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!

 

Serb Aggression Reconciliation Needs Serious Introspect

 

To escape from any dire situation requires that you accept two truths: the truth of how you got there and the truth of how you can get out. And the sad truth is that, in all these years since Serb (and Montenegrin) aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (early 1990’s) Serbia’s leadership and the squalling (about victimhood) that underpins its Greater Serbia movement has dragged into the European Union like a mischievous dog, already changing the parameters of would-be-reconciliation into new politics that are not likely to see reconciliation reaching the light of day any time soon.

Truth and reconciliation commissions are something that typically happens to countries that have been truly brutalised and can find no other way past their national traumas. When initiatives for such truth commissions comes from the one who brutalised in the first place, from the one who has denied and twisted the truth for decades one can say with confidence that only through Divine intervention can such truth commissions fully succeed with reconciliation.

“We have solid arguments for Croatia’s involvement, because NGOs have information on war victims and crimes that state institutions do not have. This is also important for victims and for restoring trust,” said 23 May 2018 Belgrade, Serbia, based Natasa Kondic, honorary president of the Belgrade Humanitarian Law Centre and one of the initiators for the establishment of RECOM, a regional fact-finding commission for the establishment of facts about war crimes and other violations of human rights committed in former Yugoslavia from January 1, 1991 until December 31, 2001. It’s been dubbed as “Truth Commission”! And Kondic is digging up arguments why Croatia should get involved with such a commission. How much of truth and whose truth this commission is likely to promote is anyone’s guess – given the disasters and the political prostitution of truth presented on several occasions through the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

I would suggest to Kondic to hand over to the proper authorities the information about war crimes she claims to have and stop disrespecting the victims of those crimes.

Horror! Where in the world does a person admit publicly of knowledge of information about war crimes committed that state institutions do not have? Well, in Serbia, it seems. Does this information refer to so far covered up and un-prosecuted war crimes? Is it a scenario for political play and wrangling in a region filled with still fresh blood from crimes committed when Serbia attacked Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s? Is it a yet another angle and edge that gives Serbia more time to keep denying its crime of aggression and bloodshed, all in justification of its Greater Serbia expansion? You can be sure its not about justice for victims, if it was then any such alleged information should have been in the hands of authorities as soon as it came to light.

Civil society organisations from Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro have called on the Croatian authorities during the week to support the establishment of RECOM. The NGO in Croatia that has joined hands with Serbia’s and Montenegro’s (both aggressors against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) is Documenta. An organisation whose pockets are lined by the likes of George Soros and governments still controlled by staunch former communists still in grief for losing Yugoslavia!

And wouldn’t you know it (!), former president of Croatia Ivo Josipović appointed Zlata Djurdjevic, law professor from the University of Zagreb, as his envoy to RECOM a while back, and she reportedly participated in the drafting of the RECOM Statute. This is the same president of Croatia whose father, a former communist Yugoslavia, stands accused of horrific communist crimes against innocent Croatian people after WWII but justice has eluded him as it has others of such dark calibre.

Why would Croatia want to join RECOM at this stage when Serbia still negates and denies its role of aggression against Croatia! It stands to good reason that it does not go down that path as that path has all the hallmarks of political agenda that does not include truth and reconciliation. To demonstrate how Serbia operates in the realm of internationally desired reconciliation after the 1990’s war of Serbian aggression one only needs to look in the actions of Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic upon his visit to Croatia a few months ago. Multitudes of Croatian people protested against this visit, holding with anger among other things that Serbia still hides information about hundreds of missing Croats from the war, but Croatia’s president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic insisted on welcoming Vucic in Croatia, for good reconciliatory reason, she claimed. So, as such political things go, when Vucic handed to Croatia a number of files on missing persons the media went all out to build a hopeful picture that, finally, the missing can be found and their remains given a Christian burial…that Vucic has finally come clean in the name of Serbia!

Yeah, right!

However, the Croatian Commission for Imprisoned and Missing Persons – part of the War Veterans’ Ministry – after inspecting the files Vucic brought found that the information handed over had turned out to be about missing people whose remains or destinies had already been found! Vucic, Serbia, had no intention on handing over any information that would lead to finding the remains of victims of Serb aggression who are still missing. So much for good faith and will for reconciliation, which is always founded on truth.

And now we get a serving of Kondic who claims she and NGO’s have information on war crimes that authorities don’t! Kondic from Serbia is not the only one to keep information of war crimes hidden from authorities. According to Novi List news portal, Vesna Terselic from the Centre for dealing with the past, Documenta, from Zagreb, had announced that the data on victims, which this organisation has compiled for Croatia, would be available to the regional commission once it was established, “regardless of the decision of the Croatian institutions on whether to join RECOM “.

