Today’s Croatian Responsibilities – No Cyrillic in Vukovar

Remember Vukovar - No Cyrillic in Vukovar  Photo:

Remember Vukovar – No Cyrillic in Vukovar Photo:

By Dr. Slobodan Lang (10 February 2013)
Translated into English by Ina Vukic

The most important question for today’s Croatia is, by far, that of its demographic health. A wrong diagnosis is a criminal act in medicine and a right diagnosis without therapy, is immoral. The whole truth must be determined and, on basis of that, the moset effective help needs to be set. Demographic health of today’s Croatia comprises of: maintenance and spacing of population, employment, ageing and ecology.

This is the fundamental responsibility of all citizens, of the academic community, of the economy, of religion and especially of politics. Only those political parties and politicians who offer solutions to these questions are to be supported.

Alongside of this, of course, we also need to attend to safety, to our reputation in the world and to our own dignity.

Emphasising other questions is merely diverting people’s attention, provoking conflicts and avoiding political and professional responsibility.

Satan attempted to provoke Jesus so that he materially overestimates the power and insubstantial politics. Jesus emphasised the importance of the spiritual, God’s power and personal responsibility. However, he did not persecute Satan because he knew that the only way is to find the truth and realisation of the good, and not in battles against lies and evil.

The demand for Cyrillic script in Vukovar is yet another attempt to vilify Croatia throughout the world and to divert the attention to secondary questions.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgements on joint criminal enterprise are, today, the most important factors for relations world’s towards Croatia and for the relations between Croats and Serbs in Croatia.

Joint criminal enterprise (JCE) is a legal doctrine introduced by the ICTY in the trials against political and military leaders of former Yugoslavia, for mass war crimes, including genocide, during the wars of 1991 – 1999.

The court had assessed that without certain actions of cooperation and coordination it is practically impossible to carry out the crimes such as genocide or crimes against humanity.

In trials after World War II we find the first indication of JCE under the name of  “joint goal”.

JCE was used by ICTY for the first time at the Dusko Tadic’s judgment, 1999.

During Slobodan Milosevic’s trial the joint criminal enterprise was defined as forceful deportation of non-Serb population from the territories where Serb authorities wanted to establish or maintain Serb control.

With regards to wars in Croatia 1991 – 1995, the Tribunal considered two joint criminal enterprises, that of “Serbian forces” against Croats and that of “Croatian forces” against Serbs.

According to ICTY, “Serbian forces” had, through 1736 days (from 1st April 1991, at the latest, to 31st December 1995, at least), engaged in joint criminal enterprise with the goal that most Croats and other non-Serb population, through criminal acts be removed permanently from a large part of Croatian territory in order to create a Serb ethnic territory, which the Serb leaders called Serbian Republic of Krajina (SRK).

Participants in this joint criminal enterprise personally included: Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Martic, Milan Babic, Goran Hadzic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic (Frenki), Vojislav Seselj, Radovan Stojcic (Badza), Veljko Kadijevic, Blagoje Adzic, Radmilo Bogdanovic, Mihalj Kertes and Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan).

The participants were also political leaders in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, Republic of Serbia, leaders of Croatian and Bosnian Serbs, as well as leaders of “Serbian forces”. “Serbian forces” are: Yugoslav People’s Army, Serbian Army of Krajina, Territorial Organisation of Republic of Serbia and special units of ministry of internal affairs/ state security of Republic of Serbia for anti-terrorist activities and special operations, “Red berets”  and/or “Frenkovians”; “Scorpions”, “Arkanovians”, “Martic’s police”, members of Serb para-military groups from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia (including volunteers from the Serbian Chetnik movement and/or Serb Radical Party – “Chetniks” or “Seseljovians”).

Those convicted for joint criminal enterprise so far are: Milan Babic (12th July 2005), and Milan Martic (8th October 2008), and Goran Hadzic trial is still in process.

With the acquittal of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, 16th November 2012, the ICTY has forever rejected that joint criminal enterprise with the goal of permanently removing Serb civilian population from “Krajina” was carried out, through the 90 days (from July to 30th September 1995).

After this judgment, it was the duty of the President of Republic of Croatia, of Croatian Government, of Croatian Parliament, of Croatian Academy of Sciences and the Arts, of the universities and of the media to consider in its entirety the joint criminal enterprise in creating Croatia. This is particularly important because Croatian defence, the Generals and President Tudjman had prevented a much greater suffering – which is constantly denied through lies and vilification.

