Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
You're right. But there are new names popping up as time goes by.

Speaking of The Hague - just look at the grotesque case of Vojislav Seselj. Leader of the Radicals - he's being tried in essence for organizing and delivering nationalist speeches during the war! No case. No evidence of crimes - except political crimes. And the guy has been behind bars for what... 4 years now? Just amazing. Why not send Le Pen to the Hague? or Jorg Haider? Or any extreme right leader?

The politicized manner in which Hague 'justice system' is administered really raises the question of EU values which are propagated beyond Europe's borders. Can they be interpreted as being universal, free and fair? What is the impact of this rather visible institution on the EU's political credibility beyond its borders? Or is it all irrelevant?

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Why not send Le Pen to the Hague? or Jorg Haider? Or any extreme right leader?
Because they have not been part of a "joint criminal enterprise" with people who actually committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. You can read Seselj's indictment here.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 05:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's indeed what I said. The first point of the indictment reads:

Vojislav SESELJ's speeches, communications, acts and/or omissions contributed to the perpetrators' decision to commit the crimes alleged

If this is a crime, then indeed the large majority of the Serb nation should be sent to the Hague and I'm right to see no end to the pressure, the demands, the conditions, the blackmail exercised by NATO nations on Serbia.

I remember back in 1990 some Serbian friends of mine who lived in Dubrovnik left their homes and moved to Belgrade after their businesses were torched. That's 1990! Most Serbs living in Karjina, in Sarajevo, in Split and Dubrovnik felt (with good reason, I believe) that they had two alternatives: a) pack their bags or b) fight to stay.

Justice should be universal, fair and blind to creed, colour, religion or ethnicity. Otherwise it's a political farce, a travesty, an inquisition.

Europe's modern inquisition is prosecuting Vojislav Seselj for the SPEECHES he delivered, but acquitting Haradinaj for mass murder - after 9 witnesses were murdered. How many Croats, Muslims & Albanians (including Mesic - current president or Croatia) gave war rallying speeches to their troops during the war? Why aren't they also in the dock?

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 06:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are just quoting the last bit of
5. Vojislav SESELJ is individually criminally responsible for the crimes referred to in Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal and described in this indictment, which he planned, ordered, instigated, committed or in whose planning, preparation, or execution he otherwise aided and abetted. By using the word "committed" in this indictment, the Prosecutor does not intend to suggest that the accused physically committed all of the crimes charged personally. "Committed" as used in this indictment includes the participation of Vojislav SESELJ in a joint criminal enterprise. By using the word "instigated", the Prosecution charges that the accused Vojislav SESELJ's speeches, communications, acts and/or omissions contributed to the perpetrators' decision to commit the crimes alleged.
This is not something that he is charged with, this establishes "individual criminal responsibility". For instance, there is this:
9. Vojislav SESELJ, as President of the SRS, was a prominent political figure in the SFRY/FRY in the time period relevant to this indictment. He propagated a policy of uniting "all Serbian lands" in a homogeneous Serbian state. He defined the so-called Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica line as the western border of this new Serbian state (which he called "Greater Serbia") which included Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and considerable parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This is also not a "crime" or "charge" but it is part of the "individual responsibility" section. There is more.

The charges come later.

Basically he's being indicted as a key ideologue/planner/instigator of a "joint criminal enterprise" which included

Other individuals participating in this joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan MILOSEVIC, General Veljko KADIJEVIC, General Blagoje ADZIC, Colonel Ratko MLADIC, Jovica STANISIC, Franko SIMATOVIC also known as "Frenki", Radovan STOJICIC, also known as "Badza", Milan MARTIC, Goran HADZIC, Radovan KARADZIC, Momcilo KRAJISNIK, Biljana PLAVSIC, Zeljko RAZNATOVIC, also known as "Arkan", and other members of the Yugoslav People's Army ("JNA"), later the Yugoslav Army ("VJ"), the newly-formed Serb Territorial Defence ("TO") of Croatia and of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the army of the Republika Srpska Krajina ("SVK") and the army of the Republika Srpska ("VRS"), and the TOs of Serbia and of Montenegro, local Serb, Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska police forces ("MUP forces"), including the State Security/Drzavna bezbednost/ ("DB") Branch of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, and Serb special police forces of the SAO Krajina and the RSK commonly referred to as "Martic's Police", Marticevci", "SAO Krajina Police" or "SAO Krajina Milicija" (hereinafter "Martic's Police") and members of Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian and Croatian Serb paramilitary forces and volunteer units including "Chetniks", or "Seseljevci" (translated into English as "Seselj's men") (collectively, "Serb forces"), and other political figures from the (S)FRY, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Montenegro and the Bosnian and Croatian Serb leadership.
Come on, there were "paramiltary forces" calling themselves "Seseljevici"...
10. Vojislav SESELJ, acting alone and in concert with other members of the joint criminal enterprise, participated in the joint criminal enterprise in the following ways:

