Croatia: Cyrillic In Vukovar Reveals Governmental Discord With Democracy

Dr. sc. Slobodan Lang  Screenshot of Croatia's television Program "Theme of the Day" on Vukovar 9 Sept 2013

Dr. sc. Slobodan Lang
Screenshot of Croatia’s television Program
“Theme of the Day” on Vukovar 9 Sept 2013

Croats of Vukovar continue protests against the introduction of bilingual signs on public buildings. The protests are peaceful and messages that the people have made significant advancements in democratic pursuits than the government (led by Zoran Milanovic), or the president of the Republic (Ivo Josipovic) for that matter, become clearer day in and day out.

The Committee or Initiative on the defence of Vukovar has on many an occasion during the past eight or so months emphasised that the issue of bilingual signage in Vukovar is not only an issue of minority rights (in this case Serb minority) as addressed in the Constitution but that the issue has much deeper roots. Indeed, if one pays due attention to the constitutional law on signage one cannot but conclude that it forbids erection of bilingual signs if they cause unrest and expressed intolerance. The people see this, know this and the government and the president of the Republic choose to ignore it. It’s as simple as that and as complicated as that, for, it is in the nature of the people to pursue truth. The truth is on the side of the people protesting the introduction of Cyrillic script on public buildings.

Furthermore, the roots of the issue also stretch deeper – into the question of needed changes in the education model applied to ethnic minority (Serb) in Vukovar.  While the government and the president push for bilingual signage in Vukovar under the pretense that “it’s law and Croatia is a country of rule of law” they at the same time ignore the fact that laws must be interpreted in full, are made from the people and for the people; this ignorance I dare say is a remnant from days of communist totalitarian regime.  Furthermore, the same government and president tolerate segregation in school education in Vukovar! I.e. Serb children attend Serb schools and Croat with other ethnic minority children there attends Croatian schools! This segregation of Serb minority there is not something that was imposed by Croatia’s governments, it is something the Serb ethnic minority has decided for itself, thus creating self-imposed ethnic “ghettoisation” in Vukovar.

Both Zoran Milanovic (Prime Minister) and Ivo Josipovic (President) appear to be lost and floundering in their political rigidity and unwillingness to listen to the people  as they are confronted by the ever increasing numbers of Croatians supporting the initiative to exclude Vukovar from bilingual signage and declare it a place of special piety.

Dr. Slobodan Lang (medical doctor, humanitarian and world renowned peace activist) has even gone further with this plea and suggested on public television, Tema Dana/Theme of the Day program, last Monday 9 September that a special law that could be named “Lex Specialis” for Vukovar should be drafted and passed in parliament. LINK TO THAT TV INTERVIEW
Translated excerpts from HRT “Tema Dana” (Theme of the Day) TV interview with Dr Slobodan Lang on Monday 9 September:

I forbid Serbia to use Ustashe terminology

Question: What is the real truth about Vukovar today?

Dr Slobodan Lang: First of all I pay my respects to all the families of those who perished, all the people who were in concentration camps, all invalids of war, all the women victims of rape, and I thank them for after so much suffering remaining as people with so much dignity.

Also, what I need to say at the beginning, with the fact that a complaint about the behavior in Vukovar has been sent to the Croatian Ambassador in Belgrade, that this complaint has been handed to the ministry and passed onto the EU with a view of promoting Ustashe politics, I forbid Serbia to use such terminology for Croatian parents whose children had perished in Vukovar. And, they should stop playing with terminology such as Ustashe generally, while on the Croatian side there is the need to have understandable concept of dignity, and the Croatian public has the right to know how the Embassy in Belgrade and the ministry of foreign affairs had reacted to that complaint. The people I have mentioned above have been labeled as chauvinists (NOTE: referring to statement by prime minister Zoran Milanovic when speaking of protesters against Cyrillic in Vukovar) and accepted as such in Serbia and radicalized further, and I think that the Prime Minister absolutely must invite the victims of Vukovar and apologise to them.

We find ourselves in the moment just prior to when judgment against Goran Hadzic, indicted for war crimes in Vukovar, is to be delivered and to use such words (chauvinists…) to describe the victims of Vukovar means that those using such words must have a strong sense of power…

Firstly, in 1991, there were attempts to solve the conflict peacefully and this did not succeed. After that Croatian defence arose, and the initial defence was implemented, which was heroic and which took upon itself the dignity of the whole of Croatia and which, after that, transformed into suffering with people taken into concentration camps, raped, pillaged, deportation from Vukovar until 1997. In 1997 when Peaceful reintegration was drawn up, in medical language peaceful reintegration is a kind of first aid and it was to place that area as a part of our country and to include the people in it… this wasn’t considered properly and a world in which children were held segregated was maintained… how can you keep the children separated from each other … who has such a soul to keep the children separated for so many years … how can that be!? You have the situation where you could not enter into the concentration camps in Serbia; where there was no plan formulated as to how to find the missing people; that you are a raped woman and have the first judgment for rape only last week… that we are at the times where the ICTY in The Hague war crimes trials are nearing to an end and there are no Croats convicted there for war crimes. Not only do we have those convicted from Serb side but Mr Babic has apologised to this nation for what had happened and yet Croatian media practically did not mention that as if they have no courage to tell the truth about what the international court in The Hague had confirmed.

The Croatian government considers that knowledge is not necessary, it considers that in matters of economy, in matters of European arrest warrants, in matters of Vukovar … you don’t see that there’s respect of people who have knowledge, to consult with them…

Prime Minister Milanovic, the President Josipovic, the Leader of the Opposition Karamarko are nowhere to be seen where there are discussions and debates … it has not occurred to them to hold a conference or an assembly … we have a government that does not dare say it doesn’t know and through that prevent any opening for people to come into prominence and so it is around Vukovar issue.

We need a gathering of people in the know when it comes to Vukovar in order to properly consider the situation because, that which must be understood, the banning of Cyrillic script championed by Croatian war veterans in fact reflects respect towards the Serbs in Vukovar. That is, that is the position that says: You engage yourselves in making sure that those who committed rape are prosecuted, to find those who are still missing, for the concentration camps to be seen … so, you cannot have the situation where those who belong to an ethnic minority have no responsibility towards the State.  Responsibility for Vukovar is the responsibility of all citizens regardless of which ethnic group they belong to, that is the foundation of Croatia’s existence.

I propose a Special law for Vukovar

Question: we have numerous protests and rallies in Vukovar, we also have the position of rights and responsibilities of ethnic minority, Serb minority in Vukovar, how can Serb minority realize its right to bilingualism, to Cyrillic, while at the same time respecting the truth and dignity of Vukovar’s victims?

Dr. Slobodan Lang: Look, my family perished in Jasenovac (Holocaust), when someone tells me that something is legal and therefore it must be implanted, I hear that Hitler’s racial laws must be implemented because it’s legal to do so. That is an unacceptable backwardness in history… here, when a parent who has lost two children is faced with an explanation that it’s the law … for Vukovar, Dubrovnik and Knin we could talk about the need for a special law, “Lex Specialis”… Vukovar is the place where future of Croatia is to be created … we need to show strength and knowledge there and not to show Vukovar as a place where we lag behind …

to call upon legality without legitimacy is simply not morally permitted.

An assembly of knowledge should be held where academics and other professionals will have the opportunity of expressing their different opinions on the Cyrillc script in Vukovar and we would see how that works as opposed to the behavior of political haughtiness …

I call upon the use of knowledge and finding the truth

Question: … what would the special law on Vukovar you propose contain?

Dr Slobodan Lang: Well look, first of all I would call upon people to talk, I’d promote freedom of speech on the issue, there is no freedom to speak here … how can you come up with a solution … in medicine, how can you prescribe help, therapy if at first you don’t confirm the truth, the diagnosis … if people who can help aren’t allowed to speak, if they don’t speak, if they don’t dare to speak … we have a former university rector for a president but knowledge isn’t used… look, I was first president Franjo Tudjman’s first advisor for the Good… there was not a single idea of his where he had not invited people of knowledge to consult with … so as a citizen I am now requesting a conference, that knowledge receives the right to be used in Croatia regardless of whether it is for unemployment, work, preserving the Adriatic to Vukovar.

Question: How to build new Vukovar when all is in chaos, when everything has stopped, when trenches of hatred are still open, when divisions are large, how are we to come to the truth, to forgiveness, reconciliation and co-existence in Vukovar?

Dr Slobodan Lang:  Permitting the usage of knowledge, with fundamental forms of human dignity we will absolutely go far. I go to Belgrade every year and I speak about peace there, I’m involved in joint health projects this very moment so we need to respect people, politics needs to know that it does not own everything and when it opens itself we will achieve the result.

Let’s Create the Europe of Good

Candidates EUP

Dr. Slobodan Lang headed the list of candidates for the Joint Movement of Good that ran for the European Union Parliament elections in Croatia last month. Although the group of candidates did not succeed in achieving seats in the EU Parliament the underlying election platform of the group lives on, in the hope that future will mean the future of Good for Europe and the World.

Dr. Lang has written the following reflection and invitation, published in tjedno. com ( a couple of days ago and I (Ina Vukic) have translated it into English for the readers of this Blog and for all those interested in spreading the idea of creating a Good world for our children and grandchildren… in contributing to creating a Good future.

Let’s Create the Europe of Good

We are entirely unimportant – but joining into a Europe of Good is critical.

Let’s commence immediately with the joint creation of Europe of Good, from the leading people of all religions and convictions, knowledge, ecology, media and politics, to all nations and states, all towns and villages, institutions, associations and organisations, across Europe, to every family home and individual – the vision needs to be fulfilled with individual and joint action, knowledge, arts, economy, faith and humanity – let’s start the life of good and realisation of a better world.

The colonial Europe has committed terrible crimes, murders, slavery, plunder, obstructing development and denying freedom all over the world. Because of that I contritely apologise here today. I am unhappy and I accept responsibility so that such things never happen again. I propose that a competition for raising a monument to the so little yet so large Gandhi be initiated immediately as a demonstration of such commitment. I propose that the competition includes all children and all artists of the world equally, and that the choice of the place where the monument would be erected also becomes a part of this competition. And when we eventually raise the monument, let’s start with real creation of good in ourselves and in our actions.

Still, we know that we cannot do as much harm to others as we can to ourselves. Every country and the whole of Europe can do more harm to themselves than to others or others to them. Today’s European politics are not creating good. The bearers of responsibility, planning, adopting and implementing the politics perhaps do not mean to do harm, they may themselves be confused and unhappy, even frightened at the face of the future. I believe it is like that. But I know that they did not wish hard enough, that they did not believe, imagine, learn, try and organise the Europe of Good hard enough.

I believe that there are very few leading and prominent people in Europe who regularly invite into their homes or visit the homes of the poor, the sick, the foreign, the unhappy … Leading persons of Europe do not know how to cry. The greatest debt Europe has is tears.

In June 2011 Barack Obama presented Angela Merkel with the President’s Medal of Freedom. At the ceremony, in the Rose Garden, she spoke of the moment when the Berlin Wall was raised: ” I was seven years old at the time. Seeing grown-ups, even my parents, so stunned that they broke out in tears, shook me to the core. My mother’s family, for example, was divided by the building of the Wall“. On the same day I, 44 years old at the time, walked through the wall and spent the night with women of East Berlin. To my admiration they united Europe non-violently, these women and mothers told me: “Doctor, we did that for the future of our children, and in twenty years times our names will not even be mentioned”. I speak today in the name of these women and in their name I ask that we create a Europe of good.

I am a Croat and a Jew, and through the Balkan wars of the nineties, I constantly placed my life in jeopardy  through those ten years so that I could tell you today, here, that we have saved the lives of thousands of Albanians, Bosniaks, Croats, Roma, Serbs, Jews and the life of everyone else that was endangered. For them we placed our lives in jeopardy and I ask that you place yourself at disposal today and that you abandon the false morals, selfishness and power – that you engage yourself for the youth of today, for the future of Europe.

At the beginning of these wars, in Summer of 1991, I asked Mr Henry Kissinger for help. He told me that the Europe of that time did not know the Balkan, allows prejudice and does not have enough humanity to stop the war and suffering.  He told me that our only real ideal is the experience of suffering, revolt and defence of people in the Warsaw ghetto.  We commenced our “Challenge of good” program basing it upon these experiences.

I served the Wounded Christ during the wars that have passed, and I had not abandon him when they judged him nor when he carried the cross. The Wounded Christ stayed alive in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Knin…

At the Copenhagen summit in March of 1995, I asked all the heads of states to protect “the most tragic of Europeans”, to protect Srebrenica. They did not understand what I was talking about. The criminals have been convicted for genocide. Serbia has also been convicted for not preventing genocide. But no one put the question about the United Nations’ and the international community’s responsibility.

When I discovered a group of disabled children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a 12 year old girl told me – “Doctor, we loved you all, even when you did not love each other or us, or yourselves“. I remained quiet and wept, and I’m giving you her message – do not forget to love other people.

I have learnt that the state where people are killed occurs when those involved do not know each other, and those that do not know each other send them to war.

In 1965, in Czechoslovakia, professor Ota Sik described to my father how they would attempt to achieve freedom and that they would not succeed. At my question – why attempt it then, he said to me ‘We owe it to the future to try‘.

My father, an economist, was involved at the university in the then West Germany in a debate about how large should German compensation be. After the financial appraisals by Germany economists, they asked him how much does Germany owe. He said that Germany itself must decide how much the lost lives are worth.

The European youth of today do not want to have colonies, they do not want to exploit others, they do not want to hate, accuse, enrich themselves. They are tired from evil and want to be the generation of good, they want to create new life, children, family, their villages, cities, countries and the whole of Europe.

All the powerful people are in the right when they say that the young are often not in the right, but it is a sure thing that every society that is against its young becomes itself entirely wrong.

I’m asking you here today not to think through money, allow yourself the right to be a human being, to release a tear, to want to do good and to send that message to all the countries and nations, to every home and every young person. Do not be afraid! We need you so we can create the Europe of Good together, so that you could learn, work, have children, joyfully look to the future.

There, that’s why we have united into the joint movement of good and entered our candidacy at the first Croatian elections for the European Union parliament. We did not succeed, but that is not important, because 6,000 people across the world voted for us and each and every one of them has the right to have their say for the creation of Europe of Good. All the elected members of EU Parliament from Croatia and all those they’ll meet there can pass on our message, and make it stronger, better and cleverer. We need all the people and states, which are not yet part of Europe, to create the Europe of Good together and as equals.

These are the words I wanted to say to Europe, with my belief, my actions, my knowledge, my inheritance and my experience.

Abandon money, aggression, hate, power and all false gods, they spread fear and they do not spread safety, they demolish and don’t build, they take away the present and do not open the future.

Tears, knowledge, work, youth, family, humanity and faith are the true values. Let’s create the Europe of Good upon them!”


EU Parliament Elections List 8

Dr. Slobodan Lang

presents the Visions of Joint Movement of Good


The Joint Movement of Good appears symbolically after Easter, and in reality, for the first Croatian elections for EU Parliament.

In this appearance, vision, values, values based proposals, the candidates who give the proposals authenticity and legitimacy are most important.

Why is it like that?

Who are the candidates and why are they appearing?

All of the candidates have, though their work and activities, demonstrated that they are Good people and professionals, as well as through their defence of Croatia and in their various areas of knowledge, arts and social activities.

More than half of them have participated in defending Croatia from Vukovar to Dubrovnik, many acted either as émigrés, advisors, organised the refugees and the displaced and their return to their homes, or were interned in Serb concentration camps.

Half of them are university professors and scientists, as in medicine so too in culture, who hold appearances throughout the world, representing knowledge and Croatia.

They act and work in numerous areas, from all parts of Croatia and abroad.

Not a single one of these candidates has enriched himself/her self, nor have any ever been accused of any wrongdoing. They have lived for Croatia, loved Croatia, gave to Croatia and dreamed of future. That’s why I wrote that I believe in God, that I love People and seek Good, and that everything else is less important.

Firstly, it was essential to defend Croatia from aggression and accusations

Since the late nineteen-eighties to today we had three goals in common: defend Croatia as an independent state, defend the accused and defend the whole of Croatia from the accusations of joint criminal enterprise.

Danijel Rehak (HDLSKL/Croatian Association of Detainees in Serb Concentration Camps ) reveals that there were some 70 Serb held concentration camps, which held captive about 30,000 Croatian people. “About three hundred of the captives were killed in the camps while 2,400 were considered as missing. The whole truth about the camps has not been fully considered.”

Darko Dovranic (president of war correspondents Croatian TV HRT) said:
During the aggression we were guided by the idea that only truth can save us. However, today we have forgotten the truth and a great deal remains unsaid, and the situation is so hard that a person cannot move away from his own problems, let alone worry about problems of someone else. Again, the truth becomes the main criterion according to which we must live”.

For these hard 5,000 days Judge Meron concluded, on 16 November 2012, in the Hague, with these words: “The Appeal Chamber overturns the finding of the Trial Chamber that Joint Criminal Enterprise existed to permanently remove, under force and threat of force, the Serbian civilian population from Krajina”.

