SECTION 9 Women’s Initiative
65. INSIDE: Organized for Action
Prime Minister Silajdžić asserted that the conflict would never have happened if 51 percent of the policymakers had been female: “Before she commits to war, a woman decides if the goal is worth the life of her child. And she doesn’t try to be a hero at the expense of other people’s children.” Was he right? The Bosnian women I knew were convinced he was.
Week after week during the war, these sophisticated, highly educated women had dodged bullets across sniper zones to collect water in plastic jugs. Still, one woman told me that every morning she put on her lipstick as an act of defiance.
Her words were on my mind when I spoke to about forty women leaders, whom I’d met with half a dozen times before at Žena 21 (women of the twenty-first century). The small club, situated near the river and up two flights of dank, dark stairs, had been started by Nurdžihana Ðozić—who had written the stirring letter to Lord Carrington early in the siege. Like so many other professional women, the fifty-year-old journalist had worked without a salary during the war; she had managed a monthly magazine by using the occasional electricity in the café across the street from her apartment. A team had distributed the papers across the city, braving snipers. Estimates were that each of the six thousand copies was read by ten women in Sarajevo. In places dense with refugees, the readership was fifty per copy.
Surrounded by Nurdžihana’s colleagues, I was midsentence in a rousing homily of encouragement when the lights blinked off, then on, then off again. My hosts didn’t seem to notice. There was no stir, no commotion. Candles simply appeared and were passed down the table as the meeting continued. Suddenly we were joined by another forty—shadows on the walls.
In sixteen years of work in Bosnia, I witnessed no group as consistently focused and determined as the women, rebuilding their country.
As I closed, repeating what I’d been told about the new meaning of makeup, I poured tubes of American lipstick onto a silver tray. The women laughed. They understood the symbol. Rather than buying into the masculine world of war, they would trade on their feminine force to wage peace. As I passed around the tray, I pointed a flashlight on it so they could choose their weapons.
Soon after, I invited members of that same group to our embassy residence in Vienna. That meeting was one in a series I’d been hosting with women across imploding Eastern Europe. In addition to offering respite, we always included strategic planning sessions and training in pressing needs, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. With every group, raw personal stories led to bursts of energy as the participants plotted to restore their societies. These Bosnian women envisioned a breakthrough conference to reunite their divided country. This was not my diplomatic bailiwick. Further, many colleagues at the State Department had serious reservations, warning of both physical danger and political failure. Nonetheless, I decided to support the plan with my personal funds.Back in Sarajevo, the organizers worked without pay for two months, never stopping. In my office, Valerie Gillen tried to help, but phone service was erratic, and it often took us two days to get a fax through to them. For that matter, everything was difficult, including having no bank that could cash checks from supporters like me. But for these women, that was business as usual.
Although they planned the conference for 250 attendees, twice that number showed up at the rented Army Hall. Women in postwar Bosnia were stretched beyond comprehension, but these hundreds came because they realized that if they could create enough forward motion, they might prevent a slide back into war. Representing more than fifty women’s associations from every corner of the country, they united in a city that had been under siege without lights, heat, or running water only a few months earlier.
Many Bosnian Serbs or Croats braved retaliation by paramilitaries when they returned from the conference to their “ethnically pure” towns. More troubling, they were putting their families at risk: going to Sarajevo, they left their children unprotected; and returning home, they would mark their families as collaborators with the enemy. Still, an amazing 35 percent of invitees braved scavenging soldiers at military checkpoints to come from Republika Srpska.
When the women arrived at the gray, pockmarked building, they were greeted by a huge banner announcing: “Women Transforming Ourselves and Society.” That mission was fulfilled; the meeting was both life-changing and historical. It produced a legion of energized women who decided to fan out into electoral politics, business, and academia. And it was the first postwar conference encompassing all Bosnia-Herzegovina.
As the buses from newly opened regions pulled up, exhaustion gave way to apprehension. The women from outside Sarajevo didn’t know how they would be received by those who had survived the siege. After all, who knew what son or brother had manned the tanks and snipers’ nests in the hills?
But the State Department’s expectations of infighting proved wrong. For one thing, we worked hard to keep each woman feeling integrated into the whole. During the war, those from the outskirts hadn’t had the same voice as those from within the capital. In a gesture unusual for Bosnia, the organizers put a microphone in the center aisle, giving all the women an equal opportunity to have their say as they planned priorities for their new state.
