Croatia: Vukovar – A Place Of Special Piety

Vukovar place of special piety

This is truly amazing! Vukovar makes history again! This time with firm determination and assertion of its rights as a maimed, tortured, murdered, raped victim of Serb aggression during early 1990’s!

At it’s Council meeting the city of Vukovar has yesterday 4 November voted to amend its Constitution/Statute and declare the city a place of special piety for its suffering and being a victim of the Homeland War and declare the Croatian language and its Latin script as its official language.

All the protests and all the deeply painful cries against introducing the Cyrillic script (Serbian language) in the past year, led by the Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar (about which I have written several posts) have not fallen on deaf ears when it comes to Local government authorities.  The Local government decision will now need to be presented to the State government for further deliberation/ratification by the Parliament and, hence, Vukovar’s special piety status remains only a declaration at this stage.

Whether the imminent deliberations by the State Parliament on this matter of Local Council declaration will evolve into a “David and Goliath” battle remains to be seen.  Certainly, the Social Democrat led government has not shown much inclination towards listening to reasoning and the plights of victims of war and their need to heal in peace without being exposed to the language of their executioner on daily bases. However, miracles have been known to happen and we can only trust at this stage that the government will make an effort into assessing how this historic move by Vukovar’s council could be fitted into the country’s relevant constitutional laws.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way! I truly believe in the veracity of that old saying – no matter what issue is at stake.

The immediate meaning of Vukovar city declaration is that there will be no bilingual signs on buildings and places under Local Government control. The bilingual signage will however, for the time being, apply to buildings under State government jurisdiction.

According to Croatian HRT TV, president Ivo Josipovic, commented that it is justified for Vukovar to declare itself a place of special piety, but of course not in the parts where that would be in opposition with constitutional law and that this needs to be clear to everyone.

Regretfully, this looks like a signal of appallingly low or non-existent creativity.  On the other hand, his comment could have well been strategically placed in order to embolden the government to keep digging its heels in against what Croats of Vukovar (the victims) want. After all, the president of the country should be the first to encourage innovative ways of appeasing unrest among the people and embracing initiatives that have at their root respect for victims’ needs to heal without harsh irritants such as Cyrillic script presents at this stage.

The largest parliamentary opposition party (Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ) led by Tomislav Karamarko have stood their ground all the while, considering that erecting bilingual signs in Vukovar has been illegal, i.e. that not all relevant parts of the constitutional law on ethnic minority rights have been considered by the government.

But even if Vukovar’s declaration and amendment of its Statute does not pass in Parliament one thing is set in stone, it seems: Croats of Vukovar will not give up their fight against Cyrillic in Vukovar.  Their other trump card is in their claim that the 2011 census, which showed 34% Serbs living in Vukovar, is not a true reflection of Vukovar’s population. E.g. Vukovar has a population of 27,000 and yet 42,000 are registered with local police authority as living in Vukovar! Hence, along with the Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar the HDZ is seeking urgent implementation of the so-called Residency Act, by which anyone not found to be living in the place registered would be struck off the register. Of course, the Independent Democratic Serb Party/SDSS in Vukovar has issues with this!

If it turns out to resemble a sort of “David and Goliath” battle then “David” – the Vukovar Croats, the victims – will win this battle in the end.  This is a most respectful prospect for all victims everywhere for, to my knowledge, there has not yet been a whole town, a whole city or a whole village declared a place of special piety, a mass monument honouring mass suffering. How wonderful for humanity this prospect is! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

And if anyone doubts the righteousness of installing Vukovar as a place of special piety here are some images that tell us: surely, no one can deny such respect for the victims!

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 through 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 Alleyway of massacres of Croats

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Alleyway of massacres of Croats

Vukovar, Croatia  Morgue with remains of murdered Croats

Vukovar, Croatia
Morgue with remains of murdered Croats

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Croats forced to leave their homes

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Croats forced to leave their homes

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Serbs ethnically cleansed Croats

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Serbs ethnically cleansed Croats

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Croats forced to leave their homes

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Croats forced to leave their homes

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Serb Chetnik forces and Serb-led Yugoslav Army drive Croats to concentration camps

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Serb Chetnik forces and Serb-led
Yugoslav Army drive Croats to
concentration camps

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 A battered city

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
A battered city

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 Devastation from Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Devastation from Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 A horrid price was paid for wanting democracy and  rejecting communism

Vukovar, Croatia 1991
A horrid price was paid for
wanting democracy and
rejecting communism

Vukovar, Croatia Cemetery for victims of Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia
Cemetery for victims of Serb aggression

New cemetery, Vukovar Monument to victims of Serb aggression

New cemetery, Vukovar
Monument to victims of Serb aggression

Comments

  1. Wonderful post! These images are the reason Vukovar should be a place of special piety!

    Like

  2. Just when we, the native Americans where thinking that we are the only people suffering, along comes your postings. I think yes, amazing and each and every one of the people of Vukovar are also HERO’s. Thank you for your posting.

