Friday, 29 January 2021

Vukovar Hospital War Doctor Treats Earthquake-Affected For Free

January 29, 2021 – Dr. Sadika Biluš had the chance to leave the war-era Vukovar Hospital as bombs increasingly rained down on the town. She refused and stayed to treat hundreds of wounded people before the hospital was captured and she was sent to a concentration camp. Today, she offers free treatment to all those from earthquake-affected Sisak-Moslavina at her polyclinic in nearby Velika Gorica

'I went through the war in Vukovar and the (concentration) camps, I know what suffering is,' Dr. Sadika Biluš told journalist Lada Novak Starčević in an interview with Jutarnji List, 'so I treat people from Banija for free.'

'I am not a cook, nor a roofer, but I know how to treat people, wrote Dr. Bilus on social media immediately after the earthquake of 29 December 2020 and opened the doors of her clinic for free to all those from the earthquake-affected area. 'So I offer free internal medicine examinations and therapy to the victims of the earthquake.'

These days Dr. Sadika Biluš owns and runs the Tomi Polyclinic for Internal Medicine and Gynecology in Velika Gorica. Her doctor's surgery may lie some 60 kilometres to the north of the earthquake's epicentre, but many polyclinics in the affected area are still not back up-and-running. The main hospital for the region, in Sisak, was heavily damaged and its gynecology department completely destroyed. Specialist examinations, such as the ones performed by Dr. Biluš, are currently near non-existent in the affected area. Dr. Biluš's own premises received damage during the fierce tremor.

croatia_hrvatska_velika_gorica_0003.jpgVelika Gorica, where Dr. Biluš's Tomi Polyclinic for Internal Medicine and Gynecology is located © Croatian National Tourist Board

It would come as no surprise to learn the earthquake had not put Dr. Biluš off her stride. She has experienced worse. During Croatia's war for independence, she was working in Vukovar hospital. The town was the most heavily damaged place in Croatia by artillery fire. As the number of shells increased and the guns drew nearer, she was offered the opportunity to leave Vukovar hospital. She refused. She stayed behind to look after the injured and the dying. The cost of this action was her freedom. When Vukovar hospital was captured, Dr. Biluš was taken to a concentration camp. She was released at the end of 1991.

'After Vukovar and all the torment we went through, I did not cry,' Dr. Bilus recounted to the journalist. Following the earthquake, she was deeply moved by seeing on TV all of the help offered immediately to those in the earthquake area. 'But now I cried terribly and out of emotion because that accident encouraged people to do so much good.'

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Church Leaders Call for Building Coexistence Based on Truth

ZAGREB, Nov 18, 2020 - During Wednesday's religious services on the occasion of Vukovar and Skabrnja Remembrance Day, Cardinal Vinko Puljic and Archbishop Zelimir Puljic called for forgiveness and building coexistence based on truth.

In order to have a cleansed memory and create the right prerequisites for coexistence, it is necessary to have the courage to call everything by its name and look at the facts through cause and effect. Without truth and justice, there is no stable peace and restoring trust, Cardinal Puljic, the Archbishop of Sarajevo, said during Mass in Vukovar.

Hate that causes crimes must not dominate the conversation and one should admit to the crimes for there to be forgiveness, he said, asking all criminals to "become aware of their crimes."

Faith should help to create co-existence, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoring trust, Cardinal Puljic said, adding that peace-building rested on truth. "There can be no reconciliation and trust without an internal catharsis," he said, adding that those who did not want the truth stood behind evil, defending it and thereby supporting the negative atmosphere between people.

"By this, I don't wish to cause bitterness which incites hate, let alone revenge, but clearly says that the right dialogue, which leads to reconciliation, rests on accepting the truth," said Cardinal Puljic.

Celebrating Mass in Skabrnja, Zadar Archbishop Puljic said it was clear that "the people who experienced the horrors of Skabrnja and Vukovar can hardly forget and forgive what happened to them."

Speaking to the press later, he said, "since we went through tough days, it's now necessary to make tough decisions," as taught by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Franjo Kuharic.

"If we wish to look ahead, if we want a better future, we must turn to the future. All segments of society must work on it so that, in the state which is now free, independent and democratic, rule tolerance, love, forgiveness, joint activity for our better future."

Their sacrifice is not worthy of what often happens, which is polarization and intolerance. They fought for freedom and a better society, and in that spirit, their message is just that, he said.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

President Milanovic Lays Wreath at Ovcara Memorial

ZAGREB, November 18, 2020 - On the occasion of Homeland War Victims Remembrance Day and Vukovar and Skabrnja Victims Remembrance Day, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic on Wednesday paid his respects to the sacrifice of Vukovar by laying a wreath at the Ovcara memorial site.

In addition to the President, the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Admiral Robert Hranj, and presidential envoy Lieutenant-General Marijan Marekovic also laid wreaths.

