I was so distracted with Syria, Egypt, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, that I did in’t pay attention in my blog to a problem in my back yard: the victory in the Serbian’s elections of Tomislav Nikolić, the ultranationalist opossitor of the more moderate incumbent Boris Tadić. Nikolić was active during the Balkans war, friend with the “alleged” war criminal Slobodan Milošević and famous because of his not very prudent public declarations. Above all one of them referred to Vukovar, the croatian city took by the then Yugoslavian-Serbian forces in the beginning of the war after a long siege that was destroyed and people were took from their homes and the hospital, records of patients destroyed before the Red Cross arrived, and many people killed and found in mass graves or disappeared.
In a May 2012 interview, Nikolić was quoted by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to have said that ″Vukovar was a Serb city and Croats have nothing to go back to there″.The following day Nikolić′s office issued a statement saying that Nikolić never made any such statement and called it a ″treacherous lie″. Michael Martens, the journalist of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, subsequently however published an audio recording of the interview, proving that Nikolić did in fact make that statement.
Vukovar is a baroque city in the Eastern part of Croatia at the west side of the Danube, near the only border the Country has with Serbia. Is the place when the Serb radicals entered the city that was with the streets deserted, signing a song while marching with the lyrics “Slobo (for Slobodan Milošević) send us salad, we already have meat, that of the Croatians”.
The fear and the facts of what lived that city were told daily by the reporters of the Croatian Radio and especially the chief of the bureau in Vukovar, the courageous Siniša Glavašević, who was murdered by the Serb Army when the city was took and buried in a mass grave. He is also know because of his “Tales of Vukovar” that he used to read to his listeners at night from a basement where he installed his station, and are pure poetry in the middle of all that horror.
So Vukovar is no a question to take as a joke or a little lapse by a president of a Country. Now it’s time to see if Mr. Nikolić is honest regretting that remarks about Vukovar and will behave as a President of his Country in time of peace as expected.
In Croatia they say that at least they can know what to expect from Nikolić in bilateral relations (not too much), and they think he will respect the borders to don’t demonize his own Country. So not much alarmism over there for now , it seems.