16 June 2010

Ethnic cleansing beyond the grave in former Yugoslavia

After ten days on a friend's yacht, I can report that the Croatian coast (above) is just as beautiful as it was on my last visit there about thirty years ago when it was still part of former Yugoslavia.

But much has changed. Gone are the pictures of Tito in every shop. Gone too are the empty shelves at what passed for supermarkets.

But you don't have to look far to be reminded of the horrors presided over by the late Franjo Tudman, the first president of the new Croatia, in breaking away from Serbia and the remnants of former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

A taxi driver boasted of having spent a windfall legacy on Kalashnikovs to insure himself against any further trouble from the Serbs.

Areas of 'ethnic cleansing' were marked by empty crumbling houses in areas where Serbs had had once been unlucky enough to live.

Most chilling of all was the sight of neat rectangular tomb stones standing out from the rocks on a beach at the edge of an othewise picturesque Croatian cemetery - evidence that, when when it comes to disposing of Serbs, 'ethnic cleansing' went a step or two beyond the grave:

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