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Croatia, Serbia: A Flag of Friendship

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Croatia, Serbia, History, Human Rights, Ideas, International Relations, Politics, War & Conflict, Youth

Just a few weeks after Croatia officially marked the 16th aniversory of the military operation “Oluja” [1] (the Storm), when more than 200,000 ethnic Serbs were expelled from their century-old homes, two young adults from Croatia and Serbia created a mixed Serbo-Croatian flag, as a gesture of reconciliation between the two countries.

Anja Blazevic and Stefan Guzvica, who are taking part in a regional art camp in Gvozd, Croatia, where the flag has recently been created, explained [2] [hr] to Vecernji.hr, a popular newspaper in Croatia, their motivation to do it:

We’ve had enough conflicts based on nationalism […] permanently evoking the past bothers us, while no one is thinking about the future. We feel frustration because of that, and so we decided to make an effort in order to build, at least symbolically, more friendly relationships between the two countries.

We have created the flag in order to call our peoples to love and tolerance. We are aware that the flag will provoke a lot of reactions and polemics, but it is so desirable in democratic societies. We have made a few copies of the flag. One of them is fluttering in our camp in Gvozd, one copy will be taken to Serbia and others have been given to our friends.

More than 850 readers have commented on the article. Below is a selection of some of these comments.

pLoto* wrote:

Behind that are NGOs financed from abroad aiming at some new community to Croats’ disadvantage. But, after two former Yugoslavias that were a failure in blood, they who are working on it did not learn anything. I have nothing to do with Serbs, I’ve never been to Serbia… and I don’t want someone uniting me with them.

Jolly-Roger wrote:

The first step is that Serbs recognize Croatia, especially those who have lived in Croatia for a long time.

The second step is that they ask for forgiveness for all the crimes that they commited in Croatia, not only during the last war.

The third step is that all of them are moved out of Croatia.

Then we can have good relations, and the flag of Croatia will not be changed. We were fighting and dying for it.

cro1com wrote:

[…] We don’t need to be friendly people at all. We have to be very cautious of each other, especially Croats toward Serbs, because Croats have never waged a war against Serbs in Serbia but all of us have witnessed the aggression from the East […]

bilikamen wrote:

They should be killed immediately so that our children and grandchildren are not killed later.

21 KK Kobra wrote:

You are stupid… do you think that we like the flag and that it is OK? I have no words.

Andreeejjj wrote:

[…] Why so, my dear Croats? It will not be excused by anyone from the world! […] The future is the most important, not the past, whatever it was. If the politicians from all former Republics [of Yugoslavia] had wanted to prevent the war, it would have been done. Unfortunately, there was no interest in it because no one of them could become so rich. That’s all and brutally true, my people, be wiser just once. It’s the time.

Serbian daily Blic re-published [3] [sr] the news, which has generated more than 600 comments. Below are some of them.

Persa wrote:

I support each initiative which contains a desire for well-being of the people, for mutual understanding, for love, for kindness, for offering aid… I’d like that everything that was bad does not happen anymore […]

Nikola Radovanovic wrote:

Hey, people, what’s the matter with you? Let’s forget once what happened! Look into the future and allow our children to live in peace and without hatred.

per-aspera-ad-astra wrote:

It should allow everyone, regardless of nationality, who hates and chokes in their own hatred, but I don’t understand how they want to go to Europe?

Serbian blogger Strongman also re-published [4] [sr] the news and more than 80 people commented on it.

Mariopan wrote:

Bravo to the young people. A little bit normalcy in the crazy Balkans.

Looping wrote:

I believe the motive is good, but the creators should be taking care of their lives.

ivanivica wrote:

I am only reading and thinking of how many times the young Israelis and Palestinians meet up. And?

newyorkcity.boy wrote:

All honors for maturity and courage. I support it. Finally, someone has tried to make an effort of reconciliation. I hope the move will be just the beginning. All honors to you. How much further will we hate each other?

This issue has drawn attention of several thousand people from Croatia and Serbia, as well as the rest of the region, who have left their comments on many other internet platforms and forums in the past few days.