Vukovar Remembrance Day: A tortured city that stubbornly lives on through human hearts
In the long and more often than not troubled Croatia’s history, 18 November 1991 marks the day that will forever be associated with an awful tragedy. It was a day in the first year of the nearly five-year long Croatian Homeland War, the day that must have seemed more like a pitch black night to the people of Vukovar. The day that, after its hearty three-month resistance, this remarkable city succumbed and fell under siege and thus so horribly became the site not only of the harshest battle of the latest and hopefully last Croatian war, but of the most brutal and longest battle in Europe since the Second World War. But only to become an even greater hero.
Indeed, in spite of all the human, cultural and material devastation that it has suffered, the city of Vukovar daily proves that it is far greater than all the harsh adversities that befell it. Its people stubbornly continue to walk an often uneasy rugged path of life, shining as the symbols of the triumph of the human spirit and the indestructibility of life. However, the high price that they paid so that all of us could be blessed today with having a homeland should make us all reconsider our part in truly making it what it should be – an extension of home enabling us all to live, work and create in freedom and peace.
As a way of marking this significant day and fulfilling its role as a keeper of the (sometimes grim) past for the purpose of helping create the (brighter) future, the National and University Library in Zagreb has again put on a special exhibition featuring its collection of books on the Croatian Homeland War and prepared a special programme at its Homeland War Book Collection.
We bring you the powerful and light-bringing words of one of the truest of the heroic martyrs of Vukovar, Siniša Glavašević:
“You have to build again from the start. First, your past, you have to search for your roots, then, your present, and finally, if there is any strength left in you, use it to build your future. And do not be alone in that future. And the city – don’t you worry about it, it has been in you all this time. Only hidden. So that the one thirsting for your blood cannot find it. The city – the city is you.” (Priča o gradu)
Source of the featured photograph: http://film-mag.net/wp/. Photo by: Max Juhasz (used for the cover of Ustani kada kažeš Vukovar by Nikola Šimić Tonin).