At one point, a woman from Srebrenica started talking about her experience and sobbing. That opened a gate. A Croatian who’d suffered tremendously started to do the same. But that path was well worn, and the moderators knew it was time to move into the future. So they introduced the next set of speakers, who would cover several broad themes. In small rooms and hallway clusters, the women crafted concrete proposals for each area. Conjuring up a new future, in which all interests would be represented, the women created a platform of action covering human rights, elections, lawmaking, work equity, media, family matters, education, and health. But the underlying message of this conference was that working together, they would break through psychological and social barriers that would block any one of them alone.
Given the uncertainties of the local political situation, Bosnian women had seized an extraordinary opportunity to stabilize their society. It was such an obviously smart move, and one that, if left to international powers, well might have been overlooked.
66. OUTSIDE: Lyons
The women of Bosnia needed much help to assume the leadership their country required. But it was easy for their activities to become marginalized rather than recognized as on a par with traditional political and military affairs. That needed to change, and I had to go straight to the top.
On 12 April 1996, I wrote to President Clinton, offering two pieces of advice. The first was: “We must come up with a more solid approach to the war criminals living within a few miles of the troops.” And the second was: “We need a strongly targeted effort now to strengthen the role of women in Bosnia…. The structure is there, the talent is there, and our long-term interest is there.”
The president wrote back in May: “I would be very interested in your thoughts on raising the profile of women in Bosnia and increasing our efforts to deal with women’s issues in the process of rebuilding civil society in Bosnia. In the meantime, I will have my staff look into ways to improve our current outreach program, and I will look for an early opportunity to speak publicly on the matter.”
The president had sent my letter to the State Department, with a note to the undersecretary of state for political affairs. The ball was rolling. An assistant secretary of state called and asked me to help design an initiative that could be announced at the upcoming G7 meeting in Lyons, France. On 9 June, I convened three trusted embassy personnel with a few State Department officials who were passing through Vienna.1 None of us had time during the next day to meet, so—sustained by brownies and wine—we stole some hours from the middle of the night to dream up what we dubbed the Bosnian Women’s Initiative.
The evolution from design to practice needed shepherding. The president had put his initials in the margin of my letter, which meant “make it happen”; even so, with the crush of competing priorities in Washington, an untended effort would quickly be lost. With this in mind, I shifted my priorities to this venture. Colleagues at the State Department helped me create a Bosnian women-run network to distribute funding and technical support through nascent NGOS stimulating women-owned businesses. The department committed to fund the first year of the project. Other nations would be asked to contribute as well.
On 23 June, I spent my morning working on a public statement from President Clinton establishing the Bosnian Women’s Initiative. That afternoon, Sandy Vershbow at the National Security Council, who was working on the president’s G7 trip, informed me that no announcement of the initiative would be made—there would just be a press release. This one was worth fighting for, and I lobbied hard until, on 25 June, I received a call from Vershbow asking me to be in Lyons a few days later. I was to brief President Clinton before he introduced the initiative at the end of the G7 summit.
It was terrible timing. I was due on stage in Bosnia a mere twelve hours before that presidential briefing to keynote a conference. In the absence of commercial flights to Bosnia, there was no physical way I could make both events as planned. So my colleague Valerie managed to get me moved to the beginning of the Sarajevo program, ahead of President Izetbegović’s welcome. I delivered a rousing message and then was rushed in an armored vehicle to the Sarajevo airport for a ride on an allterrain C-130 transporting NATO soldiers to Naples.
On the four-jet-engine plane, Val and I got out our earplugs and strapped ourselves into seats against the wall, wedged between charming Italian soldiers and netted heavy cargo. We landed in the middle of the night at the Naples military base and an hour later were on a highway headed for Rome. After a few hours of sleep in the residence of the US embassy’s deputy chief of mission, we caught a 6:00 a.m. flight to Brussels. After a layover, we flew on to Lyons. Arriving crumpled and weary, we were whisked from the airport to the Pavilion du Parc, a central hotel that was the headquarters of the US delegation to the G7 meeting. As we walked in, a young White House organizer asked impatiently why I was so late.
