Croatia: Reconciliation Cannot Be Achieved With Denial Of Truth And Lacking Love For Nation Of People

Ina Vukic, August 2020

 

Many people are asking me these days what is the reaction of the Croatian diaspora to the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of victory in Knin on August 5.

The celebration of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm, was neither visually nor morally nor truthfully a celebration of the great and deeply sacrificial victory over the brutal and obscene Serbian or Yugoslav aggressor! What that celebration was is a false picture of the truth and reality of that time and now!

During the Homeland War, Croats and anti-Croatian Serbs did not sit together in any rows, let alone in the front row of the battlefield, but on opposite sides. On one side, aggressive brutally murderous Serbs, and on the other side, Croats whose lives were endangered in the middle of that Serbian aggression.

Then in Knin on August 5, we saw and heard General Ante Gotovina who, without a shred, without a shred of shame or embarrassment, dishes out some lesson that discipline is needed in war and in peace! Of course, this mention of discipline certainly referred to the HOS (volunteer Croatian Defence Forces), whose defenders of the Homeland War and Operation Storm  were standing at that time on the streets of Knin during the celebration of Operation Storm with police threats directed at them. Because, you see, their slogan For Homeland Ready (Za Dom Spremni), which infused courage and determination for an independent Croatia, bothers the current government of the Republic of Croatia. This slogan was decisive in the defence of the Republic of Croatia, i.e. in the establishment of independence.

Then, General Gotovina, straight-faced, gave himself the right to speak about discipline, which in this case should surely keep HOS defenders, under police pressure and threats behind the lines, the police lines, while others, undeserving others, celebrated part if not the whole victory to which they contributed, to which HOS contributed and deserve to be a part of its celebrations.

So, I have never seen such perversion anywhere in the world. That something like this should happen, that the celebration of victory should be denied to those who contributed to that victory, in national defense or in national victory.

Perversion itself!

It is not just about discriminating against HOS defenders in this case, it is about perversion against the Homeland War, perversion against victory.

HOS Veterans denied access to celebrations
of Victory/ Operation Storm
in Knin, Croatia, 5 August 2020
Photo: Screenshot

And then so that this discrimination and perversion could become even stronger or better – worse! – at almost the same time not far from Knin in Grubori, the Croatian government, that is, Serbian politics in Croatia, organised a commemoration for victims of a crime against six Serb civilians that took place some three weeks after Operation Storm. The crime was committed by individuals who, in fact, with that act of crime violated the policy of the Croatian defence, the policy of Franjo Tuđman, the policy of Gojko Šušak, also now deceased. So, this commemoration in addition to the victory celebration in Knin was simply planned in order to diminish the value and the validity of the victory of Operation Storm. That’s why they sent Tomo Medved (Deputy Prime Minister) there. The appearance of Tomo Medved in Grubori at the commemoration for the victims of a crime committed by disobedient individuals who violated the policies and orders of the Croatian defence. This appearance by Tomo Medved there undoubtedly symbolises also that the top of Croatia wants to attribute this crime committed by individuals to the overall Croatian defence in the Homeland War. And that is nothing else but an another step in equalising the victim and aggressor in the Homeland War.

So, a perversion, perversion which I and I believe many others have not experienced before.

What courage against the Croatian people!

But, all this said, Croatian diaspora was before the Homeland War, during the Homeland War and after the Homeland War “For Homeland Ready” and for God and Croatia,  democratic Croatia, ready!

Some will say that by organising the celebration of 25th Anniversary of the magnificent victory over the brutal Serb aggressor in Knin at almost the same time they organised the commemoration for the victims of crime against six Serb civilians that occurred in the nearby village of Grubore, three weeks after the victorious Operation Storm, is good for reconciliation! Well, my professional opinion derived from my substantial training and experience as a Psychologist, tell me that nothing can be further from the truth. Firstly, the killing of the six Serb civilians occurred on 25 August 1995, twenty days after this Serb-occupied Croatian territory was liberated by Operation Storm, and the commemoration should have been planned for that date! Secondly, the ICTY Appeals Tribunal (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) in the Hague had, in its Judgment in the Gotovina & Markac case, in November 2012, stated that “the state and military leadership had no role in their planning and creation” of this crime. So, why join the commemoration for these victims with the glorious victory of Operation Storm!? Utter perversion and political manipulation in the lame efforts to achieve reconciliation between the Serb aggressor and Croatians whom they attacked, perhaps? But here is the reality: one cannot achieve reconciliation through the denial of truth nor through lacking love for one’s people! And the current government with its Serb minority elected coalition clearly possess both of these characteristics that are not reconciliation-friendly: denial of truth and lacking love for the Croatian nation. Ina Vukic

