Croatia: Callous Deceit Behind Serbia’s Initiative For Common Victims Remembrance Day

Serb aggression devastated Croatian towns and people in 1990's

Serb aggression devastated
Croatian towns and people
in 1990’s

Distressing attempts to equate the aggressor with the victims of 1990’s war of Serb aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina coming out of Serbia never seem to relent. In July we witnessed Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic having stones, shoes and items of rubbish thrown at him at the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide, when he had to flee the gathering. The reason for this was mainly in his and Serbia’s twisted political course in denying the fact that Serbs committed genocide in Srebrenica 1995.

Aleksandar Vucic Photo: Beta

Aleksandar Vucic
Photo: Beta

During the past week Vucic has come up with another distressing proposal or initiative: he proposes Common Day of Remembrance for all the Victims of the Conflicts on the Territory of former Yugoslavia towards achieving lasting peace in the region! That means Serb victims, Croat victims, Bosniak victims, Kosovar victims…

Superficially, all that might seem fine were it not for the fact that the Serbs and the Serbs only, were the aggressors everywhere who do not want to accept it nor take responsibility for their aggression on other nations’ territories and people.
Vucic announced that at the meeting on the 27th of August in Vienna, and even before that, he will propose to all leaders whose countries were involved in the conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, to find a common day of remembrance on all victims from the Western Balkans, that would not be differed by their ethnicity.
According to his words, “everyone could show the same respect for all of the victims and we would all know that there were victims on all sides.”
From hatred and digging the old wounds from the past we cannot and we will not be able to live,” said Vucic.

Vucic needs to reaslise that “digging the old wounds” is essential to human dignity and justice if those wounds have not healed and the only way such wound can properly heal is through justice for the victim – through prosecutions and punishment of the perpetrator and through the perpetrator’s repentance.
The leaders in the region and some politicians in BiH have already said that this proposal will not be accepted.

Bakir Izetbegovic

Bakir Izetbegovic

Bakir Izetbegovic, member of tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation said that “Prime Minister Vucic’s initiative can only gain momentum if it implies genuine confrontation with the truth on all crimes, acceptance of verdicts handed down by international courts and historical facts established in the verdicts, as well as unequivocal condemnation of activities leading to new conflicts in this region – such as the initiative on holding a referendum on secession coming from the leadership of Republika Srpska.” Otherwise, he added, Vucic’s initiative might lead to relativising the character of the war and the scope of the crimes committed against the Bosniaks. “Such an initiative would not contribute to the process of reconciliation, but would rather set it back and endanger it,” Izetbegovic stressed.

Zoran Milanovic

Zoran Milanovic

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic rejected the idea.
“With due respect and condolence, we do not prescribe to others which holidays they will mark, and we will not allow them to do that to us,” Milanovic said.

 

 

Hashim Thaci

Hashim Thaci

Kosovo foreign minister Hashim Thaci said Vucic’s proposal is unacceptable, and it represents an attempt to rewrite the history.
We cannot equate those who instigated, organized and conducted genocide with those who defended their homes,” Thaci said.
Indeed the only thing I see in Vucic’s initiative for a common commemoration day for all victims of the 1990’s war in former Yugoslavia is yet another rude and callous attempt to equate the aggressor with the victims, to bury the blood from Serbia’s hands without any responsibility taken for the spilling of that blood.

 

 

It’s good to remind ourselves at this point that Williams and Scharf, suggest that a fixation on peace, especially when accompanied by practices of appeasement, does not simply result in a glossing over of questions of justice and victimisation, but actually leads to a discourse of moral equivalence and moral duplicity between victim and aggressor: “ Moral duplicity… entails declarations and actions designed to create the perception of moral equivalence among the parties, thereby eroding the distinction between aggressor and victim and spreading culpability among all parties” (Paul R. Williams and Michael P. Scharf, Peace With Justice: War Crimes and Accountability in the Former Yugoslavia, 2002, p. 26).

From this perspective, it is not just that “getting to peace” fails to directly engage victim identification and aggressor identification, but in fact it can falsely lead to equating the two groups as combatants on the same moral platform.

This simply cannot be permitted! For humanity’s sake if for nothing else!

There was no common moral platform between the Serb aggressor and those that needed to defend themselves from this aggression.

Aleksandar Vucic must fail in his bid for a common day of remembrance for all victims! All victims were not equal and had no common purpose. Serbs’ purpose was to attack, kill, ethnically cleanse and take the territory belonging to other people while the purpose of Croats, Bosniaks, Kosovars… was to defend themselves and their self-preservation. That of course does not mean that individuals of the latter did not commit crimes but this is not about individuals this is about the “blanket” purpose and policy that existed on “national” levels at the time.

