This excerpt is from the very end of the first book in the series of memoirs by Hedina Tahirović-Sijerčić. The narrative about the author’s beloved and respected father, the Sarajevo Rom Derviš, is combined with accounts of her childhood and young adulthood against the background of reflections about Romani history, culture and identity.
The excerpt tells about a certain moment in the life of Sijerčić on the eve of the Bosnian war (1992–95), which changed the lives of many Roma and non-Roma alike, forcing them to leave their homeland. This moment of a sense of community and individual crisis, however, becomes a reason to fear once again being pushed away or killed. At the same time, it serves to reflect on the more general historical context of Roma suffering throughout history, particularly during the Second World War, and how Romani communities responded in order to survive.
Although all the Roma want to do is ‘continue to live and work together as Yugoslavs – all different, but all equal’, there remains only one option for them – to leave.