Below is the video in the Croatian language with English subtitles that I have made with the above record of distressing happenings in Croatia around the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of Operation Storm. Please visit!

 

Croatian Operation Storm 1995 and the Serb Self-imposed Exodus From Croatia

 

In honour of the 25th Anniversary of the Croatian August 1995 Operation Storm that within a matter of days liberated much of its Serb occupied territory I would like to share with the public and my readers the documentary film in the English language that clearly, verifiably and with absolute and irrefutable truth demonstrates the magnificent courage of the Croatian Defence Forces in bringing to the people a free and independent Croatia. This video focuses on some of the crucial military tactics employed by the Croatian Defence Forces, ensuring that there were no victims of the shelling of Knin, which was usurped by rebel Serbs as the capital city of the area they occupied via ethnic cleansing of Croats, via murder and destruction and gave it the name of Serbian Republic of Krajina. The video demonstrates with historic evidence that Croatia did not forcibly expel Serbs from Croatia in August of 1995 and is in itself a document of truth. Very worthwhile watching, and I trust you will watch this video and share it. It begins with:

“Hello and welcome to my Youtube presentation entitled “What caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm”. My name is Luka Misetic, I am an attorney in New York, I spent seven years before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as defence counsel in the case of General Ante Gotovina which dealt extensively with Operation Storm. So, I have spent many years looking at the evidence in the case. At the end of this presentation hopefully you will learn three important things about Operation Storm. The first is what caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm. The second important thing is that you will learn the critical role that General Ante Gotovina played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and the third thing that you will hopefully learn is the importance of a little village in the Southern part of Croatia known as Otric and the importance that that village played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and in the departure of Krajina Serb civilians and military from Croatia during Operation Storm.

As I record this in August of 2020 and we are approaching the 25th Anniversary of Operation Storm, which took place between 4 August and 8 August 1995. Every year around this time tensions rise between Croatia and Serbia over the anniversary of Operation Storm. There are competing narratives between the two countries about the Operation. Operation Storm is celebrated in Croatia because it liberated 10,400 square kilometres or 4,000 square miles of Croatia’s territory that had been occupied by rebel Serbs for more than 4 years. The territory liberated by Operation Storm accounted for more that 1/5 of Croatia’s overall territory. Croatia celebrates Operation Storm every year on the 5th of August as a national holiday. In Croatia it is known as Victory Day and Day of Homeland Thanksgiving.

In Serbia the anniversary of Operation Storm is a Day of National Mourning. The Serbians view Operation Storm is that it is the biggest ethnic cleansing in modern Europe with the claim that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were expelled by Croatian authorities in 1995.

It is true that many Serbs left Croatia during Operation Storm… many civilians packed up and left and exited Croatia in long columns that took several days, leaving for the Serb occupied territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina known as Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) or going on to Serbia itself. But the key question that has to be asked is why did the Serbs leave during Operation Storm? The issues or questions are were they forcibly expelled by Croatia or were they encouraged to leave by their own Serb leadership which caused a panic among the civilian population and a mass exodus.

The fundamentally contradictory historical narratives are at the centre of the dispute between Serbia and Croatia which arises every year in August during the anniversary of Operation Storm. In this video I will explain the true reasons that caused the Serb population to leave Croatia in 1995….”

 

Thank you Luka Misetic for this detailed video of Croatia’s victory in its harsh path to independence, corroborated by facts, that stands tall in the line of magnificent Croatian truths. Happy Victory Day to all Croats around the world! Ina Vukic

 

 

HERE ARE SOME SCREENSHOTS FROM LUKA MISETIC’S VIDEO. PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE:

 

Croatia – Freedom’s Triumph Yet To Rise!