There are only three lines about JCE in the Croatian Wikipedia, and in the English version the indicted Croats are listed, even after they have been acquitted. How is it shown in our history textbooks? Today’s authorities have rewarded the author with the position of Croatian Ambassador in Paris for his shameful and untruthful portrait of Croatian history.

The work of the ICTY is nearing to an end. Only Goran Hadzic and Vojislav Seselj are still on trial for the war in Croatia. Six Croats and Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Vojislac Seselj (Serbs) are still on trial for the war in Bosnia.

To date, 18 Serbs and 2 Croats have expressed their remorse for the acts they had perpetrated. Those from Croatia are Milan Babic – president of the 1991/92 self-proclaimed government of Serbian Republic of Krajina (SRK), and Miodrag Jokic – commander in the Yugoslav War Navy, which was responsible for the attack on Dubrovnik.

Milan Babic has, in stronger terms than anyone else, appraised, described and expressed remorse for JCE perpetrated by the “Serbian forces”.  Given that, as far as I know, the Croatian public is not practically aware of this, I’m giving here the most important (according to me) parts of what Babic said:

Innocent people were persecuted, innocent people were forcefully ejected from their homes and innocent people were killed.

I allowed myself to participate in the program of the worst kind against people only because they were Croats, and not Serbs.

Only the truth can give a chance to Serbian people to unload themselves from the collective shame.

These crimes and my participation in them can never be justified.

Even after I had discovered what had happened, I remained silent about it.

I come before this Tribunal with deep feelings of shame and repentance.

The regret that I feel because of that is the pain with which I must live for the rest of my life.

I can only hope that by bringing out the truth, by admitting to guilt and by expressing my remorse I can serve as an example to those who still wrongfully believe that such inhuman actions could ever be justified”.

Until Serbia condemns Memorandum of neo-Nazism, Croatia will remain endangered. At the very beginning of President Josipovic’s mandate, young Jastreb (Hawk) and I warned him not to enter into any arbitrary or superficial reconciliation. We have never been in conflict with Serbs or with Germans, but we are not prepared to come to terms with Nazism. Josipovic did not invite us for talks, but he has evidently burned himself and is now more careful. Perhaps he also doesn’t like it too much when Pupovac (Milorad) lectures him from time to time, but he doesn’t have the courage to react.

Completely unacceptable statements are coming from Serbia, from politics, from academic community and the church. Serbia, in its Constitution, needs to recognise the European borders set after Allied victory, nonaggressive solution to disputes with neighbours, reject the use of its army for aggression and persecution of other nations and express universal rights of all people. Until that happens, we can talk about relations with the neighbours, but not about friendship. Only this way Croatia respects the right of greater majority of good people in Serbia and long-term interests of all.

About 250 million people in Europe use Cyrillic; half of them are Russian. With Bulgaria’s entry into the European Union, 1997, Cyrillic (along with Latin and Greek script) had become an official script in EU.

84 languages, in the world, use Cyrillic, 37 Turkish, 23 Indo-European and the rest all the way to Eskimos. Among them is Juhuri, the language of the Jews from the hills of Caucasus.

Vuk Karadzic developed Serb Cyrillic at the beginning of the 19th century, and from 2006 it is constitutionally proclaimed as the official script of Serbia.

The attempt to introduce Cyrillic in Vukovar is an attempt to impose much lesser importance to much greater human rights (demographic health, justice and the truth about the creation of the state, security), and exclude legitimacy in the name of legality. I am not a lawyer, but I know that Huckleberry Finn was right when he helped his black friend escape from slavery, even though it was against the law of that time. To maliciously and unprofessionally call for the use of Cyrillic in Vukovar is completely unacceptable and impermissible.

Croatia should introduce Cyrillic when Serbia is accepted into the EU, the same way as … Ireland or Portugal.

Our citizens are not equal in Vukovar. For peace’s sake we gave special rights to certain people of Serb nationality. Today’s Croats are dissatisfied; they feel injustice and endangerment.

The Croatian anthem alerts us with the words: “ … Danube, do not lose your might, Deep blue sea go tell the whole world, That a Croat loves his homeland…” But Croatia has already lost a lot of Danube’s might, in Zemun and in Syrmia, and the message we send to the world is too weak.

