'I was scared, I had to leave, there was no option': Refugees share stories of war at MACFEST

By Nia Price
13 Jan 2020 - 09:00AM

Last night Muslims from Bosnia, Syria and East Turkestan shared poignant stories of their journeys as refugees and how their lives were transformed by political repression and war.

Sisters Dudiya Zilic and Nezira Cohadzic fled Bosnia to neighbouring Croatia when war broke out in 1992, eventually settling in Manchester.

Dudiya said: “In Bosnia under the Communist system, everybody worked, we were the same - same culture, food, but different religion. And suddenly, without warning, one morning I went to work and they put a barricade on my job.

"I will never forget how I had to leave my mum alone, my father had just passed away. I took my three children, my mum gave me some bread and I started to travel and I walked and walked, I didn’t even know where I would go.”

Nezira, who vividly remembers Sarajevo under siege, added: “I was scared, I had to leave, there was no option. I fell pregnant, I had to leave, people were killed. You couldn’t move anywhere without standing on somebody's head or somebody's leg.