Croatia’s Homeland War Memorial Cemetery in Vukovar
Photo: Damir Plavsic

This weekend of 5th August 2018, like the same date days of past 23 years – as Croatia commemorates the 23rd Anniversary of military operation Storm, Victory Day, War Veterans’ Day and Homeland Gratitude Day – is sure to ruffle up many media pro-Serbian and pro-communist Yugoslavia feathers, dredging up persistently false Serb claims that 200,000 Serbs were forcefully deported from Croatia immediately after the successful military operation Storm, which liberated a large portion of Croatia from Serb occupation (self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina). The truth is that the leadership of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina had on 4th August 1995, as Croatian Operation Storm began, officially issued an evacuation order to Serbs in Croatia! Their own guilty conscience was behind it all, no doubt about that.

During this skilful military operation, Storm, protective of all civilian life including Serb, the Serb-occupied Croatian territory was brought back into the Croatian legal order, except for Eastern Slavonija, which was peacefully re-integrated later, in 1998. ‘Operacija Oluja’ (Storm) and ‘Operacija Bljesak’ (Flash), which was carried out in May 1995, were the critical military operations leading to the end of the bloody and brutal war of Serb aggression against Croatia.

Depending on the political spectrum people are in, the Official celebration of this Croatian national holiday, which happens every year in the Dalmatian hinterland town of Knin (the main site of events that occurred during ‘Operation Storm’) provokes passionate reactions from and has various meanings for different people, while Serbia mounts at the same time a day of mourning! The official memory of this military operation refers, as it should, primarily to the victory of the Croatian Army and its success in bringing back the occupied territories under Croatian rule. The narrative adopted by Serbs for their day of mourning rests upon false claims that Serbs were evicted from Croatia! Not even the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia finding (2012 in the case of Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac) that there was no forceful deportation of Serbs from Croatia at the time has made any difference to this preposterous, scandalous claim.

Serbs order their own evacuation from Croatia, 4 August 1995

On Wednesday 1 August 2018 Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic said to media that “unlike the hysteria that occurs in Croatia during the anniversary of Operation Storm, Serbs will mark our sorrow and tragedy and the calamity of our people in dignity…” Notwithstanding regretful cases of true civilian casualties in war (and in Srebian aggression against Croatia not all Serb civilians were true civilians, for it was the local civilians that often engaged in the killing, in the persecution and torture of Croat neighbours even before military aggression started), what kind of “dignity” can be attached to attempts to murder a nation, aggression, ethnic cleansing, rape, plunder…is only known to Serbs it seems. Those that support their deranged logic and narrative certainly, to my knowledge, have never questioned this!

In Croatia, commemorative culture regarding the 1990’s Homeland War has proved to be a platform for politicians to continue nation-building narratives and strengthen national identity. The associated and real sacrifice, real suffering, the real struggles against the mighty military of former Yugoslavia coupled with rebel Serb civilians who eventually formed military might of their own in order to stop Croatia seceding from communist Yugoslavia make Operation Storm all the more heroic for the independence of Croatia.

However, the former communist destructive forces, the so-called antifascists, persist as main barriers to and killjoys of true independence, which, if given a thorough chance, should have by now lustrated active communist heritage out of Croatian democracy. Hence, in Croatia, there also exist oppositional counter-narratives that challenge the truth narrative and are expressed through counter-commemorations and aggression-denial memorialisation organised by Serbia and the local Serb population in Croatia, and supported by a number of pro-communist Yugoslavia Croats! This year a youth association who pursued the line that Croatia should apologise for its Operation Storm mounted one of such deranged initiatives. In other words, the misguided, but politically maliciously wired youth thinks that one should apologise for defending ones home and life from peril and brutal onslaught! Regretfully, the need to preserve own life and pursue freedom from communist oppression that forced Croatia to defend itself seems to have been forgotten by such sections with the Croatian society.

Croatians have nothing to apologise for when it comes to Operation Storm and every other military operation carried out in defence of the country! And on celebrating the liberation from local Serb separatists and their brutal allies from Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia, one can with objective confidence say that Serbs are bitter and sorry that Operation Storm was a success, and for the failure of their plans for ‘Greater Serbia’.