   1. He participated in the recruitment, formation, financing, supply, support and direction of Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS, commonly known as "Chetniks", or "Seseljevci". These volunteer units were created and supported to assist in the execution of the joint criminal enterprise through the commission of crimes in violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal.

   2. He made inflammatory speeches in the media, during public events, and during visits to the volunteer units and other Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, instigating those forces to commit crimes in violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal.

   3. He espoused and encouraged the creation of a homogeneous "Greater Serbia", encompassing the territories specified in this indictment, by violence, and thereby participated in war propaganda and incitement of hatred towards non-Serb people.

   4. In public speeches he called for the expulsion of Croat civilians from parts of the Vojvodina region in Serbia and thus instigated his followers and the local authorities to engage in a persecution campaign against the local Croat population.

   5. He participated in the planning and preparation of the take-over of villages in two SAOs in Croatia and in the municipalities of Bosanski Samac and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the subsequent forcible removal of the majority of the non-Serb population from these areas.

   6. He participated in the provision of financial, material, logistical and political support necessary for such take-overs. He obtained this support, with the help of Slobodan Milosevic, from the Serbian authorities and from Serbs living abroad where he collected funds to support the aim of the joint criminal enterprise.

   7. He recruited Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS and indoctrinated them with his extreme ethnic rhetoric so that they engaged in the forcible removal of the non-Serb population in the targeted territories through the commission of crimes as specified in this indictment with particular violence and brutality.



Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 06:40:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the inquisition has ample proof to convict. That's why his trial has been indefinitely adjourned after 4 years.

It's a biased court. It's one sided. It's politically motivated. As such, it's not credible. Period.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 06:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure that is the case, though.

Wikipedia: Vojislav Šešelj

On February 11, 2009, after 71 witnesses had already been heard and with the expected conclusion of the prosecution's case just seven hours away, the presiding judges suspended Šešelj's trial indefinitely at the prosecutors' request. The prosecutors alleged that witnesses were being intimidated. Šešelj claimed that the true motive of the prosecutors was that they were losing their case. He claimed the court had presented numerous false witnesses to avoid having to acquit him and said it should pay him damages for "all the suffering and six years spent in detention." One of the three judges voted against the suspension of the trial stating that it was "unfair to interrupt the trial of someone who has spent almost six years in detention". The judges themselves had only the preceding January 21 opened a contempt of court case against him for revealing in a book he wrote the identity of three witnesses whose names had been ordered suppressed by the tribunal.
Now, there is a lot of reason to criticise the ICTY in the way it has handled most of the highest-profile cases. But your own position that Milosevic, Karadzic and, now, Seselj, are innocent victims of an inquisition, is untenable IMHO.

Whether they can be (or, in the case of Milosevic, could have been) convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity in a fair trial is a different matter, and it is possible that they cannot. Certainly the prosecution has bungled some of the cases and give the appearance of less than fair trial. And, to me, it is maybe better to let a war criminal go than to taint international law with a string of sham trials.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Milosevic, Karadzic and, now, Seselj, are innocent victims

I said that? It's an inquisition because it's one sided, not because those it's prosecuting individuals who are innocent. Although I would remind you that the foundation of criminal law is that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty.

I also wonder how the judges and jury can be impartial given the media's unrelenting lynching of the suspects. In any descent "Western" court this would be a serious cause for concern which could result in an acquittal.

So, Seselj's trial is adjourned and he's kept in jail for an indefinite period of time after already having served 6 years because the prosecution alleges that witnesses are being harassed. But Haradinaj is left to walk free after 9 witnesses are murdered. How can you say that the court is not impartial?

by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also wonder how the judges and jury can be impartial given the media's unrelenting lynching of the suspects. In any descent "Western" court this would be a serious cause for concern which could result in an acquittal.