The whole city of Vukovar is a living symbol of Croatian suffering, and the whole of Dubrovnik of Croatian culture. During the creation and defence of Croatia both have suffered particularly and we defended both, particularly. They are still not secure or equal nor connected to Croatia. At the instigation of the distinguished lawyer, politician and friend, Bosiljko Misetic, I propose that there be an immediate appointment of a non-political group of distinguished and professional people to draft special laws on Croatian Dubrovnik and Vukovar.  I propose to the president of the Republic and the Parliament to immediately call the leaders of the Peaceful Reintegration (Skare, Vrkic and Klein), the war veterans, Mr Misetic and myself regarding talks on realisation of this proposal – of course, that’s if they care about Croatian Dubrovnik and Vukovar.

Dr Slobodan Lang   Photo: Pixsell

Dr Slobodan Lang Photo: Pixsell

About 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. (
Related post: No Cyrillic in Vukovar – Thank you!


  1. The “root cause” of the problem is not being addressed and that is HOW the decision to make Vukovar bilingual came about. Was it made in a democratic manner (transparent, accountable and legal) and with consultation of the people.

    Were changes to the Constitution (on which this bilingualism is based) legal? The demographics of Vukovar indicate that almost 35% of the citizens are Serbian and therefore under the present Constitution this bilingualism is perfectly legal from what I understand.

    Is the Croatian government working withing the parameters of “Rule of Law”?

    As for Cyrillic – if a shop or business owner wants to use Cyrillic in his private business – that is his business decision to make. Every individual should have the right / liberty to make his own decisions.

    But now let us consider something else – population movement.

    In 2001 there were 18,199 Croats in Vukovar and 10,412 Serbs – giving the Serbs 32.9% of the population.

    In 2011 there were 15,881 Croats and 9,654 Serbs making the Serbs 34.5% of the population. Both Croats and Serbs left, but more Croats left. Why is noone asking the question WHY about this? That is the true problem of Croatia.

    • Zeljko – it came about on basis of 2002 Constitution law regarding rights of ethnic minorities which says if an area has one third or more of an ethnic minority then that minority’s language is to be used on public signage alongside Croatian – I know you know this, but just repeating. Now, 2011 census which CANNOT be trusted churned up with some 34% of Serbs, as you say. The problem is that everyone says the census numbers are not true reflection of those Serbs, i.e. many actually live elsewhere but have their residence registered in Vukovar. So let’s hope the new residency law will clarify this issue. But beside that what the government is doing might be legal but it’s not legitimate. Census is wrong, Vukovar Croats are bypassed when it comes to their rights as victims of horrible Serb aggression. Unfortunately Croatian politicians in government don’t seem to know how to back away and consider real issues tied to that law. And that real issue is that the law on biligualism CANNOT be applied if its application causes unrest! So, go figure, but I see RED!

      • So let us question the legitimacy of the Constitution. Does the bilingualism criteria align with how other European nations define the need for bilingualism?

        I can understand the specific delicate nature of Vukovar. But rule of law must prevail even when it makes us see red. Law can’t be applied willy-nilly. For that reason we must investigate the legitimacy of the LAW.

        I know about the changes to the Constitution in 2002 (red gov cahnges) – but I do not know about the legitimacy of those changes. Where the changes made in a legitimate manner?

      • It’s not the Constitution itself we’re talking about but a law that was made on the basis of the Constitution – hence, Constitutional law on ethnic minority rights, about which the Constitution talks. Croatian law is not aligned with EU laws as far as I can see for bilingualism diced down to towns, suburbs, villages, areas are found in that Croatian law – the law should address population for the whole of Croatia and not areas. Saying this we need to exclude Istria where Italian is used alongside Croatian because Istria was Italian till after WWII and was dished out to Yugoslavia, but many towns had Italian ethnic majority still. No part of Croatia was ever Serbia. Indeed the 2002 law was passed under Ivica Racan and Stjepan Mesic – I see RED again. And yes IT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED.

      • Ina, street protests are nice but they are like the snow – here on day and gone the next. Snow rarely bring changes unless the snow turns into an avalanche.

        We need intelligent “Blue Lawyers” to use the system to at least ensure the rule of law and at best to change unfair laws so that we do not need to see red.

        If you can see this in Australia and I see it in Canada.
        Why can’t the “Domaci Hrvati” see this?

