Whilst completing this book, I read a striking report about an important but less known facet of the refugee experience. Under the title “Bosnian refugees returning home”, the https://CNN.com website on December 3rd, 2001 gave an account of one instance of this return. Usually, we read about the difficulties refugees experience whilst away from home, but this was one of the few moving descriptions of recent returns. I was particularly interested to read this because I had been working with Bosnian refugees of all ethnic backgrounds both in parts of the former and present Yugoslavia as well as in the UK since the war broke out in that region. Here are some relevant excerpts from this report:

DZEVAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina—It is freezing outside, but it warms Rade Kragulj’s heart just to be able to fix the leaky roof on the house he left behind during Bosnia’s war.

At 62, after six years as a refugee, he is finally home, even if he is a Serb and his home is in territory now under Muslim control.

With the return home of Kragulj and thousands of other Bosnian Serbs, U.N. officials feel they have turned a corner in efforts to undo 2the human tragedy of a three-and-a-half-year war that uprooted 1.8 million people.

“Finally this year, we’re seeing real results for all of our work since 1996”, Aida Feraget, the U.N. refugee agency’s Bosnia spokeswoman, told The Associated Press.

Persuading Serbs, Muslims and Croats to return to the homes they abandoned during the war remains Bosnia’s biggest challenge.

Many feel they can never live together again because of the ethnic hatred stirred up in a war that killed at least 200,000 people.

But in the first nine months of 2001, these so-called minority returns were up by 65 percent to 56,683, according to the United Nations.

The Kragulj family came back from 20 miles away to find that their house in Dzevar, 110 miles northwest of Sarajevo, had been shelled during the 1992–1995 war, then blown up by vengeful Muslims.

“They looked sick all the time for six years when they were refugees”, said the couple’s 25-year-old son, Nenad. “As soon as they came back to their ruins, my parents suddenly looked alive again.”

“There’s no place like home.”