Monday, 18 September 2017

Mount Srd

It took a bit of work, but I persuaded Thibault not to do the climb up to Mount Srd which overlooks Dubrovnik. He read reviews that its only an hour. I read things like, you can walk if you are a masochist. There is a cable car, but a bit pricey so Thibault drove us up the one way track. Not an easy drive. The car didn't enjoy it.

 Om Mount Srd is a Napoleonic era fort. And a very solid one as the Croatians managed to hold it throughout the war with Serbia despite heavy air bombardment.

So, two aspects made this a worthwhile visit. The first is the museum devoted to the civil war. The bitterness comes out in every board describing the conflict. Although Croatia has rebounded brilliantly it is still too soon for the wounds to heal; the feeling that it all could have been avoided. And it was the Serbs to blame.

Most affecting was a video set up with a compilation of BBC TV reports - all of which I would probably have seen in the early 1990s at home, but had forgotten. They told the tale of the bombardment and siege of the UNESCO world heritage site of Dubrovnik. Bombed not because of strategic or military value, but because it would put pressure on the Croats to give up territory elsewhere. The UN made various demands and ultimata, but were all ignored. Of course the international community could have lifted the siege by sending out a gunboat but of course nothing happened, just like nothing happens regarding North Korea. Lots of solemn words, but no attempt to help despite already deciding who was in the right.

Anyway, thoroughly sobering and thought provoking. As was the role call of the dead. The defenders were not military personnel - they were ordinary young men with ordinary jobs, defending their homes as best they could. All particularly sobering for me as I visited Split just before it all kicked off. It isn't distant history. It's living memory.

the other reason to get up here is for the views of the sea and the Old Town, far down below.

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