A Tribute To Vukovar – A Tribune For Change

Total Croatia News

A positive message from the city which symbolises Croatia’s pain in recent history, from long-term British resident of Vukovar, Deane Thomas. This article was written on the eve of the annual Vukovar commemoration on November 18 last year.

Tomorrow, 18th November, Vukovar will be inundated with thousands of people, and tens of dignatories – the purpose, to remember the day Vukovar fell into an aggressors hands. It becomes the focus of the media and officials…Whilst there is every reason to remember the beautiful souls that were lost before and after this date, those that live here, do so each and every day.

The residents of Vukovar, live each day with the memory, and, in a lot of cases continue to struggle with what actually happened in this wonderful town. It is as if the heart and soul was ripped out, and replaced with sadness, grief, suffering and trauma, yet still today we see the remnants of what happened here.

I have made Vukovar my home, for whatever reason, and love the spirit and beauty that lies behind the pain and scars. Each day I walk along the river banks, giving thanks for the very fact that I am alive and live surrounded by such beauty. I hear each day the stories of old, the way things are, and how things used to be. It is a never ending story to be honest, but one that demonstrates how history impacted so many innocent lives.

Thousands of residents were forced to leave their homes and lives…thousands were captured and tortured…thousands were unfortunately murdered…in the name of what exactly? I personally know many friends and family who were subjected to these atrocities, and have worked hard to heal and transform their lives.

They have done this without help from the state, or system, they have done this alone and with the help of friends and family. But the rifts remain, the blame, the pain, the suffering and wonder continues. The trauma is transferred to the next generation, as a reminder of what happened, but how does it serve them? Hos does this promote change for the better?

Today, thousands of school children are brought to Vukovar, to remind them too of what happened here. It is part of the national syllabus for some reason. Isn’t this also a tranfer of trauma? Did anyone think that this may cause pain and suffering to innocent children, who represent the future generations? They walk around beautiful Vukovar, and witness the bullet holes that still remain in the buildings, more than 25 years after the events unfolded.

As a child I would ask the following question…why do these buildings remain this way…where is the change? Why aren’t the scars healed so that the next generations can build a better future? What can we do to help change the direction of this beautiful city? Why am I here?

18th November will always remain in the hearts of the Croatian people as a memory of the tragic events that unfolded, and transformed the country. It is from this that we must encourage radical change in the way to help others, heal and transform their lives. Whatever the agenda of the politicians who will visit Vukovar over the coming days, perhaps they too should ask the question…Why am I here, and what can I do to change this image. What can I do to bring about the change needed? How can I contribute to the future of Vukovar?

The statistics demonstrate negative migration. The new generations are leaving this amazing town, that once was truly the heart of the region. Industries that were destroyed have not been replaced, the work force has no choice but to seek employment outside of the region, and in a lot of cases leaving the country.

This is not a legacy that should be encouraged, yet it is a stark reminder that change is needed, to ensure the next generations have a place they can call home and be proud of.

I am here for a reason. To share the love that I am with others, to share a vision that encourages change from within, so that it can be the platform for change in everyone. It is the love for Vukovar that is deeper than words can explain, and I am grateful for being a part of this town that I currently call home.

There are many lightworkers here, they continue each day with their quest of sharing love and positive energy, in a community that once was shrouded in doom and gloom. No matter the lives we touch each day, we recognise the importance of accepting all that is, coming to peace with it, and making changes that promote change for the better.

Should you visit or are reminded of Vukovar over these next few days, please ask yourself – Why am I here…What can I do to promote change…How can we transform Vukovar into a town that rises up from the ashes of pain and suffering, into a beautiful loving thriving community. Look to the person to the left and right of you and ask the same question to them, and watch the effect it has.

The change begins with each and everyone of us.

Let’s stop talking about what happened, it literally does bring back a whole host of painful memories for those that remain and have lived the experience. Let’s start to talk about how we can make a change that transforms Vukovar. No more time for political showcasing, or empty words – it is now time for action.

It is our responsibility to take this opportunity to reintegrate as well as reinstall the heart and soul of Vukovar. Everything is possible if there is a desire to change.
I write this message in love and trust that it reaches those that can also promote the change needed.

As always, sending love from my home to yours.


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