is disgust on their faces. This might be myimagination, but I am certain that they are not glad to see me, or to talk to me orto relate to me in any way.I feel cultural discrimination everywhere; I mean literally everywhere. They payme less at my work because I don’t have a Canadian degree. When I go with mydaughter to soccer, if I say a word with my accent, everybody looks at me as if Icame from Mars.ZdravkaYou know, people tell me I have a heavy accent. Sure I do, but I still can speakseveral languages, while my older daughter’s boyfriend, who is a Canadian, hasbeen with her for 4 years and he can’t say a word in our language. That is sad.Enduring feelings of fear, guilt, loss of community and country, and loss ofsupport created context for development of negative psychological effects. All of myparticipants developed negative psychological effects because of their lived experiencesand unfortunately, up to this date, these negative psychological effects are still present.143Participants explained how they have had to deal with constant anxiety, depression, panicattacks, and insomnia.BoriaI feel constant anxiety. I turned into a frightened animal that is scared ofeverything, from bank to my boss at work. I am a very nervous, miserable, andunhappy human being. I feel alone. Lonely, uncared for. I feel all by myself.I don’t have nightmares like some of my friends I talk to, but I have a daily badmoments. Especially, when I have a break at my work, I spend that 1-hour breakin thinking about my parents, brothers, friends, war, and then when it’s time to goback to work, I don’t feel I can work. I feel sick; I am preoccupied with thesethoughts so I cannot go back to work. I feel I am wasting my energy; I feel tired,because I push myself. I have problems because of these events and I know that.I try to fight it; I still have energy to fight that, especially because now I have achild, job, and I am aware that I should stop thinking about these things andconcentrate on present and future.DijanaI can’t sleep at night, maybe because I think about how it was before when I usedto work in Bosnia and about my friends. I don’t have anything here. I feel I can’tbreathe and I have to open the window. I have a feeling I will suffocate.ZdravkaI became withdrawn. I changed... I don’t feel like talking, I am tired of talking.I am tired if I have to say something or ask. I don’t like when somebody visits,Idon’t feel like making that coffee for anybody and talking to anybody. Ijustdon’t feel like it. I feel like sitting on the couch alone the whole day.NikolaI thought I was having a heart attack. I was doing some exercises, when Isuddenly felt my heart pounding hard and unstoppably. I was unable tocalm down, my heart was pounding, and then I started to sweat.My friends called an ambulance. This was the first time when I had apanic attack.TatjanaFrom August to October, I did not have any news about my family.The phone connections were cut off. This was horrific. This is when myinsomnia started. I could not sleep literally one entire month, maybe anhour per night. Unfortunately, up to this day, I still have trouble withsleeping.144Other evidence that these participants are psychologically distressed is thecommon finding of feeling emptiness. These people describe themselves like walkingshells. People still live, work, do all things that people do, but they say they feel empty.NikolaI don’t have anything here [in Canada]; I am here only physically.DijanaI don’t know about other people, but my body is here [in Canada] and mythoughts are over there.BoriaThere is emptiness in my entire soul, a drought.TatjanaDeep down in my soul there is emptiness and I cannot fill this void with anything.As all of my participants are displaced people, they do not have a community andtherefore, do not have a sense of home and grounding. They do not have a sense ofbelonging and connection to other people outside the immediate family. This contributedto pervasive feeling of emptiness. This is a reason for concern as a feeling of emptinessis closely related to feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and isolation and it predictsdepression and suicide ideation (Klonsky, 2008).Another sign of distress is living in dreams. Dreaming ofreturn is a hope that ifonly they could return to the old country, happiness and inner peace would return as well.For mixed marriages, there is a reality of ethnic separation in the countries of the formerYugoslavia, and a difficult choice of where they would go if they decided to go back.Again, it is easier for people from Serbia, because they are returning to their cities, towns,and villages that are still there with the more or less the same people. When one is fromBosnia, everything is more complicated, because of extremely dramatic changes in145Bosnia. For these people, it seems that home is lost forever. Regardless, all participantstalked about their dreams of return.NikolaBut they [friends] got homesick, just like I am, and they are going back, so mywife will lose her best friend. My wish to go back is ever-present and I doubt itwill ever go away. That is a burden for my whole family.DijanaI constantly go back in my dreams to how it was before in my life, only to 1992. Isee myself at work, with my friends. I feel that all this is a dream, and I will goback to my city as it used to be. But there is no return, there is no return. Wishesand reality are not the same. I could not leave my children behind and I don’tknow where I would go either.BoriaGoing back is a dream that will never go away. It is a reverie, similar whenpeople daydream about winning a lottery. That is how I daydream what I woulddo if I went back. Everything is in weed now; nobody takes care of my father’sland... The only reason for me to stay here is the future of my child.ZdravkaI don’t like to live here, I will never like it, I am here only because of my children.If my children could have a life that we had before the war, I would go backinstantly. I don’t like to breathe this air; I don’t like to be here, I don’t seeanything beautiful here. I mean it is beautiful, but for me the most beautiful isover there. The most backward village with no electricity and no water is morebeautiful to me.TatjanaI am satisfied with my life in Canada, but I am not happy. I don’t feel thatserenity that I feel when I sit in