Croatia Suffered Genocide And Prevented It In Bihac!

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Serb Chetnik and Serb-led Yugoslav army march into Vukovar singing: "Slobo, Slobo (as in Slobodan Milosevic) send us some salad, there will be meat, we'll slaughter the Croats" (BBC newsreel screenshot)

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Serb Chetnik and Serb-led Yugoslav army
march into Vukovar singing:
“Slobo, Slobo (as in Slobodan Milosevic) send
us some salad, there will be meat, we’ll slaughter
the Croats” (BBC newsreel screenshot)

 

Croatian Cultural Council, on its Croatian Weekly portal has published an article written by dr Slobodan Lang in relation to the Croatia Vs Serbia genocide lawsuit and case currently being heard in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

I have translated that article into English and bring it to you with the hope that it will increase your understanding of and knowledge about what Croatia had to endure during the Serb aggression of 1990′s. This is important for the whole of the humanity, for the world simply needs to cease saying “Never again (genocide)” while real threats of new genocide loom before us – it must punish the states whose policy was to employ genocide in order to take over territory of another sovereign state.   Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb) B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

By dr Slobodan Lang,
Hrvatski Tjednik (Croatian Weekly), 10 March 2014

In its defence from Serb aggression Croatia has achieved a greater success in the prevention of genocide than anyone else in history. Genocide is the gravest of crimes among people. Its intentions are to kill, or at least deport a certain population from a territory in which it has jointly lived be it through aggression or conquest. The Convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide was passed in the night before the Universal Declaration of Human rights was adopted.

However, that was after the Holocaust had already happened. The entire humanitarian activity in WWII was weak and the new rules for the future were brought about on the basis of the experience of failure rather than success. The problem of genocide was avoided for many years, usually with the words “Never again”. It was the 1990’s wars of Serb aggression that prompted the world to confront itself with crimes against humanity and genocide. Again because of punishment, and not prevention.

The world has not solved the question of genocide: intent, prevention, stopping, judgment and punishment. The truth about genocide is the question and responsibility of the world. It is necessary to punish that which is done, but the most important thing is to contribute to the prevention of future genocide, anywhere in the world, using the new knowledge and experiences. For this reason, the primary task of the trial of Croatia’s lawsuit against Serbia for genocide, which commenced at the beginning of March, is to contribute to a better future world, and not just convict the evil that has already occurred.

It is difficult for me to write this text, but I must and I want to pass onto you the ideas and the experiences I carry with me. In order to achieve something one needs to have ideas, one needs to mobilise a group to join in and, to personal danger or risk, one needs to organize and implement an action, for which one hopes will be accepted by the people, and the desired results will be achieved.

Only through such jointly utilised ideas, actions, courage, influence and change in the way of life results are achieved in any sphere: humanitarian, economic, political … and so too in the sphere of prevention of genocide.

It’s difficult for me to write because I carry the painful inheritance of the Holocaust in my own family.

I have turned it into the post-holocaust with the aim to turn the Jewish suffering from hatred, persecution, camps, theft, ignorance and killing into the future strengthening of the prevention from such crimes for any nations. It’s difficult because I do not feel the awareness of the whole depth and the whole suffering of the people in today’s leadership of Croatia. I do not know that they had participated as war veterans, or even in the civilian actions in the defence of Croatia.

I listen to them as they attempt to explain the suffering, genocide, and so the Holocaust at well, as the suffering of some other people from the past who don’t concern us and for whom too much money or emotion shouldn’t be spent. I do not feel the presence of a soul in the Croatian leadership.

Likewise, I think that today’s Serbia and Serbs have not at all confronted themselves with their responsibility and are attempting to escape into a concept of equal guilt, into the forgetfulness of the past and into the well known phrase “who, on earth, pushed us into a feud” (‘tko nas, bre, zavadi‘). I feel an inadequate wish and will from the Serbian leadership, intelligence, Church, and consequently in their people to stop being a nation of hate and inequality and to start being a nation of tolerance and good. Such conditions make it most difficult for the International community and court to come to the truth and bring about a just ruling.

