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Obit, pt 2

Pt 1 here

 There was no cafeteria at the top, no kiosk or ice cream trolley, not even a stand selling fresh orange juice. We had found one behind every turn of the Old Town wall, and declined politely, every time. There had been plenty of water to go around during that trip. Now we were running out. We were exhausted, thirsty and grumpy.

Two portable toilets stood guard in front of the fortress. Inside, there were weapons and images from the "Homeland War" 1991 - 1992. We were the first visitors that day. Thursday, the day before, had seen in total two visitors - a couple from Sweden. The walls showed signs of mildew, there was water on the floor. One does not encourage discussions about the past, said a magazine Mother had lifted from the plane. And it certainly seemed so.

There was video footage from the Siege. The attacking troops took their positions on the mountains, and then chose their targets as if the city were a smorgasbord.

Down below, the Old Town, a jewel between the mountain an the glimmering sea, was in fact begging for mortar and artillery fire in the aggressors' eyes. Damn, the JNA only needed to drop something heavy, and in all likelihood the object would find its way into the city, causing considerable damage along the way.

Very little of the information was in English. I tried to make sense of the posters in the native tongue. I took notes that might as well been in Croatian, that's how much they tell me of what I learned in the summer of 2010.

                                                          Oct ’92 [More like ’91, in fact]

Bosanka                 Pile
10.15                   9
12                      11.35

                        Oct 1st 91 –
                6 months
                                11 000

BH war          24 – 28.4.92    1.5.    Neretva Valley
è D     5 300 cr

180 †           (c 22   <18 15)
600 w

more than 26 000
        refugees / displaced persons

Drawing by the daughter, next to the notes above

And so on. I made the same mistake as always: not doing my homework on schedule. Years earlier, I had visited Budapest and Prague just as poorly prepared. And this was far more important. This took place in our time.

To cover the catastrophic consequences of their own incompetence in the region, a borderline war crime as it stands - helping the Serbs in spreading their terror -  the United Nations had to treat the Balkan crisis as a Civil War, not a Serb aggression. Hence the imperative for the ICTY to dole out sentences "equally" between the ethnic groups. Hence the outrage of Russophiles like Jussi Konttinen from Helsingin Sanomat, directed at the U.S. for allegedly extorting the court into acquitting Ante Gotovina. Shame on them, they say, and roll to their backs in front of their True Master. Panting... and they're right. About the shame part, at least.

All of us Europeans should hang our heads in disgust of what we allowed to happen 1991 - 1995. And hang ourselves for making up excuses for our cynicism, then and now.

[To be continued...]

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