Milanovic did not give a statement to reporters.

In Skabrnja, on behalf of the president, his envoy, Dragan Lozancic, took part in today's commemorative events.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

A Few Thousand People Attending Vukovar Procession

ZAGREB, November 18, 2020 - Several thousand people, who arrived in Vukovar from various parts of Croatia and neighbouring countries on Homeland War Victims Remembrance Day, took part in the traditional Remembrance Procession on Wednesday morning.

The participants were separated in several groups being led by flag bearers.

In the past days, epidemiologists recommended that the number of participants in the procession in Vukovar should be capped at 500 and that anti-COVID measures including wearing masks and keeping a distance should be respected.

Some participants in the procession failed to keep a distance, however, large groups were separated by the flag bearers. Also, anti-COVID monitors distributed protective masks to those who were without them.

At the beginning of the procession, participants were asked to adhere to the restrictions.

In Vukovar, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic, and some other officials took part in the procession.

President Zoran Milanovic laid a wreath at memorial site at Ovcara on Wednesday morning.

In Skabrnja, commemorative events were also held, however, this year, there were considerably fewer participants than on the occasion of previous anniversaries due to the epidemic of coronavirus.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Brave Woman Wounded in Vukovar Wins Best Employee Award

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes on the 16th of November, 2020, Ivanka Pole, an employee of a Tisak plus kiosk from Dubrava, Zagreb, has won this year's best employee award in Croatia and as such is richer by 100,000 kuna in cash.

Ivanka won the Small Lighthouse for Big People competition, which is being held for the third year by Mazars Croatia, Tim kabel, the Rhema Foundation and the Partner Association. She received the most, 21 percent of the votes received by SMS and thus won the Dr. Drazen Glavas award, which is named after the late professor, entrepreneur and Christian intellectual.

''I will spend it on family and friends. I had to learn how to walk twice, I was wounded in Vukovar… When you go to work happy and when you get to go home happy, when you have peace in yourself, you don't need anything more,''  said the winner.

Zvjezdana Novina Repovecki, employed at the Center for Education Krapinske Toplice, won second place and received 10,000 kuna, and was third in the competition for the best employee award - she's a role model and a fine example of diligence and collegiality. Zlatko Miklec from the company Hrvatski kisobran (Croatian umbrella) from Zapresic, also won 5000 kuna. All Top 10 candidates also received gift packages from numerous project partners. A total of 572 workers were registered and the announcement of the winners of the best employee award in Croatia was held online.

"Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we haven't and won't give up. We're fighting pessimism and the belief that honest work cannot succeed. We want to send out a message that honest work does pay off, encourage everyone and draw attention to all employees, regardless of their length of service and their industry, because we have a lot of small lighthouses,'' stated Kristijan Cinotti from Mazars.

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Sunday, 15 November 2020

Croatian Medical Chamber Pays Tribute to Vukovar's Sacrifice in Homeland War

ZAGREB, November 15, 2020 - A delegation of the Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) on Sunday lit candles at a memorial at the Vukovar National Memorial Hospital in recognition of the hard work and great sacrifice of Vukovar doctors during the aggression on Vukovar in 1991.

"Like all these years, the Croatian Medical Chamber pays tribute to Vukovar's sacrifice and to victims of the Homeland War all over Croatia and expresses its thanks to colleagues who worked at the Vukovar hospital for three months in 1991 in inhumane conditions, offering medical help to all those who needed it," HLK president Kresimir Luetic said.

He said that HLK members had come to the Vukovar hospital a few days before November 18 and not on that day due to the epidemiological situation as they wanted to send a message to everyone else to listen to epidemiologists and not to gather in large numbers in Vukovar on November 18.

Luetic said that the sacrifice of Vukovar in the Homeland War can also be honoured on other days and in other places. According to him, Vukovar should not become a new COVID-19 hotspot following November 18 if epidemiological measures are adhered to.

Head of Vukovar hospital, Vesna Bosanac, also does not expect Vukovar to become a new coronavirus hotspot after November 18.

It is important that everyone who comes to Vukovar really adheres to the measures, that they wear masks and listen to the COVID-19 response team, and that there are no gatherings, Bosanac said.

The HLK delegation also visited the Homeland War Victims Memorial Cemetery, where it laid a wreath and lit candles.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Milanovic: It is People, not Political Elites that Make up Remembrance Procession

ZAGREB, Nov 14, 2020 - The President's Office issued a press release on Saturday ahead of the Remembrance Day commemoration in Vukovar on November 18, saying that it is people and not political elites that make up the Remembrance Procession.

President Zoran Milanovic is of the view that the commemoration of people killed in Vukovar and Skabrnja during the Homeland War "has true significance only if it is open to all citizens wishing to pay their respects and gratitude to those killed and gone missing, and not just to those selected and to the political elites. The Remembrance Procession in Vukovar is made up of people and not political elites," the press release said.

