See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Croatia, Serbia: A Flag of Friendship

Just a few weeks after Croatia officially marked the 16th aniversory of the military operation “Oluja” (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 [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 [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 [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.

  • yosh moshic

    What is their to reconsile? We were oppressed by Serbian for so long, we could of lost our language our traditions and faith. Our future relies on continueing on these points and maintaining these traits. I don’t want to have to do with anything that is serbo-croatians and I don’t want my kids to have anything to do with that either.

  • Kathryn

    I am a Serbian. I was born in the USA. I am old. I grew up among all peoples of every nation. Many Croatians. I tell you this. WE GOT ALONG. Serbs married Croats. They had good children. My Mother was so proud that a Croatian girl was beautiful.

    WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE BALKANS.

    My Father use to say, “they could have it so good if they united and became like the USA, instead they just like to fight.”

    God help them.

  • ida

    The flag is hideous and two people don’t speak for the majority at all, as you can see most people oppose this. I think it’s best they stay out of each others hair (so to speak) for a good while and allow each to develop their own ways without the other side always nagging, obstructing, sabotaging, backstabbing, hindering, etc. them.
    History has shown that most everything between them ends badly with a lot of people getting hurt.
    Let each side develop and not have to worry about offending or compromising what they want.

  • Hillary

    Greater serbian supporters had been trying for centuries to erase all traces of Croatian language, culture, history, and presence, along with their cultish political mouthpiece, the serb church. More eye opening info can be found at this interesting site I came across. http://croatian-history101.blogspot.com/

  • Kathryn

    “cultish political mouthpiece, the serb church.” Shame. I do not believe anyone is trying to take away the Croatian language, culture, etc. The history of killing Serbs in the second world war is something you should know about. Shame on you. There were two women in my life, one my Mother another a friend (croatian) the sweetest, God fearing women. You sound as though you want trouble between them.Your writing tells me you are American. I know Serb history and we are living in 2011, and you should go to your church and ask for forgiveness.r

  • Sasha

    There is nothing to reconcile. Serbian people has been exterminated (assimilated, expelled or killed) from Croatia. I cant forgive that and never will. Still I can see peaceful coexistence with deep divide and a high walls between Serbian and Croatian people.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site