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Friday, 11 November 2011

Video: Gay Bosnian refugee tells his story

Source: Canadian Human Rights Museum



Dario Kosarac recounts his feelings of never totally belonging in Bosnia because his parents were of mixed Serbian-Croatian ethnic backgrounds; and never being totally accepted in the USA because he was from Bosnia and is gay. Born and raised in Bosnia, which at the time was Socialist Yugoslavia, and of parents that were different ethnic backgrounds - so Serbian-Croatian in Bosnia, which is predominantly Muslim.

Growing up, it really wasn't an issue. We were a fairly secular society; it wasn't a big deal. And then the war started and what ended up happening - it wasn't so much that we were a minority living in Sarajevo and being non-Muslim - it was more that we were not really belonging to any one group because we couldn't be identified as Serbs or Croats. And that, unfortunately, resulted in our family abandoning us - our relatives feeling like they couldn't associate with us because we weren't - we couldn't be - one or the other. And there was violence against my sister, against my family - and my mother got fired because she was not the predominant ethnic group in that area.

So then I left Bosnia to go to the US to high school and then, eventually, university. And I thought: here I'm escaping the sort of narrow-minded Balkan mindset and I'm going to go to the great America and become something bigger and greater.

As I kept living in the US, the typical sort of path to Citizenship, or being able to stay there permanently, would be - well, one of the typical paths, would be through marriage. And it so happens that I'm gay. So, again, this sort of inability to fit into the societal definition of what's accepted or normal, umm, didn't allow me to marry my partner at the time and actually stay in the country.

After ten years - again feeling like I don't belong in the society - I'm not a stakeholder, I'm just a visitor and an alien as they do call us down there. So, all this culminated in a decision, a very difficult one to actually say I'm going to move again and come to Toronto.

Once you see how it should be, once you sort of - the burden of that low level, constant low level of discrimination is taken away - you realize that's how life should be, that, you know, I shouldn't have to worry about the fact that I'm gay. And I shouldn't have to worry about the fact that my mother is Croatian and my father is Serbian. That I should have all the same opportunities - and that's what I found here.

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