I gave the bellman my luggage and proceeded straight to the National Security Council Operations Room. The president’s speech writer, Dan Baer, and his assistant were crafting words for the press conference an hour or so later. “Do you mind if I take a look?” I asked the assistant, who was startled by the request.
“It’s okay; she’s a writer,” Dan said. I mentally congratulated myself for sending him a newspaper column I wrote each month. Then I sat down at the computer to reshape (and lengthen) the description of the Bosnian Women’s Initiative for the president’s remarks.
Mounted on the wall behind me, a closed-circuit monitor showed the empty “situation room” at the White House, where specialists argued military strategy. I felt like I was in that room. Indeed, advancing the role of women in a postconflict society was the stuff of war and peace, whether traditional security experts recognized that or not.
Some midlevel White House staffers complained that they were held up as French police in the complex rustled through their documents. I thought about the women’s meetings I had been part of in Bosnia. What a contrast. No police secured their hall, despite the danger in which they were putting themselves by crossing former front lines.
The G7 delegation included not only Secretary of State Warren Christopher, but also Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, pushing his macroeconomic policies and structural reforms, including debt forgiveness for the poorest countries. Those issues were only several on an agenda crammed with environmental protection, Russian elections, UN reform, job creation, terrorism, crime, narcotics, arms trafficking, and nuclear smuggling.
This was the very complicated backdrop of my briefing with the president just before his concluding international press conference. When I arrived at the Pavilion du Parc, Clinton was in his Russian bilateral meeting. I used the time to rehearse my points in a “pre-brief” with White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry, National Security Advisor Tony Lake, Deputy National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, and Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes Jr.
As he walked out of the bilateral meeting, President Clinton caught sight of me standing on the side. He greeted me with a broad smile and big hug, and a surprised “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to brief you,” I began, somewhat disappointed. Just then, Secretary Christopher walked up and began reviewing developments in Syria.
We continued upstairs to a small holding room, where the president rehearsed answers to tough questions the press might throw out: the whereabouts of Mladić and Karadžić, an explosion in Saudi Arabia, sanctions for Milošević. To conclude, Berger described the successful deployment in Bosnia of tens of thousands of NATO-led troops.
The meeting appeared over when Vershbow, standing against the back wall, reminded the president that I was there to tell him about the Bosnian Women’s Initiative. I quickly described the conference in Sarajevo I had just attended: “These women are working together—across political fault lines.”
Clinton glanced up at me as an aide handed him several aspirin and a glass of water. “Like the women in Northern Ireland?” he asked.
“Yes, sir, Mr. President,” I said, “and they’re the best story you’ve got.”
President Clinton and Secretary of State Christopher met me in the hallway, as White House Senior Director for European Affairs Sandy Vershbow looked on. Sandy went on to a brilliant career as ambassador to three posts (NA TO, Russia, and South Korea), as well as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
Berger was clearly irritated. Out in the hallway he pulled me aside. “I’ve been telling him our troops are a great success,” he said tersely.
There’s always some reason women shouldn’t be the story, I thought. I told him, “You’ve got the troops in, but you’ll need to get them out at some point, Sandy. These women can create the stability to make it possible.” From his look, I knew we were not going to resolve that argument in the hallway.
Ten minutes after we briefed him, I watched President Clinton stride out into the sun and stand in front of a beautiful swan-graced lake, before scores of international reporters. He followed his prepared speech word for word, and I smiled as he read my expanded announcement of the Bosnian Women’s Initiative, “established with an initial US contribution of five million dollars to spur economic development with training and equipment and business loans.”
Then he looked up and gazed out at the press. His voice picked up energy as he departed from the text. I found a transcript later: “Women today are meeting in Bosnia—today—on this issue. Muslim, Croat, and Serb women are meeting in Bosnia today, with multiethnic, cooperative determination to regenerate the capacity of the Bosnian economy through the efforts of its women. This has real potential to make a difference!”
For President Clinton, the empowerment of Bosnian women represented a welcome step forward. For Bosnian women, the president’s announcement in Lyons meant the world was listening.
67. INSIDE: “What’s an NGO?”
As Bosnians shifted from war to peace, Communism to capitalism, tyranny to democracy, a cultural change was also occurring. By choice or necessity, women’s roles were evolving. Because so many men had been killed or wounded, the collective contribution of women had become even more vital to society. As individuals, however, many were now the sole providers for their families. With that increased responsibility, they grew in strength, endurance, and resourcefulness—qualities essential to building not only a family, but also a business and a country.
