"Serbs in Croatia - the path to preserving identity"
The promotion of the book “Serbs in Croatia – the path to preserving identity” was held at the Faculty of Theology in Belgrade. The authors, Janko Veselinović and Darko Gavrilović and one of the reviewers of the book, Pavle Runić , participated in the promotion.
The book represents the fruit of the author’s many years of work on reconciliation between Serbs and Croats and the normalization of political relations between Serbia and Croatia.
The authors, through the organization of scientific conferences on Serbian-Croatian relations, have been trying for more than 15 years to use the example of one local community – the municipality of Obrovac – to encourage life to be not only sustainable but also fruitful and to overcome ethnic divisions while insisting on cooperation.
Darko Gavrilović on the book "Serbs in Croatia - the path to preserving identity"
In the first part of the book, Darko Gavrilović presented some of his previous works that deal with the consequences of wars, the maintenance of post-war hatred and prejudices that harm the good-neighborly relations of the two countries, and thus the development capacities of Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia.
By presenting to the readers the segments of the identity of Serbs in Croatia, the author provided the opportunity for them, based on the declaration of a large number of Serbs and Croats to be Christian, to remember and then follow the essential teachings of Christ towards the establishment of peace.
In this way, Gavrilović upgraded the policy of regional stability and reconciliation and the tasks of peace studies and education with Christian teaching. He warned that many “say they are for Christ, but in their hearts there is hatred. They say they are God’s, but they call for revenge and war.”
Gavrilović claims that “when the victim lives in a state of hatred, that is exactly what criminals who live in hatred want. If they do not forgive, the perpetrator wins in a symbolic way. His wish was that the victim has no future. By saying goodbye, apart from spiritual separation of the chains imposed on the victim by the perpetrator, at the same time points out to future generations the sinfulness of the crime. But it also points out to them the magnificence of forgiveness and reconciliation so that coexistence can continue, exactly where it once stopped due to mass murders. And finally , by forgiving the perpetrator, he is not deprived of the punishment he should receive for the crime committed, but two things are achieved: the one who forgives him receives such a humanistic advantage that he disarms the perpetrator or his followers when it comes to any further “justification” of the crime. is that the perpetrator gets the opportunity to realize his own sinfulness during the multi-year prison sentence, to repent and to be prevented by law from any further social and political engagement aimed at inciting hatred.”
Gavrilović believes that “this segment of forgiveness is very important for establishing good relations on a personal level between Serbs and Croats. Looking at their shared history, forgiveness is not an easy process at all. Within that process, it is difficult to overcome emotional turmoil if bitterness and anger linger. At the same time, irresponsible political elites are retaliating against them with the support of equally irresponsible clerics, media and intellectuals.
Janko Veselinović about the book
In the second part of the book, Janko Veselinović presented the works that represent part of the fruits of his work so far. Veselinović is a lawyer and works to improve the political position of Serbs in Croatia. Also, he advocates for the strengthening of development potentials for the establishment of sustainable peace in Croatia.
By studying and giving examples of development potentials in the field of agro-economy and rural tourism, this author has shown that there is a large space for joint progress and sustainable development of Serbs and Croats.
On that occasion, the author said: “Serbs from Croatia are the people of Nikola Tesla and Milutin Milanković, Josif Pančić… the people where Dositej Obradović began his enlightening work. They are the people who have monasteries built seven centuries ago, such as Krupa, Krka, Dragović… It is the people of Sime Matavulje, Vladan Desnica and other important cultural workers. The identity of that part of the Serbian people is the most valuable thing in it. But the identity is preserved by the people and their people. My efforts are to show that the economic empowerment of the Serbs in Croatia through the development of tourism, sustainable forms of agriculture and animal husbandry, as well as handicrafts is the way to maintain and perhaps revitalize the Serbian community. I think this primarily because of the potential they have because they mostly live by the sea, next to national parks, nature parks, areas suitable for the development of agriculture and tourism.” .