Nevertheless, the truth that in its defense from Serbia’s aggression, Yugoslav People’s Army and the rebel Serbs, Croatia had successfully prevented, stopped and warned about the danger of genocide, is very important. Croatia is responsible towards the whole world and towards its own people, its future and towards all the suffering victims as well as all war veterans to demonstrate and show to the ICJ court in The Hague why and how it defended itself and why and how it prevented the crimes of genocide while defending itself from the aggression that had as its aim the conquering of parts of Croatia by use of excessive military destructive force and by causing the Croats to flee their homes (in order to save their bare lives) through perpetration of the worst imaginable crimes (murder, rape, torture, incarceration in concentration camps).

This is the first time that a world court considers a lawsuit of one state accusing another for having perpetrated an aggression with the aim of taking away the conquered territory through the perpetration of crimes against the nationally undesirable population, using hatred, destruction, ethnic persecution – in short, genocide. The International court in The Hague had in the genocide case of Bosnia and Herzegovina Vs Serbia avoided to deliver a clear decision on guilt in its judgment, but it had in an unambiguous manner condemned Serbia for not preventing the genocide in Srebrenica.

Sparked by this decision, I wrote an open letter (3 November 2012) to the president of Serbia asking him to seek the release of Croatian Generals Gotovina and Markac from the Hague, to state how the Operation Storm prevented genocide in Bihac and, as a state condemned for not having prevented genocide to call for a world summit on the prevention of genocide. But he did not reply to my letter. Does he understand at all that my letter was an offering of the hand of the future to him, to Serbia and to Serbs?

In the modern times, the idea of hatred, inequality and violence was set in motion in 1986 by only 15 SANU Academics (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts). They wrote the following in their Memorandum: “The achievement of equality and independent development for the Serbian people have a deeper historical sense. For less than fifty years, in two consecutive generations, twice exposed to physical destruction, forced assimilation, religion change, cultural genocide, ideological indoctrination, devaluation and denial of own tradition under the imposed complex of guilt, intellectually and politically disarmed, the Serbian people have been exposed to most difficult of temptations, which have surely left traces in the spiritual state, which, at the end of this century of great technological advances in human intellect, should not be ignored. If the Serbian people count on its future in the family of cultured and civilised people of the world they must receive the opportunity to once again find themselves and become a historical subject, to renew their conscience of their historical and spiritual being ...”

Slobodan Milosevic became their entrepreneur. He firstly maimed Serbia and the Serbian people by turning them into a nation of hate. Just as Hitler did against the Jews, he started with initiating hatred and actions against Albanians within Serbia. After that he went forth with the aggression and rebellion in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The attacks always followed the same pattern: excessive military artillery shelling against all buildings regardless of what they were, which resulted in enormous destruction and numerous civil casualties.

Many survivors fled and found shelter in the surrounding areas. After conquering the areas, armed soldiers, volunteers from Serbia and the local Serbs looted, burned the houses, chased people away, killed and raped. Therefore, cleansing had been implemented. Unlike this pattern, Croatia’s defence had from its first day emphasised antifascism and rejected crimes and hatred.

The Serb aggression was based upon the attitude that hatred and genocide are worthwhile, that they are the path to the realisation of Greater Serbia. The people were to follow and accept such a leader and leadership. The Croatian defence leaned upon the good and upon tolerance as the path toward realising the freedom of Croatia and Croats. The people decided for responsibility of freedom at the referendum. The whole nation had linked itself into one so that it could defend the Homeland and the homes.

The civilian initiatives (Wall of Love, Convoy Libertas, emigrants …) were in 1991 the greatest force in the Croatian defence. The mere defence of Vukovar was, in fact, an attempt to prevent that which was to happen after the conquest: killing of patients, rape of women, torture, looting, taking to the concentration camps, persecution, only because they are Croats. There were more and more veterans every day. And so it was all until the victorious Operation Storm with which the Croatian army had prevented genocide in Bihac, in August of 1995.

I do not know how Croatia will present itself at the court in The Hague, I do not know how the politicians will trade among themselves either in secret or publicly nor do I know what the final court verdict will be. But I do know that the Serbian aggression was made up of the plan to conquer by employing hatred and crimes all the way to the full genocide. I know that the Croatian defence, despite all the sufferings, had prevented this in Croatia. The Homeland war, therefore, contains more experience in the prevention of genocide than any other war in the world. Judge Theodor Meron, with his origins, his experience and knowledge had recognised this, made a judgment and freed Gotovina and Markac.