In Tuzla, one entrepreneur received a Bosnian Women’s Initiative loan of one thousand dollars for equipment to manufacture sugar cubes. She moved her family upstairs and converted her three downstairs rooms into a small factory, where blocks of sugar on her wide worktable were laboriously cut by hand into thousands of uniform pieces. I visited her the day she repaid her start-up loan and took out another two thousand dollars to expand. In a region with almost no remaining business infrastructure and 60 percent unemployment, this entrepreneur already had six employees—five women and one man—mostly Bosniak like her. Her bookkeeper, she wanted me to know, was a Serb.
Beba Hadžić, another entrepreneur in Tuzla, was typical of many. First a math teacher, then a high-school principal, Beba was used to organizing. She managed to procure carpet looms for a project to engage refugees who otherwise would be sitting at home with only their memories. Now, in one large room, they sat talking as they passed shuttles through brightly colored warp and woof.
Tall and sturdy, with a quick smile, Beba was a paragon of resilience—and a woman of action. One evening over coffee she explained: “I’m not a pessimist. I’m an optimist. If I weren’t an optimist, I’d be a terrorist.” Beba wasn’t playing with words. And she was too careful for hyperbole. She was speaking from four years as a refugee.
During the war, the humanitarian organization Bosfam—an affiliate of the British Oxfam—supplied basic support to refugees. When the group announced it was pulling out because of danger to its personnel, Beba protested vehemently. The organization’s leaders told her: “If you have someone to take over the NGO, we’ll turn it over to you and fund it.”
In Tuzla, Beba Hadžić brought me to meet her rug weavers—refugees from Srebrenica whose work helped them survive past loss and present chaos.
Beba Hadžić from Srebrenica always had a new idea, from a bottomless well of hope.
“I’ll run the NGO,” she responded immediately—then added, “What’s an NGO?”
As the new leader of Bosfam, Beba helped Srebrenica survivors secure food, find shelter, search for the missing, and eventually rouse the world’s conscience with a historic commemoration of the massacre. But she was also counselor and comforter, absorbing a daily litany of testimonies and emotional breakdowns. “Sometimes you need three shoulders to bear it all,” she said.
68. OUTSIDE: skewed
Consistent with microlending worldwide, funding Bosnian women’s economic activity was a remarkably safe bet. Without the rule of law, corruption among male leaders—former Communists and others—was skyrocketing. Many had become pure opportunists. Among women, however, corruption was almost unheard of. Still, international support that went into women’s commercial activity was infinitesimally small compared to aid that poured into more traditional male-led parts of the economy.
Despite repeated official assurances, all was not well with the Bosnian Women’s Initiative. Some six months after President Clinton’s public announcement that the funds were forthcoming, not a penny had appeared. One day, the Bosnian women leaders called me in Vienna. I had been the one to convey the president’s promise to them, so it was fitting that they approach me about the delay. We all knew that these were not superfluous grants to give a few individuals more satisfying employment. The projects were strategic to the international goal of jump- tarting postconflict recovery. Furthermore, the prospective recipients were destitute. Such delay was unconscionable.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, charged with administering President Clinton’s promised funds, had allowed bureaucratic ineptitude and delays that transformed this US gesture of help into one more disappointment. The first staffer sent to Sarajevo to establish the program eventually was deemed incompetent and removed. The next was tapped for the position months before he finished his assignment in Indonesia.
When we finally had our first meeting, the new project leader expressed astonishment that someone had questioned his being selected to run the program because he was a man. “I was the objector,” I said, adding that I had nothing against him personally but thought it sadly illustrative that UNHCR had appointed a man to run an empowerment program for women.
The hindrances were not just bureaucratic. Needs were enormous and dollars woefully limited at headquarters. A cable from the US embassy in Sarajevo reported: “UNHCR has been focused on making its ends meet this year, given funding shortfalls…. UNHCR will continue to expect the US Government to take the lead in educating other potential donors to UNHCR/BWI [the Bosnian Women’s Initiative].”