    Like

    • Thank you sachemspeaks on comment, it’s a sad reality that suffering has been and still is widespread and it’s a sad reality that many resist taking the responsibility for their actions and others let them – for political reasons

      Like

  3. Michael Silovic says:

    As I stated several times Vukovar is to Croatia what the Vatican is to Rome. This is firmly understood by many and it will always be understood that Vukovar is and always will be a sacred holy place not only in our country but in our hearts and mind.While the local government had the courage to do what is right I firmly believe that the state government will take a different position. None the less we will prevail in one of two ways and that is to install a new government that respects the will of the people either through elections or overthrowing of the government as a whole. The power and will of the Croatian people have been tested before and we need to make this loud and clear to our government. There is nothing anywhere in Croatia that belongs to the Serbs and never will be ….Za Dom Spremni!

    Like

    • Yes Michael I fear the same regarding State government deliberations but the good signals are that much of the opposition is on the same wagon as victims in this case so future does actually seem brighter if people act

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  4. therealamericro says:

    Ina, I would just have to point out that not a single foreign news agency translated the Slobo salad song the day of the fall or the days after.

    Not a single one – not one video report, not a single print report about the “Serbian forces singing patriotic songs in celebration of Vukovar’s (“)liberation(“).”

    Its quite fascinating how the inspectors comb through every single Croatian majority hamlet, village and town in Dalmatia, Lika, Banovina, Kordun and southern Slavonia, but not in say Vukovar, to check for illegally registered and or absentee voters who live in RS and or Serbia full time.

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    • Yes, therealamericro, I shall never ever forget the horror I felt in 1991 watching BBC news that showed Serbs chanting and singing “Slobo, Slobo, send us some salad, there will be meat we’ll slaughter the Croats” and hearing the BBC journalist comment how Serbs were singing patriotic song!!! Then there was immediate complaint to BBC, the next day BBC apologised for mistake “in translation” but never ever commented on that again, hoping that the memory of that Serb horror would simply die away!? And as far as counting the people properly in Vukovar, there is no doubt in my mind and minds of all fact loving people I’m sure, that Vukovar’s numbers don’t bother the political elite as they are on a path that clashes with any real and meaningful human decency towards victims. Vukovar is symbol of Croatian independence and they aim to interfere with that at every chance they get or create.

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      • Ina the BBC has always mostly been incorrect when it comes down to news in the balkans especially with us, heck they even said that we agreed and wanted to be part of the first Serb-dominated Yugoslavia and that we wanted to be part of the communist/Serb dominated second one to.

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      • Yes Jure, BBC was/is so biased against Croatia, but then it used to be a nest for communist secret police UDBA agents and all sorts of unsavoury propaganda blowing from Serbia I’m sure

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  5. No matter how many times I see these types of images, I simply feel numb. I can not imagine how the people of Vukovar feel. May God Bless them.

    Like

  6. We should never forget vukovar! Thanks for an amazing post!

    Like

  7. Ako sa vjetrom neki zvuk vas budi, to kuca srce hrabrih ljudi, i reći ću vam samo, još jednu stvar: zapamtite Vukovar!

    Like

  8. Muy bueno .Además muy buenas imágenes
    Un beso

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  9. Srpski horror

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  10. Wow. Again those photos are heartbreaking. Seems there is still a ways to go for healing but that there is movement.

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    • Healing slow by many accounts psychologistmimi; hard to shift such horrible events to a place in the heart and mind that allows more peace, but bit by bit it will come I hope & pray

      Like

  11. Lex Justitia says:

    It is important to keep truth live and never forget all victims that fall, on any side, especially in Vukovar. Still, I read some of reply with a phrase “za dom spremni”, that is, I think, Nazi statment… I think you should ban this, for many Jews, Gypsies (and Serbs) died because of it during WWII.
    Shalom

    Like

    • Thank you, Lex Justitia, it is unfortunate that the greeting ‘For home ready” (Za dom spremni) has been associated by many with WWII but in fact it is a greeting that has existed in Croatia much longer and represents patriotic love rather than a regime. Croats too were victims of the WWII Nazi collaboration in both Croatia and Serbia and that fact has been dealt with both through courts of justice and condemnation of other kind. Not everyone who uses that greeting is associated with what went on in WWII where there were different sides …

      Like

  12. So terribly sad!

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] and that the 2011 census estimated the Serb population as 34.8%.  However, there is considerable doubt about this statistic when the number of Serbs registered in the city (42,000) exceeds the entire […]

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  2. […] I briefly commented in my last post the Independent Democratic Serb Party/SDSS in Vukovar has issues with Vukovar’s Local Government […]

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  3. […] and that the 2011 census estimated the Serb population as 34.8%.  However, there is considerable doubt about this statistic when the number of Serbs registered in the city (42,000) exceeds the entire […]

    Like

  4. […] and that the 2011 census estimated the Serb population as 34.8%.  However, there is considerable doubt about this statistic when the number of Serbs registered in the city (42,000) exceeds the entire […]

    Like

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