      • I think they can see, Zeljko, there’s a movement for a referendum on several questions currently going on – may not be on this question but the force is there, already hundreds of thousands signatures in the streets. Let’s hope that the bilingual signs that have apparently already been produced for Vukovar will not go up

  2. Demographic warfare

    Israel is protecting itself from the demographic warfare assault by the Palestinians. Palestinian and Arab birthrates higher than Israeli birthrates and I would assume that this is one of the reasons that Israel does not want to let people return to their ancestral homes. The Israelis want to protect their identity by not allowing the growth of a population of another identity from developing to significant numbers.

    Israel knows it has a demographic problem and their solution is to entice Jews from around the world to come and live in Israel – the Homeland of the Jews. They protect the Israeli identity by doing this.

    Croatia also has a similar problem – but the red government specifically does not want Diaspora Croats to return to the Homeland they would rather bring into Croatia 1,000,000 Ukrainians and others. The obvious agenda is to dilute the Croatian-ness of Croatia.

    They do not want Diaspora Croats to return, not only because they do not like “Croatian-ness” but because the mentality of Western Croatians is a threat to their political and social agenda.

  3. Primary and secondary schools in Vukovar are divided inasmuch as there are sections in which students learn either the Croatian program in the Latin alphabet or the program reserved to the Serbian minority in Cyrillic. There are divided kindergartens. There is a Croatian Radio (Vukovar) and a Serbian Radio (Dunav). There are also bars mostly attended by Serbs or Croats.

  4. Why Croats are walking on eggshells in Vukovar I will never understand. Demand some goddam assimilation in public places.

    • Michael Silovic says:

      Politicians in vukovar are not strong enough mentally to defend our motherland and be aggressive in public because of fear.. Put a diaspora in control and you will see that we do not walk on eggshells for anyone.

  5. “Vukovar lost the battle in 1991, but won the war. Perhaps we will lose another battle now, but we will definitely win the war” stated spokesman of “Headquarters for defense of Croatian Vukovar” Zdravko Komsic.

  6. 5 February – Ruza Tomasic, president of the Croatian Party of Rights dr Ante Starcevic, has sent an official request to the Croatian government and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic for postponement of introduction of bilingualism in Vukovar.

    The request was sent with signatures of 4,343 citizens of the city of Vukovar and suburbs against forceful introduction of bilingualism and the Cyrillic letter in Vukovar.

    Tomasic called for the adoption of a constitutional law on temporary disregard of certain provisions of the constitutional law on rights of national minorities in the territory of Vukovar.

    She underlined that new party is not advocating methods which ignore the Constitution and the laws of Croatia, but added that it believes that conditions for the introduction of the Serbian language and letter have not been created in Vukovar.
    “We are certain that the attempt at introduction of bilingualism will considerably disturb the international relations, increase insecurity of living in the city, and additionally devalue the sacrifice of the Vukovar defenders and inhabitants for the defence of the city and Croatia as a whole,” the request reads.

    The Constitution guarantees equal official use of languages in local self-governments where members of certain national minority make up at least a third of the population.

    Tomasevic, however, said that the fact that Serbs make up 34.78 percent of Vukovar citizens is not in line with the situation in the field since a few thousand Serbs are only fictively located in the territory of the city, while in fact they live in Serbia, and come to Vukovar only once a month to collect their pensions, social allowances and other benefits provided by Croatia.

  7. Vukovar was besieged in 1991 and almost completely destroyed by the Yugoslavian army and the Serbian paramilitary militias. It has since risen to be the symbol of the Croatian resistance. For this reason, the introduction of Cyrillic in the names of the streets and the signs of local institutions (such as the post office and the police) is, for many, a smack in the face and an insult to victims of abominable Serb crimes in Vukovar…

  8. Today Vukovar is embedded in Croatia’s collective memory as a symbol of suffering and pain. Everyone in Croatia has a mental vision of the town, even those who weren’t even born at the time of the war: lines of refugees; children crying; a bombed hospital; razed buildings.

  9. Brave New World says:

    Change the friggin law!

  10. In reading the various posts on this subject and others the term democracy seems to be a central concern. In absolute terms, democracy is about sharing power through expression of votes by the people. There is nothing in democracy that says minorities should have any special rights unless the people consent to such a decision. This decision in itself is not absolute and is subject to change by the people through democratic means…so, Brave New World you’re right, change the f’n law and let’s get on with dealing with the serious challenges we face as Dr. Lang so rightly expresses.

  11. BTW, can we start a petition to nominate Dr. Lang for candidate of President of Croatia? And while we’re at it let’s petition to have Josipovic and Milanovic removed from office?

