Hannah – Sarajevo

“BiH must define herself by the diversity of all her citizens and be unshakably proud of it.”

“The only thing that defines me is me,” states Hannah, as she discusses a lifetime of labels and assumptions. “I’m still experimenting with who I want to be and where, but I’m the only one who will determine that in the end. I’m known to be defiant!” As a Bosnian Jew, Hannah is one of the ‘Others’ – the official term for citizens who do not fall into one of the three main ethnic groups. “It’s actually thanks to that small but strong community that I have some sense of security in my life,” Hannah says while contemplating why it is that she has so far kept her sights on staying in BiH. “I do feel Bosnian and Herzegovinian. My family stayed to fight in the war because they believed in a unified BiH and I’m proud of that history. It’s a shame we haven’t exactly achieved that yet though. I’m sick and tired of hearing about the animosity between ethnic groups. I would really like all of us to be just one people. We should be able to be whatever we are and Bosnians and Herzegovinians. Much like me, BiH needs to figure out where she wants to be and then do everything in her power to get there.” Hannah volunteers at the Jewish cultural, educational and humanitarian society “La Benevolencija” while she tries out different interests and future possibilities. “I don’t have any great expectations from life. I just want to be able to live a dignified and honest life in which I’m able to work and make a living off my work. Here in BiH, that sounds like a particularly ambitious goal. It shouldn’t be.”

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