a café in Belgrade watching people go by. It justfeels good to be around those people there. I feel grounded. I feel that I belong. Idon’t feel that here. I live, work, everything is normal and I am not miserable andunsatisfied but somehow there is a hollowness. I think I would be entirely happyif Dejan [husband] said we were going back to Belgrade to live there. I couldwork as a translator and I would love that. I would have time to read books; mymother would be close by, my aunt, my cousins. Then I would walk with myfriends, go for coffee. I could leave my kids with grandma over the weekend.Across the stories, themes of distress emerged. From the war period toresettlement period, there is convincing evidence that these participants have struggled146with negative psychological effects that resulted from living through extremely disruptinglife events. These stories also illustrate that once people were physically safe and did nothave to worry about surviving, negative psychological effects became more pronounced.“As good as it gets”- PTG in Bosnian wayTedeschi and Calhoun (1996) defined Posttraumatic growth as an experience ofpositive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly distressing andchallenging life events. According to these authors, this positive change can manifestitself through increased appreciation of life, more meaningful interpersonal relationships,an increased sense of personal strength, changed priorities, and richer spiritual andexistential life. In the stories of my participants, I did not find any evidence of any ofthese ways of growth. On the contrary, I found evidence that my participants might beactually worse off on all of these dimensions of posttraumatic growth.For example, Zdravka finds that she enjoys her life less now than before the warand before she moved to Canada.ZdravkaBut this is a hard life. We should not have done this. We did not need this. Iwent to school in Bosnia, and I built my house while my kids were little. I wentto work every day, but it wasn’t hard for me, it wasn’t stressful for me. I livedand I was happy. I don’t like to live here, I will never like it, I am here onlybecause of my children. If my kids could have a life that we had before the war, Iwould go back instantly. I don’t like to breathe this air; I don’t like to be here, Idon’t see anything beautiful here. I mean it is beautiful, but for me the mostbeautiful is over there. The most backward village with no electricity and nowater is more beautiful to me. I don’t like socializing here. My children don’tlike that I don’t go anywhere, I just sit at home.Further, participants do not seem to have more meaningful interpersonal relationshipsafter experiencing trauma.147Tatj anaI miss my girlfriends with whom I grew up. We had this special relationship thatI cannot find anywhere with anybody else. There was this unlimited trust andfreedom between us. I knew I could tell them anything and they would be okwith that. Somehow I cannot fmd that here with anybody. I do have good friendshere with whom I share good and bad things in our lives; however, I feelsomewhat reserved and not entirely free with them. It could be that I am theproblem. I might be asking for too much, and I want things to be perfect. I missmy family and stability they give me and I miss people.Also, there is evidence of diminished rather then increased sense of personal strength.DijanaWe are divorced now even though we still have a good relationship, and I stillhope that he would come and live with us again. It is more because of ourdaughter so she can have a father. It is because of me too, I would have moresupport and I would be less scared. I am really scared that I will loose ajob and Idon’t know what will happen to us then. I don’t have anybody here. He is morepractical than I am, he can figure out how to make money even if he doesn’t havea job. I am not that skilled. If this company shuts down, I will not sleep again fornights and nights.In addition, there is evidence that balance and well-being are missing in my participantslives, so there is no indication that they changed priorities and enjoy their livesmore.BoriaAnother problem now is that all I do is work. I don’t have any other aspect of myliving but work.Lastly, this study found evidence that all these participants reported feelingempty andthat is a sign that the spiritual and existential richness is lacking.However, even though in this research study I found considerably more distressthan signs of benefits, participants at some point acknowledged that they haveaccomplished something either professionally or helped their family membersto achievesomething or that they fared well considering the enormous life challenges thatthey were148faced with. Some of them were at the very bottom, and even though, life has been astruggle, they at least have shelter and food. They remember a time when that was notthe case. However, this does not resemble what Tedeschi and Calhoun would callposttraumatic growth, and this cannot be considered a transformative positivepsychological change. Rather, this represents more people coping with theircircumstances the best they can.TatjanaI am satisfied with my life in Canada, I mean, I work, I live, but I am not happy...I don’t feel grounded here. I envy people who accepted Canada as their homebecause we live here after all. I miss something. Everything is great here. Wehave lots of friends, and we get together with people and we travel but somehowdeep down in my soul, there is emptiness. I cannot fill this void with anything. Imiss my parents, my home. When I was growing up,i felt so secure, I had abeautiful childhood, and then suddenly I was ripped away from them. I amcompletely different person from who I was and from who I wanted to be. I ammuch more cynical than I would have ever been if I didn’t have to live through allofthis. I grew up over night.NikolaUltimately, I am very happy how things turned out to be for us. If we had to livethrough this, we had incredible luck, fantastic luck.DijanaIt was the hardest to live through the exile. At least, now I have a roof over myhead, and I am not hungry. At least, we all have some kind ofwork.ZdravkaAs far as I am concerned, I am not hungry, and I am not on thestreet. We stillmade something for these 10 years in Canada. We put our kids through school,and none