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NEVER AGAIN! TEN YEARS AFTER "THE STORM" PDF Print E-mail


Ten years have passed since the military–police action “The Storm” that led to the massive expulsion of the Serbian population from the region of Krajina. In the course of that operation, members of Croatian military and paramilitary formations ruthlessly killed several hundred civilians, predominantly elderly men and women. Among the whole range of war crimes that mark the wars in the former Yugoslavia from 1991 until 1999, “The Storm” is definitely one of the most infamous. That action was carried out with an obvious aim: to ethnically cleanse the zones where the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska Krajina, which itself rested on the idea of ethnically cleansed territory, had been established. The accountability for the war crimes committed during “The Storm” and in its aftermath, which claimed over 800 civilian victims and resulted in the banishment of over 200,000 people, rests not only on the direct executors, but also with the top military and political leadership of that time, who did not attempt to conceal their intention to ethnically cleanse that area at all costs. The international community also bears its share of accountability for passively observing the killings, burning of houses, and looting of the remaining property of the banished population. While condemning all those atrocities and remembering with reverence all the innocent victims, we feel compelled to mention the regime of Slobodan Milosevic and his cronies from Krajina, as well as the Serbian intellectual elite, who can by no means evade responsibility for the tragedy of the Serbian population of Krajina. Those who had, for years, been spreading the belief that living together is impossible and that the Serbs’ place should be in an ethnically cleansed state, renounced to their creation with sheer hypocrisy, leaving the people in exile to their fate, thus exposing their sham patriotism in full scope. Unlike them, Women in Black and other NGO-s had, from the very beginning the exodus of the civilian population from Krajina, organized concrete relief: the reception of the exiled population at the border, catering for food, clothes, medications and other needs, working in refugee camps, etc. The political leadership of Krajina are presently either in The Hague or on the run, although most of them are enjoying undisturbed the fruit of their looting, indulging in their undeserved privileges. Meanwhile, thousands of men and women, expulsed during “The Storm,” still live in exile, hardship, and uncertainty. May “The Storm” be a warning to us all as to the fate of a people following blind leaders, who call for hatred and ethnic cleansing in pursuit of their own political and financial interests!

Novi Sad – Belgrade, 1st August 2005

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the crimes committed against the civilian population of Krajina, we will hold a peace action entitled "Never Again." The action will be a vigil in mourning and silence, on Liberty Square in Novi Sad, on August 5, from 7 till 8 pm. Also, we will project the film “Oluja nad Krajinom” (‘Storm over Krajina”) by Bozidar Knezevic, at 8:30 pm in Kino sala on Trg Mladenaca no.10. It will be followed by a discussion, with the participation of: Lino Veljak, professor at Zagreb University; Tatjana Tagirov a journalist in Zagreb and Belgrade; Ratko Bubalo, President of HCIT; Nada Dabic, President of Esperanca (Novi Sad); and Borka Begovic and Senka Knezevic Women in Black activists from Belgrade.

Women in Black – Belgrade, Esperance – Novi Sad, The Humanitarian Fund for Integration and Tolerance – Novi Sad, ZAD – Novi Sad, Center for Regionalism – Novi Sad, Women Study, Novi Sad


 

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