Croatian Government and President Get Just Desserts In Vukovar

Croats march to Vukovar Memorial Cemetery to honour the fallen for freedom 18 Nov 2013   Photo: Vlado Kos/Cropix

Croats march to Vukovar Memorial Cemetery to honour the fallen for freedom
18 Nov 2013 Photo: Vlado Kos/Cropix

The day of remembrance on Vukovar as victim – 18 November – yesterday – saw an amazing display of determination to pursue with protecting the rights of victims of war crimes (the murdered and killed, the raped, the wounded, the disabled, the distraught, the still suffering masses from the horrors of Serb aggression in 1991) and their deserved memory. It also saw a shameful display of cowardice and hypocrisy by the Zoran Milanovic led Government and the President, Ivo Josipovic.

Yesterday, almost 100,000 people marched through the streets of Vukovar towards the Memorial Cemetery – led by multitudes of war veterans from all over Croatia, the members and activists for Vukovar as special place of piety (Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar), those who have been protesting against Serbian Cyrillic script of public signs for months, those who have been protesting against the lack of prosecutions for war crime of rape and murder, those who still after 22 years do not know where the Serb aggressor had murdered and buried their son, father, grandfather, daughter, daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, brother…friend, and those who still suffer the horrors and nightmares that come with profound mental health scars that are the consequence of having seen and lived Hell on Earth.

There is absolutely no doubt that Vukovar is still very much a traumatised city; the trauma of 1991 lingers on through government inaction and evident lack of sensitivity towards suffering of human beings (victims), through political twists that attempt equating the victim with the aggressor…

The majority of the 100,000 people marched in procession of remembrance towards Vukovar’s Memorial Cemetery where thousands of white crosses raised above the ground mark Croat life lost in the war of independence from communist Yugoslavia. The well known war heroes, Generals Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak found marched with this “Croatian Vukovar” procession.

Vukovar 18 Nov 2013 Croatian Generals  Mladen Markac, Ivan Cermak and Ante Gotovina march with war veterans and victims Photo: Vlado Kos/Cropix

Vukovar 18 Nov 2013 Croatian Generals
Mladen Markac, Ivan Cermak and Ante Gotovina
march with war veterans and victims
Photo: Vlado Kos/Cropix

A smaller procession, led by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and President Ivo Josipovic walked behind this so-called “Croatian Vukovar” procession until several of them lined up across the road red cemetery lamps, thus forming a boundary beyond which the government delegation was not welcome!

Vukovar 18 Nov 2013  Croatian Government and President march on Rembrance Day in a separate procession from majority of people Photo: Vlado Kos/Cropix

Vukovar 18 Nov 2013 Croatian Government and President march on
Rembrance Day in a separate procession from majority of people
Photo: Vlado Kos/Cropix

Vukovar 18 November 2013 - the "barrier" of cemetery lamps on the road which incited the government and president to turn away from the Memorial Cemetery   Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar 18 November 2013 – the “barrier” of cemetery lamps on the road
which incited the government and president to turn away from the Memorial
Cemetery Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

And, wouldn’t you know it!

The government delegation and the president decided swiftly to change their plans and go to nearby Ovcara monument instead of the Memorial Cemetery!

A visibly frustrated Milanovic said he had come to pay respects to the Vukovar victims and would not be drawn into politicking.  He said that this was a game in which he does not intend to participate.

However, many who turned out on Monday appeared more sympathetic to the veterans.

President Josipovic said in interview for Croatian TV HRT that “remembrance for the killed veterans had been wounded in Vukovar, because we had witnessed today how a group of people abuses commemoration for daily politics and for that which they cannot achieve at elections. I was sad today and I think the whole of Croatia was sad today … we could have perhaps passed through with the help of police but that wasn’t the place nor the time nor should Vukovar be used for such things. We all came in good faith, we wanted the best, we wanted to bow to remembrance to those who had given the most, their lives for our freedom but they did not let us … yes the lamps on the road were a sort of a decoration but really many stood nearby and could only be removed by force and we did not want that because Vukovar does not deserve that … we knew something like this could happen but we came anyway because we wanted to show the citizens of Croatia that we are there, that we are with Vukovar … this what had happened today is against Vukovar, against piety…

It’s eerie, the sense one gets from both Milanovic and Josipovic: it’s as though they talk of Croatian people in Vukovar as “them” not “us”; it’s as though they believe that piety and compassion with victims of horrid war crimes starts and stops on Remembrance Day – on 18 November.

