Why I Write What I Write
For my first book, I interviewed immigrants from various parts of the world for over a year to chronicle their reasons for leaving. The resulting work is called, Our Neighbors, Their Voices: True Stories of Immigrant Exodus, and it details the often harrowing journeys that these courageous people wish to share with you. (See tab above to purchase)
The causes of immigration have not changed over the many centuries: poverty, war, crime, oppression, disease, or just plain better opportunities, and all with an understanding that the U.S. opens its arms to welcome them. As Americans, I believe we must be ever-vigilant of the vitriol espoused by many of our citizens that seek to deny access to coming here for so many, including those in the "Voices" book. Our "better angels" must always prevail.
Writing the "Voices" book opened my eyes to the worst atrocities on European soil since the Holocaust. I interviewed two women, young girls at the time, who survived the genocide perpetrated against Bosniaks (Muslims) and Catholic Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It led me on a journey to learn about and understand what happened in the years of the genocide from 1992-1995. I have since dedicated my writing to ally with others in telling the truth about the war that continues to haunt survivors today due to the denial and revisionism that emanates from many in Republika Srpska and Serbia.
About a year ago, I began to collect stories of survivors of the war in Bosnia, and who resettled in the U.S. Thus far, I have interviewed people who escaped from Srebrenica, Doboj, Donja Vakuf, Bosnanski Novi, and Visegrad. They live here in places such as Grand Rapids, MI, Worcestor, MA, San Jose, CA, Boston, MA,and Utica, NY. I have also gotten essays from young adult children of survivors who reflect on what it has been like for them as the next generation. I continue to seek others to help them speak their truths.
Ultimately, finding healing for survivors, and reconciliation to move Bosnia and Herzegovina forward, is what I seek in my work.