of them had any loans, we paid for everything, so they can have afreshstart.BoriaPast cannot be forgotten. It has been a continuous friction and an inside struggle,and it might never cease, even though time helps. I succeededat least in someareas in Canada, I work as an engineer now, and I am becoming more content.But this has been so hard that I cannot put it in words.149In a way, this study confirms what Powell et al (2003) found in their quantitativestudy in Sarajevo. They found low to moderate levels of PTG depending on the age ofthe participants. They believed that the lower than other studies scores might notbeattributed only to cultural differences existing before the war, but also to the fact thatparticipants’ micro and macrosystems have been changed or destroyed. Particularly,the46-65 year old group showed low levels of perceived growth inthis study. In thisqualitative study, I also did not fmd evidence of positive psychologicalchange in theaftermath ofwar, exile and resettlement. It might be thatthis concept of posttraumaticgrowth is culturally determined, and it mightbe more applicable to some other types oftrauma (i.e. cancer patients).Meaning making — or the lack of it?From the literature, we know that theability to create meaning in the face ofadversity helps with better adjustment andpsychological health. Also, failure to fmdmeaning may result in elevated depressionand intrusive thoughts (Wortman, 2004).Research has shown that social and culturalfactors play an important role in meaningmaking. Social interaction, emotionand personal expression, and having opportunitytoexpress one’s experiences and having theseexperiences heard and acknowledged seemtobe important for meaning making (Collie& Long, 2005).For the participants in my study, these culturaland social factors might havehindered their meaning making process.When one cannot speak the language andwhenone feels isolated, how can one interactand express herself? For my participants,socialinteractions and personal expressionwere severely undermined because of thisnewcontext of living. Needless to say, thisinability to meaningftully interact withothers150added more stress to people’s lives and this study confirms that. This study foundevidence that younger participants who were more proficient in English language andwho accepted what happened were better able to move ahead in their lives. The onlyparticipant who had a sub-clinical score on IES was the one who appeared to have madepeace with what happened. This cannot be said for somewhat older participants. Thestruggle to make meaning out of what happened is still present and these participantsseem to experience lots of distress as shown through their narratives and alsothroughhigh scores on the IES.Nikola successfully makes meaning of events by viewing the events ina largercontext of history and time. As for the making meaning out of theevent itself, he alsoseems to take clearly one side in the war conflict, and that helpshim to make piece withit. Tatjana also, to some extent, has flexibility in her thinkingto take more perspectivesinto account and that helps her to make some senseof events, her experiences, and herenvironment.NikolaUnfortunately, there are tremendous losses on allsides. It would be the best ifwecould go back to where we were born and had lived,but it can’t be. And thesepeople that are there now, they deserve to be there,everybody has to live and lifegoes on. It is a new era now. The city was differentwhen we lived there, and itwas different when the Turks or Austro-Hungarianswere there, it is again a newera, different time.Religion helped me to go through this.. .It led me consciouslyand subconsciouslyto understand my situation and to understandthat there is no need to moan andgroan.I don’t feel guilty for the war. Somehow I was alwayson the Serb side. I feltsorry for all civilians that suffered, of course,I will always be suspicious thatthings were as they are presented as we are the onlyguilty side. I will alwaysdoubt that, what can I do, I would love to get an absolutetruth but who will say itwhen everything is so politicized and every storyserves some interest.151TatjanaSome neighbors were honorable people throughout the war, while others werenot. I can understand that, even though my family never did anything to anybodyand they stayed there and shared this tragedy with everybody else. But peoplewere caught in this tragedy, they were lost, they were enraged, and somebody hadto be guilty.In those years of war, the worst lot came to surface and did terrible things. I meetlots of people of all ethnic backgrounds and I see that everybody’s lives wereshattered by what happened. No normal person of any ethnicity wanted this tohappen.We’ve got a chance in Canada to try whatever we want. I haven’tfelt restrainedin any way. One of the most honest experiences in all this was a farewellspeecha Canadian ambassador made in Belgrade. He said that we were theirbestinvestment, beside humanitarian reasons. It was nota chance that exactly wewere there leaving to Canada, all young and educated people.What can you do?I often think how would we behave if a situation wasdifferent and they had tocome to our country. I am not sure how would we behave.Middle-age participants in this study still struggleto make meaning out of what happenedto them. As a result they experience still lots ofstruggle and distress.BoriaThe hardest for me is knowledge that these things shouldnot have happened.People say that what happened cannot be changed,but that [war] should not havehappened. I cannot comprehend that had happenedand I am always looking forwho is guilty for this, and that is a waste of time and energy.Everything reminds me that my lifehas completely changed and I translate thatinto my life has been destroyed. It should not havehappened this way, mypersonality cannot accept this and I cannot fmdpeace.ZdravkaWhen I think about this war, about the misery it broughtupon us, and that all thatwas for nothing, all those kids onall three sides died for nothing.This study contributes to researchof meaning making by providing evidence thatthe ability to make meaning out ofnegative life events helps with better psychologicalhealth as indicated by low IES scorein the only participant who clearly made meaning152out of these life events and conversely for participants who were