What are the Croatian authorities doing? It’s obvious that the possession of information on war crimes revealed by Kondic and Terselic suggests that such information has contents for war crimes that may not yet have been processed or prosecuted!(?)

Generally, the London Summit on Western Balkans will focus on three aims:

• increasing economic stability with a view to improving the business environment, encouraging entrepreneurship, addressing youth unemployment, and promoting regional inter-connectivity

• strengthening regional security co-operation to help tackle common threats, including corruption, serious and organised crime, trafficking of people, drugs and firearms, terrorism and violent extremism

• facilitating political co-operation – to help the region resolve bilateral disputes and overcome legacy issues stemming from the conflicts of the 1990s and strengthen democracy and gender equality.

As to the last aim above, issues to do with the war, one would think that it should draw firm lines between the aggressor (Serbia and Montenegro) and the victim states (Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) of the 1990’s and put a stop to equating them. The idea of RECOM appears to feed into the madness of equating the victim with the aggressor. For this reason, among others, it is a welcome thing that official Croatian involvement with RECOM had stopped with the exit of Josipovic as the country’s President and the exit of Zoran Milanovic as Prime Minister.

At the conference or summit in London the Initiative for RECOM has announced their plan to compile a consolidated list of all victims of the 1990s wars by 2025, as well as causes and circumstances of their suffering, “because that year (the remaining) countries of the Western Balkans want to become EU members.” Expansion of EU is becoming more and more like a market place for trading with the truth and half-truths; and prolonging the agony for victims who should have had justice years back.

It has been said in the EU power-wielding circles that The Truth Commission should ensure that the minimal standards of the right to the truth are met, through the establishment of a common database of facts about war-related violations of human rights, building on the legacy of the ICTY.

The problem lies in the fact that ICTY’s legacy has more to do with twisting the notable amount of truth via a number of shady testimonies, political garble, false claims of political agendas and the like and equating the victim with the aggressor than it has to do with absolute truth. In such a political war and political clutter, reconciliation has no hope without pointing a firm finger at the aggressor – Serbia. It is then that truth will out: who were the parties (countries) forced to defend own life and self-preservation in the first instance in 1990’s former Yugoslavia? The answer to that will facilitate the absolute truth in all its details.

If EU wants to find a way for countries to relate to one another it needs to show and demand that all are aware of history and the roots of its bloody events. It is not enough to count the bodies in order to achieve reconciliation, which is what EU wants – the aggressor must be held to account and atone. Reconciliation begins with that, without it, it simply does not even start in the true sense of the word. Defending own life and right to self-preservation become points and real justice is thrown to the wolves. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Give Yourself A Tattoo With A Razor Blade Without Anesthetics

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic (L)
President of Croatia
Aleksandar Vucic (R)
President of Serbia
Photo:Pixsell

Metaphorically speaking, “give yourself a tattoo with a razor blade without anesthetics” is the kind of feeling many people in Croatia are expressing as an intended impact of their president’s current invitation to Serbia’s president for a state visit.

A very significant number of Croatian people are outraged at President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic’s invitation to Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic for an official visit to Croatia mid-February. How Grabar Ktarovic indends to dust off the red carpet to greet Vucic in Zagreb is indeed proving to be a vexing question that goes to the core of the Croatian still largely uncompensated and unrecognised suffering at the hands of Serbia in the early 1990’s.

Serbia’s President Vucic has long, using blatant lies publicly despised, denigrated, vilified and maligned Croatia and Croatian people. Vucic, as did all Serbs who were active during the aggression, embarked on a personal mission during their aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s to occupy and ethnically cleanse of Croats and other non-Serbs one third of Croatian territory. Croats liberated that territory but were faced with incalculable costs to Croatian lives and at enormous cost to Croatian property by the enemy’s hand. None of which damages have been reconciled to a degree that could satisfy at least a part of due justice.

At the time when Serbia holds its exhibition in UN New York building through which, using lies and half-truths, purposefully tries to show Croatia up as the worst Holocaust perpetrator in Europe the Croatian president invites its president on a visit!

The invitation at such a time may indeed prove to be a gaffe of monumental proportions by the Croatian president, whose approval ratings are already floundering.

It’s a known fact that apologetic gestures via their implications of recognition of past wrong doing contribute positively to a reconciliation process. However, there’s no sign that Vucic intends to offer any apologies with regards to the bloody, murderous aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s in which he himself actively participated by fueling the Serbian intent to kill, plunder and rape in Croatia.

