18 November – Croats Mourn Deeply

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 six

As I write this post, I watch live streaming Croatian HRT TV coverage from Vukovar – Heroic City, City of Special Piety, City that was on 18 November 1991, after three months of siege under brutal Serb destruction, mass murders, rapes, imprisonments in concentration camps, ethnic cleansing of all non-Serb population, levelled to the ground. As I write this I also think of the village of Skabrnje, which also on the same day suffered massacre and mass murder by the Serb aggressor.

Today is the 23rd anniversary of these horrible war crimes for which no one has as yet been convicted! The grief becomes deeper and deeper. Little if any sight of relief that justice can bring, if it came.

As I watch this commemoration in Vukovar on the TV I notice a Tweet by Martin Schulz, EU Parliament President in which he tweets to the world that Vukovar devastation happened in the name of “ethnic hatred”! Shock and horror overwhelms me, for this is wrong. Ethnic hatred with which Serbs entered Vukovar in 1991 was ushered into Croatia with a song they sang loudly in Vukovar’s streets: “Slobo (Slobodan Milosevic), Slobo, send us some salad, there will be meat, we’ll slaughter the Croats”! Ethnic hatred was a tool to use in Serbia’s attempt to grab one third of Croatian territory – so the devastation was not in the name of ethnic hatred but in the name of land grabbing, of denying democracy to a nation (Croatia) that wanted out of communist Yugoslavia. Now that Croatia is a part of EU I trust there will be a Croatian MP who will educate the European Parliament about the war in Croatia in 1990’s! I’ve replied to Mr Schulz’s tweet – of course I did, I cherish the memory of the many thousands of fallen innocents and all other victims of this terrible time in Croatia’s history.

 

Tweet on Vukovar
Croats mourned today in Vukovar, over 100,000 came, and in Skabrnja and, indeed, there is not a single city, town or village that has not lit candles in its streets and squares in commemoration of the victims.

Following are screenshots (hrt.hr) of the procession through Vukovar today that ended at the War Memorial Cemetery and walked and prayed in silence and dignity.

Vukovar, 18.11.2014 - Obiljezavanje Dana sjecanja na zrtvu Vukovara 1991.

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Forgive - never forget!

Forgive – never forget!

Never forget and never forgive until the last criminal repents, is made to take responsibility for his/her crimes. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. The cruelties of injustice and war. Great photographs to accompany the text.
    Thank you, Ina, for sharing this.
    Best Wishes
    john

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  2. Bravo once again for yet another excellent piece on such a difficult and delicate subject. Both you and Mishka Gora have outdone yourselves with your empathetic and extremely well understanding exposés.

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  3. I do not understand the point of your article, Ina. It feels like it is creating an argument where there IS none. Please educate me.

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    • Oh dear, fjpeter1961 – no argument indeed when it comes to commemorating and mourning the victims. An argument might be picked when one sees how much misinformation goes around about that war or, indeed, should one forgive war crimes when the perpetrator expresses no remorse, does not take responsibility nor acknowledges wrong doing and the justice system fails the victims miserably as is the case for victims of Vukovar and Skabrnje

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  4. Thank you Ina…

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  5. Thanks so much Ina. A very emotional day. As many others, I have been to Vukovar and there is an eery silence that permeates the town every autumn. As visitors walk the streets, it is hard not to imagine what is was like to be there when the lovely baroque town fell to the Serbs and Yugoslav army. How must the residents have felt when they were pulled from their damp cellars after months hiding in the dark to see their town left entirely in rubble?
    How the fear must have struck their hearts when the men and women were separated by the attackers, the men being taken to unknown locations, only to be executed by the Serbs soon afterwards.
    What it must have been like to see the ruins of a town you were born and raised in, loved and then lost so violently?
    It is a town that every single Croatian should visit and I encourage tourists to go there as well.
    It is a town that was rebuilt, but for a few buildings, yet remains divided as Serbs there still seek to claim it as part of a Greater Serbia. Returning Croats are forced to live beside the same monsters who razed and raped the town.
    Where is the justice?
    The 1991 siege was like a Balkan Leningrad. To this day, I am astonished at how the out numbered and outgunned Croat soldiers with their hunting rifles, running shoes, and makeshift armour, defended the town when they were being pounded by the Yugoslav Army and Serbian Chetniks every minute.
    If anyone googles Vukovar they can see before and after photos of the sheer devastation.
    Incidentally, the ‘give us salad, we have Croatian meat to eat!’ song was NOT translated by the BBC when it was reported but instead was referred to as a Serbian patriotic song.
    Thank you for posting this Ina.
    You are right on. I too am disgusted in Martin Schulz’s words. He could have been more specific about who was decimating the town and slaughtering its civilians and who was rightfully defending it.
    It is an insult to the victims. It is an insult to all victims.
    Why is it so easy to call out who did the killing in WW2 yet so difficult today — in our world of extreme moral relativism.
    To this day, many people claim ‘both sides’ share equal blame.
    Vukovar was Croatia’s Sarajevo. The difference was most media did not even cover the siege of Vukovar, while they flocked to Sarajevo to report on it.
    I encourage anyone who doesn’t know to seek out photos of the town when it fell:
    http://pleter.info/kolumne/sjecanje-na-vukovar-1991/attachment/vukovar-18-studenoga-1991/

    Thanks again for posting this Ina. Prayers to the dead of Vukovar.