not able to makemeaning out of negative life events, high IES scores show high psychological distress.Inaddition to this, this study shows the importance of cultural and social factorsformeaning making process because it seems that the lack ofmeaningful interaction andcommunication with others impede the psychological processof meaning making.Implications for theory, research, and clinical practiceIn this research study, I found convincing evidence of continuing psychologicaldistress in stories of my participants, former refugeesfrom the former Yugoslavia, whoresettled in Canada. At the same time, Iwas unable to find any evidence of posttraumaticgrowth and also most participants havenot been able to successfully make meaning outof disturbing life events. In the last decade, researchon posttraumatic growth andmeaning making has been growing. Our society likesto witness human strength andwinning against the adversity. However,this can be discouraging for victims.AsWortman (2004) says, “If outsiders believethat growth is prevalent, this can become anew standard that survivors’ progress is measuredagainst” (p. 89). Also, even though thetheory of posttraumatic growth broadensour perspective on trauma, there is a potentialdanger for both researchers and clinicians of havingexpectations that more people wouldexperience posttraumatic growth than what realitypresents and that can also furtherdamage rather than help victims. Therefore,the researchers should be aware that thisconcept of posttraumatic growth might needs morequalitative and quantitative researchevidence with more diverse population,and clinicians should be aware that psychologicaldistress might be more likely to be foundamong the victims than a positive psychologicalchange.153In the case of participants in this study, the disintegration of the country and theresulting war destroyed a known way of living and left people to their own resources.This resulted in a huge shock for people affected and set off the stage for enduringdistress. deVries (1996) says,Culture is supposed to render life predictable. When the cultural defensemechanism is lost, individuals are left on their own to achieve emotional control.Traumas that occur in the context of social upheavals, such as revolutions, civilwars, and uprootings, create profound discontinuity in the order and predictabilitythat culture brought to daily life and social situations (p. 407).When cultural protection and security fail, the individual’s problems areproportional to the cultural disintegration (deVries). In the life of participants in thisstudy, culture disintegrated, communities disappeared, families separated, people losttheir friends, neighbors, belongings, their goals, and careers. People lost everything buttheir lives. In this situation, the participants were faced with enormous multiplechallenges and in the situation where all levels of meaningful support had been destroyed,it might not be surprising to fmd this amount of emotional distress and absence ofposttraumatic growth. Counselors should be aware of this, and not readily apply PTGtheory to people from the former Yugoslavia and also to people with similar experiencesfrom other parts of the world.Additionally, even after more than a decade, participants are still attempting tomake meaning out of what happened. This might be especially true for the middle-agedpeople. This study also shows that cultural and social context of support are importantfor successful meaning making process. Participants who lost meaningful cultural andsocial contexts might have extreme difficulty in making meaning out of what happened tothem. At the same time, this study provided some evidence for connection between154successful meaning making and personal well-being. The only participant who had asub-clinical score on IES, most clearly accepted what happened and moved on. A caveathere is that this relationship between IES score and made meaning is co-relational and wedo not know what other factors might have played a role here (i.e., different personalitycharacteristics).One of the greatest difficulties for my participants was loosing their own countryand resettling in a new country where most people speak a different language that theyare not able to speak. This situation is especially detrimental because the pool of peopleto talk to is severely diminished. Consequently, people withdraw andbecome lonely, asthey cannot find satisfactory relationships with people around them.At the same time,people from the former Yugoslavia seem to be wary of counselors, psychologists,andpsychiatrists because to go to talk to them, might be a sign of weaknessand not culturallyacceptable. Some people would say out right they werenot crazy and they don’t needpsychological help. Previous research has documentedlow utilization of mental healthservices by refugees (Kinzie, 2006).For refugees, it might be especially helpful to have anorganized avenue for themto meet. Also, government should strive to providethe best factual information to thesepeople, when they first arrive, about the life in Canadaand how to go about it, so they donot fall prey to various people in acommunity who might not have their best interestatheart. In addition to this, it might behelpful to organize seminars and psycho-educationalworkshops where these people would be allowedto talk about their experiences. Theycan also be taught about known and shared consequencesof trauma and generallyimportance of talking about it so thesepeople would not feel alone and left to their own155resources which are obviously very slim. Bilingual, culturally competent counselorsmight be the best choice for welcoming these people and providing them with necessaryhelp and information. Also, a care should be taken to be ethnically sensitive, so whenrefugees come to Canada from civil war-tom countries, organizers should be aware ofadesignated person’s ethnic background. For example, when I came to Canada asarefugee, a Croatian woman was in charge of our group and we were mainly Serbs.Thiswas an entirely negative experience, as this woman did not behavein a respectfulmanner. That was our first experience in Canada.More research is needed on different types of trauma and posttraumatic growthbecause we might run the danger of applying the conceptsthat are not applicable tospecial populations (i.e., PTG