Several hundred members of the Croatian-Canadian community gathered in Norval (near Toronto) to show support for the people of Vukovar and the need for truth and justice after 27 years of near silence by government institutions in Croatia. The event in Vukovar, which was presented on a jumbo screen erected in front of the Queen of Peace church, began with the singing of the Croatian national anthem and a moment of silence. The attention of the over 20,000 people in attendance was then directed at the heartfelt and moving testimonials from a number of victims of atrocities during the Croatian War of Independence and a powerful speech by the Mayor of Vukovar, Ivan Penava. The event ended with a song to the Queen of Croats (“Zdravo Djevo”) – which was sung simultaneously by Croats across the world.
The live video feeds throughout the production from local gatherings in Toronto and Chicago (Croatian Cultural Center of Chicago – Hrvatski Kulturni Centar Chicago, Joe Grbes, Antonio Musa, Jennifer Kraljević, Nevenka Jurkovic) added to the sense of unity emanating from Vukovar and was intended to show the people of Vukovar that they are not alone and have not been forgotten.
Everything that was needed to be said was said at the protest in Vukovar including the announcement of the next protest in a year’s time. Time for talk and promises has long passed – it is time for action and results on the part of the authorities.
Thank you to all of you who joined us – regardless of the early start time and the cool temperature. Special thanks to Alpeza Construction (John Alpeza) and the Chamber’s Board of Directors for agreeing to sponsor today’s event in Norval and Stan Bioksic for making the live broadcast possible. Thank you as well to our local Croatian parishes for their support and, in particular, Queen of Peace – Kraljica Mira – Norval (Marko Puljic) for hosting the event and the Ladies of the Holy Rosary for arranging for refreshments. It was great seeing the coming together of Croats around the world, and in particular, those outside of Croatia, including, among others, in Toronto, Chicago, Buenos Aires, and across Australia.
The broadcast of this event in Vukovar is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/JaozEyT2Yns .