Croatian Veterans Demanding Due Dignity Condemn Governance

Croatian Veterans Convention 2014 Photo: FaH  (Click on image to enlarge)

Croatian Veterans Convention 2014
Photo: FaH (Click on image to enlarge)


On Saturday 17 May the USA marked its Armed Forces Day with pride, respect and celebrations, parades, across the country to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces in times of war and peace. The UK will do the same on 28 June. In Croatia, the veterans of the 1990’s Homeland War still find themselves fighting for their rights, for recognition – for the dignity that should be felt across the nation. This is a tragedy that can only be removed through strong retaliation against this injustice.

On Friday 16 May the first convention of Croatian Homeland War veterans and members of their families was held in Zagreb – several thousands of veterans and victims of the 1991-95 war and their guests attended the Lisinski concert hall where the convention was held.

It turned loud and tumultuous as the mere mention of the minister in charge Predrag Matic sparked the gathered participants to loudly boo and whistle in disapproval and rejection.

We have been witnessing the long-lasting poor governance of the Croatian state, the sale of national resources, the pauperisation of the Croatian people, the stigmatisation of Homeland War veterans and the abolishment of their acquired rights, and now we say that’s enough,” reads one of the conclusions of the convention.

We say to those to whom the dignity of Croatian Homeland War veterans and the Homeland War means nothing, we will no longer tolerate such an attitude. We demand the prosecution of war crimes against the Croatian people and the revision of cases covered by the General Amnesty Act. We demand the collection of war reparations from the aggressor and that all rights of the veterans and their families be regulated under the Croatian War Veterans Act,” said in his speech Ante Deur, the president of the Guard Brigades Corps, adding that “the veterans will no longer permit that those who had not defended Croatia decide upon their fate”.

The convention voiced demands for the Homeland War to be portrayed in schools in a truthful and dignified way, and directions seeking that Vukovar be proclaimed a place of Special Piety and announcements that the veterans will not allow the arrest of Vukovar heroes.

In his very emotional speech, Djuro Goloski, a 100% war invalid, emphasised that the Homeland War was not a civil war and that the veterans who defended Croatia are not criminals. “We were heroes,” he said. “and today we are treated as a mob.” Goloski accused the current and the previous government of systematically disparaging veterans and restricting their rights.

We insist that our children have the right to education and work in line with traditional values and the world view of the Croatian people.”

Croatian Homeland War veterans will defend the values of the family as the pillar of every society, say the conclusions that were read out by the president of the Guard Brigades Corps, Ante Deur, whose words were met with standing ovations.

Even though Parliament Speaker Josip Leko was expected to address the convention, it did not happen. Veterans’ Affairs Minister Predrag Matic’s presence was met with loud disapproval, apparently scaring away his communist pro-Yugoslavia parliamentary comrade.

Standing ovations rose to the national football team player Joe Simunic (who is currently a victim of FIFA’s political persecution, banning him to play at the coming World Cup in Brazil, based on his “For Home” chant at a relatively recent soccer match in Croatia) , singer Marko Perkovic Thompson, members of the Initiative for the Defence of a Croatian Vukovar and General Mladen Markac.

Among the guests were Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic and the president of the opposition HDZ party, Tomislav Karamarko.

Nineteen years have passed since the last armed operation in August of 1995 for the defense and liberation of Croatia from Serb aggression. It is a tragic reality that the veterans still find themselves struggling for their rights, for their recognition as a national symbol of freedom and door to democracy. This awful reality has a great deal to do with the politics of equating the aggressor with the victim and the fact that many still call the shots in Croatian government who were against Croatian independence and democracy and who still do not accept it, nor cherish it. Out with them, I say.

Ron Kovic, an American veteran – a son of a Croatian father and Irish mother – whose battles are so well portrayed in his autobiography “Born On Fourth Of July” (and movie of same title) said, quite a few years ago:
We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph.
I have come to believe there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.”
And in light of these words and the demands and conclusions from the Croatian Veterans Convention, I conclude this post and say: Blessings to you Croatian Veterans from the Homeland War. Keep fighting for the democracy and the rights under it – for which you lost lives, limbs and homes! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Hopefully this leads to an actual change of the peoples mind, and does not fizzle out and become just one of the many protests that they have done, that had never achieved anything

  2. Nothing but respect for our Homeland veterans. To repeat the words of Jure: hopefully this leads to actual change. Let’s show the veterans that we support them and help keep them going towards achieving realistic goals towards bettering Croatia. I truly believe if anyone can start this change it is them, but they need to keep up the initiative. Blessings to them all, especially those who feel utterly lost and without hope right now.

    • Need to get themselves and their achievements into the Constitution! Kat, I too support them and dream of the day when celebrations and parades will be seen in every town and city in their honour.

      • First and foremost, Croatia needs proper leadership in all areas. That certain individuals, for example, are even allowed, to voice their thoughts on how Victory Day celebrations should be banned, is utterly shameful. These people get media coverage while so-called journalists scramble to find any scrap of “fascism” in our celebrations, just so they can feel validated in further putting down the veterans. The disgusting, pathetic people who dare call themselves leaders of Croatia, along with all their media cronies, should not be allowed to step their feet into Knin or Vukovar until they stop their Yugo worship, but we know that won’t ever happen, so they need to go. The only problem is, we need to be careful of who would potentially take their place because corruption and Yugonostalgia is steeped into many high-profile areas of society. Just look at what happened to HDZ. What a joke and insult towards those who fought for Croatia’s freedom. Croatian people need more options and they need to be aware of their options as citizens of a democratic nation. Probably most important of all is lustration.

      • People will make choices happen, the need is more than visible, Kat. I agree with what you say.

  3. superb post,veterans deserve respect and gratitude for their sacrifices.Greetings.Jalal

  4. I commend you Ina for your voice and for raising awareness about the Croatians’ struggle towards democracy.

  5. I read the whole post. Here they call that whole episode “The Bosnian War that Clinton stopped… They never mention the Croatians..

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  7. Ina, these words say it all ~
    ““We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph.
    I have come to believe there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.”

    And I would also Add, from a verse of my own poem about War.
    War has always been a part of Man’s lurid past
    Peace only seems to be a myth, never meant to last.
    Why is there distrust, Anger, Hate, and Greed?
    Has Man progressed? Or has he become an ugly breed?
    It only needs a spark of faith to kindle and to brighten,
    Those embittered souls who deal in death, their reason to enlighten.
    Healing Hands of friendship held out for our tomorrow
    Show them that the Power of Love can wipe away our sorrow.
    So leaders of the World, Lets stop all this oppression
    Only Peace and Love will guide us through to Man’s Progression!”…

    Love and Peace to you Ina.. xox

  8. All Honor and respect to defenders, the families, children and women who were raped. they must never be forgotten. God bless them all. thank you Ina. God be with you.

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