How much of this do the Croatian political leadership and defence understand? When you read this you will know one more thing that is of worldly importance: how our Croatia was created and defended. Be justifiably proud of the past, but it needs to be passed onto the future of the world as well as into the success of today’s Croatia.
_________________

slobodan-langAbout dr. Slobodan Lang. Born to Jewish family 8 October 1945 in Zagreb, Croatia. Physician, author, writer, politician and former personal adviser to the first Croatian President dr. Franjo Tudjman. His paternal grandfather Ignjat was the president of the Jewish community in Vinkovci (Croatia) and his grandmother Terezija was a housewife. In 1941 Catholic priest Hijacint Bošković, distinguished Dubrovnik and Croatian Dominican, was engaged in an extraordinary attempt to rescue the Langs from Nazi persecution. Bošković traveled from Dubrovnik to Vinkovci with a special permit that allowed him to relocate the Langs to Dubrovnik. Langs grandfather refused to leave, saying that he “was the president of Jews in peace and he will stay one in the war”. Both of his grandparents were killed in the concentration camp during the Holocaust. He graduated at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine and is a specialist in social medicine. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slobodan_Lang)

 

Comments

  1. I commend you for what you are doing. You have every reason to be proud of your country.

  2. Michael Silovic says:

    Dr Lang hit it right on the head in his article. Croatians did carry out our defense and defense for others in an honorable way and has always attempted at every turn to prevent genocide in its self defense. Many future wars will still include genocide in the Middle East and African nations more so then in Europe. I think for the most part that we will not see much of genocide happening ever again in Europe.While I do have faith that those representing us before the ICJ will be as forceful against Serbia for the crimes they have committed my lack of trust in the ICJ and the U.N. makes me feel uncomfortable and I get this feeling that the ICJ will equate the blame between both parties for political reasons.Our current leadership in Croatia are very weak and I am sure they are cringing at the outcome of the ruling either way because they seem to have the attitude that this is behind us and who cares as long as they can save face for political gains.I am sure they are working behind the scenes to have minimum impact of a verdict so as not to inflame tensions at home. Either way of the outcome Dr lang is right in saying be justifiably proud of the past. As a Croat I am proud of our heritage and past history and will always defend our motherland before anyone or anything and I make no apologies for our history. We as Croats have suffered a great deal of genocide in our history probably more then any one people in the world and we have no need to apologize to anyone for anything. For some there are those who will want to say I am sorry for the past because they do not understand what really happened to us as a people. For me I will never apologize to anyone for our past nor will I ever forgive those who have done so much damage to our people and country. I will never forgive those countries who turned their backs on us and were traitors and now pretend everything is alright and they are now our freinds. Croatia has a long way to go and we need to be mindful of those who are our so called friends now because they have their own agenda and not with the interest of Croatia in mind no matter what is being said.If we as Croats truly want to help our country and protect it we must all fight to make citizenship rights easier and faster for all of our generations to come home and teach them the history of our homeland and get them involved to support and respect who we are as a people and to help future generations that are in Croatia become the finest people in the world that we can be. Croats are a wonderful people by nature and very intelligent but are being held back by an incompetent goverment that cow tows to the EU first then its own people second……. ~ Za Dom spremni ! ~

    • Thank you on the comment. Michael, I believe that forgiveness in these cases could be very productive BUT only under the condition that perpetrators of crimes and their helpers first receive punishment for their crimes and evil done. Forgiving without insisting on punishment is simply accepting criminal behaviour and genocide as something not a terrible as what we say it is.

  3. How did we end up with a President like Josipovic and not Dr, Lang. What a wonderful human being he is. He should have been part of the legal team in the genocide case. His ideas and analysis are insightful and guided by human dignity and love. I can’t express enough the genius and humanity of this man. Croatia is truly fortunate to have such person; and indeed Croatia is a blessed nation to have a national conscience or moral compass that runs parallel to Dr. Lang’s ideas.

  4. I wanna have conversation with you. Shall i contact you personally? if else please mention your mail id or something else

  5. Agreeing with Sunman here – how did Croatia end up with a president like Josipovic instead of Dr. Lang? How tragic for Croatia. People like Dr. Lang, and Ina are exactly the sort of leaders that are needed to make a push in the right direction once again, or at the very least, to inspire others to take action.