Given the public outcry and condemnation in Croatia regarding this invitation, including from some well-known intellectuals and politicians, the only way this meeting could end “well” is that Croatia’s president takes Serbia’s president to one of the monuments dedicated to victims of Serbia’s aggression; such as the one in Vukovar, in Skabrnje, in Tovarnik … to mention but a very few.

Anything less certainly appears as a betrayal of Croatian trust and interests that is almost treasonous in its own right; for untold number of unresolved Serb perpetrated crimes during their aggression against Croatia and untold Serb pursuits to vilify Croatians on a world stage even to this day draw one to such a conclusion.

Negotiating successfully with the enemy, an unrepentant one such as Serbia, on points that are outstanding as a matter of reconciliation would indeed be a political art of high-ranking. In essence, Vucic has taken, for the moment at least, the no-concessions view to ongoing requests from Croatia for the location of the many hundreds of Croat victims still recorded as missing from the Homeland War, Vucic continues equating the aggressor with the victim, he continues usurping politically superior rights over the Serb minority of Croatia even if they are Croatian citizens bound to Croatian laws thus maintaining Serb-imperialism over Croatia…

He said a couple of days ago that he “will seek the assistance of authorities in reviving Serb villages and speak of what Serbia can do for their Croatian minority.” The fact that Serb minority has three seats in the Croatian parliament whose line of representation and the fact that Croatian state budget channels significant funds in support of its ethnic minorities doesn’t appear praiseworthy to Vucic – he intends meddling in Croatia’s affairs over its own population, he continues denigrating Croatia in business that is not his!

Milijan Brkic
HDZ Member of Croatian Parliament
and Deputy Speaker
Photo:MP

One must wonder why deputy Speaker of Croatian Parliament (HDZ), Milijan Brkic, stated on Friday 2 February 2018 that he supports President Grabar-Kitarivic’s invitation to President Vucic because “Serbia is our friendly and neighbouring country. Mr Vucic has had in his history some derailment from the path, he wandered a bit, but its time we all take our foot off the ball, all together and that we stop concerning ourselves with the past.”

The problem with this is that Serbia has clearly shown via its UN exhibition last week that it is still no friend to Croatia. And that is only a small part of its unfriendly and aggressive activities against Croatia and its people. People are neither fools nor blind and to call an active enemy a friend is insulting to human intellect.

The situation on the ground regarding President Grabar Kitarovic’s invitation to President Vucic is that a significant number of people within the HDZ ruling party do not support it and the same goes for the opposition. Besides the sentiment expressed by Milijan Brkic the following exemplify the ones that are opposite to Brkic’s or deal with outstanding issues Serbia is expected to deliver:

Stevo Culej (L), HDZ Member of Parliament
Zeljko Glasnovic (R), Independents Member of Parliament
Photo: Screenshot

Stevo Culej (HDZ Member of Parliament) said: “75 Croatian citizens were killed in Tovarnik and no one has been made duly responsible for these killing nor have the remains of the killed been found yet, and I expect, if Serbia’s president comes to Croatia to try in his Serbia find information for at least one person still missing killed in Tovarnik and bring that information to Croatia with him…”

Josip Dakic (HDZ Member of Parliament) said: “as you know, I would rather he is in Remetinec (prison in Zagreb) than on a visit to Croatia…”

Zeljko Glasnovic (Independts Member of Parliament) said: “we have $34 billion war damage, and what’s with the raped, with the murdered, what’s the damage to the victims … since 1945 Germans paid $89 billion in damages to the victims of Nazism, what have Serbs the Greater Serbia imperialists done? I mentioned it before the youngest victim murdered in Croatia was 6 months old and the eldest 104 years old, the youngest rape victim was 5-year-old girl and the eldest 80 … who will pay for these people’s destroyed lives, families etc…”

Another concerning thing is for certain and that is that by inviting Serbia’s president to visit Croatia at this particular time when Serbia’s international propaganda activities based on lies are particularly viciously geared against Croatia President Grabar Kitarovic has served an unpleasant and disquieting surprise to her people. The surprise whose goals and reasons that justify this timing are completely obscure to the masses and politicians as well as the government itself. How is that for preparing the terrain for a visit Grabar Kitarovic claims is good for Croatia when its people are vulnerable still from the ravages and devastation of Serb aggression and are deeply insulted by Serbia’s recent UN exhibition? Grabar Kitarovic would presumably have had a more accommodating public reception to her invite had she clearly stated to the people at least some of the important points on her meeting agenda – which coincide with people expectations – with Serbia’s president on Croatian soil. Ina Vukic

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