 

Andrej Plenkovic

Andrej Plenkovic

But: “Of course, all victims deserve to be honored and respected. But twenty years later, we should be vigilant and discourage Belgrade from attempts to whitewash its failed Greater Serbia policy by revising this watershed event of the 1991-1995 period. To conclude, if the membership in the EU, thorough reforms and development of good neighborly relations are indeed key priorities of Serbia, it is vital that they are underpinned by the courage of their leaders who accept the truth and are ready for clear expression of regret and excuse as a precondition for forgiveness and lasting reconciliation with their neighbours,” commented so aptly Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian EU Parliament representative. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Marina Armstrong says:

    The wounds are still too fresh for any forgiveness and lasting reconciliation and the Serbs are not making it any easier with such a ludicrous suggestions. Milanovic (not that I am his greatest fan) is absolutely right; we paid the highest price for our independence and the right to commemorate what we like and when we like, amongst other things. Any acceptance of such suggestions would be the biggest let down of our government. This is nothing more than the lame attempt of Serbian government to endear themselves to the EU.

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  2. If he and Serbia had taken full responsibility for the conflict and the aggression we would be a step closer to his proposal. In humanitarian terms, many of the Serbian fatalities were indeed innocent victims (of his and Serbian politics).
    The idea is a few steps ahead of what could come later in the game if such laughable attempts at face-saving did not stand in their way. Such antics remind me of kindergarten games and not of international politics. He is not fooling anyone but himself.

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  3. Of course when Vucic mentions “getting to peace”, what he really means is “can we just sweep all this aggressor sh*t under the rug so that we can be able to pull out the Jasenovac card from the bottom of the deck like we have been doing for 70 years!?”

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  4. This guy is actually an idiot. I have more fiery words to use but i’ll leave it at that.

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  5. Stevie10703 says:

    First of all, Croatia, Serbia and BiH are three separate countries there is no reason to have a joint holiday like Vucic is proposing where all sides mourn each others losses. What is happening here is Vucic trying to enact a moral equivalence where “all sides are equally to blame,” when the reality is that isn’t the case. Self defense is not a war crime and it never should be considered a war crime. What happened in the Oluja cannot be compared to what the Serbs did to us and never should be. Even their own leader at the time, Milan Martic admitted in the Haag that 3 days before the Oluja even happened he told all the Serbs that it was coming and to leave which they did. You saw tractors filled with belongings, suitcases, furniture, etc. Did you see any of the same when Vukovar and other parts of Croatia were cleansed of all its non- Serbian citizens? No, you saw people who were lucky to be carrying one suitcase let alone most of their belongings.

    In this case both Milanovic and Thaci of Kosova were spot on, especially Thaci where he said you cannot equate aggression with those defending their homes. We didn’t attack and invade Serbia rather Serbia attacked and invaded us. This wasn’t a “Civil War,” rather it was an act of aggression and to rewrite history.

    This is just history trying to repeat itself. Do you ever hear of the Serbs talking about what they did during the first Balkan Wars in 1914? Do you ever hear them say what they did to Croatians and other non-Serbs during the first occupation of Croatia in the first Yugoslavia, created in 1918? Did you ever hear them mention mourning the deaths of non-Serbs during WWII which their Cetniks murdered in droves? Did you ever hear them mourn the Croatians killed during the second occupation of Croatia by Yugoslavia from 1945-1991? Of course not and do you think they’d want to mourn dead Croatians had they succeeded in creating a greater Serbia in 1991? Heck they can’t even admit they did anything wrong in Croatia (Vukovar, Skarbrnje, Ovcara, Borovo Selo, etc etc) and in Srebrenica, BiH and yet they want all of us to mourn their losses because that’s what this joint holiday that Vucic proposes would have ended up being. Vucic a possible war criminal along with Nikolic and they want to dictate how we Croatians should live and act. The ONLY reason they are bothered by us celebrating our victory is because they cannot accept the fact that they were defeated. If Vucic was a real leader and Nikolic was a real leader they would accept Croatia’s borders and stop with their sick dream of a “greater Serbian State” and stop instigating the Serbs in Croatia because it seems like they are trying to flex their muscles burning Croatian flags and writing “ovo je Srbija” inside Croatia.

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    • All you say Stevie stands and people such as Vucic and Nikolic who contributed to the making of the darkness that the 1990’s war of Serb aggression were and still are should really not speak of commemoration of victims. It’s an insult to victims especially seeing they see they did nothing wrong in inciting to hatred, aggression and murder.

