THU, 23 JUN 1994 19:53:10 GMT
The terrible massacre which last Saturday took place in a cafe in Osijek, when a member of the Fifth Croatian Home Guardsman Regiment, Borislav Beslic, shot four persons and wounded eight, simply had to happen, because enormous quantities of weapons are in the possession of a large number of people totally uncontrolled. Dr. Nikola Mandic, Head of the Psychiatric Department of the Clinical Hospital in Osijek sent warning of the possibility of the appearance of the "Vietnam syndrome"in Croatia a long time ago. According to him, after a war, it is natural to take stock and even soldiers who usually postpone answering questions about is until the war lasts, start facing it once it ends. Majority of the soldiers had no opportunity to grieve, and this grief did not have its normal course. In such persons, distorted grief may appear and create total inhibition amd mental disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to be extremely cautious and careful with the persons who have experienced losses during the war. They tend to react very associally, in a manner which may be disastrous for their environment. Because war ploughs human souls and leaves deep furrow and scars. According to him, after a war, it is naturally to take stock and even soldiers who usually postpone answering questions about is until it is over, starting facing it when it ends. Majority of the soldiers had no opportunity to grieve, and thgis grief did not take its normal course. In such persons, distorted grief may appear and create total inhibition amd mental disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to be extremely cautious and careful with the persons who have experienced losses during the war. They tend to react very associally, in a manner which may be disastrous for their environment. Because war ploughs human souls and leaves deep furrow and scars.
AIM, Osijek, June 22, 1994
The terrible massacre which occurred last Saturday in an Osijek cafe called "Graficar" - when the crazy murderer, Borislav Beslic, a member of the Fifth Croation Home Guardsman Regiment shot four persons and heavily wounded another eight, simply had to happen in Osijek. The ancient rule in the theory of drama that a rifle which appears on the scene in the first act must fire off in the third, proved to be universal and pointed at the unfortunate fact that it does not refer only to theatre, but to life too. Enormous quantities of arms which are in possession of a large number of people completely uncontrolled, and hundreds of incidents which happened daily do not seem to be sufficient warning to the ardent supporters of the thesis about "Croatian rifle on Croatian shoulder". After the "Osijek incident", it has, hopefully, become quite clear to everyone that the Croatian rifle, once there are no other enemies, can equally efficiently be used against Croats.
Although the official investigation is not over, some of the motives for the massacre which took place at the fifteenth graduation anniversary of eleven former students of the Osijek Administrative School, the massacre which irrestistably reminds of the scenes from the horror-movie "Bloody Graduation Night". Beslic had returned from his unit's position that tragic night and brought his automatic rifle with him. He jumped over the locked garden gate of the cafe "Graficar" which was closed for other customers, as the owner, Stjepan Rukavina explained. The former students were celebrating in the closed part of the cafe, and another group of guests were having a birthday party on the terrace. The party was gay, entertained by a band called "Mister X", and in such high spirits, according to eye-witnesses, they started dancing and singing some Serbian songs. Allegedly, this made Beslic furious and he started shooting. He did it without any warning, first through the glass door, and then he entered the hall and directed his bursts towards the guests and the personnel of the cafe. He emptied the whole frame, calmly replaced it with a new one and continued to shoot, having shot the total of 45 7.62 caliber bullets. Then he put down the rifle and two bombs on the table and sat down by the edge of the garden terrace of the cafe. That is where the police found him.
The sight was ghastly. Four persons (two waitresses Melita Grujic and Mirjana Katanic and two guests Branko Malijurek and Tihomir Milicevic) were lying in a pool of blood, and the eight wounded were shouting for help, asking for an ambulance. The guests who were on the terrace realized what had happened only much later. When they heard the shooting they did not react, believing that some people were just giving vent to their joy a little too loudly. This fact, maybe more than anything else, shows how use of arms is considered to be quite a normal thing to do - there is shooting at weddings, birthday parties, various celebrations, not only from pistols, but rifles as well.
The Commander of the Fifth Home Guardsmen Regiment was not willing to make a statement about the psychic state of mind and previous behavior of his soldier not to explain how it was possible that he took the weapons home when he returned from the unit. The journalists could not find out anything about Borislav Beslic (41) in the Information Department of the Osijek District Assembly either. They were just answered laconically that everything important about Beslic had already been published, and should it prove necessary to present any additional data, it would be done subsequently.