  6. therealamericro says:

    Without Operation Storm, the Bihac pocket – which was kept alive by clandestine helicopter supply drops by the Croatian Army – would have suffered the fate of Srebrenica, as both Karadzic and Mladic publicly promised.

  7. Bosniak and Croatians = BROTHERS & SISTERS says:

    Hopefully there will be justice for Croatia.

    What they did to us is worse than Genocide. Remember mass rape in Bosnia? Does even anyone talk about rape of women in Srebrenica? Please read: http://bosniangenocide.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/srebrenica-angelina-jolie-campaigns-to-end-rape-as-a-weapon-of-war/

  8. Bravo Mr. Lang! Thank you Ina for this article!

  9. Good morning !

    Regards,
    Aliosa.

  10. You are a voice of reason in an otherwise world of chaos, Ina.

  11. ” Forgiving without insisting on punishment is simply accepting criminal behaviour and genocide as something not as terrible as what we say it is.” Yes, Ina, and we must all remember that genocide was perpetrated against Croatians at least twice in the last two armed conflicts on Croatian soil – May 1945 and November 1991-and both at the hands of those who were blinded by hatred and propelled by grandiosely warped political ideologies. In 1945 Tito and his Partisans butchered unarmed Croatians who fought/supported their national independence under NDH and in 1991 Milosevic and his Serb­­­­­­­/Jugoslavs butchered Croatians in the besieged Vukovar who were defending their national independence. We are all still waiting, as we have been for almost seven decades for justice to be served and those responsible for the Bleiburg genocide to be held accountable…..in spite of the fact that we had a self-described “nationalistic, rightist” Croatian government (HDZ) in power almost exclusively since 1991. And by the same token we are still waiting after 23 years for justice to be served and those responsible for the Vukovar tragedy to be held accountable. Why are we still waiting? Because Croatian politics and politicians have betrayed us all. There is no other answer. There can be no forgiveness until justice is achieved for either situation, and unfortunately there is not now nor has there ever been, the political will to seek that justice. One does not achieve justice by ignoring the crime, and one does not achieve justice by granting amnesty to those who committed crimes or by further intensifying the pain of the victims by appearing to be defending the rights of the perpetrators over the rights of the victims. PERIOD.I believe that our Croatian national consciousness inherently knows this and is yearning for remedy, but unfortunately our intelligentsia, politicians, lawmakers and weilders of power are very resistant because they have never been on the side of righteousness. They use their media spin doctors and apparatchiks to marginalize, ignore, slander, vilify those who raise their voices in defense of Croatian victims of war. Those that advocate for justice for the survivors and victims of Vukovar are branded as extremists/ultra nationalists, racists, by their opponents, and the same could be said of those who advocate for justice for the survivors and victims of Bleiburg. “We must look to the future, not the past” is the common phrase of those who would much prefer to forget and indeed, deny any genocide ever occurred. Scratch the surface and usually their reasons for such a stance becomes clearly evident- personal skeletons in their closets that they want to remain hidden.

  12. mai più la guerra, mai più genocidio, apprezzo molto il vostro impegno per questa nobile causa
    buon giorno
    never again war, never again genocide, I really appreciate your dedication to this noble cause

  13. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    Well done. I hope that genocide will be punished with life sentences to prevent it happening in the future. Hugs and light to all Croatians worldwide. You are fellow suffers with the Jews. Hugs, Barbara

  14. Dear Ina, – I sincerely thank you for all the likes you give my blog.. I have been ill for sometime now so do not get to read many blogs as I used to. :(

    I see your blog is largely written to expose the genocide in your part of the world, I can understand why you give your time to writing about this topic, I am sure you are successful in reaching people.

    I have posted here a favourite video of mine.”Innerworlds and Outerworlds” – Hope you will enjoy, if you have the time to watch. :)

    • Hi Eve – thank you for taking the time to comment here and post the video. I hope you get well and better soon, I do so enjoy and take note of your postings – blogging is an alternative media conscience as mainstream fails miserably in many issues. I like the concluding words in this video: current in the world is a “crisis of conscientiousness and inability to directly experience our true nature…my imperfections are inexhaustible, I wow to overcome them all…” and in this peace would reign. Cheers

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