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.