Migratory Flights

Dženana Vucic in the Sydney Review of Books:

In Germany they joke that Slavs live in poverty so they can drive home in a Mercedes. I hadn’t heard this stereotype growing up in so-called Australia. From there, we had to fly.

Bosnia is a long way away, and it’s an expensive journey. During my childhood, we only flew back once. I was eleven and I don’t remember much except my mother’s constant anxiety, her fear of landmines and strange men. Our migration to Australia had been an escape: from the genocidal war that had been waged against Bosnian Muslims between 1992 and 1995, and from its aftermath. Our return forced us to confront what we had left behind, what we had done in leaving everyone behind.

When I went back to Bosnia a second time, as an adult and alone, I stayed for three weeks. It wasn’t enough so I returned for six months, intending it to be forever. This is the kind of decision you can make at twenty-five. Impulsive, reckless.

More here.