Well, it does not!

One needs to live and breathe piety, one needs to fight daily for the rights of victims and not just arrive at a memorial service and think the “job is done”.

As far as I can see the people leading and supporting the Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar have been doing a great deal to fighting for victims’ rights and for the pursuit of justice against war criminals – they are the ones who keep piety alive and not the government nor the president.  The government and the president have indeed done very little, if anything for this cause of Vukovar as a special place of piety and it seems they had the hide to expect a standing ovation in Vukovar on 18 November for doing very little, if anything, to further the cause of piety for Vukovar.

Despite the fact that many will call what happened in Vukovar yesterday a political stunt (of the conservative opposition) to my view it is nothing more and nothing less than just desserts for the government, which has had an appalling record of deed and word when it comes to understanding, acknowledging and alleviating the suffering of Vukovar as victim. The issue of Cyrillic signage is a strong example of how insensitive the government is to victims, many of which still live and live in deep pain.

The government and the president fled the scene like cowards and like those who have a guilty conscience.  And are now crying: “Poor me, poor me – look what the people did to us. They did not want us there…”. How sad from a country’s leadership.

Indeed, the only hope for dignity of real remembrance for the victims is not in what this government will do but what people like those in Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar will continue to do. I reoterate, remembrance does not mean attending a memorial service once a year and bowing ones head for a few seconds, remembrance means living and acting for the right of victims every day. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Excellent! This was not a political stunt, this was an act of truth and remembrance for the victims of Serb aggression. The government is dishonest and insensitive against the victims – unless they think that the aggressor deserves the same honour and piety as the defenders of Croatia – in any case they certainly seem more interested in the rights of the unrepentant aggressor. Their vulgar politicization of Vukovar through the introduction of Cyrillic that defies their own laws should not be tolerated…what the veterans and citizens of Croatia displayed yesterday was true democracy and national pride. It’s time to take back Croatia! Bravo, bravo.

    • Indeed Sunman there was true democracy and national pride in Vukovar on 18 November and not from the government’s side either. Thanks for comment.

  2. Ta ista vlast, nakon šamarčine od naroda (100.000) u Vukovaru, da ima imalo dostojanstva dala bi ostavku! Ali za njih komunističke idealiste biti dostojan znači; ne prznati poraz, svi su krivci samo oni moraju biti u pravu, istina mora po svaku cijenu biti samo to što oni kažu, oni sebe smatraju iznad Boga pa tak zamišljaju da nikad ni ne trebaju snositi pred bilo kim bilo kakvu krivicu. S toga je neophodno pod br.1 kazniti komunističke zločine!

    • Translation of comment by Blago Moreplovac: If that same government, after receiving a slap on the face from the people (100,000) in Vukovar, had any dignity it would resign! But for them, communist idealists, dignified means: do not admit defeat, everyone except those who must be in the right are to blame, the truth must only be the one they say, they consider themselves above God and so think that they do not need to carry any guilt in front of anyone. It is therefore, essential as No.1 to punish communist crimes.

      REPLY: Thank you Blago Moreplovac, you’ve nailed the marrow of this government’s breathing that people see and feel and, yes, communist crimes must be punished and processed

  3. Thank you for the truth Ina.
    We marched yesterday as one in memory of our brothers and sisters that sacrificed their lives for the love of Hrvatska. The actions by the government was a pure case of political hostage and can only be likened to childsplay.

    Vukovar necemo nikad zaboraviti.

    • Thank you M Govic, indeed we will never forget Vukovar – as to the government’s and president’s actions on the 18th in Vukovar it was pathetic and cowardly.

  4. It’s about time that we the people took sensitive matters, such as is Vukovar and the imposed cirilic ”law” in our hands. As usual, the government officials have answered in a shameful matter, using the usual slander and false accusations of a division within our corpus, which is exactly what the government of Ivo Sanader has been doing and now The Kukuriku government is creating a national division. However, the ”Kukuriku” officials are afraid to mention that the most deserving war heroes, generals Ante Gotovina, Damir Kristichevic, Mladen Markach and others on november 18 rememberance on Vukovar had the courage to have stood up for the lost rights and dignity of the victims of Vukovar.