No it wouldn't. Every single time the secret police rounds up a bunch of brown people, they run around in the gutter press telling more or less far-fetched stories about how dangerous these particular brown people are.

While that's certainly a democratically questionable practise (to put it rather mildly - IMO they ought to report only that they've arrested so-and-so many people in this-and-that city, on such-and-such charges, and save the speculation for the court...), that's not usually the grounds for acquittal.

Usually, the grounds for acquittal is that the brown people in question have not, in fact, done anything proscribed by the law. And while the tendency on part of the secret police to round up more or less innocent brown people without enough evidence to convict is certainly troubling, that's something of a different story.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Erratum. Should read:
How can you say the court is impartial...
by vladimir on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I say the court is impartial?

What I just said is

Whether they can be (or, in the case of Milosevic, could have been) convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity in a fair trial is a different matter, and it is possible that they cannot. Certainly the prosecution has bungled some of the cases and give the appearance of less than fair trial. And, to me, it is maybe better to let a war criminal go than to taint international law with a string of sham trials.
I have said on several occasions and not just on this thread that they give the appearance not to be.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:52:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
because it's one sided
And it's one-sided why? Because it only prosecutes Serbs? That is plainly not the case.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 07:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yesterday there was a meeting in Serbia. The Croatian prime minister came to Serbia giving in 1 million euros worth of translation of documents necessary for negotiations with EU, offering help in the process of negotiations and promising that Croatia never ever will prejudice the border with Serbia as Slovenians are doing with Croatia now (If some court decides to do a precedent and assigns some territories to Slovenia, it would provoke the avalanche in which Croatia and others could ask for new territories added on the same precedent). He was welcomed with photos of Seselj, and anti-Croatian transparents. Their arguments were the same as Vladimirs, just they were openly showing themselves as Seselj's followers. Serbian politicians still claim that Croatia is not safe for Serbian people. It is very sad because I see that these convictions of theirs of being harassed still persist and will not stop ever. I can't do more than bring here my Serbian friends who live there with me all my life to tell how they feel, but I guess you could say that you don't have the proof who they are. If somebody shop gets robbed and devastated, you can say that it is just one more shop being robbed and you can also say that this is a proof that somebody is being harassed because of his nationality. There are no proofs, so one can not demonstrate anything.

I can tell you about my first boyfriend, his cousin (already mentioned Jelena) and his godmother - we were all in the same class, we lived together in the same big building and my grandparents were family friends of theirs. Because of a surname in my family that sounded Serbian, Jelena thought that we were Serbs also. She was telling me that 'we' are in danger because after the independence one rock group was singing the song 'Croatian rose'. That group did not have any connection with Ustashe whatsoever. She did not believe that people were celebrating the independence gained but that necessarily means that they are put to danger.  I told her so but she said that all those who pronounce the word Croat are killers. It was the last that she spoke to me. My first boyfriend left me waiting for him under the street lamp as we agreed, not knowing that they will flee that night. In the next couple of weeks the other two girls stop talking to me. I thought I did something very bad to them that I do not understand until they disappeared and the rest of Serbs disappeared from the class also (all before the shooting). I can't say about the others but since I was around these families 24/7 living in the same building, parents working together, we in the same class I am 100% positive that nobody ever did anything to them. After the war Jelena told me on the phone he sends big greetings for me and he is married, opening some firm in Serbia with his father, ex Yugoslav army commander.

In Serbia, they were treated as refugees. I also fled from that territory later because, besides of constant shooting the schools were ruined so I continued my education in the capital. For escaping from our homes they gave us free public transport while we were living temporary in our friend's houses in Zagreb. At the end, for that heavy shooting, the majority of population, Serb or Croat fled from those regions being sheltered somewhere. Just that Serbs more often had families in Serbia and Croats had more often families in Croatia to go to, although there were examples vice versa too. Now, those who fled to Serbia are counted as refugees and those who did it within Croatia not! After the worst shooting passed, The Croatian capital could not support any more such quantity of people and public services were collapsing, they remove us al privileges and forced us to return although there were still occasional shootings since we had improvised school 1 street away from occupied zone. Since several times it happened, they had a special place to hold concerts and other public gatherings because during the ceasefire they liked to throw 1-2 grenades in the mass of people.