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    • Yes, Erica, I remember well how BBC reported and showed Serb forces marching through Vukovar singing those words and BBC commentator said they were singing national song, then there were complaints to BBC and BBC to my recollection apologised. You make good points here.

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  6. Michael Silovic says:

    I mourn today with all my Croatian brothers and sisters for the loss of life and for the devastation to our mother land. My trips to Ovcara Farms has always been deeply seated in the back of my mind as a reminder of the horror we have been through. It is not only enough to remember but we all must ensure that all of those responsible face their judgement day in the court house or on the street. As a Slavonian it is my responsibility to do all I can to help our people be triumphed in all we do in the future and too make certain we never forget those who betrayed us. While I am still filled with anger, hatred and rage for those who attempted to destroy us I am enlightened somewhat in that we have overcome in our history all of those who wanted to enslave us. I have a copy of a scream in the night with a rosary in my dining room with a plaque of Vukovar as a reminder of the horrors we have been through. Vukovar is to Croatia what the Vatican is to Rome and it will never surrender to Serbian Cyrillic or peoples ever again under any circumstances….~Za Dom Spremni!~

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  7. Here’s a quote from Dalje.com by the leader of the Serb National Party in Croatia:

    “This Remembrance March involved different people, but we all went in the same direction and with the same goal – to bow down to the people whose sacrifice we respect, to remember the suffering of this town and to leave everything else aside,” Pupovac said.

    Golly, jeez, he seems so respectful, if it weren’t for his blatant deception of trying to equate victim with aggressor. Pupovac you snake, the sacrifices made by Serbs were to conquer and grab land to create something which never existed, a Greater Serbia through ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and destruction of Croatian identity. Had the Serbs won the war there would be no demands for remembering the sacrifices of the Croatian victim, only Serb celebration and congratulations…in fact Seselj congratulated his Chetniks brothers today on the liberation of Serbian Vukovar. And yes our government, diplomacy and EU reps are silent. We should not pay homage to the aggressor ever!

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  8. Thank you Ina for this beautiful tribute to the commemoration in Vukovar . My heart goes out to all who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending this beautiful Croatian city from Greater Serbia aggression. Unfortunately the sadness grows each year as no one has answered for the crimes and destruction, there are many Croatian mothers who still cannot bury their children, women who were raped while their rapists walk free and there is absolutely no will in the international community to bring Serbia to account.

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  9. BosniakPrince says:

    The Bosnian Serb war veteran association was recently starving because the Serb republic refused to pay them their money. The members are literally the same people who committed genocide against Bosniaks/Croats yet the Bosniak/Croat war veteran association ( who gets funded by their federation) shared their money with the Bosnian Serb former troops in the name of brotherhood. Which will had been a beautiful thing if they were helping hospitals or schools in the Serb republic but no! they though it was much better to help the Serb criminals who killed their families few years ago is there a name for that kind of stupidity ? hardworking Croats and Bosniaks are now paying their tax money to fund the life’s of those who tried to remove them from the world

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    • Bosniakprince, hard to answer the question without knowing more details of facts, but I agree funding would go much better with hospitals, schools and such public use facilities. Whether brotherhood is at the foot of such “generosity” is hard to say but perhaps some kind of reconciliation might be at someone’s mind, however placed at the wrong place because such a move would create and fuel more unrest and protests rather than peace in the population there where there are still many war criminals walking the streets and perhaps receiving the benefit of the money you speak of.

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  10. Heart wrenching article and pictures.Jalal

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  11. Thank you for the photos. I liked the gathering of many to remember people lost to violence. The only true defense is a people willing to stand against hate and violence.

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    • Thank you, johncoyote, and yes – standing against hate and violence is a noble and brave path especially as there are those who turn their heads away. The best way to peace is to stand against hate and violence firmly.

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  12. Good morning, tahnk you very much for remembering these sad events.

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  13. Dear Ina,
    We can forgive, but we can never forget. This is very sad, but we cannot put things “behind” us.

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  14. They killed my grandparents in Vukovar throwing them from the roof of the house forcing them to jump, horrible crime by the Chetniks. I don’t blame this on Serbian normal people but those Chetniks were cruel blood thirsty animals. Peace and forgive but don’t forget.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] of advanced illness and pending judgment) happened just days before the 23rd anniversary of the fall of Vukovar (18 November), which is a very important date for the Croats and which evidences untold atrocities […]

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