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    • Well said. I agree with you completely. Unfortunately we have spinless leaders who have led us astray. Power truly comes from the people like you, and Ina and Misetic etc, who defend Croatia with the truth daily. Our leaders are a disgrace. Keep doing what you are doing, keeping writing and repeating the truth – at every opportunity. I suggest we lobby for a day of mourning for the establishment of the RS in BiH which was founded on genocide, terror and murder – truly a joint criminal enterprise. We should also have days of mourning for all the victims of Serb aggression since even before WWI, the 2 yuogoslavias, WWII etc. These people were truly victims. Equalization of guilt and putting all victims on equal moral footing is wrong – one is an aggressor who suffers casualties and the other is victim. Should we honour the assailant who suffers a bloody nose after beating up his victim? The situation in Cro is the result of years of spinless appeasement, neglect, naivety and even treason. You reap what you sow.

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  6. David Byler says:

    Amazing and welcome that Milanović had the strength of character to express the the right sentiment concerning this effort to make the horrors of Serbian aggression disappear.

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  7. ISIS ,TODAY beheaded a Croatian citizen,yesterdays these thugs beheaded French ,British ,American ,the world leaders seems unwilling to destroy this barbarism ISLAMIC terrorism.

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  8. …Chetniks, such as Nikolic, Vucic et. al. can NEVER change their character or their evil design for a “Greater Serbia”! That’s why Croatia needs strong leaders, who will never give up their vigilance against those imperialist designs of the Chetas!
    ….a footnote: there is a writer in a website called…”Republican Riot” (Julia Gorin), who has been writing extremely anti-Kosovo, Bosnian and Croatian articles for many years! She calls herself the “funniest comedian”, east of the Pecos, but she doesn’t seem very funny and makes her living writing for Serbian lobby groups!

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    • Gorin’s writing is sickening to me and others, Tempus Fugit – she obvious has nothing to do with truth but appears all about how much Serb propaganda pays her.

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  9. Ina I am sure I have told you this before, if not, indulge me please. The Tribute to Liberty group in Canada is building a Canadian Memorial to all victims of communism. It is a fascinating project supported by a number of people from all around the world. I am hoping more of us Croatians can get involved. The nations of Latvia, Czech republic and Hungary have also donated funds for this worthwhile cause. I am hoping Croatia will as well. Croatians seriously need to join this group because too many foreigners do not realize the evils committed in the name of communism in the ‘former Yugoslavia.’ And it is easier to spread the word through a larger group like this one.
    What an opportunity. The monument will also be built in a prominent place in Canada’s capital, Ottawa.
    So far, groups involved include Latvians, Estonians, Polish, Ukrainians, Slovenes, Vietnamese, Slovak, Romanian, and so many more… I am afraid that Croatians have not been involved enough unfortunately. Look at the list of donors, not one reads “Croatian club of or group of…….” unfortunately….
    For more information please visit their website: http://tributetoliberty.ca/
    Thanks for your time Ina.

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  10. Victims need to know their voice is heard otherwise the atrocity will repeat itself – it is the truth within families, cities, countries and a world bent on being tolerant to the point of denial.

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  11. Stevie10703 says:

    Just the other day, Pupovac in his Croatian State funded newspaper had a piece that mocked the Croatian National Anthem. Then he goes to Beograd and tells Vucic that the Serbs in Croatia are being oppressed. Pupovac is fanning the flames of hatred once again and its quite sickening. His newspaper was reported to DORH but will they do anything? Most likely not. Its sad that we are seeing our flag burned in our own country, we’re seeing people like Pupovac who is the Croatian sabor and is living off the backs of the Croatian tax payers mocking Croatia and spitting on her, and we are seeing Croatians inside Croatia feeling unwelcomed in their own country by Serbs all on the rise. Something not good is happening and the Serbs are once again acting like the chauvinists that they are. A Serb priest in the Vukovar area wrote on his facebook page the other day hoping for the death of Tomislav Salopek (though of course now he is saying his page got hacked). With Vucic, Nikolic, and Seselj in Serbia and then the Serbs inside Croatia, you begin to wonder what is happening and what they are itching to do. Yet, our leadership is more worried about a Thompson concert and him singling Cavoglave. Just wondering, have they found the person who drew the swastika on the field in Poljud? I wonder why they haven’t.

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    • If it were for me and many Pupovac would be out of Parliament, people like him activated the 19990’s aggression and war and are still going about it. Simply awful, Stevie – but maybe not for too long

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  12. They say time heals all wounds… but it’s going to take a hell of a lot of time to heal Croatia’s wounds… take for example how some blacks still feel about slavery hundreds of years hence!

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