"In the present situation, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the arrival of a large number of people in Vukovar to join the procession may be dangerous to their health and cause further spread of the pandemic. Double standards, obviously politically motivated, which allow a gathering of a large number of people in Vukovar while banning such gatherings elsewhere in Croatia, are irresponsible both to Vukovar and to the citizens," it added.

"In this situation, the victims of Vukovar can and must be honored in a dignified manner, without political calculations, double standards and putting the health of citizens at risk. The President of the Republic will pay his respects to the victims of Vukovar in a manner befitting the situation," the President's Office said.

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

Defence Minister Lays Wreath at Vukovar Memorial Cemetery

ZAGREB, October 31, 2020 - Defence Minister Mario Banozic on Saturday laid a wreath and lit a candle at the Homeland War Victims Memorial Cemetery in Vukovar on the occasion of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

He also paid his respects to the victims at the Ovcara memorial and in Bogdanovci.

Banozic said it was with pride and dignity that he was paying his respects to the defenders and all those who gave their lives for free and democratic Croatia as well as to the suffering of Vukovar in the Homeland War.

"Vukovar meant everything for Croatia and today it is a symbol of the heroism and resistance in the Homeland War. We are paying deep respects to the victims of Vukovar as well as the victims of Bogdanovci who gave an immense contribution to the creation of peace and freedom in Croatia. In thought, we are with the families of the killed, missing and dead Croatian defenders. Once again, an immense thank-you for all you did," the minister said.

He was joined by War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, representatives of the Interior Ministry, the army and Vukovar-Srijem County, and the last commander of Vukovar's defence, Branko Borkovic, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Friday, 30 October 2020

VIDEO + PHOTOS: Vukovar Tower Opens In Spectacular Ceremony

October 30, 2020 - Fireworks pierced the sky, music filled the air and a striking choreography of colours lit the Vukovar Tower at this evening's grand unveiling

123002885_3595848073769282_1138724059920618830_o.jpg
© Marko Džavić 

Fireworks pierced the night sky, music filled the air and a striking choreography of colours lit the monument at this evening's official unveiling of the renovated Vukovar Tower. In a well-measured and memorable ceremony, the chill of the autumnal early evening was replaced with a myriad of heartfelt emotions.

Screenshot (54).png

One of the most recognised symbols of remembrance of Croatia's Homeland War, the Vukovar Tower has been under renovation for three years. Famously damaged in fighting during the war, its scars are a constant reminder of the heavy bombardment the town received. The Vukovar tower has undergone renovation needed to ensure its survival and to open up the structure to public visitation. Around 46 million kuna has been spent on the project, with much of the money coming from public donations.


Fireworks, as seen from spectators on the ground

Music at the opening ceremony ranged from solemn ballads delivered by Croatian pop stars, several all-male choirs and the traditional tamburaci folk music of Slavonia. The ceremony was broadcast live on the web pages of the City of Vukovar and on local TV channels.


The full hour-long ceremony

The Vukovar tower was built in 1968 and stands 50 metres high. It is difficult to judge its size from pictures, but at the time it was built, the structure was one of the largest water towers in Europe. In the times before the war, it held a restaurant with a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding Slavonian countryside. During the war, the Vukovar Tower was hit with more than 600 missiles. It thereafter became a symbol of resistance, then of remembrance.

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An integral part of the monument, the scars on the tower have been preserved in the renovation but shored up so that the Vukovar Tower can stand indefinitely. A new memorial space within the tower was presented as part of the unveiling. The monument will hereafter become part of Vukovar's most-visited buildings. Tens of thousands of Croatians visit Vukovar each year. Its art, culture and beautiful nature draw many, but large numbers also make the trip in remembrance of the war and the lives lost in the town. Almost every Croatian school year will make an organised trip to the town for this purpose.

Screenshot66.pngAll uncredited photos © Grad Vukovar

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Saturday, 17 October 2020

Book and Publishing Fair of Ethnic Minorities Opens in Vukovar

ZAGREB, October 17, 2020 - The second annual book and publishing fair of ethnic minorities in Vukovar-Srijem County opened in Vukovar on Saturday as part of Croatian Book Month.

The fair was organised by the Association of Ruthenians in Croatia, featuring the Bosniak, Hungarian, Ruthenian, Slovak, Serb, Albanian, German and Ukrainian minorities.

"The purpose of the fair is to present the publishing activities of the ethnic minorities and to show the Croatian public what they do, what they write and what they publish, given the fact that some people question what the money from the Council for National Minorities is spent on," the head of the Association of Ruthenians, Dubravka Rasljanin, said at the opening ceremony.

She said that this year the Council for National Minorities had provided the largest sum of money in the last five years, which would be spent on projects aimed at promoting the customs, religions, languages and scripts of the ethnic minorities and preserving their identities.

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