Croatia: Stop Violating History Of Homeland War

Ivo Josipovic (L) and Timislav Nikolic (R)

Ivo Josipovic (L) and Timislav Nikolic (R)

Last week Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic visited Serbia and held official talks for the first time with Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic after controversial statements by the extreme Serb nationalist Nikolic on the wars and massacres in the 1990s in ex Yugoslavia since he became Serbia’s president in May 2012. Nikolic, that is, stated that Vukovar in eastern Croatia was a “Serbian city” and questioned the genocide of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica by Serbian-Bosnians led by Ratko Mladic and RadovanKaradzic.

Vukovar was at the centre of the Croatian independence war in 1991-1995; it was ethnically cleansed of non-Serbs, it’s multitudes of Croatian women were raped and men and women tortured – kept in concentration camps; it was occupied by Serb forces from November 1991. Much the same horrid reality awaited 1/3 of Croatian territory; the 1995 Operation storm liberated Serb-occupied Krajina. Those are the facts of history that Croatia found itself in when 94% of its voters voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia and build democracy in 1991 and Serbia and much of the Croatian Serb minority did not want that.

Well Josipovic’s visit to Serbia last week appeared a mirror image of cold relations and the unpleasantness of it cut chills into the bones of Croatian people, especially war veterans and truth respecting people when Serbia’s Nikolic voiced that it bothers him that “Croatian school textbooks qualify Serbs as occupiers and Chetniks…”.

It would seem that Nikolic continues with his politically foul tricks in denying the truth of Serb brutality in the aggression against Croatia (and Bosnia and Herzegovina for that matter). It proves that Nikolic is on a mission to eradicate the history as it happened, to wipe out from history the fact that Belgrade based Yugoslav Peoples’ Army did in fact mobilise itself for aggression and occupation to strengthen the fighting power of Croatian-Serb rebel forces.

And Croatia’s Josipovic stood by while Nikolic said this instead of replying something like: well, it is the truth – Serbs did occupy Croatian territory and Serb forces did revive the WWII Chetnik movement and its units did call themselves Chetniks. Vojislav Seselj, current at the ICTY on war crimes charges, named Tomislav Nikolic a Chetnik Duke – and I haven’t seen or read anywhere that Nikolic rejected the title.

While Croatia’s president Josipovic declined to confirm or deny that the ICJ lawsuit for genocide against Serbia will be withdrawn, he did comment that matters of such nature couldn’t be discussed while there are still hundreds of Croatian civilians and soldiers missing from the Homeland War.

Nikolic said that it is not good that Croatia will not withdraw its lawsuit because “in Serbia, and probably in Croatia too, when two neighbours get into fight over the border, then they stop talking to each other.”
“You can never say that good friends are those who go to court. In these three weeks of the trial we will spit dirt at each other and show the worst possible things about each other,” said Nikolic.

Well, I find it impossible for the two neighbours to be friends by burying the horrible truth and by denying the victims the right to justice and compensation.  Croatia must not withdraw its lawsuit against Serbia and I do hold that Croatian government does not have a full mandate to play with victims’ rights to justice and make decisions on whether to withdraw the lawsuit or not – such decisions must be made with the benefit of e.g. victim impact statements and victims’ rights representation.

And now, Croatia’s education minister Zeljko Jovanovic says that he has written a letter to Nikolic and enclosed copies of Croatia’s school textbooks so that Nikolic could see for himself, “read them and convince himself that it is not true what he is saying”.

First of all I would say: why bother!? Nothing will turn Nikolic away from justifying the unjustifiable; nothing will convince Nikolic that history must be truthfully recorded.

And the more frightening issue for Croatia is: if the textbooks don’t say that Serbs were the aggressors in the war, what are they saying?  Or, is it that Jovanovic is clearing a path to organising new textbook editions, which would erase the truth about Croatia’s Homeland War and why and how it started and continued?

I would not put such manipulation of history past the former communists.

