Selma Dervisevic

Soura

I came to Denmark in 1992 and was granted asylum three years later. In 1997 I became a Danish citizen. Both of my adult girls were born here in Denmark, and I co-own the company for which I work with internal sales and marketing. So no, I don’t feel foreign. I feel Danish, but I have something with me from Bosnia. Values that matter to me.

It is still incomprehensible to me that friends could then become enemies from day to day. My father is Bosnian and was threatened with his life, while my mother, who is a Serb, was initially left behind. We left everything behind, had to start all over again. Still, during the escape, we were shaken by the fact that we accidentally smashed a floral thermos, which we knew my mother loved very much. “How are we going to tell your mother,” my father said. A thermos! When we had lost everything. It was all quite abstract and unreal.

Now I’m here. My parents and other relatives live close by, and I am a mentor for a 13-year-old girl via the Youth Red Cross. Bosnians are hardworking, loyal and not afraid to try something new. And then we are a proud people. It’s all something I’ve passed on to my daughters. And it is an honor to be able to give something back to the Danish society, because we were welcomed, when our world fell apart.

Bosnian women are strong. My soul has scars, but I live with it. On my wall hangs a picture of Dybbøl Mill and a Bosnian landscape. My life is good. But there will always be pain inside me about what happened back then in Bosnia.

46 / female / in a relationship / children / co-owner of a company / Silkeborg / from Bosnia / came to Denmark in 1992 / residence permit in 1995