Looking back at least since year 2000, when the former communists won government in Croatia, annual commemoration of Operation Storm victory have consistently been contaminated with implants of alleged war crimes by Croats during and after the military operation, with attempts and confabulations to criminalise Croatia’s Homeland War, with the agenda to equate the aggressor with the victim! During the period of Ivica Racan’s coalition government, from 2000 until 2003 (with Stjepan Mesic as the country’s president), the prime minister and most ministers avoided Knin commemorations, from fear of pro-West (democracy) policies gaining increasingly firmer ground in the development of Croatia as a free nation; free from communist Yugoslavia. Their main weapon, it would seem, was the fact that “antifascism” was, undeservingly, built into the Croatian Constitution as one of the foundations of the modern Croatian state, ignoring the Homeland War (the War of Independence) as its true and greatest foundation. The “antifascism” weaved into the Constitution was and is, in fact, the murderous and oppressive communism of Yugoslavia, not the antifascism the West has known in its midst! In 2004, the new HDZ government set the precedent that all of the top Croatian politicians (president, prime minister, and speaker of the parliament) should attend the commemoration in Knin, emphasising the importance of this date and place in the national consciousness. Even though the HDZ under Ivo Sanader had taken notable steps at reaching out to Croatian Serbs, including coalitions with the Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS – Samostalna demokratska srpska stranka), the victorious tone of the Victory Day commemorations invariably antagonised the country’s ethnic Serbs. By 2005 commemorations, it was clear that the pursuits to criminalise Croatia’s Homeland War via sending Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac to ICTY had indeed, in eyes of many, albeit unjustified, diminished the value of Operation Storm victory and several contested versions of that past had gained prominence as did antagonism within the Croatian society itself; part of which society are Serbs in whose interest it is to downplay the Serb aggression against Croats. The scenario continues to today, in one way or another someone somewhere attempts to inject the glorious and well-deserved victory of the Croatian military forces with poison – for political gain, undoubtedly!

In all that rather long while more than 1,700 mass graves of Croatian victims of communist WWII and post-WWI crimes in Croatia have been uncovered. The antagonism created around Operation Storm and Croatian Homeland War in general has helped and continues to aid the agenda that opposes prosecution, condemnation of communist crimes. If because of nothing else then because of that communist agenda the commemorations of Croatia’s 1990’s Homeland War need to escalate in their brilliance and shine – this freedom’s triumph must be complete. The completeness of freedom lies in determined pursuits to deliver justice to victims of communist Yugoslavia crimes.

New communist crimes mass grave site in Zagreb – July/August 2018

On Wednesday 1 August 2018 more mass graves of victims of communist crimes were unearthed, this time right in the middle of Zagreb, Savska Street! The human remains of at least 25 victims of criminal communist purges were found in two mass graves and one individual grave, located in a park in the Zagreb neighbourhood of Vrbik. Initial screening of the ground, using specially-trained dogs and geo radars, began after officials received information from the public that victims from World War II or the post-war period could be found there. Due to the large size of the area, the complexity and volume of work needed several phases of the investigation are planned.

This repeated horrific finding hasn’t been reported much in the mainstream media that seeks to cover-up or justify communist crimes. This latest mass grave finding occurred at the same time when former communists and Serbs are busy throwing vitriol at Operation Storm, still doing their corrupt utmost to deny the Croatian nation a deserved basking in the glory of Homeland War victory.

Croatia, indeed, must re-examine the nature of its commitment to freedom achieved with Homeland War. It must conclude that commitment to the freedom is, in fact, the strengthening of its national conscience and morality. In the context of Croatia’s peoples overwhelming resolve in 1990 to secede from communist Yugoslavia it is utterly immoral to protect any part of that Yugoslavia and especially its crimes against humanity.

Deliberate murder of innocent people and the oppression were wrong and remain wrong. Croatia must refuse to ignore or in any way appease the Serb aggression and the brutality of evil men and former communist regime. It must escalate condemnation and prosecution of communist crimes. It must clear these dark remnants of history that stifle freedom and progress.

To that end, happy Victory Day – Croatia! Ina Vukic.

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