Minister Jovanovic said yesterday: “Besides, a completely new generation of textbooks is in front of us, in which everything will be in accordance with historical facts and without any politicisation.  Equally, we expect that from Serbian history textbooks”.  So, why tell Nikolic he was not saying the truth when he said Croatian textbooks charactersis Serbs as occupiers and Chetniks, if that is a historical fact? Serbs who organised and implemented the aggression and occupation of Croatia characterised themselves as such, proclaimed themselves as such – Croatians didn’t do it! And that is a fact.

I just wish the Croatian government would fight harder for the truth rather than try and placate Serbia’s ranting president who could obviously not give a hoot as to justice for victims.

Why desecrate and violate the history of the Homeland War by giving weight to the pathetic and abominable words that come out of the mouth of the one who represents the aggressor, the torturer, the rapist …?

It would be more conducive to eventual friendship and reconciliation for Croatian government representatives to firmly represent Croatia’s people/victims and truth rather than treating Serbia’s president with proverbial kid gloves, which approach, by the way, only breeds more intolerance, creates more confusion, and prolongs agony in the path to justice for victims. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(ZGB)

Comments

  1. “… Dobivamo političke pljuske, iskrivljuju povjest u tišini, vodaju nas ko u magli guske …”

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    • Translation of didigrbesic comment: “…we’re getting political slaps, they’re silently bending the history, they’re leading us as geese in fog …”

      Reply: just awful Didi and to make it worse Croatia’s opposition is standing idly…perhaps they’re in it too … new broom needed!

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    • Don’t forget though:
      Nema predaje, pjevajmo, sinovi pobjede!

      Translation: No surrender, let’s sing, sons of victory!

      And that’s what really matters here: the government may use all sorts of foul, manipulative tactics to re-write history (we already know that’s a favourite pastime of commies; “po metodi jugo-komunista, tri put slaži, istina ne važi”), but the people cannot let themselves surrender, nor be fooled, nor be silenced. It’s time to be firm and it’s time for those who hail truth to be leaders and not surrender. While I think blogs and simple discussions, are great ways of speaking out, I think other strategies also need to be considered about how to basically get the facts and the current social and political issues out in the open. The world is distracted by too much spin. I don’t know the perfect strategy myself; for now just speaking about what I know is my method, but some more thought needs to be put into this.

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  2. Marion Mann says:

    This is just awful, scandalous and treacherous. Nothing but a firm hand will bring Nikolic into some semblance of humility and humanity, he seems to have no respect for victims or the truth. How dare he act insulted at the idea that Serbs were aggressive and Chetniks! What a piece of nasty work.

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  3. Bastion Now says:

    So, by these accounts it seems Nikolic would deny that when in 1991 Serb Chetniks marched into Vukovar singing “Slobo, Slobo (as in Slobodan Milosevic) send us some salad, there’ll be meat we’ll slaughter the Croats”.

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    • Yes Bastion Now, BBC would like him I think, when that newsreel was aired on BBC news in 1991 BBC journalist commented that Serbs were chanting national songs!!! For Pete’s sake! Then complaints rushed in to BBC and BBC corrected itself but never adequately as far as I remember. So Nikolic might think we’re all idiots too…

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    • …DELETED… All victims should be respected, and all atrocities judged. You don’t judge a whole nation by a war (war is hell)!I was 6 when the war started, am i a killer?I have a lot of croatian friends, and they are NORMAL!Even few of them are patriots, but not nationalistic…DELETED

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  4. It’s beyond any human understanding why Croat leaders would even listen to Nikolic’s shit let alone respond to it! Enough is enough!

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  5. I don’t know how the Croatian people can endure this horror over and over again. The whole frigging government should be sent packing and the president as well. This is torture for the victims and/or victims’ families…

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  6. therealamericro says:

    The womanly JUsipovic demonstrates his lack of a spine, yet again.

    Fascinating how the defense of “national interests” for him, PM Zit Farm and SDP starts and ends with Perkovic alone.

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    • Yes therealamericro, a truly unnatural love there around Perkovic. And we’re not talking of repulsion about it within the masses – that’s understood.

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    • Now, now, therealamericro. Jusipovic is not womanly. And if you insist on calling him that, he will very likely be so inclined as to find you and hit you with his purse.

