Children of Atlantis

Voices from the Former Yugoslavia
ISBN: 
978-1-85866-041-7
paperback
$21.95 / €18.00 / £16.50
Publication date: 
1995
194 pages

“Intensely personal essays by young people whose lives were interrupted by the war in their country.” -Times Literary Supplement

The many young people who have fled the former Yugoslavia in the face of war, nationalism and the draft here describe the circumstances which drove them to leave their homes and the way they see their future.

Children of Atlantis offers a snapshot of virtually a whole generation of young people on the threshold of their working lives, uprooted from the world  in which they grew up, confronting the task of making something of their lives in the face of the catastrophe that has overwhelmed them, their families, their friends and their homeland. Their voices are varied, expressing pain, anger, uncertainty, hope and the positive energy of youth. What they have in common is a sense of disbelief and bewilderment at the forces unleashed in what was their country.

Winner of Silver Awards received from the Council of Foundations and the Communications Network in Philanthropy in 1996

Contents
Preface by Celia Hawkesworth
Introduction by Zdenko Lešić

Part I
Stories of War and Exile

Chapter l: Recollections
All Our Stories Will Be Alike
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Maybe Because I Am the Child of a Mixed Marriage I Lived Happily
I thought it was a Bad Joke. I Was Wrong
I Shall Do Anything to Be With Ljiljana
I Was in Love and Happy
There Was Total Confusion

Chapter 2: Out of Sarajevo
How it Was in the Beginning
Why?
All My Future Plans Were There
My Body, Ice-Cold With Terror
Fresh Water and Food Were Luxuries
There Was No End to the War
I Had Had Enough
The Most Wonderful Thing Happened to Me
The Decision to Leave Sarajevo Was One of the Hardest Of My Life
We Do Not Share the Same Destiny Any More

Chapter 3: Experiences
And Then the War Happened
Hiding and Living in Fear
My Parents Begged Me Not to Return
The Elderly and Children Could Not Run Fast Enough
Our House Was Repeatedly Raided
You Could See Hungry People in the Streets
We Drove Through a Hail of Bullets
Escape From Mostar
I Was Badly Wounded
I Had Problems Because of My Serbian Father and Muslim Mother
They Became Refugees in Their Own Country
My Father Was a Political Prisoner

Chapter 4: Refugee Blues
They Are All My Friends
I Was Not Willing to Take Part in This War
Fear of the Draft
We All Thought It Wouldn't Be for Long
I Was Afraid I Would Never See My Parents Again
I Spent the Best Years of My Life There
The Day My Childhood Stopped
This Bloody War Has Stolen Twenty Years of My Life
I Am Still in London
From Bosnia to America
Who Knows When We'll See Sarajevo Again?
We Left All Our Loved Ones Behind
My Heart is Elsewhere
I Wanted More Than That
It Is Very Difficult to Find a Place for Us
I Still Have Many Years Ahead
I Am Twenty-One
France is Great, But France Isn't Home
My Aim Is to Follow My Path

Part II
Stories of Disillusionment, Despair and Hope

Chapter 5: Reflections
War in Yugoslavia-War within Myself
We Refused to Take Sides
Only Because I Was Not One of Them
If We Cannot Be in the Same Country, the Least We Can Do Is Create a Peaceful Neighbourhood
We Have to Communicate
What Comes After This Bad Dream?
It Was Not Easy to Decide
They Were Bitterly Disappointed
The United States and Me

Chapter 6: Feelings Of Deprivation
A War Can't Be Just If So Many Young People Die in It
Few Expectations of the First Days of Independence Have Been Fulfilled
In the Winds of Corruption and Poverty
Feelings of Deprivation and Helplessness
The Opposition Was Weak, Almost Invisible
I Started to Lose All Hope of a Better Life
There Was Nothing I Could Meaningfully Do in My Country
Human Life Deserves Much More than to Be Erased by the Whistle of a Bullet
How the Media Can Be Misused
Now I Have Friends Fighting in Four Different Armies
I Couldn't Take It Any More
That's Why I Left Everything
Why Is the World So Unfair to Us?
The Chances I Was Looking for Were Not There Either

Chapter 7: In Search of Identity
The Thread That Binds Me
A Story of Lost Identity
What Is 'Home'?
I Have Always Felt Yugoslav
Yugoslavia Is Always on My Mind
We Shall Have to Build a Whole New National Identity
What Do I Mean By 'My Country'?
I Was a Yugoslav, but Now I Am a Bosnian
I Am a Citizen of a State That Does Not Exist
One Day We Shall All Live in Harmony
Pictures in My Mind

Chapter 8: Hopes and Wishes
I Feel I Have Started All Over Again
I Hope. ..
I Have Only My Knowledge to Offer
I Have Often Wondered What My Friends Feel and Think
I Want to Talk About My Studies, Not About Whether My Father Is a Croat or Not
'Sarajevo Will Remain, the Rest Will Pass'
I Pray to God for an Opportunity to Continue My Music Education
I Can Only Hope That Peace Will Prevail
I Find It Difficult to Answer Your Questions

Post Scriptum: Letter to a Sarajevo Generation

"Intensely personal essays by young people whose lives were interrupted by the war in their country."