Taking up that mantle, I made an appointment in Washington with the assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, Phyllis Oakley. I offered to visit other governments to ask for contributions to the initiative. She expressed concern that such action would undercut the Department of State staffer responsible for expanding the program. But the staffer, who was relatively junior, had little success in adding new donors. Meanwhile, when I did secure grants for projects with Bosnian women, there was so much red tape that I had no choice but to route the funds through NGOS outside UNHCR.
Finally, a year and a half after the Lyons announcement, the initiative’s director in Sarajevo informed me that scores of grants were beginning to flow in. Now hope is alive, I thought. But a pamphlet from UNHCR read as follows: “Operational objectives provide the basis for the development of appropriate activities and work plans to support implementation of UNHCR’S Policy on Refugee Women. These are: to develop mechanisms to ensure that the resources and needs of refugee women are addressed in all stages of programme… planning, management and evaluation systems….”2
There was no bold vision. No inspiring mission. No sense of urgency.
The words came alive only at the grass-roots level. Eventually, I reviewed a report on the initial five million dollar US contribution. Eighty-seven organizations throughout Bosnia were helping women get back on their feet, support their families, and fuel local economies. In Banja Luka, seventy-two disabled women received computer training; 180 widows in the Tuzla area, with six hundred family members, now had farming tools, seeds, and fertilizer. All over Bosnia, women had been trained as tailors, horticulturists, and in a dozen other professions.
Despite those developments, I soon heard rumors from the women that the initiative was being discontinued. Alarmed, I made yet another appointment with the project director in Sarajevo, who also had authority over a wider expanse of UN humanitarian funds. He told me frankly that he did not know why there should be a program focusing on women. His intent was to “mainstream” the funds into his overall budget. I protested that it was too early for that move; women’s needs were often different from men’s, and a program focused on their situation would be most effective for now. Since we already had a working program, I suggested we should expand it instead. I volunteered again to look for additional funding. Could he provide me with fuller descriptions of grantees I could use to solicit potential donors?
“Let me think about that and get back to you.” His reply sounded strange, given my offer. Several weeks later, he wrote to say that after careful thought, he had decided he did not want more funding for the Bosnian Women’s Initiative. It might, he said, skew his budget.3
69. INSIDE: A League of Their Own
There was so much in Bosnia that needed to be set straight. Rolling up their sleeves, thirteen women leaders (including Beba Hadžić) traveled from all parts the country, by jeep and helicopter, to Eagle Base. The two-day retreat, made possible by NATO and organized by Valerie and me, included women from Srebrenica as well as Serb strongholds, politicians and journalists, and believers of all faiths.
When the women arrived, we all had lunch with our military hosts. I remarked to myself on the juxtaposition of such a diverse group of soldiers with the Europeans who reputedly could not coexist—because of their ethnicity.
Our accommodations at Eagle Base were hardly posh: sandbag-lined tents, in the snow.
Diverse women leaders created out of whole cloth the League of Women Voters of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We replicated the model many times in the following months and years.
After the first banana cream pie of their lives, the women divided into pairs in a room not far from the mess hall. Each woman listened to a description of the other’s wartime experience, then returned to the group to introduce her partner. Next, each individual spent time alone making a list of the three things she most wanted for her country. We collected their aspirations on flip charts. Their hopes centered on major tenets of the Dayton Peace Agreement, particularly the right of refugees to return to their homes.
To turn those dreams into action, Val and I presented several models of American groups that might be replicated in Bosnia: Neighborhood Watch, the New York Women’s Foundation, and the League of Women Voters. The participants discussed all the models in depth before they voted on which one they wanted to create. After two days of hard work, they emerged with the League of Women Voters of Bosnia-Herzegovina, replete with governance structure, mission statement, and first-year work plan. This civic vanguard was one of the new democracy’s first organizations to cross war lines.4
I found the women’s aptitude and optimism dazzling. Their ability to agree on long-term stability measures was due in part to a trust-fostering exercise we built into the first evening of our program. In the near darkness of a lantern-lit tent, some sat on bunk beds, others on the floor. All were tired from the day of travel. The simplicity itself was calming, softening defenses. But the goal was not only to help the women bond. Each needed to be understood in the starkness of her individuality and as much more than a war-forged stereotype.
