Croatia – Persistent Grief For Victims Is A Call For Justice

Photos: Screenshots news

Croatia’s Homeland War consequences are still unsettling – a lot. The frequent commemorations at graves of victims or massacre sites of Serb aggression against Croatia convey a clear message of permanent expressions of profound, prolonged and intense grief of a nation, still after 26 years, crying for justice. The country’s pivotal operations, including the diplomatic core, are riddled with communist mindset unwilling to surrender to Croatia’s 1990’s original national creed of independence and full democracy away from communist Yugoslavia. The Serb aggressor has not in meaningful and lasting terms answered for the responsibility of aggression and hatred waged against a nation that chose to secede from communist Yugoslavia.

This week of 18th November 2017 marks 26 years from the fall of Vukovar and massacres and ethnic cleansing of Croats and other non-Serbs from their homes; it marks also the massacres of Croats in Skabrnje; it marks also the amazing love for freedom and the multitudes of Croatian victims who perished in the early 1990’s defending its resolve to secede from communist Yugoslavia, resist a Greater Serbia expansion, and build a nation of freedom and democracy.

Not a week passes in Croatia, it seems, that we don’t come across a marking of anniversaries of terror waged against the Croatian freedom fighters, whether that be the scaffolds, the mass graves from the 1990’s Homeland War or those of communist Yugoslavia crimes. Intense grieving for the victims never seems to subside; intense anger at the lack of justice for the victims is ever-present, intense need to justify (because others/pro-communists have wrongfully embarked upon criminalising it) defending Croatia from aggression in the 1990’s Homeland War that was – unquestionably – just. A nation arrested in grief unable to truly and fully move forward, channelling one into thinking and worrying as how all this will manifest in future generations.

As things stand now the foreseeable future in Croatia is unlikely to bring any significant reprieve from the state of prolonged grief and confusion when it comes to lack of justice for the victims of the Homeland War. Year in and year out the status remains the same, some courageous political leaders and citizens speak the same: we need justice for the victims. Instead of pointing the finger in Serbia’s direction, for guilt and war damages compensation to Croatia, president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic decided in Vukovar or Saturday 18 November upon a populist statement that may appease emotions of the grieving Croats but shows absolutely nothing in the way of a future where intense grief would be requited by acts (instead of hope) of justice for the victims and country, giving way to building a better future where assertive emancipation of the nation’s original goals of democracy (severed fully from communism and communist mindset influencing the governance of the country) and prosperity.

We hear every year, year after year, how Serbia needs to come clean regarding the missing in Croatia from its war of aggression against Croatia.

A lot of water will flow in the Dunav river before Croatia and Serbia become friendly states, but that doesn’t mean we cannot talk to them, our responsibility is to talk and solve the open questions such about those that are still missing that is a humanitarian question, which we have to solve as soon as possible, ” Grabar Kitarovic said.

Tracking her and her dimplomacy’s relations with Serbia one couldn’t possibly see any genuine intention on her part as far as the connotations of this statement are concerned. We’ve heard it all before – for at least 20 years in fact.

One would expect that to truly insist on justice, to truly insist upon solving the issue of the still missing, after 26 years, Croatia’s leaders would cease employing the diplomatic staff that have obviously not been doing a good job at moving beyond the impasse with Serbia on the issue of the missing.

Instead of intent to continue talks with Serbia on this and similar issues president Grabar-Kitarovic would have convinced us better of the genuineness in her efforts to resolve the question of the missing with Serbia were she announcing in Vukovar the blatantly clear picture that Croatia’s diplomatic core needs a severe shake up. A shake-up which would sift out the pro-communist Yugoslavia, the former communist operatives and bring in fresh untainted by communism staff who might do a better job than their predecessors when it comes to diplomacy with a country that was also a member state of communist Yugoslavia but which did not want a break-up of Yugoslavia.

Friendship per se has nothing to do with diplomacy when it comes to resolving critical issues that are important to the soothing of grief for victims of war of aggression prevalent in ones nation (Croatia). Business is business and, at that, friendships and any emotional or politically sensitive ties due to previous coexistence under the Yugoslav flag should be closely scrutinized, for it is these that interfere with objective justice. Croatia’s diplomatic core is riddled with former communist Yugoslavia operatives and it’s a fool’s paradise to think things can change regarding the missing while they go about playing the diplomatic game with Serbia for the interests of Croatia and Croatian people.