Nevertheless, news leaked that Beslic infinged the law on several previous occasions, and that he had already been convicted by the Distric Court in Osijek for endangering public safety. Because of a quarrel and unsettled accounts, he had set an inn called "Fruska gora" in Osijek on fire.
If the motive for the massacre committed by a member of the Croatian Army, Borislav Beslic, really lies in the "controversial songs" which could be heard in the cafe "Graficar", it is necessary to sit down and think carefully what kind of an atmosphere was created and how low the tolerance threshold has dropped. "None of us knew this man and I do not think that we provoked him in any way", Damir Pavlovic, one of the participants at the graduation anniversary said. "The music bothered him? Why, they were folk songs, not Chetnik songs".
It is strange that after what had happened on Saturday night in Osijek, the crime was not publicly condemned. Only the city administration headed by Zlatko Kramaric, put the issue of security in the city on the agenda of its next session. Kramaric warned that there was an enormous quantity of arms out of control, often in the possession of men having a problematic psychic status. He reminded of a body established in 1992, consisting of representatives of civilian and military authorities, which was expected to put an end to terrorism which raged in Osijek at the time. The journalists who warned of the appearance of the Wild West syndrome in Osijek at the time, were accused as enemies of the young democracy and of creating a false image of this city in Croatian public by the Prime Minister of the city at the time and the present Osijek-Baranja District-Prefect, Branimir Glavas. He explicitly claimed that the situation in Osijek was not at all different than in any other city in Croatia close to the occupied parts of Croatia.
Contrary to Kramaric, Glavas did not think it necessary to condemn the crazy act of the Croatian soldier. But, the Distric Prefect is not indifferent to human destiny, one could conclude by his open letter he had sent just two days before the massacre in the cafe "Graficar", to the Manager of Varazdin chicken farm "Koka". Namely, Glavas strongly protested because of "Koka"'s indifference at the destiny of a six-year old boy Mija Cosic, who lost his sight after he had eaten eggs infected by salmonella.
Almost complete evasion of the crime and the attempt to alleviate the bloody event which the peaceful Osijek has not seen for a long time, reached its climax in the local daily newspaper "Glas Slavonije", which suggested the following conclusion to its readers in its writing about what has happened: "Is not it high time to wonder how much we are aware of the postwar situation and delicate circumstances around us, as well as of the fact that this is no time to test the already overstrained nerves of Croatian soldiers by 'inadequate songs'". The conclusion is admirable.
But, that there can be no joking with "inadequate songs", several months ago listeners of Radio Slavonia also learnt. Radio Slavonija is together with the daily "Glas Slavonije" and Slavonian Television owned by a National Shareholding Cooperative Society of the Croatian Democratic Community. In a programme called "The Yellow Submarine" which was later taken off the air for that, master of ceremonies, in order to feel the pulse of his listeners, played the song of Djordje Balasevic "Let there be no war". Seven listeners called and said then that they had nothing against Balasevic, but one, having said that he was a volunteer in the patriotic war, warned then to stop it, because the studio could be blown up. Nobody paid attention to that.
After the bloody Saturday in Osijek, not even the songs are what they used to be.
DRAGO HEDL (AIM)
In the Frame: The Vietnam Syndrome Dr. Nikola Mandic, the head of the Psychiatric Department of the Clinical Hospital in Osijek warned about the possibility of the appearance of the "Vietnam syndrome" in Croatia a long time ago. "After a war, it is naturally to take stock", professor Dr. Nikola Mandic says, "The soldiers during the war postpone the face this question, they have no time to grieve over a certain event, such as the loss of friends, loss of a post at work, separation of their families, loss of a part of their bodies, or certain moral values, including the loss of humaness, home, homeland. All that is added up by them after the war. In the war milieu, a soldier loses his fine emotions which he had for his wife, children, friends. And now he must return to the new/old way of life. Majority of the soldiers had no opportunity to grieve, and their grief did not take its normal course. In such persons, distorted grief may appear and create total inhibition and mental disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to be extremely cautious and careful with the persons who have experienced losses during the war. They tend to react very associally, in a manner which may be disastrous for their environment. Because war ploughs human souls and leaves deep furrow and scars."