and survivors of war, exile, and resettlement).In additionto clarifying ifposttraumatic growth is applicable to thispopulation, more researchshould be done with people from other cultures to see if thenotion of posttraumaticgrowth would still be a valid concept in different cultures; particularly morequalitativeresearch is needed for comprehensive theoreticalinferences. Considering the importanceof cultural and social factors for meaning making,additional research needs to clarify ifpeople who stayed in the former Yugoslavia fare betterthan people who resettledelsewhere, because even only resettlement, withoutwar and exile, seems to be highlystressful and it seems to add a considerable amountof stress for these already distressedpeople.Limitations of the studyAs this study deals with stories of people from the former Yugoslavia,it wouldhave been desirable to have participants of more diverseetlmic backgrounds. Of five156participants, three were ethnically Serbs married to Serbs, one was from mixed marriagewhose both ex-husbands were Serbs, and one was a Serb married to a Croat. I did nothave any Muslim or Croat participants. Within the context of a violent Balkan conflict, itmight be understandable why people of more diverse ethnic backgrounds did not comeforward. People could tell from my name what kind of ethnic background I have, andbecause I am a Serb from Bosnia, these people were probably the most comfortabletalking to me.Another limitation of this study might be the fact that all the workwas done inSerbo-Croatian and then translated in English. I realized at some points,that it wasdifficult for me to capture the richness of expressions from my native language.Lastly, a relatively small number of participants (5) might presentanotherlimitation even though we should keep in mind that this was qualitativeresearch.ConclusionIn this study, I interviewed participants, former refugees from the formerYugoslavia, to find out if and how they made sense of their livedexperiences of war,exile, and resettlement, and also if they experienced positive psychologicaleffectsresulting from these life events or if they still experiencepsychological distress caused bythese events. It seems that people are still experiencinga considerable amount of distresscaused by all these dramatic changes in theirlives. Anxiety, depression, panic disorder,and insomnia are negative psychological effectsthat these people have been coping with.Younger people seem to fare somewhat betterthan middle-aged people, even though allof them talk of spiritual and emotional emptiness. Ithas been difficult to make sense ofthese events, because people still do not understand whythese things happened in the157first place. These events caused so much suffering and it has been difficult to understandall that happened. I could not find any evidence of experiencing posttraumatic growth,and at some point, this concept ofposttraumatic growth almost trivializes these people’sexperiences. There is only so much a person can take on, and certainly to have to livethrough war, exile, and resettlement is overwhelming for most people. 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(2008).Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in Bosnian refugees 3 V2 years afterresettlement. Journal ofRehabilitation Research & Development, 45(3), 421-426.Wortman, C.B. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Progress and problems. PsychologicalInquiry, 15, 81-89.163APPENDICES164Appendix A: Recruitment flyer (Serbo-Croatian)UNIVERZITET BRITANSKE KOLUMBIJEPOTREBNI UESNICIzaStudUuoUudimaiz bive Jugoslavye i njihovomproivavanju rata,izbjeglitva, iponovnognastanjenjaSvrha ove studije je analiziranje iskustava ijudi izbiveJugoslavije sa ciljem da se dobije uvidu nain na koji ijudirazumijevaju i objanjavaju dogadaje rata, izbjeglitva,iponovnog nastanjenja sebi i drugima. Osimtoga, nadamo seda ova studija pridonese boijem razumijevanjuljudskihpromjena koje nastaju kao posijedicaproivljavanja ovihdogadaja.Ako ste bili odrasla osoba kad je ratpoëeo u bivoj Jugoslaviji,voijeli bismo da razgovaramo o vaemproivljavanju ovihdogadaja. Pozivamo vas na strogo povjerljivintervju koji éetrajati izmedu 1.5 do 2 sata. Ukolikoeite da sudjelujete uovom istraivanju, javite se BrankiDukié, MA studentu, natelefon (604) 465-0130 iii poaljiteemail bdiukic(te1us.netNapomena: Ova studija je magistarskirad Branke Dukié nafakultetu za savjetodavnu psihologijuna UniverzitetuBritanske Kolumbije. Glavni istraivaëu ovoj studiji je Dr.William A. Borgen, Profesor, (604) 822-5261.165Appendix A: Recruitment flyer (English)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAi&ciLiNEEDED RESEARCH PARTICIPANTSfor theStudy aboutpeoplefrom theformer Yugoslaviaandtheir lived experiences ofwar, exile, andresettlementThe purpose of this research study isto explore the storiespeople from the former Yugoslavia constructabout theirexperiences to better understand the meaningmaking processand eventual positive changes people mightexperience in theaftermath of living through difficult times.If you were an adult whenthe war started in the formerYugoslavia, we would be interested in hearingyour livedexperience. If you would liketo talk about your experience ina confidential 1.5 to 2 hour interview,please contact BrankaDjukic, MA student, at (604) 465-0130or by email atbdj ukic( This research study will be conductedas one ofrequirements for Branka Djukic for the degreeof Master of Arts inCounselling Psychology. Principal investigatorfor this study is Dr.William A. Borgen, Professor,(604) 822-5261.166Appendix B: Letter of initial contact (Serbo-Croatian)IJN[VERZITET BRITANSKE KOLUMBIJEOdsjek za psihologiju obrazovanja, savjetodavnuUBCpsihologiju i specijalno obrazovanjeUBC Fakultet za obrazovanje2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4Tel: (604) 822-5259 Fax: (604) 822-2328__________www.ecps.educ.ubcPoziv za sudjelovanje u istraivnjuPotovana/Potovani:Zovem se Branka Dukiá. Zavrni sam student magistarskog studija izsavjetodavne psihologije na Univerzitetu Britanske Kolumbije u Vankuverui poduzimamovu studiju da zadovoijim zahtj eve magistarske teze. Nakon zavretka,ova teza ée bitiv1asnitvo biblioteke Univerziteta Britanske Kolumbije i biáe dostupnajavnosti.Svrhaove studijeje analiziranje ivotnih iskustava ijudi iz bive Jugoslavijesa ciljem da sedobije uvid