So I choose to heed the words of a man taking part in Vukovar’s remembrance procession on Saturday who said:

I think we should be restoring people’s lives more than some monuments, that people have a job, have a good time and that they don’t leave this town,” he said.


For that to occur it is essential to recognise that, in aid of maintaining the destructive notion that communism and Yugoslavia were well-functioning platforms for people to live under, things of national importance for Croatia have become warped and distorted. The relationship that normally exists between national creed/orthodoxy and revisionism in historical writing as well as living itself has been reversed in Croatia. Specifically, in the case of Croatia, the national creed of righteousness of the fight for freedom only lived a relatively short time without disruptions before the former communists began with revisionist injections, claiming that the fight for freedom is to be criminalized while permitting constant claims how communist Yugoslavia was a great place to live in. It’s usually the case that the national creed precedes revisionism in historical writings: the first historians to write about great events generally accept official explanations for them – not in Croatia, not with so many former communists who didn’t want an independent Croatia in the first place. The overwhelming majority of citizens (94% of voters) voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia and defend that decision and belief with bare life defined Croatia’s national creed regarding the 1990’s Homeland War. The righteousness of that national creed moved the nation in 1990 with its diaspora to the robes of David against the Goliath (communist Yugoslavia led by Serbia and its determination for a Greater Serbia to be created via brutal aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular). This was not at all an easy task, particularly given the fact that a great many of Croatian powerful communists acted against the very idea, let alone emancipation, of an independent Croatia, away from communism.

Restoring people’s lives after a major war requires a national consensus on moral judgment for the war. It requires an affirmation on the national level of the righteousness of its national creed that catapulted it to today. Croatia, today, suffers a disturbing and disquieting dichotomy when it comes to the assertion of righteousness of moral judgment of its defence efforts against Serb and Yugoslav Army aggression in the 1990’s. Croatia must reverse the relationship between national creed and revisionism.

With the passage of time and the coming into power of former communists in Croatia (emboldened by foreign biased powers) and the lack of lustration with view to enabling Croatia to move forward into a functioning democracy do we end up with palpable skepticism in the Croatian society regarding the Homeland War. Croatian defenders, victims and Croatia’s status as victim-nation become lost – fretful for due recognition and justice. Its goals of freedom and democracy become bastardised as the Homeland War is shown by former communist leaders and notables as a criminalised venture, the push to equate the victim with the aggressor creating confusion, anger and helplessness for a nation largely arrested in prolonged grief due to lack of justice for victims of the war of aggression. The fight against communism in Croatia constantly being devalued and made to appear irrelevant and yet it was crucial for the nation voting to secede from communist Yugoslavia.

Lustration would indeed put a significant stop to the communist revisionists of Croatia’s Homeland War – the equating of victim with the aggressor would experience the deserved quashing blow. Croatia’s communists never wanted an independent Croatia and all the revisionism regarding its war of defence, all half-baked attempts to influence the delivery of justice to the victims, have a great deal to do with that fact.

The task for Croatia’s leaders must become one of insisting in unison that the Homeland War was necessary for precisely the reasons that the Croatian people and leaders at the time said it was: to preserve the credibility of people’s wishes to secede from Yugoslavia, because of which they had no choice but to fight the war in order to defend the nation and its people. To achieve that unison, lustration is absolutely necessary.

Croatia achieved a military victory over Serb and communist Yugoslavia Army aggressor. The persisting efforts to equate the victim (Croatia) with the aggressor (Serbia) pretty much have the effect of minimising or even belittling the significance of that military victory, giving way to controversies that should not be. Giving way to unrelenting and intense grief for the victims-without-justice across the nation.

If, as a nation, Croatia reflected seriously on the journey from independence through the lack of full emancipation of the goals set for that independence, we would have to acknowledge that the threat to freedom and democracy through continuing enslavement of the nation by communist mindset is something that is arresting progress and keeping the nation in a prolonged, constant state of grief. As long as there are present systems and structures which deny citizens of Croatian the opportunities and the judicial system commensurate with a full democracy (away from communist come socialist bureaucracy), social justice free from corruption, rights, and respect, emancipation of its 1990/1991 original goals remains an ideal and communism or its off-cuts will continue retarding the glory due for Croatia’s independence.

