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A Croatian football fan sits in front of an art installation showing a former Yugoslav National Army (JNA) tank running over small red car in Osijek, some 300 kilometres from Zagreb, on October 16, 2012. After it was renewed, the installation was put back in this eastern Croatian town as a reminder of a real event which happened on June 27, 1991 because many of Osijek's and eastern Croatian citizens consider that the Croatian War of Independence actually started that day when a Yugoslav Army tank rammed the car. Small red car , Zastava 750 - was a Serbian produced version of a Fiat Toppolino and for many people red was a metaphoric reminder of communism, the era which finished when Croatia proclaimed its independency and the bloody 1991 -1995 Serbo - Croatian war which followed. The event was recorded and broadcast by many foreign televisions and became very popular . Former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic pleaded not guilty in front of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague on October 16, 2012. Hadzic, 52, the last of the Hague-based court's 161 wanted suspects and the one-time leader of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina during the early 1990s is charged with 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity which includes his role in the massacre by Croatian Serb troops of some 260 Croats and other non-Serbs taken from a hospital in nearby town of Vukovar, eastern Croatia, after it fell to Serbian troops in November 1991 following a harrowing three-month siege. AFP PHOTO/ Hrvoje POLAN (Photo credit should read HRVOJE POLAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The summer of 1990, for those who lived in what was then Yugoslavia, was something like the summer of 1939 in Europe: warm and easy-going, spent mostly on the beach with a cold beer in hand, or—if you were far from any sea or lake—in the shade of a tree or a tall building, comfortably cooling your feet in a washbowl. No one expected the sudden break-up of that Balkan country, or at least not me, then an eleven-year-old boy.

I was busy playing soccer on my street in my hometown, Zagreb, where there was little traffic in the warmer months.…  Seguir leyendo »