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  7. The truth hurts. But only the truth will set you free. In building any kind of relationship whether between people or nations, if it is not founded on truth it will not last. Take off the kid gloves and play bare knuckle. We need a truth and reconciliation process not constrained or influenced by politicians to finally settle the history of Croatia and Serbia. Josipovic and Milanovic need to go; and a new generation of Croatian nationalists needs to replace the government. The war will continue until the truth is finally exposed.

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    • That is what happens in real life when truth is twisted and hidden – never ending agony and injustice, Sunman. I think sometimes the politicians like to pretend that there is high level of cognition, logic, thinking, reasoning…in what they do and ordinary people just can’t understand that, when the truth is their work often comes down to the need in applying common decency towards humanity because those who elect them are actually human… I am angry at this point – I regret so deeply that Croats were not able to tel Nikolic to “shape up or go jump in the lake”.

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  8. Declaraciones inhumanas.Medios maliciosos.
    Gracias por el relato.
    Un beso.

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    • Translation of Ruben comment: Inhuman declarations. Malicious media. Thank you for the story. A kiss.
      REPLY: Thank you Ruben, sadly, media will especially be malicious if it’s paid by the government to pursue certain lines.

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      • The same thing happens with the means of Grupo Clarin in Argentina

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      • Yes Ruben – media control finds its creepy way in, power and control of those who stand behind or fund it etc… but modern era of communications could well stuff up its accounts 😀

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      • can i know why u won’t post my comment, is it inappropriate?

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      • Read the comment policy and terms of use Truth and then remember what you wrote and that will tell you why. For starters, you completely disregard the truth as well as the ICTY court decision: there was no forced deportation of Serbs from Croatia in 1995.

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  9. Brilliant analysis, as always. As for Nikolic, Dacic and the rest of them, if we had a responsible government in power, we would simply ignore them. You can’t beat liars and manipulators at their own game, so just let them be. Eventually they will simply drown in all the crap and all the vile that they’ve spewed. Jovanovic sending textbooks to Nikolic was the clear Darwin award winner for me. How stupid do you have to be to even acknowledge an accusation like Nikolic’s, never mind venerate it with such a feeble and pathetic stunt.

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    • It’s pathetic and angering and so disrespectful of victims, Brankec. Certainly Nikolic ways have proven that new ways of dealing with him are called for, as old ones bear nor fruits, he remains a liar and a denier. Regretfully Croatia’s leaders don’t acknowledge that, if they did they would act differently and not appear disrespectful of victims as well.

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  10. Vladimir Orsag says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. We been hoodwinked from 1918 by a shadow elite in England. Our educated elite failed us badly because they keep Hrvate in dark.

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  11. Serbia is at it AGAIN! And Croatia’s leaders don’t see it – or let it! Serbia managed to divert the world’s attention (most likely with most help from Britain as exiled Serb king was cousin to British king) and condemnation from the fact that it was actually Serbia who was one of Europe’s first to declare itself Jew free by May 1942 and to exterminate 94% of its Jews by that time! Now, they like to blame the Nazi occupying forces for that and of course the Jewish lobby allowed that (!) even though it is as clear as rain that Serbia’s government was bringing Jews to the slaughter.

    And so modern Serbia is doing the same thing again: in line with her political aspirations of early 1990’s it has committed genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape, occupation – you name anything that scum ca do, they’ve done it. They deny those they attacked the right to defense and call that aggression! They want to do the same with their horror against Croats and Bosniaks just as they did with their WWII horrors against Jews.

    Serbs want others to take blame for their atrocities and if they cannot achieve that then they are prepared to trample on victims to a choking point and seek ways to trample on them some more!

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  12. Mylifeasme says:

    By the way, Croatia’s president said during these days of visit to Serbia that he once again condemned hate speech made by some Croatian politicians and public figures against Serbs, saying those were excesses and not a pattern of Croatia’s policy.

    Well, well, why did he not qualify Nikolic’s denial of occupation/aggression, chetniks, Croatian Vukovar… as hate speech?

    The man is a lunatic or at least gutless! Should step down from politics if he defines battling for rights and insisting on truth as hate speech!

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    • Ah it is modern politics to call everything and anything that threatens a politicians cushy seat hate speech. And so we march on with truth against a “new enemy” – presidents and all can shove such tactics where the sun don’t shine as far as I am concerned Mylifeasme, there is no hate in seeking and speaking truth.