The purpose of history is to unearth and engage with those truths that have something to teach us. This requires a willingness to interpret and render moral judgments; the moral judgments that will emancipate the grounds upon which a terrible war was fought for a better future. A moral judgment based on the national creed for Croatia’s independence has the power to unleash the decisive will and power in mobilising lustration in Croatia. Ina Vukic

Croatia Remembering Victims Of Vukovar And Skabrnje

Fountain in Zagreb lights up as Vucedol Dove the symbol of Vukovar Croatia 24th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar

Fountain in Zagreb
lights up as Vucedol Dove
the symbol of Vukovar
24th anniversary of the
fall of Vukovar


On the night of November 17th people of Croatia’s capital Zagreb and their friends and visitors lit up the city with candles lining its long and wide artery called Vukovar Street! This was in memory and honour of all those who perished and died defending the Croatian city of Vukovar from brutal and genocidal Serb aggression in 1991 until the city fell on its knees on 18 November 1991, suffered genocide and ethnic cleansing committed against the Croats and other non-Serbs and became occupied by Serb-led forces.

 Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Lights the candles along Vukovar Street in Zagreb 17 November 2015 Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Lights the candles along
Vukovar Street in Zagreb
17 November 2015
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

More than 10,000 candles were lit last night in the capital Zagreb along the 10-kilometre Vukovar Street to remember victims from the 1990s homeland war in the eastern town of Vukovar.


The damage to Vukovar during the long siege prior to that date in 1991 has been called the worst in Europe since World War II, drawing comparisons with the World War II–era Stalingrad. The city’s water tower, riddled with bullet holes, has been retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events of the early 1990s.

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 - brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 – brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence. Approximately 2,000 self-organised defenders (the army of Croatia was still in an formative stage at that time) defended the city for 87 days against approximately 36,000 Yugoslav People’s Army/JNA troops commanded by Serbia supplemented with 110 vehicles and tanks and dozens of planes. The city suffered heavy damage during the siege and was eventually overrun. Untold cruelty was suffered by the Croatian people of Vukovar during the siege – massacres, murders, tortures, rapes, forced deportation, humiliation, forced detention… Some 2,000 defenders of Vukovar and civilians were killed, 800 went missing (more than half of which are still missing to this day in 2015) and 22,000 Croat and non-Serb civilians from Vukovar were forced into exile.

Remembering those that perished Vukovar Street in Zagreb 17 November 2015 Remembering Vukovar of 1991 Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Remembering those that perished
Vukovar Street in Zagreb
17 November 2015
Remembering Vukovar of 1991
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

On that same day – 18 November 1991 – on the other end of Croatia – in the seaside village of Skabrnje near Zadar – another terrible crime was committed by Serbs, under the command of Ratko Mladic (held also responsible for Srebrenica genocide 1995), against innocent Croatian civilians. Moving from house to house, Serb butchers tortured, murdered and massacred 43 civilians and 15 Croatian defenders. The Croatian villagers that survived were forced into exile and their property burned and pillaged.


Memorial to victims of massacres in Skabrnje Serb aggressors were most brutal 18 Nov 1991

Memorial to victims of
massacres in Skabrnje
Serb aggressors were most brutal
18 Nov 1991

Today on the 18th of November 2015 the 24th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar is marked in Vukovar and the 24th anniversary of the Skabrnje massacre.
On the main road in Vukovar, along the road where on 18 November the procession will pass, a banner with the names of the deceased Croatian soldiers has been put up. The banner is over 200 metres long and includes 1,145 names. This is the first time that the names of all those who have laid down their lives for independent Croatia in Vukovar have been publicly presented.

Vukovar Tower and banner with names of the victims of 1991 Serb aggression Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar Tower and
banner with names of the victims of 1991
Serb aggression
Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar and Skabrnje from 1991 are a sad, terrifying reminder and distressing symbol of hatred and aggression the whole of Croatia was made to suffer because it wanted freedom from communist Yugoslavia; because it wanted democracy for its people!

Croatia and Croats Will Always Remember!

Croatia and Croats
Will Always Remember!


Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Bows to the victims of Skabrnje 18 November 2015 Photo: HINA

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Bows to the victims
of Skabrnje
18 November 2015
Photo: HINA

May the victims of the heinous Serb aggression rest in eternal peace and honour. Lest We Forget. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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 ( 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.

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 two

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 twelve

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 three

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 thirteen

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 ten

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 seventeen

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 seven

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 nine

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 fourteen

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 four

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 five

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 fifteen

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 eleven

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 eighteen

Vukovar 18 Nov 2014 sixteen

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)

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: