Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

There was a village of 200 inhabitants. Came the war and they realised they will have to defend their homes. They managed to get some rifles but they felt small and not strong enough against those who were equipped with the weapons of Yugoslav army. One of them wanted to create a legend of a soldier strong and cruel that every enemy would fear. So he wrote a song:

U Zagori na izvoru rijeke Cikole,
Stala braca da obrane naše domove.
In Zagora at the source of the river Cikola,
Stood brothers to defend our homes
Stoji Hrvat do Hrvata, mi smo braca svi,
Necete u Cavoglave dok smo živi mi!
There stand Croat with the Croat, all brothers
You are not going to enter Cavoglave while we live
Puce tomson, kalašnjikov a i zbrojevko,
Baci bombu, goni bandu preko izvora!
There shoots tomson, kalasnjikov and zbrojevko
Throw the bomb, repulse that gang to the other side of the wellspring
Korak naprijed, puška gotov s', siju pjesmu svi,
Za dom braco, za slobodu, borimo se mi.
Step forward, rifle ready, there spreads the song
For our home brothers, for freedom, we fight
Cujte srpski dobrovoljci bandu cetnici
Stici ce vas naša ruka i u Srbiji!
Listen Serbian Volonteers and the chetnik gang
our fist will reach you till Serbia
Stici ce vas Božja pravda to vec svatko zna
Sudit ce vam bojovnici iz Cavoglava!
The justice of God will reach you, everybody knows that
The soldier from Cavoglave will put you to trial
Slušajte sad poruku od Svetog Ilije:
Necete u Cavoglave, niste ni prije!
Listen now the message from Saint Ilija
You will not enter Cavoglave, you have never been there
Oj Hrvati, braco mila iz Cavoglava,
Hrvatska vam zaboravit nece nikada!
Croats, brothers from Cavoglave
Croatia will not forget your devotion

It became popular to rise the moral of some soldiers that were defending their villages and after the war, he realised he could take the money out of it and started to do concerts. As you can see, he wants to direct to those who came attacking his country and not to the Serbian nation in general. Since he already started threatening with symbols of fascism like in this song ('za dom'=for home), among some other songs he wrote, he mentioned Jasenovac concentration camp and massacre place Vladimir mentioned before (Belgrade Museum of the Holocaust keeps a list of the names of 80,022 victims (mostly from Jasenovac), including approximately 52,000 Serbs, 16,000 Jews, 12,000 Croats and 10,000 Romanies while majority of names of 350,000 are still unknown) it lifted a lot of controversy and bad image for him that he stopped singing those songs in concerts. There was a joke about some of his fans going to his concert in Istria, Croatia (the part that Serbia, strangely, never claimed) when they were looking for directions and and old guy was explaining them the way through the town which parts carry exclusively antifascist and Yugo-nostalgic names when they realize that they are not welcome there (http://www.net.hr/webcafe/sale_male/page/2009/02/13/0245006.html).

On the other hand, in fallen Vukovar, full of civil victims lying around after the Cetnik slaughter there was Ceca Raznatovic walking around in Cetnik symbols (the wife of dead war criminal Arkan). I don't have to say how popular she is in Serbia! Did they even say something about her actions in Serbia? Did Croats insisted that she has to be put to trial for glorifying symbols of those who murdered all those people? No, Ceca is played in clubs in Croatia! And she was not the only one from Serbian part flagging out those symbols. There were more like Nada Topcagic, Era Ojdanic and other singers on whose concerts people are chanting Chetnik slogans. For me, they can sing whatever they want as long as they do not take arms crossing their borders.
There was one phrase very significant from the ex-Yugoslavian marshal-dictator Tito. He was a Croat, ruling in Belgrade for the good of all Serbs. He had the saying: We do not want what is not ours, but we do not give away what is. Croatia keeps to it but looks like some from the other side forgot the first part of the phrase flagging with certain symbols over the territory that is not theirs. I wonder how many more examples Vladimir can come up with because for every one of his, certainly there would be found a dozens of counterexamples and many times worse. Maybe that's the answer to his question why there are so many more Serbs at trial in Den Haag!

But, we are not here to attack each other. We want to forgive and forget. But there is one problem. People can forgive and forget when they do not feel threatened any more that the bombs might start falling again over their houses. They need to hear the sincere apology and the shame and not 'We do not deserve to be put on trial so much'. The most frightening it seems to be -the fact how many people in Serbia support Seselj. He, like his followers was putting = sign between fascists and all Croats who have to be destroyed, thus offending those people who were peaceful. He was teaching his nationals that all Croats are bad and are a threat to them to justify his plans of expanding to Big Serbia. Maybe the worst crime after all is that planting of hatred. Those who died in the war are mourned but hatred is inherited through the generations.
Why so many people support Seselj? Because they were systematically lied to that those around them are a threat, Croats, Albanians, Muslims. That they all hate them and that they have the right to other lands elsewhere where a lot of other Serbs live, whose lives are constantly in danger so they have o take over those territories to save them. I saw the evidence of various lies presented to Serbian people from inside on several occasions.
During the war, sitting in the basement for a town was for months in around the clock bombing, once I accidentally caught the Serbian television. They were saying there that Croats are bombing themselves to make Serbia look guilty!
Before the war I had a best Serbian friend. They had houses both in Croatia and Serbia so she went to Serbia immediately after the end of the school year in '91. and just before her father started to bomb our town from her village. She was treated as a refugee in Serbia and returned to live in Croatia after the war, with her parents who never left their village. She managed to make new Croatian friends later, but, despite of several calls of mine and some long talks, she still did not have the courage to look me in the eye. I do not reproach her nothing, she grew up in Croatia and knows what happened and some things in her behaviour I see like a kind of apology though not needed since she obviously realised that she is ok in the Croatia like it is and has chosen to live there.
Many years after that I befriended abroad a girl who grew up in Serbia. She is very good and generous person and really dear to me. She is working for charities all over the world. When I mentioned once the period when my town was bombed, she said: which bombing? At that time I thought that the story of people throwing bombs to their own heads was over but then I realised that she could retell stories of what I lived through, the way I would not recognise it. I think that was the fact that hurt me the most of this war. She herself was not guilty of that. She, like many can be the innocent carrier of the bad seed of distorted facts.

My friend who was growing up in Bosnia said than when they were 8-9 years old, with his little friends Aron and Muris, they did not even know they are Croats and Muslims while Serbian kids had little uniforms with `kokarda' on their sleeves saying they are preparing for war.

Croatia is very ashamed and a bit paranoid of its past in the WWII, in some things similar like Spain and Germany. There is even paranoia to bring U2 to the concert for the 'U' in their name. Even the ex president and war criminal Tudjman tried to do his apology for the Jasenovac victims. Probably if any of Serbian war criminals tried to apologise for any war victims in this last war, people would see it as a big progress. But instead, we hear that the trial to the man who was planting hatred like to those who executed it as volunteers is politically fabricated! I prefer to think that person who says that grew up in the surrounding where the input he was getting was biased. But how can we avoid that for future? This is surely an international problem in many wars, yet I have no idea how to prevent that. I believe informing properly all the people on all sides there would be much less volunteers to do foolishness guided by lies and twisted ideas. Unfortunately there is no way that some neutral body could provide a fresh clean information for all. They would have to know both languages, history, culture end be present on both sides to understand situations well and technically it is very difficult to do...

by SteelLady on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 03:38:05 PM EST
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