u nain na koji ijudi razumijevaju i objanjavaju dogadaje rata,izbjeglistva, iponovnog nastanjenja, sebi i drugima. Osim toga, nadamo seda ova studija pridoneseboijem razumijevanju ljudskih promjena koje nastajukao posijedica proiv1javanja ovthdogadaja.Ukoliko ste bili odrasla osoba u vrijeme po&tkarata u bivsoj Jugoslaviji pozivatese da uestvujete u ovoj studiji. Ja áu vas zamolitida podijelite sa mnom vau ivotnupriu poëinjuái od vremena kada Ste postali svjesni da se rat deavaoko vas. Ovajrazgovor moe biti obavijen na vaem matemjem iii engleskom jeziku.Ukupno vrijeme koje áete provesti na ovoj studiji je izmedu2 i 2.5 sata. Gorepomenuti razgovor ôe trajati izmedu 1.5 do 2 sata. Uovom razgovoru ja áu vas zamolitida mi ispriate vae iskustvo. Na kraju razgovora, zaxnoliáu vasda ispunite kratkiupitnik. Pitanja iz ovog upitnika odnose se na prisutnosti uèestalost odredenih tegobakoje ijudi mogu da osjete poslije traume.Uesnici ove studije áe biti kontaktirani drugiput elektronskom potom. Ovaj put uesnici éeimati priliku da proëitaju ono to su rekliprethodno. Osim toga, ovo ée biti prilika za uesnikeda, ukoliko e1e, dodaju iiie1iminiu neto iz njihove pri&. Svi podaci dobivemod vas su strogo povjerljivi. Vaaprivatnost ãe biti osigurana koritenjem pseudonimai izostavijanjem i promjenom bibkojeg podatka koji vas moze identifikovati. Svi podaciée biti &ivani u zaldjuèanimkabinetima na Univerzitetu Britanske Kolumbije.Vaa saradnja u ovom projektuje absolutno dobrovobjnai vi moete odbitisaradnju I odustati od uestvovanja u bib koje vrijemeu toku studije bez bib kakvihpredrasuda sa nae strane. Novana naknada za vaeuestvovanje nije predvidena.Ukoliko odluite da uestvujete u ovom istraivanju,iii ukoliko imate bib kakvih pitanja,mourn vas nazovite me na telefon (604)465-0130 iiipoaljite mi Glavni istraiva u ovom projektuje Dr. William A. Borgen,Profesor na Univerzitetu Britanske Kolumbije i njega mozete dobiti pozivajuái broj (604)822-5261.Ja yam se unaprijed zahvaljujem za vau zainteresovanost i uee u ovomistraivanju.Sa potovanjem,Branka Dukié, MA studentOdsjek za psihologiju obrazovanja,savjetodavnu psihologiju ispecijalno obrazovanjeUniverzitet Britanske Kolumbije168Appendix B: Letter of initial contact (English)THE UNWERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADepartment of Educational & Counselling________Psychology and Special EducationUBC Faculty of Education2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4Tel (604) 822-5259 Fax (604) 822-2328www.ecps.educ.ubcLetter of Invitation to ParticipationDear Prospective Participant:My name is Branka Djukic, and I am conducting a study about the livedexperiences of war, exile, and resettlement. This researchis one of the requirements formy Master of Arts thesis in Counselling Psychology at the University ofBritishColumbia. Upon completion, this thesis willbe located at the UBC library and it will beavailable to public upon request. This research willexplore the stories of people from theformer Yugoslavia, who experienced war, exile, and resettlement,in order to come tounderstanding of meaning making process and eventualpositive changes in the aftermathof these traumatic experiences.I am looking for people from the former Yugoslavia, who were young adultsoradults when the war started. The participants will be askedto tell their life story from thetime they realized that the war was happening. Thisinterview will be done in a languageof your choice: Serbo-Croatian or English.I will ask for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours of yourtime. The first time I will meetyou in person and this interview will last between 1.5 to 2 hours.In this interview, I willask you to tell me your story and this will be audio-taped.At the end of this interview, Iwill ask you to respond to a short questionnaire aboutyour experience. After I transcribethis interview, I will write your narrative ina story and send it to you for editing andaccuracy check. At this time, you will be freeto add something new or omit somethingthat you would not like included. Your confidentialitywill be fully ensured by usingpseudonyms and omitting any identifyingdetail. The data obtained will be stored inlocked filing cabinets at the Universityof British Columbia.Your participation in this researchstudy is entirely voluntary. You may refuse toparticipate and you may also withdraw at anytime from the study without prejudice ofany kind. Please note that there will beno monetary compensation for your participationin this study. Ifyou decide to participate,or would like further information, please feelfree to contact me at (604) 465-0130or via e-mail at The supervisorfor this project is Dr. WilliamA. Borgen, Professor at the University of British Columbia,and he can be reached at (604) 822-5261.Thank you for your interest in thisstudy and I look forward to talking to you.Sincerely,Branka Djukic, MA studentCounselling Psychology ProgramThe University of British Columbia169170Appendix C: Informed consent form (Serbo-Croatian)UNIVERZITET BRITANSKE KOLUMBIJEOdsjek za psihologiju obrazovanja, savjetodavnu________psihologiju i specijalno obrazovanjeUBC Falcultet za obrazovanje2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4Tel: (604) 822-5259 Fax: (604) 822-2328__________www.ecps.educ.ubcInformisani pristanakLjudi iz bive Jugoslavije i njihovo proiv1javanje rata, izbjegIitvaiponovnog nastanjenjaGlavni istraiva: Dr.WA. Borgen, ProfesorIJBC, Fakultet za obrazovanjeOdsjek za psihologiju obrazovanja,savjetodavnu psihologijui specijalnoobrazovanjeTelefon (604) 822-5261Email william.a.borgen(ubc.caSaradnik istraivaé:Branka Dukié, MA studentUBC, Fakultet za obrazovanjeOdsjek za psihologiju obrazovanja,savjetodavnu psihologiju i specijalnoobrazovanjeTelefon (604) 465-0130Email bdjukic(atelus.netPozivate se da uëestvujete u studiji o ijudimaiz bive Jugoslavije i njihovomproivljavanju rata, izbjeglitva i ponovnognastanjenja. Ova studijaje dio magistarskograda Branke Dukie. Rezultati istraivanjaáe biti dio magistarskog rada kojiée kaovlasnitvo biblioteke Univerziteta BritanskeKolumbije biti dostupan javnosti.Svrha istraivanjaSvrha ove studije je analiziranje ivotnihiskustava ijudi iz bive Jugoslavijesa ciljem dase dobije uvid u nain na koji Ijudi razumijevajui objanjavaju dogadaje rata,izbjeglistva, i ponovnog nastanjenja,sebi I drugima. Osim toga, nadamose da