    • Thank you Tomislav Damjanovic on your comment – indeed, the government and the president cannot be relied upon to do the right thing for memory the dead victims and honour in action for those living – that’s why people power is so very important

      • May I also ad to my yesterday’s comment… Democracy has a living soul, it is not something one can learn at the community college, or at the ”Kumrovac” Communist Party School. Democracy in Croatia unfortunately is most often misused and abused as a ways and means for parliamentarians to come to power for a four year term, or five years for the president. The Croatian public, unfortunately has not yet learned how to breathe the free democratic air with both lungs. We fought for and won a formidable enemy, As the late People’s Cardinal Franjo Kuharic often said, ”There were two miracles in the war for Croatia’s independence, first of all, the world did not want to recognize Croatia, but they did. The second miracle was the bare handed Infantile Croatian Army was slapped with an arms embargo and faced the fifth strongest European army, and won.” …Problem is that is that the Croatian voter has been programmed, how else may one explain that Stipo Mesic (in the media) was the most popular president for a ten year term, and now his successor Ivo Josipovic is just as popular! Fact of the matter is, that in 1994 when Stipo Mesic ”jumped ship” and formed a new party ”HND” in the presidential race Mesic made an effort to de-throne President Tudjman, the poll results for Stevo Mesic was less than miserable, only1.4%. In other words, Tuđman could only be defeated by slander innuendo and skillful manipulation and lies. President Tuđman could only be defeated following his untimely death and absence of the Tuđman legacy from the political scene.

      • You’re so right Tomislav Damjanovic!

  5. As I follow these events from Canada, I am continually dissappointed with the Croatian government, particulary its cowardly leaders. They are out of touch with the pulse of the nation and continue to portray and place themselves above the citizens themselves. They have a skewed understanding of democracy, especially when it comes to serving and listening to the wishes of its people. But moreover, regarding Nov. 18, their arrogance and egotistical behaviour is most shocking. Did they really think, that the very city which they continue to offend and ignore, the place in which so many atrocities were committed against Croatians, the place where torture, rape, and murder occurred, would simply role out the ‘red carpet’ and welcome them with open arms??? Then to spin the story as Josipovic did, and say ” we wanted to show the citizens of Croatia that we are there, that we are with Vukovar … this what had happened today is against Vukovar, against piety…”, is laughable, but mostly insulting, and ultimately disgusting. What a shame; a beautiful country, with beautiful people, but with a disconnected, sel-serving government, who better understand the decorum of authoritarian government, rather the basic principles of democracy! I applaud the work and actions of the people of Vukovar, particularly, the Committee for the Defense of Croatian Vukovar, for their committment to what is just and right! God bless them and all our fallen heroes!

    • Thank you Vivodinac, I agree with you and I think Josipovic should have shut his mouth rather than say what he did, but then again one cannot expect different from someone who just seems to think he/she is above the people. What, the victims should have bowed to him for coming to Vukovar … how sad

  6. Keriophobia – Fear of a candle or candles

    • I think Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources that the government and the president have a guilty conscience when it comes to what they are or have done for victims of Serb aggression and so fear the candles, fear everything that could mean they are to mingle with the people at a human level – how else would one explain their spiteful behaviour we often see, their anger, their lashing out “from above”…

  7. Michael Silovic says:

    Trust me this was no political stunt.They were very wise to change course and go else where because if they would have attempted to cross the red candles or used any other kind of force there would have been more then red candles laying in the road. Both Milanovic and Josipovic are traitors to our countries people and who said that because they are political figures that they have a right to be respected as leaders.I am glad that they were forced to go to Ovcara because they had no intention of going there because they were not going to vukovar to pay respects but for political reasons and would have never went to ovcara to begin with with because there was no political value there that day for them.Politicians forget that we the people on our own overcame Serb aggression on our own as a people and we will overcome any goverment aggression on our own again now and in the future to gain the rights and respect we as the people deserve. The goverment must understand we the people deserve more respect then any politician as they would not hold any office if it wasn’t for those who lost their lives and suffering for our freedoms.

