War-Veterans on a Peace Mission
A group of some thirty war-veterans from various armies from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia visited Pakrac, Daruvar and Lipik in Croatia in order to meet their hosts from the Association of the Croatian Officer Corps in Pakrac and the Daruvar HVIDR-a [Croatian Association of Disabled Veterans of the Homeland War], and to visit sites of wartime suffering and civilian casualties in the area.
This was the first time that an action of this kind, which the Centre for Nonviolent Action has been organising in cooperation with war veterans from the region for years, was organised in the territory of Croatia.
From the very start, in the immediate aftermath of the war, there were people open to dialogue and peacebuilding, and we have been seeking and finding allies among war veterans ever since, said Adnan Hasanbegović from CNA.
The aim of meetings such as the one in Daruvar is to build trust among people and create a safe living environment. Peacebuilding is a long and arduous process, largely neglected by current ruling political structures. Cooperation among war veterans who are open to dialogue with the other side and genuine understanding of the pain and suffering of the other is the path to reconciliation.
What sounded like science fiction only a few short weeks ago became reality, said a HVIDR-a member.
The visit was also welcomed and supported by the Mayor of Daruvar, Dalibor Rohlik.
Breaking down wartime animosities that are still stressed and maintained, respecting all war victims, these are the foundations for building trust and peace in this region, concluded the participants.