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The Suitcase - Julie A. Mertus

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The Suitcase - Refugee Voices from Bosnia and Croatia
Julie A. Mertus
Paperback / softback
University of California Press
UK Publication Date

The whirlwind of Europe's longest war in half a century has produced this powerful collection of personal narratives-essays, letters, and poems-from refugees fleeing Bosnia and Croatia. Taking us behind the barrage of media coverage, these stories tell of perseverance, brutality, forced departure, exile, and courage. With startling immediacy and in moving detail, speakers tell of stuffing a few belongings-a handful of photographs, a rock from the garden, a change of clothes-into a suitcase and fleeing their homeland.

Contributors from all ethnic groups and every region of Bosnia and Croatia describe their sense of lost community, memories of those left behind, recollections of town squares that no longer exist, and homes now occupied by neighbors. The editors of The Suitcase, themselves representing the diverse peoples of the region, traveled to camps and temporary homes across the globe to collect these stories. An antidote to apathy, this work moves beyond and outside the vicissitudes of daily politics to portray the human tragedy at the center of present-day Bosnia and Croatia. Probing the intimate losses of countless individuals, it delivers a powerful indictment of injustice, militarism, prejudice, and warfare.

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Julie Mertus was a Fulbright scholar, human rights activist, and Professor of Law in Bucharest, Romania. She is now Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at American University. Jasmina Tesanovic is a writer and publisher in Belgrade, Serbia. Habiba Metikos was a lawyer in Sarajevo; she now lives in Canada. Rada Boric is a Director of the Center for Women War Victims in Zagreb, Croatia. Cornel West is Professor of African American Studies at Harvard University and author of Race Matters (1993), among many other books.

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