15 years after the war in Bosnia over 7000 refugees still live in ‘temporary’ refugee camps in the heart of Europe. The Bosnians themselves want to forget about them, the NGO’s have left the country, moved on to new conflict zones. But the people are still there. Just like their children, who were born in these camps. They are a new generation of war victims, struggling not only with the trauma of their parents, but also with a lack of education and severe poverty. Domestic violence, abuse, alcoholism and addiction are common practise in these settlements. A young generation is going to waste, while politicians do everything to keep the conflict between ethnical Bosniacs, Serbs and Croats alive for their personal and electoral benefits. Nationalist rethorics rule, no one is interested in a common future or reconciliation.
The room is filled with the stench of humidity and fungus. Morris sits next to his father, on the floor next to the sofa. Life is hard here, but together they try to make the best of it. He leans against his dad. A sudden outburst follows: “Sit still! Damned!” Morris jumps with fear and runs out of the room. His mother bursts out in tears. ‘My husband was a soldier, he suffers heavily from war trauma. Sometimes he bursts out in rage for no reason at all. He lost his nerves in the war. Sometimes he even says he wants to kill himself.’ Fikrat, Morris’ brother doesn’t even blink an eye. He just overhears the conversation. Like every day. In this reportage we focus on the human stories. With the smell of poverty still in our noses, we try to give these ‘forgotten people’ a name, a face, a voice.
- De Standaard (only in Dutch) - 10 juli 2010
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