During Yugoslavia, majority of people were getting flats from the state. There were many people moving between republics for work and there were many Serb and Croat families in possession of flats in various republics whit the right to reside. So, because of the war, there were many exchanges of those flats to reside between opposite nationalities. A lot of these flats in the central part of Croatia that was not under the direct danger of war were sold to Croats who fled from war areas but, since they had their new homes were not considered in numbers of those fled without homes.

Now, since in 91-92 Croatian towns in the war zone emptied because of shooting, leaving only armed people who were defending the territory, I suppose that it happened the same with territories occupied by Serbs because they were receiving heavy counterfire in 92 also after Croatia got all those arms and organized its defense better. Serbs had under control then pure Serb villages as well as others that were mixed and some pure Croatian from which all Croats escaped till then. There is no way that the normal Serb population stayed there under that fire in '92 because they were living in villages without shelters and majority would die.

So, now, comparing with Wikipedia, I find some contradictory data:

As Vladimir said and as I assure you, there were a lot of Serbs escaping before the shootings. Majority of Serbs in my class disappeared. But then, according to Wikipedia, there was larger percentage of Serbs in Croatia in '91. than in '81. You can expect that the percentage fluctuates 1% in normal times, but with so many fled to Serbia, it did not reflect the percentage of Serbs in Croatia then?!

How many did you say fled during the operations of the Storm and Flash in '95? All those people were living there since always, including under heavy bombings when all Croats escaped even from non occupied territories around? Or a part of them came in the years when the shootings were over?

So please tell me which facts should be corrected:  the ratios of people escaped en various moments, or that Croatia really was not putting in danger Serbian civilians living there not even during the heaviest war?

by SteelLady on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 09:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
You're right. But there are new names popping up as time goes by.

Speaking of The Hague - just look at the grotesque case of Vojislav Seselj. Leader of the Radicals - he's being tried in essence for organizing and delivering nationalist speeches during the war! No case. No evidence of crimes - except political crimes. And the guy has been behind bars for what... 4 years now? Just amazing. Why not send Le Pen to the Hague? or Jorg Haider? Or any extreme right leader?

Many countries have some of the bad fame in the past. Croatia is also ashamed of its couple of years under the Independent State of Croatia when many Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and Croats opposing regime were killed. I was the darkest past of Croatia ever and even the worst wor criminals in this last war were very far from that.
On Croatian side, for eg. Tudjman, if he wouldn't be dead, certainly would be sent to Haag. For him there is the same evidence as for Seselj that he is responsible for killings. He did not carry the gun, he did not kill anybody by his hand but is very responsible for all that. He was an ideological ruler and the one who was ordering it to his followers. Tudjman was nationalist, he wanted Croatia to be independent from Yugoslavia and in carrying out his plans, it led to ethnic cleansing of certain areas of Croatia in order to 'remove those who made problems' He was the butcher also but his followers never did anything against serbs that were living integrated peacefully in Zagreb or any other Croatian town out of the zone conquered by Serbia. Not even that you could hear him saying that he would take from Serbia the autonomy region of Vojvodina, where, apart from Hungarians live a lot of Croats and even in some times in the past belonged partially to Croatian lands all the way to Zemun.

On the other hand, Seselj was repeatedly shouting that Serbia has to take by force the major part of another country, Croatia, on the line of Virovitica, Karlovac, Karlobag. (By the way... Are there any Serbs in Virovitica (almost in Hungary) and Karlobag (on middle-upper Adriatic coast)? His followers were singing 'there will be meat, we are going to sloughter Croats'. Seselj, apart from being guilty as the ideological leader for slaughter, he is also guilty for general ethnic cleansing and for claims on territories of the other country. I don't understand how you can have the face to say that the trial to such a man is politically fabricated?!

by SteelLady on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:18:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't misunderstand me. Seselj is NOT my cup of tea. I find the person revolting. My point is that if the Hague is prosecuting for rallying war cries... then the list should be long and include many prominent Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Albanians. The fact that this is not the case leads me to the conclusion that Seselj's trial is politically motivated.
by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marko Perkovic-Tompson is an example that immediately comes to mind. This extremely popular Croatian pop star glorifies Nazism, calls for the killing of Serbs, glorifies Jasenovac (where 600 000 Serbs were exterminated by Croats during WWII) not to speak of his grotesque Nazi outfits on stage...

Why doesn't the Hague indict him? Why doesn't Zagreb's government take any action?

by vladimir on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:44:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series