Suzana

My name is Suzana and I was born in 1971 in Yugoslavia. I was 20 years old when the war started and when Yugoslavia divided into several republics.

If I understood the questions that the young gentleman who is interviewing asked me, he would like to know the feeling that I had about my nationality during the time of Yugoslavia and also now after it's been divided, and the relationship between nationalities then in Yugoslavia and now. So I can say something in short about that from my point of view.

I lived in Yugoslavia for 20 years and I always felt as a Croatian. A Croatian woman. But I never had problems in relation with other nationalities in Yugoslavia. I don't remember that we ever had any problems concerning that, but I remember that the political scene was always tense and the tendency amongst people was that they wanted, for some reason, to live in their own countries.

As I said, I was young then and I didn’t experience it on personal level. I never felt any tensions in a way that I though the division [of Yugoslavia] would happen. Yet, the war started and it lasted for 4 years. New countries formed in the borders of former republics.

And now, the question that is being asked: the relationship between nationalities, or my relation to other nationalities today. Personally, I don't feel any difference, because people are treating me the same as before. There are still Serbian and Bosnian and Herzegovian people, Muslims and Christians living in Croatia. That's how it was before and how it is today. I simply don't feel any particular difference from that time. However, war did not left a mark on me personally, or on my family, in a sense that no one close to me died or was a part of the war. I have friends that fought in the war and were injured, but I don't have that personal tragedy.

Concerning the period during the war, I was living in Zagreb then and I am living in Zagreb now. It's, we could say, a metropolitan city in which you feel more political repercussions of the war, and less the consequences which were felt by people from the east which were being wounded or lost their lives and families. Although, of course people from Zagreb went to the war as volunteers. Since then, 25 years have passed, a lot of time. As for me, I always feel the same.

For me that period was nice, because I was young and I was a child while living in Yugoslavia. It was good for me then, and it is good for me now. The thing that did change is economic situation that people feel unsatisfied with. So that maybe effects the tensions between people. And if that economic situation was better, maybe there wouldn't be any tensions and maybe people would overcome those traumas from war easier. People would continue with their lives. But now because of the economic differences people still often bring the topic of the war, it's consequences, comparing how it was then and how it is now. All mentioned is more of an economic thing rather than national one – what was the economic status then and now.

I don't feel any special tension or blame toward Muslims or Serbians for something that is happening today. It is just that today you hear a lot more talk from aspect of economy, people are dissatisfied because they can't find a job, and the ones that do work have very low and irregular income, so that is the problem in Croatia today. Then that problem is felt all over Croatia, also in Zagreb but mostly in cities that were damaged the most in the war. So that's why today in people from those cities are much harder finding their peace and stability for themselves and their children.

Still, it is not question of nationality, but because of economy more and more people are leaving Croatia today. Also, a lot of them leaving Slovenia, but Slovenia is in EU for longer time, and economic situation there is better than here.

In Croatia there is an exodus happening, mass migration of Croatian people, but those are economic reasons and not the ones concerning nationality in terms of intolerance or feeling of endangerment.