  8. Reblogged this on Eyes of the Mind and commented:
    Wish I could have been there….

    • Thank you for reblog Mishka – I wish I could have been there too!

    • On 19/11/2013, Croatia, the War, and the Future

    • Please could you clarify ,why so little notifications are being received , Now I receive a notice that if Im not interested to hit a link and nomore notices; I support Croatia 100 % and all its history whether negitive or not; I support Croatia for personal idealogical reasons and have done so with honor: Im not sure if its a virus attack or hacking thats causing problems Bog vass blagoslovia za slobodu, pravdu cast za Hrvatska

      • JoeGlocken, thank you on comment but I don’t know what you are referring to regarding links etc – not sure as to any hacking all seems to be functioning well from this side or from another computer I go to – interesting, your comment, will watch out for any problems. Thank you on your blessings.

  9. Enda Kenneally says:

    Hi Ina, I just want to say thank you for reading my blog but also I want to thanks for writing one of the best blogs I have ever read. Keep up the good work!

  10. Enda Kenneally says:

    Reblogged this on Talking Madrid and commented:
    This is one of the best blogs on WordPress. Check it out.

  11. Mario Budak says:

    Ina, thank you for another brilliant article. The present leadership of Croatia is anything but Croatian leadership. They may temporarily occupy the government posts, but their daily actions clearly show that they represent everything that is not in the interest of Croatian State and its Croatian citizens. In Vukovar they got what they deserved. This is the beginning of the end of the rule of communist oligarchy in Cratia.

    • Oh bless you Mario Budak – I do hope so dearly that we’re seeing the exiting tail of communist oligarchy. We need to give it a good hard push. Thank you

  12. Buna dimineata !
    Din toata inima si cu toata sinceritatea felicit
    pentru calificarea la Campionatul Mondial de Fotba ,
    BRAZILIA 2014 dupa meciurile de baraj :
    Succes la turneul final din BRAZILIA !
    Aliosa .

  13. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    May all the suffering in Croatia end and the country heal and be at peace. Hugs, Barbara

  14. Can you believe it? Somebody parked car with the Serbian Beograd registration plates (red fiat BG-719-DZ) just on the main route of procession of remembrance. Guess what happened? Nobody from the procession, none of the thousands even touches the car. At the end somebody put the lampion on the top of the car.
    Off course this is not a news, but I must say again: thank you people!

  15. I added (a poem) to and updated this post… after you “liked” if you would like to edit the “like”. 😉

    • Nice, bearspawprint 😀

      • Whew. I thought you might “like” to “unlike”. Gotta go.. Dear Husband gets his second cataract out this AM. Yay!! Why can people … everywhere …. just live and let live? It seems as if it should be so simple….:-(

      • Can’t unlike poem, too good! As for cataracts – happy days ahead for your husband – YAY!
        And we’ll all have a big party when we see “live & let live” around us but until then it’s just gonna be a small party 🙁

      • (( 🙁 ))

      • What else may we expect from the Milanovic government? In order to distract attention from the catastrophic economic scene, the government has projected well planned diversions fully supported by the media, Jovanovic forced upon us questionable moral education issues, the health care system has disintegrated, family rights are endangered like no where else in the world (with the exception of North Korea), use of the cirilic script particularly in Vukovar has been forced upon a city that never had the cirilic script. Even in Tito’s Jugoslavija, the official script was Latin! Meanwhile the Milanovic government is willfully and illegally financing non government associations that support his one party system that we thought ceased to exist in 1990! And the list goes on… Then as I roll the film back, about a year ago, when the SDP broke the law, for which the party was obliged to pay a hefty fine, in his style, Zoran Milanovic stated, ”I don’t think this law is fair, we will pay the fine of 5 million kunas, then I will change the law.”
        …What do we expect? Fortunately we may expect the beginning of the end the Milanovic’s dictatorial rule. I don’t think that any Croatian citizen can say that they are against the rights of any minority rights, however the minority must blend in and assimilate into the mainstream of the Croatian society and solve it’s ethnic issues according to the law and tradition of the host. As for myself, along with my family I found myself as a nine year old political refugee in Italy in 1957. Soon we immigrated to Canada and may I say I considered Canada as my surrogate motherland. When the war broke out in Croatia, I could not wait for the world to recognize Croatia, so I decided to join the Croatian Armed Forces and return to Canada following the victory I so believed in. One strange thing happened, in a very special way I began to bond with my fellow combatants, a bonding that one can not explain, nor would I ever change that experience for no money in the world. I made a decision to stay with my people in Croatia. There is no Milanovic or Josipovic that can make me leave, I am a 65 year old experienced fighter, this time the battle has been waged without weapons, and we shall not allow a political cop de Etat, I fear no evil for God is on our side!

