Remembrance Day of all Killed and Expelled Serbs in the Military Action “Storm”
This evening, central state ceremony titled “The Storm is a Pogrom” was held at the stadium of the Sports Recreation Centre “Tikvara” in Bačka Palanka to commemorate the Remembrance Day of all killed and expelled Serbs in the Military Action “Storm”.
Religious service was led by His Holiness, Serbian Patriarch Irinej, and the gathered were addressed by President of the Republic of Srpska Milorad Dodik and President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić.
As President Vučić pointed out, on that day they marked not only the most horrible day in our modern history, “a day when Golgotha started for an entire nation, whose back were burdened by the cross of the kind, origin and religion; a nation flogged by hatred; but they also testified in front of everybody, and especially those who accidentally or on purpose had forgotten that every crime was eternal and that it could not be forgotten or justified, and not in the least celebrated.”
- The motive is important, just like the crime that it caused. Hatred in its rationality does not recognise time or any other kind of ending but the final one – that someone does not exist anymore – Vučić emphasised.
He sent a message that Serbia was changing; Serbia which for a long time did not understand that „the tragedies do not start when words are not understood, but when silence is not understood“.
- For too long we did not understand the hard silence of our people; of our Krajišnici. And we also remained silent afraid to say anything else but the truth. We were not allowed to say the word crime, or pogrom, or cleansing or extermination or killing or arson or looting. Today, we can say that, today Serbia has spoken on behalf of its own, on behalf of its people from Krajina, without a trace of hatred and without calling for revenge – the President of Serbia pointed out and added that there would be no other “storms” for Serbs, just because they are the Serbs.
- Thank you dear friends for gathering here in such great number; the greatest so far, and for coming here to pay homage to the killed Krajišnici, and to proudly speak about expelled Krajišnici who are building the future of Serbia with us. I send regards to our people wherever they may live; we do not want anything from anybody, but no one can forbid us to call ourselves the Serbs, by our Serbian name and last name. I send regards to the Serbs in Montenegro as well, and in the Republic of Srpska, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Croatia, wherever they live, here in the region and all over the world. And we will no longer be just a sanctuary for our people and our Serbs. We will protect each of them, and we will stand by our people and we will not allow anyone to persecute them, kill and humiliate them – Vučić concluded.
In his address, Patriarch Irinej said that the Serbian people should not forget that crime, but that they were appealed as Christians to forgive and hope that it would make someone think about what had happened preventing such evil from repeating ever again.
He stressed that evil had never brought any good to any nation, and that the only way to free ourselves from the consequences of the evil was to pray to God.
- That is the only way to cure the evil. The only thing that remains is to pray to God for love to overcome and not to leave our fatherland which is far too rich in its goods and we will never find a similar one in the far world – Patriarch Iriney said.
President of the Republic of Srpska thanked the President of Serbia for having used his authority five years before to initiate that event of commemorating the suffering of our people in the military action “Storm” and alike.
- Until then, it looked as if everything was forgotten, consigned to oblivion and without our attention dedicated to it – Dodik stressed.
According to him Serbian suffering in the “Storm” was “stormy”.
- Entire families disappeared, many children, women and civilians perished. There is no justice, and we, the Serbs, in our naivety always believe that it is possible – the President of the Republic of Srpska underlined and thanked Serbia “for always being an obvious and safe shelter for all Serbs wherever they may be”.
- Serbia continues to be that even today. Serbia is our identity today, the identity of the Serbs living outside Serbia. Serbia has clearly been a guarantee at times when it was necessary for our people to settle here, to come here and find a safe haven. Serbia was looking far ahead, but it was achievable goal and salvation for many in those years – Dodik stated.
A witness of the suffering, Jelena Knežević addressed the present at today’s gathering. In 1995 she came to Serbia in the column of the refugees.
The central state ceremony was attended by representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Government of the Republic of Srpska, members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska, representatives of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces and representatives of other state bodies of the Republic of Serbia and Republic of Srpska, Serbian Orthodox Church, Associations for cherishing the traditions of liberation wars of Serbia and numerous citizens.
Military action the “Storm”, started on 4th August 1995 with an offensive of the Croatian military and police and the units of the Croatian Defence Council in the area of Banija, Lika, Kordun and northern Dalmatia. A day later, on 5th August, the Croatian armed forces entered the abandoned town of Knin and hoisted a Croatian flag, while the columns of refugees were seeking their salvation in Serbia.