Today, 25 June 2012 marks the 21st anniversary of Croatian independence.
“I declare to the whole world that on this day the Republic of Croatia is proclaimed sovereign and independent state,” were dr Franjo Tudjman’s words on 25th June 1991.
Video Transcript: “ In the surrounds of Greater Serbian threats and world diplomacy cynicism the historic 25th June 1991 the Croatian Parliament proclaimed Republic of Croatia, till then a part of Yugoslavia, an independent and sovereign state. With this act Croatia placed in motion the process of separation from other Yugoslav Republics and sought international recognition.
Tudjman’s speech in parliament: We can no longer support life in the joint country in which there is constant secret and public aggression, pathological hatred and evil against everything authentically Croatian, in a state community in which we are faced with continuous threats of violence, both joint and illegal in the form of rebellion and terrorism. Proclaiming the sovereignty of Croatia we are doing the same as all nations of the world on their path to independence, and out of same natural and transcendental reasons.
Historic decisions about the free path to the future were based on the results from the referendum in which 93.2 % of Croatian citizens chose independence and sovereignty. In that way, Croatian people had democratically expressed their will to govern their own destiny. The referendum rejected other variations on offer which placed Croatia in an unfavourable position – including the proposition by federal Premier Ante Markovic for some democratic Yugoslavia and Slobodan Milosevic’s Greater Serbia concept, so called modern federation, i.e. new Serboslavia. The Croatian parliament had unanimously voted for the declaration of independence, but that unanimity was somewhat eroded by the fact that the reformed Communists, then named parties for democratic changes, stood against the constitutional decision and law. Parliamentary Social Democrats’ club sought that at the same time of secession the process of alliance with other Yugoslav republics commence. The proposal was rejected and the parliamentary majority, led by HDZ, decided for full Croatian independence, unconditionally. On the same day Republic of Slovenia brought the decision for their independence and Yugoslavia was no more. Although, international forces, as remedy for the old, advocated for some new Yugoslavian community. That’s why they imposed a three-month moratorium and an embargo on arms import, which left them (Croatia) at the mercy and disfavour to Great-Serbian aggression. Nevertheless, Croatia defended herself and in January 1992 the international community was forced to recognise the new political reality of South-East Europe.”
Croatian independence was not achieved peacefully. Indeed, between 13 and 16,000 lives lost in defending Croatian people and territory from Serb and Serb led Yugoslav Peoples Army. To preserve its people, its territory – its very life – Croatia paid dearly.
It is to the lives lost in the preservation of Croatian peoples’ right to self determination – in the Homeland War of 1991-1995 that I pay tribute and remain forever grateful. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb),; B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)