    • What good is a petition when these morons shut their ears and close their eyes to the very real concernes of the citizens they lead? If there’s anyone who should be given the sack and removed from office ASAP, well, there’s your men. Teenagers from the diaspora would make better leaders than the current idiots!

  12. Michael Silovic says:

    I always enjoy reading Dr langs articles because he understands Croatia and it’s woes. However I really see no changes with this current goverment we have in place and would love for him to let us know if he gets a response from our president. Now to make my point again I do not care what the census count is.I give nothing to Serbs in Croatia until they correct the wrongs of the past on our people and in order for me to be satisfied this means giving us back all of Croatia.I do not want to get into particulars about vukovar since many know my position and and I am always pained in my heart when I discuss it.Ovcara memorial was vandalized a few days ago and Cyrillic language was written on it. I am not only saddened but filled with rage right now.This is enough to prove to me that even after 20 years that Serbs in Croatia have no respect for our people and let alone our culture and history. By the actions committed on something as sacred as our memorial it proves to me that Serbs are nothing more then cowards who still have a hidden agenda and that is to take more of Croatia.The law on Cyrillic must be changed. our goverment must do everything in its power to repopulate Croats to vukovar. I would rather give my life and blood to vukovar before I give vukovar to the Serbs. ~Za Dom Spremni! ~

  13. says:

    Croatians in Vukovar and across Croatia should argue the facts: that this law is a Trojan Horse for even more discrimination against Croats in Vukovar, as it means that Croatian youth – the overwhelming majority of whom do not read or write Cyrillic – will be discriminated against for jobs in local government as reading and or writing Cyrillic will be a qualification for any and all local institutions where Cyrillic will be used.

    That is the only argument necessary.

  14. How sad it is that this is even an issue in today’s Croatia. 🙁

    I will absolutely not stand for Cyrillic in Vukovar, not now, not ever. With such little respect shown to the city, to the victims, the current residents, the very culture of Croatia, I will not trust any such attempts at assimilation. Such political games have already cost Croatia too much.

    Whatever can be done to stop this, must be done. Whatever logical argument against Cyrillic in Vukovar can be made and brought to public attention, must be made. Every Croatian politician who will not stand up for Vukovar should be given the sack.

    • All I can really say is Vukovar and it’s defenders did not die defending “вуковар”.. they died defending their homeland and VUKOVAR, not “вуковар”. They did not fight for “вуковар” or “хрватска” they fought for VUKOVAR and for HRVATSKA.

      The Croatian Government should stop deceiving the Croatian people with their false promises and lies and take a listen to a song like Ratnici Svjetla – Thompson

      Almost all of my older relatives have passed away, it would hurt them all so much to see how screwed up the government is in Croatia, at least with them all no longer on this Earth they are watching on in pain from Heaven by God’s side…
      Za Dom Spremni – Umrijeti!
      Bog i Hrvati!
      No to the EU!
      No to SDP and other criminal scum!
      No Cyrillic in Croatia… EVER!

      • Oh, but haven’t you heard, Vucic? Thompson is just an evil nazi/fascist supporter who sings evil songs about concentration camps. We should not let him poison our minds with his clearly distorted version of “truth”! We should all just move on because the past is the past!

        I was being sarcastic there, but you see where I’m getting at? Croatian politicians hate Thompson because he calls out their wrongdoing and rightfully so – and in doing so, gets tons of supporters behind him and even the much hated diaspora.

        But I completely agree with you. There’s a reason for the words “Zapamtite Vukovar!”. Allowing cyrillic in Vukovar, or anywhere, is spitting on all those who lost their lives to protect not only themselves, but those they love and the freedoms of future generations. There is absolutely no way this should ever be allowed in Vukovar, ever.

      • Excellent! Well said Vucic. This this is a terrible and unjust situation. My Croatian relatives long since passed and all the others who suffered and paid the ultimate price are dishonoured by this act…they sacrificed for Hrvatska not хрватска. The reds has ruined the CROATIAN nation, but unfortunately the other other side of the political spectrum didn’t do us any favour either. Very SAD.

  15. “a crvene kriminalce svezat cemo sve u lance, Hrvatska ce opet cvasti kad crveni odu s vlasti” – “Red criminals will tie us all in chains, Croatia will flourish again when the reds are not in power” — Josko Tomicic – Oj Ivica i Stipane

  16. This page really has all the info I wanted concerning
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  17. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    A wonderful blog by Ina about the Croatian people and the genocide they have suffered.

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