      • Tomislav Damjanovic – thank you for sharing your story, which I am sure can be multiplied by millions! Keeping warm the love for Croatia is just so important!

  16. although this ins’t directly related to your article, it is in general. I hope that Josip Simunic fights his accusers and any this fines is given in court. This matter of being proud of your homeland, and expressing love for your country and people is not intended to be offensive to anyone. Unfortunately people throughout history misuse words and cause great pain to others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t express your patriotism. Should the US ban it’s national anthem because of their treatment of and atrocities committed against Blacks and Indians; the KKK signs the national anthem so should we consider banning the anthem of the US? Serbs committed grave atrocities in Vukovar and throughout Croatia using Cyrillic as a symbol of their aggression and terror against Croatia, yet the Croatian government celebrates and forces the use of Cyrillic. Let’s stop being ashamed of being Croatian. Fight for our rights as croatians!

  17. Let’s not forget that the HDZ party were the ones that brought in this (cyrillic) law while they were in power..while I despise the ruling SDP party (whom we know are communists and serb lovers) it’s the HDZ party that brought in so many of these laws to help the serb minority as if they were 50% of the population..and I haven’t heard their voice during the whole Šimunić saga..SELLOUTS!!

    • Thanks for comment Eddie Kolakusic. If you are referring to the Croatian Constitution brought in process of seceding from communist Yugoslavia – 1990… – then it’s important to remember that minority rights were included as a matter of modelling that Constitution upon those of developed democracies in the world or some parts of it… however the percentage of ethnic minority as a benchmark should be raised as today we know more than in 1990 – we did not know that Serbs were going to attack Croatia in 1990, we did not know that they would be trying to cover up their crimes, we did not know how hard it would be to have democracy and justice, so I do not subscribe to your view that HDZ or any other party should be blamed from 20 + years ago. It’s important what they do today and I agree that the political elites there are acting shamefully when it comes to Simunic issue, they fail to defend love for homeland as an honourable characteristic.

      • Thanks for clearing that up for me Ina, although I still believe HDZ have let the Croatian people down. They formed a coalition with the serbs last time they were in power, Marko Perković Thompson was interrogated the most under their governance and it was under HDZ that Gotovina was handed over to The Hague (albeit gave the ICTY information of his whereabouts). Not to mention the corruption that went on under Sanader’s prime ministership. And just recently, their refusal to vote in parliament in the Lex Perkovic scandal was merely a front to conceal the fact that they were looking after their communist also showed that the old UDBA still run the country

  18. Again, Eddie Kolakusic, you can twist it any way you want, I don’t subscribe to any political party there, and it’s individuals in a party who engage in corruption not the party itself. To my seeing of things when it comes to corruption in Croatia, it’s present in all the parties (like it is anywhere else) the only problem in Croatia is that there is no “watchdog” against it that’s as effective as it should be. As to coalition with Serbs, Serb ethnic minority political parties are legal just as are Roma, Hungarian etc and if any of them get elected that is their political success and responsibility to act in the interest of Croatia, because they are members of Croatian parliament. If they do not act in the interests of Croatia, then to deal with that does not constitute denying ethnic minority rights but rather their breaches of their parliamentary oaths etc.

  19. Thanks Ina, once again.
    Stožer za obranu hrvatskog Vukovara

    • You are so very welcome Stozer. You do great work and keep at it – truth, freedom and success will prevail with dedicated people like those around you.

  20. I blog quite often and I really thank you for your content.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week.

    I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  21. Thank you for writingg this

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