After the defence from aggression, the creation of the state and the defence from accusations, the time has now come to place efforts for success of today’s Croatia into the first plan .

Success of Croatia and Europe is now in first place

The time of responsibility, challenges and opportunities is now facing Croatia and Europe.

Visions of founding people had inspired the creation of Europe and Croatia, and the efforts, the suffering and the faith of the whole nation also inspired the defence of Croatia. We would not be living in today’s Croatia without their ideals and their efforts.

Croatia is entering the European Union at a time of harsh economic crisis. Regretfully, even among today’s leaders of Europe and Croatia there is no vision. There is a great number of politicians, bureaucrats, projects and meetings, staggering between a crisis to crisis. In order to depart from crisis we need to abandon the cult of money and return to believing and the ideals, which are the only ways that will lead us away from the existing crisis and open up the paths to employment (work), birth, family, peace and success in Croatia and Europe.

Joint Movement of Good

Our action is an invitation for the awakening of the willingness for the good and sharing the good, for the stimulation of knowledge, for connecting people, performing and transcending the good. Europe, Croatia, all countries and all people of Europe, should, want and can create a better world.

With its visions and concrete propositions Joint Movement of Good calls for Croatia to enter the European Union with pride, and to enrich it with its own ideals, experiences and propositions.

Within European Union, Croatia should advocate a sustainable prosperous economy and realisation of the Human Right to work.

On this point of our Vision we propose the establishment of a committee for full employment and sustainable development. The country that proposes a sustainable development – democratic + economic + ecological + human rights), to be freed from debt within European Union countries, which will mean a long-lasting benefit for all.

I propose to Croatia to immediately put in motion the education of our successful students at the best of the world’s universities. We propose that elected representatives with excessive remuneration jointly form this initiative.

Croatia and Europe must strive towards a healthy family life and an educated population that will pursue happiness, faith in God, goodness and the well being of all people.

That is why we propose a committee for demographic Health (birth, family, elderly, arrangement of living).

We advocate for Croatia to launch Dinners of Good at which, once a year, the invited prominent people would directly get to familiarise themselves with the life of the unemployed, the elderly, the poor and the ill in their own homes. Also, to invite foreigners of European dinner once a year.

Advocating for Nora is an example of people’s wish and readiness to do Good. (Nora Situm was a five year old who suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia and died in Philadelphia children’s hospital at the end of March 2013, soon after she arrived there for experimental treatment, enormous funds for her medical treatment in the USA was raised within days among people of Croatia.)

Croatia and European Union seek humane legal system in which there is no place for exploitation or discrimination of any kind.

Let’s express our respect for the past and our responsibility towards the future by naming our town and city Squares in honour of victims. Let’s return the good people from museums to be among the people by marking with a unique sign each house where the righteous among nations had lived and worked. Let’s show to ourselves and to everybody that a “Righteous war” was fought in Croatia.

Croatia, within European Union, should actively work on connecting European young people towards creating the future and preserving cultural traditions of all countries, members of the European Union.

We propose the establishment European forces of good (humanitarian, educational, work actions …). Every country to propose one book, which would enter into a European library, be translated into all the languages of European Union member states. Every ten years we identify and mark a place in the cities where good has been done, and which should be remembered. Paths of Good will emerge from this.

Croatia and European Union, and their institutions and organisations should follow the processes and paths of democracy and human rights.

As a sign of respect towards smaller nations and countries let’s establish a Forum of smaller countries of Central Europe, let’s adopt the Romani as a nation of Europe (not only minorities within countries), let’s place the Jewish flag at half-mast in front of the European Union Parliament building as a sign of responsibility for the destiny of small nations. (The Holocaust had turned the Jews into minorities).

Croatia, within the European Union, must advocate for every person to participate in the creation of the future.

We propose a European Conference about Good, and let’s sustain a Conference on Croatian future (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, minorities, émigrés and invited internationally).

Let’s introduce an annual award for good deeds in Europe and essays among the young – “My Europe”.

The success of Croatia and Europe

The candidates of the Joint Movement of Good are of a ripe age and experienced in the creation of Croatia, worldly activities and unyielding preservation of ideals.

New generations of yesteryear and of the future can only succeed if they have ideals and if they apply themselves towards their realisation into the reality.

These are such choices and responsibilities – of the candidates and of those who vote.

Related Posts: (Link 1)  (Link 2) ( Link 3) (Link 4

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