ovastudija pridonese boijem razumijevanjuljudskih promjena koje nastaju kaoposijedicaproivljavanja ovih dogadaja.171Postupak istraivanjaNa razgovor sa vama, koji áe biti sniman na audio traku, ée trajati izmedu1.5 do 2 sata.Mi áemo vas pitati da podijelite sa nama vau ivotnu priuod trenutka kada ste shvatilida se rat deava oko vas. Ovaj razgovor moemo obaviti na vaemmatemjemjeziku iiiengleskom, u zavisnosti od vaeg izbora. Na kraju ovograzgovora, zamoliáemo vas daispunite jedan kratki upitnik. Pitanja iz ovogupitnika odnose se na prisutnost i uëestalostodredenih tegoba koje ijudi moguda osjete poslije traume. Uesnici ove studije ée bitikontaktirani drugi put elektronskom potom. Ovajput uesnici áe imati priliku daproitaju ono to su rekli prethodno. Osimtoga, ovo áe biti prilika da uèesmci,ukolikoele, dodaju iii e1iminu neto iz njihoveprie. Predvidamo da ée uesnici darovatiotprilike 2 do 2.5 sata svoga vremena ovojstudiji.Potencijalni rizik i koristNe postoje poznati rizici od uèestvovanja uovoj studiji. Medutim, moguée jeda uesniciosjete uznemirenost kad govore ostresnim periodima iz njihovog ivota.Ukoliko se ovodesi, besplatna terapija je obezbijedena.Sa druge strane, moguée je da u procesukonstruisanja i reflektiranja na njihovoivotno iskustvo, uesnici dodudo boijeg uvida irazumijevanja vlastitth iskustavai ovo moe imati pozitivan efekat.Povjerljivost podatakaSvi podaci dobijem u ovoj studijisu strogo povjerljivi i biti& uvarn u zakljuanimkabinetima na Univerzitetu BritanskeKolumbije. Svaki uèesnikáe biti upisan podpseudonimom i sveinformacije koje bi mogle identifikovatiuesnika áe bitipromijenjene.Novëana nadoknadaNovana nadoknada zauëestvovanje u ovoj studiji nijepredvidena.Kontakti za informacijeo ovom projektuUkoliko imate bib kakvihpitanja o ovoj studiji,molimo vas kontaktirajteDr. William A.Borgen (glavni istrthva)na (604) 822-5261 iii Branku Dukiá(saradnik istraiva)na (604) 465-0130.Kontakti u sluëaju povredeprava u&snikaUkoliko imate bib kakvihpitanja iii ste zabrinuti zaprava u&snika, molimonazovite(604) 822-8598. Ovo je telefonskibroj ureda za istraivakeusluge na Univerzitetu172Britanske Kolumbije gdje uesnici u naunim projektima mogu dobiti e1jeneinformacije.SaglasnostVaa saradnja u ovom projektuje absolutho dobrovoljna i vi moete odbiti saradnju illodustati od uèestvovanja u bib koje vrijeme u toku studije bez bib kakvih predrasudasanae strane. Vamajejasno da imate na raspolaganju besplatne savjetodavne razgovore,ukoliko budete smatrali da yam je to potrebno. Sa vaim potpisom potvrdujete dastezadrali jednu kopiju ove saglasnosti za va record. Vapotpis isto tako potvrduje dadobrovoljno pristajete da sudjelujete u ovoj studiji.Potpis u&snikaDatumtampano ime uèesnika173Appendix C: Informed consent form (English)THE UNWERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADepartment of Educational & CounsellingUBCPsychology and Special EducationUBC Faculty of Education2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4Tel: (604) 822-5259 Fax: (604) 822-2328__________www.ecps.educ.ubcInformed consentPeople from the former Yugoslaviaand their lived experiences of war, exile,and resettlementPrincipal Investigator:Dr. W.A. Borgen, ProfessorUBC, Faculty of EducationDepartment of Educational and CounsellingPsychology, and Special EducationPhone (604) 822-5261Email wi11iam.a.borgenubc.caCo-investigatorBranka Djukic, MA studentUBC Faculty of EducationDepartment of Educational and CounsellingPsychology, and Special EducationPhone (604) 465-0130Email bdjukic(telus.netYou have been invited to participatein a study about lived experiencesof war, exile, andresettlement of people from the former Yugoslavia.This research is one of therequirements for Branka Djukic forthe degree of Master of Arts in CounsellingPsychology. The results ofthis researchwill be a part of a master thesisthat will be apublic document in the University libraryonce it is completed.PurposeThe purpose of this research isto explore stories people from the formerYugoslaviaconstruct about their lived experiencesof war, exile, and resettlementto arrive at betterunderstanding of meaning makingprocess and eventual positive changes thatmight occurin the aftermath of living through severelydisturbing events.174ProceduresThis study consists of one 1.5 to 2 hour long interview. This interview is a non-structured, open-ended interview where the participants will be asked to tell their storyfrom the first time they realized that the war was really happening around them. Theinterview will be done in a language ofthe participant’s choice: Serbo-Croatian orEnglish. At the end of this interview, participants will be asked to respondto a shortquestionnaire by indicating the true responses for them. The questions on thisquestionnaire ask participants about the presence and frequency of experiencing certaindifficulties people commonly report after trauma. The second time participantswill becontacted via email. Each participant will receive his/her narrativeaccount for editingand accuracy check. The total participation time will be approximately2 to 2.5 hours.Potential risks and benefitsThere are no any direct risks as a result of participatingin this study. It is possible,however, that participants might experienceunpleasant feelings when talking abouthighly stressful period in their lives. Free counsellingresources are available, if needed.At the same time, the process oftelling a story about one’s lived experience mightcontribute to greater understanding, awareness,and appreciation of one’s experiences andthis might have a beneficial effect.ConfidentialityThe data gathered in this study will be keptstrictly confidential in a locked filing cabinetat the University of British Columbia.Each participant will be assigneda pseudonymand all names of places or other identifyingdetails will be changed for the participants’protection.CompensationThere will be no monetary compensationfor participation in this research study.Contact for Information Aboutthe StudyIf you have any questions orwould like more information about thisstudy, you maycontact Dr. WilliamA. Borgen (Principal Investigator) at (604)822-5261 or BrankaDjukic (Co-investigator) at (604) 465-0130.Contact for Concerns Aboutthe Rights of Research SubjectsIf you have any concerns aboutyour treatment or rights as a researchsubject, you maycontact the Research Subject InformationLine in the UBC Office of Research Servicesat(604) 822-8598.Consent175You understand that your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you mayrefuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time without prejudice of anykind. You understand that there are free counselling resources available to you shouldyou need it. Your signature below indicates that you have received a copy ofthis consentform for your own records. Your signature indicates that you freely consent to participatein this study.Participant signature DatePrinted name of the participant176Appendix D: Impact of event scale (Serbo-Croatian)Skala za mjerenje uëinka dogadajaPred vama se nalazi lista komentara koje su ijudi dali nakon stresnih ivotnih dogadaja.Molimo vas da naznaite, za svaki iskaz, koliko yam se èesto to deavalou proteklih 7dana.Iska.z Uesta1ostNikako Rijetko Ponekad esto(0) (1) (3) (5)1. Mislio/la sam o torn dogadaju ak i kada nisamelio/la.2. Nisam dozvolio/la sebi da se uzbudujem kad samrazmiIjaoIla o tome ili kad me je neto podsjetilo na to.3. Pokuao!1a sam da to izbriem iz sjeanja.4. Imao/la sam problerna sa spavanjem zbog silica i mislikoje su mi padale na pamet.5. Povremeno me preplavejaka osjeanja vezana za tajdogadaj.6. Sanjaolla sam o torn dogadaju.7. Izbjegavao/ia sam sve to me podsjeãa na taj dogadaj.8. Osjeao/la sam da taj dogadaj nije stvaran iii da sedogadaj uopte nije dogodio.9. Trudio/la sam se dane priam o tome.10. Slike o torn dogadaju su mi se iznenada pojaviie predoima.11. Druge stvari su me podsticale da mislirnna tajdogadaj.12. Bib rnijejasno dajo uvijek irnam jaka osjeanjaotorn dogadaju all nisarn nita poduzeoliapo torn pitanju.13. Trudio/la sam se dane mislim o tome.14. Kad rne neto podsjeti na taj dogadaj sva osjeanjamise vrate.15. Osjeãao/la sam prazninu kad sam razmiljao/1ao torndogadaju.177Appendix D: Impact of event scale (English)Impact of Event ScaleBelow is a list of comments made by people after stressful life events. Please read eachitem, and then indicate how frequently these comments were true to you during the past 7days.Score using one of these four choices: (0) Not at all (1) Rarely (3) Sometimes (5) OftenStatement FrequencyNot at Rarely Sometimes Oftenall(O) (1) (3) (5)1. I thought about it when I didn’t mean to.2. I avoided letting myself get upset when I thoughtaboutit or was reminded of it.3. I tried to remove it from memory.4. I had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, because ofpictures or thoughts about it that came into my mind.5. I had waves of strong feelings about it.6. I had dreams about it.7. 1 stayed away from reminders of it.8. I felt as if it hadn’t happened or it wasn’t real.9. I tried not to talk about it.10. Pictures about it popped into my mind.11. Other things kept making me think about it.12. I was aware that I still had a lot of feelings about it, butI didn’t deal with them,13. I tried not to think about it.14. Any reminder brought back feelings about it.15. My feelings about it were kind of numb.178Appendix E: Interview guidelinesI use open-ended, broad questions and probes to facilitate the participants’ narratives.Istart off with my main interview question and than use a probe to help the tellingofthestory:1) Could you tell me your story from the first time you realized thatthe war wasreally happening?2) Can you tell me what happened next?To get participants to talk about meaning making, I mightuse any of the open-endedprobes:3) How was that for you?4) How did you feel about that?5) What did you think about that?6) What did you do about that?I let participants talk without too muchinterfering, and at the end of the interview,ifparticipants have not already talked aboutit, I might ask any of the following questions:1) What did you fmd the most difficultto deal with in all that happened to you?2) How did you cope? What helped youto cope with difficult situations?3) What has changed in your lifeas a result ofthese events (Beliefs, values,roles,expectations, relationships, career)?4) Have you changed because you livedthrough these events?5) How have you changed?179APPENDIX F: Ethics approval certificatePage 1 of 1The Univerc*yoiBxitish Coê,rnê’aOffice ofResea,vh SemcesBehavioural Research Ethics Beam’Suite 1O2 6190 Agronomy Roao Vwrcouve.ç at). V6T 1Z3CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL - FULL BOARDRR1FAL INVESTIGATOR: NSTITUTlON I DEPARTMENT:IJEC BREB NUMBER:lJBClEducalionIEducaIIonal & IMiem Borgen ounseIng Psychology, and Special1108-02702ducthonI4STITLIflOII(S) WHERE RESEARCH WILL BE CARRIED lwe die ne.andiaa. condartedihis study tell be conducted out ofthe USC Depe nentofEducationel& Counsdhig Psychology, and Special Educon officerid co4nvestlgatc?s home. interviews may be ccndud on campus or participerö’ homes.0-INVESTIGATOR(S):ranks OiicicPONSORING AGENCIES:‘BC Facidty of Education - “Meaning making and positive changes alter lived experiences of war. exile, andisettlement in people from the former Yugoslavia”ROJECT TITLE:eople from the fomier Yugoslavia arid their eriqievancee of wa, exile and resettlementED MEETING DATE: ERflFIGATE EXPIRY DATE:Ocanberll, 2000 I)eceberll, 2009IOCIMEN’IS INCLUDED IN iNS APPROVAL:DATE APPROVED:lj.nua.y 12,2009Neiee I Verde. I DeWheats proposal NIA November26, 2008oasatit Foams:nfonned_coneentfierbo-Croatlan NA November26, 2008nformed_consent_English NIA November 26,2008thafieemeate:ecrulbnent_flyeEngliah WA November 26,2008ecnibnenfiyer_Serbo-Croatlen WA November26, 2008ksssltoeviabe. Oueattonnehte Cover Lar.Tanpact of Event ScaleSerbo-Croetian WA December21, 2008npact of Event Scale WA November26, 2008tterview guidelines WA November26, 2008alter of litiI ContactnhtiaI_contact_Setho-Croaffan WA November26. 2008nitiel_cantact_English WA November26, 2008he ,plicatIon for ethical review and the document(s) listed above have been reviewed and the procedures wereund to be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects.Approval Is Issued on behalf ofthe Behavioural Reaeamh Ethics Boardaid signed .Iecbonlcaly by one of the fcIIoalnWDr. M. Judith Lynem, ChairCr. ken Craig, ChairDr. Jim Rupert, Associate ChairDr. Laurie Ford, Associate ChairDr. Daniel Saihani, Associate ChairDr. Anita Ho Associate Chairhtise,ubc.cakDoc/Of0EQRNLVV76V430394A3SIO1TFA/fiomString.htm1 1112/2009


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