26 years have passed since the horrendous attack on the Pearl of the Adriatic at the hands of the JNA and their Serbian-Montenegrin helpers.
As HRT reports on the 6th of December, 2017, The Day of Defenders (Dan Branitelja) and the 26th anniversary of the successful defense of the city in the face of primitive aggression at the hands of the JNA and their Serbian-Montenegrin helpers during the Homeland War is set to be marked by a rich commemorative program in Dubrovnik.
Just 26 years ago, on December the 6th, 1991, a barbaric attack headed by the JNA and readily aided by Serbian-Montenegrin aggressors began in Dubrovnik in the early hours of the morning. The area of the city and its internationally beloved UNESCO-protected historic core took shell after shell from dawn onwards, with the most aggressive of the constant attacks being saved for Fort Imperijal, a Napoleonic building on top of Mt. Srdj which was responsible for communications, attacked so brutally in an attempt to cut off the city’s ability to communicate or attempt to obtain outside help, Dubrovnik’s historic UNESCO World Heritage core, Sustjepan, Nuncijata and the still abandoned Belvedere Hotel in Sveti Jakov, formerly one of the top hotels along the Adriatic coast.
During the Homeland War, more than 300 defenders and civilians were killed in the Dubrovnik area, and more than 30,000 residents were forced to leave their often destroyed homes.
The atrocities carried out at the hands of the JNA and their more than willing counterparts had not been seen in Europe since WWII, their regime resulting in the deaths of countless individuals, the displacement of innocent people and the ruination of more lives than is even possible to begin to imagine. Their actions in Dubrovnik, which was nothing more than senseless, animalistic terrorism, not dissimilar to what we have seen more recently at the hands of ISIS in Palmyra, earned the JNA international condemnation and won both Serbia and Montenegro extremely powerful enemies across Europe, the most formidable of which being former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Aside from condemnation from the international community and the gaining of unenviable enemies across the European community, the horrific bombardment of the much-loved UNESCO city saw Serbia and Montenegro end up with a public relations disaster of epic proportions on their hands, resulting in them rightfully becoming ostracised both economically and politically, a blow from which it is hardly possible to recover.
Today, the calls of the seagulls have replaced the sound of guns and shelling and one would hardly recognise the Dubrovnik of 26 years ago, but in spite of the beauty, safety and peace, the blackest of memories remain and it is of paramount importance that the very recent and very bloody history the city had to go through to become what it is today is remembered by all.
Alongside his associates, Dubrovnik’s young Mayor Mato Franković laid wreaths and lit candles in honour of the city’s brave defenders at Boninovo Cemetery, the Bosniak Cemetery at Boninovo, and in front of the monument to the members of MUP in front of the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration building.
Along Liechtensteinov Put, commemorative wreaths will be laid for firefighters and members of the Croatian Navy (Hrvatska Ratna Mornarica/HRM).
The solemn program continues throughout the day with the paying of tributes, the ceremonial laying of flowers, wreaths and the lighting of candles at the cross on top of Mt. Srdj, a recital from local elementary school students and a performance from the popular Klapa Ragusavecchia at the popular Homeland War Museum at Fort Imperijal.
Mass will be held at 18:00 at the Dubrovnik Cathedral for all those who died during the Homeland War, both soldiers and civilians, and in the evening Miroslav Škoro will have a concert on Stradun. The program in honour of the 26th anniversary and Dubrovnik’s defenders ends on Saturday, the 9th of December, 2017.