TRAVEL with pat and lew

* died defending Dubrovnik … part of a centuries-long, and probably still unresolved, ethnic conflict

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 20, 2011

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There’s a small room on one of the side streets in Dubrovnik dedicated to the memory of those (mostly young men) who died in 1991 or after in the defense of Croatia against the Serbian Bosnian attacks. It is moving to stand there. All the buildings have been reconstructed and the tourists have returned, but the families and the feelings are still not settled.

We asked our waiter in a pizza restaurant where he was from … Bosnia & Herzegovina he says. We ask, “Are the tensions fully subsided?He shakes his hand in a manner that says … not quite. Our waiter at breakfast was a very young child during the fighting. His father fought; he and his mother remained in Dubrovnik, even as many others fled.

I recently read a novel about the refugees from that war and I recommend it … it’s called The Sound of Blue by Holly Payne, set in 1992, in Dubrovnik and in a refugee camp across the Hungarian border. Very moving and enlightening. And I just added another book to my reading list … The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican: The Croatian Massacre of the Serbs During World War II by Vladimir DedijerIt’s a complicated situation that goes back generations and centuries, a situation where the truth is elusive and never unambiguous … not untypical of many ethnic conflicts that have always plagued our world, and continue to do so today.

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