Holding a shallow box filled with everyday objects, I led an exercise in which each woman, without looking, picked one of them and then told what it evoked for her. The first pulled out a pair of scissors; she described how she was cut off from the love of her family and the comforting familiarity of her home. The second ended up with some film. She said she wished someone had still had a camera when her brother was being buried. One woman had a candle:
I used to think of candle-lit dinners as romantic. Then, after being mostly without electricity for the last three years, I told my friends and family I’d never, ever burn another candle. But I’m going to hold onto this one to say that I can appreciate the beauty it will bring. That’s what today with all of you has meant to me. Tonight I’m rejoining the world.
70. OUTSI DE: “With All Due Respect”
The Eagle Base meeting had been conceived in a candle-lit bistro in Brussels when my husband, Charles Ansbacher, and I joined General Wesley Clark and his wife, Gertrude, for dinner. We had flown up from Vienna to meet the Clarks, since Charles and Wes had been friends for decades. Wes had done his part by ensuring privacy; NATO bought out the entire restaurant for the evening.
Wes had been named NATO’S military head—Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, or SACEUR. Having witnessed the accident on Mt. Igman as part of Holbrooke’s negotiating team, he was profoundly committed to peace in the Balkans. That meant keeping US troops in Bosnia until the country was stabilized.
Pulling in the opposite direction was Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Texas, who introduced resolutions on the Senate floor calling for the troops’ withdrawal. Gert had worked in the senator’s office, and so the Clarks knew how smart—and how resolute—she was. In fact, Wes told us, he would be taking her in his plane to see the situation on the ground within a few days. The general spontaneously asked if I might convene some female leaders to meet with the senator. Perhaps woman-to-woman they could convince her that Bosnia was worth further investment. I readily agreed. Her inspection thus had become the action-forcing event that led to the Eagle Base meeting.
When the general’s political advisor, Michael Durkee, called me in Vienna Monday morning, I laid out my plan: “I’ve made a list of about a dozen women. I’ll need jeep transport for some and a helicopter to pick up others farther out or in danger spots. We’ll want space for two days and nights on Eagle Base. Let’s have flip charts, an interpreter, and two soldiers on call to help. Oh, and I’d appreciate a lift between Vienna and Tuzla.”
“That must have been some bottle of wine at the bistro,” Mike replied dryly.
The military came through, as militaries do, coordinating the conference logistics. For their part, after their hours in the tent, the women were eager to work together. They spent the second day coming up with detailed plans for their League of Women Voters. I found their aptitude and optimism dazzling. As Val and I worked with the women, we received periodic progress reports on the SACEUR’S plane, which was bringing the senator and general from Brčko to Eagle Base. The women had to be prepared with a honed message by the time the skeptical senator walked into the room.
At last, General Clark arrived, escorting Senator Hutchison. He excused himself and went into a side room to return a pressing phone call. The senator and I took seats facing the women’s group. I asked the participants to introduce themselves using their professional identities (journalist, political leader, educator) rather than ethnicity. They then presented their plan to create the league.
The senator nodded her approval but asked no follow-up questions. Instead, in an odd non sequitur, she launched into her conviction that US troops needed to come home immediately. Disturbed but undaunted, one of the women replied: “Our country is in its infancy. We’re just now starting to stand, and our legs are wobbly. Please, keep the troops here until we can walk.” She received no response.
Another woman spoke up: “We come from different ethnic groups, but we know we must implement the Dayton Agreement. And, Senator, every one of us, no matter our background, wants universal freedom of movement and return of refugees.”
The senator may have agreed in principle. But in fact she offered no US support for the essentials that could make those ideals a reality, particularly apprehending war criminals. Instead, she advised the women to abandon plans to restore their communities and instead “concentrate on the future and just forget the past.”
“You’re asking us to validate the ethnic cleansing,” my friend Beba countered.
Taking no heed, the senator went on: “I think it may be hard, but you just have to invite your enemies into your kitchen to sit down and have a cup of coffee.”
Beba looked at me. I looked back and nodded slightly, although I had no idea what she might say:
With all due respect, Senator, I’m from Srebrenica. I was a math teacher and later head of the school. My husband had a good job. We owned a car, had a nice sound system. We had a comfortable home and a vacation cottage. Now, simply because of my last name, I’m a refugee. And, Senator, I can’t invite my “enemies” into my kitchen for a cup of coffee. I don’t have a kitchen.