A letter to the chief editor of "FERAL TRIBUNE"
"I am born in Belgium. I have a Croatian father and a Greek mother so the least I can say about myself is that I am a world citizen. So I was brought up by two different parents in another culture where I never felt like being home. This would be much easier if I could write things down in Dutch, but I'll try to do in English without anybody to misunderstand me.
The most beautiful time in my life was when I could say I went on holidays in Yugoslavia. Croatia is beautiful, but not as beautiful and special as Yugoslavia was to me, and still is in a sort of way. Yugoslavia was my one and only homeland. I was raised with my grandparents so the Yugoslav culture was much closer to me than the Belgian. We lived in an area dominated by immigrants: Turks, Greeks, Spanish and most of all Italians. Outside the school my best friends were Italians and my kumovi are Italians too. But at school, ironically, I had the most problems with Italians. They were one group, holding hands above others heads and it was very difficult to me if I wanted to join them on the schoolyard to play soccer or whatever. I was always "just a Yugoslav". There was already a sort of racism between kids, very sad... In a way I always felt like it was me against the world (my world as a kid was sort of Italian world). But I was so proud of being who I was. I was a Yugoslav and when necessary I could stand up against any person, any group that was "against" me. As a Yugoslav I felt invincible. Then, when I turned 9 that horrible war broke out. Just as Yugoslavia collapsed, it was like I was collapsing too. The media here in Belgium did their jobs like they were told to. They were emphasizing the differences between Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox Southern Slaves. Unfortunately a part of my family was seduced by this dirty propaganda, perhaps even without really realizing what they were going into. On the evening news broadcast we were watching our churches and hospitals burning. So they were starting to feel like "look what the other side is doing to us". I can't imagine how horrible it must have been to people who have actually witnessed the war in the middle of their lives. But for me it was already difficult to hear one day "Son, we are not Yugoslavs any more, from now on we are Croats". I don't have to mention the fact of the tension there was growing in my family. A Catholic father and an Orthodox mother... Should I even be telling this? I'm afraid there will be some people now starting to think i am from a nationalist family. Well, I don't blame them for going into propaganda because it is a dirty game that goes into the consciousness of people, many fell into. It took many years for me to start realizing that the truth they were living in wasn't really the truth. It was a sort of protection shield my family instinctively have build up, without realizing what they were dragged into. Although, when it came on to individuals, they have always be treating "the other side" like before the war. I changed school and i met a Muslim Bosnian refugee. I was starting to feel Yugoslav again. Many times he came to us, eating together, drinking together. Even my family liked him that much like there has never been war. So everybody was starting to realize that we create our truth just as we want it to be by ourselves. From that moment on, my feeling of being Yugoslav and the fact that we are basically all the same was growing.
It was a slow process of evaluation by looking at all facts in a skeptic way and to look at a certain theme from different points of view. This helped me a lot by becoming the person I am today. Enlightened, trying to understand every person by looking at the situation from their eyes. This gave me a very bright, open minded vision on people and on the world. So my conclusion is there are no differences between people. We have different characters but humanity has got one common soul, a soul of harmony, respect and loving. However there is a very small group in this world that understand that and I have noticed this group is growing.
One of my goals in life is to see many cultures and to understand all kind of people. This will help me to become unified as much as possible with the human soul I was talking about. I am already a lot now, but as I am 26 now I think there is still much to learn. If I can develop myself this way further, I hope I can be of some importance when my biggest dream will come true one day : a new democratic free from self-destructive petty and narrow-minded nationalisms my one and only Yugoslavia. "