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  13. Where was Josipovic during the war? I, for one, spent time in occupied Croatia (including Vukovar) and saw how even civilian Serbs treated non-Serbs, e.g. leaving an old woman to die of infection from her wounds after stepping on a land mine. How the military Serbs treated non-Serbs I think we all know…. It is crucial that the next generation are taught the truth. Croatia needs leaders who won’t betray her hard-won freedom.

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    • Thank you Mishka. Yes Croatia needs leaders with substance and respect for victims in the battle for freedom. As for Josipovic, he wasn’t anywhere close to where freedom was defended and fought for. At the time he was member of the Communist League (which did not want Croatia’s freedom but wanted Yugoslavia) then he decided to dedicate himself to law and music, in cosy warm surrounds gathered largely by his father’s communist pathways in Yugoslavia…

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  14. therealamericro says:

    For “Truth,” hear it from the shadow author of the contradictory and legally debunked ICTY Prosecution “case” against Gotovina and Markac himself, eight (Milosevic, Martic, Babic, Hadzic, Simatovic, Stanisic, Perisic and Mrksic) Joint Criminal Enterprise / “Krajina” Information Minister and wartime “Krajina” Secretary Savo Strbac:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRXAYeSo3M – with English subtitles ; – )

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    • Yep, Serbs pulled themselves out of Croatia voluntarily under the “excuse” that they had to “save their own biological mass” (Serbs) for future plans/actions…Savo Strbac says and he is the one also behind Carla del Ponte’s ICTY charges against Croatian leadership for forced deportation of Serbs, which of course, was overturned at appeal in 2012. Now he says here that Croats didn’t want to live with Serbs! When the truth is Serbs didn’t want to live in Croatia and started the aggression. Just saying this even if the video has it.

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  15. Serbs are playing the whole thing down like nothing happened, let’s forget it, don’t make a big fuss about it, like there were few skirmishes’ amongst old friends, and it is a time to forget it.
    Well, if the Croatian government accepts this approach, which looks like they are on the way to do exactly that, then GOD HELP US.

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    • I agree rb, totally. Except, of course, I pin my hope for “salvation” on strong people to muster courage and fight for what is right, what is the truth. Now, I am aware of the old Italian folk saying: “He who lives in hope, dies in despair” – but this is Croatia, so hope has been known to live for quite some time and turn into positive action.

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  16. Uuuuu super tekst!
    Svaka čast Ina, Evo sam prvi put na blog i imam samo riječi hvale!

    Like

    • Translation of comment by Ante: Oooh, super text. Every respect to you Ina, first time visitor to blog and I only have words of praise!

      REPLY: Thank you Ante for your kind words. Much appreciated

      Like

  17. I don’t get how some one like him got elected by our people. We suffered under the communist Yugoslavia yet we elect someone from the same communist party, who walked out during our vote for independence and wanted to keep us in that prison of nations. Now he basically is trying to deny the Serbs were the aggressor in the war, I lost my grandfather in Skabrnja to them, this is an insult to the victims and their families. This is saddening and I worry that we are going to have people like him and his cronies keep running our Hrvatska into the ground, just so they can get a feeling of Yugoslav nostalgia.

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    • Thank you on your comment Jure. Skabrnja massacre was horrid and the brutality of it defines the Serb aggression against Croatia as heinous and utterly inhumane, not even the most bloodthirsty animals are capable of creating such carnage and obliteration of its own species. I feel deeply for your loss and that sorrow gets deeper and more disturbing with every thought that these crimes have never as yet been properly prosecuted and that politicians express their regret only by words but when it comes to their actions the victims’ rights get abused and shoved into darkness.

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  18. Olga Brajnović says:

    You all are scaring me. I didn’t know the situation was so bad. If Josipovic doesn’t have the guts to defend Croatia in front of Nikolic, what is he doing governing the country? And if the opposition is silent, what are they waiting for? Maybe all of them want to be politically correct to the rest of the world being historically incorrect to their own homeland? To obtain what? In my dictionary this is called treason.

    Like

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