The Birthday of Siniša Glavašević

I abandon any search for justice or truth, I abandon trying to subordinate ideals to my own life, I abandon everything that until yesterday I considered necessary for any good beginning or good ending. I would probably abandon myself as well but I cannot, for who will remain if we all disavow ourselves and flee into our fear? To whom do we leave the city?
Who will protect it when I am no more, searching for myself among the rubbish heaps of human souls where I will head alone yet without myself, vulnerable and tired, in a fever, my eyes growing wider in the face of personal defeat? Who will protect my city, my friends, who will bring Vukovar out of the darkness? There are no backs stronger than mine and yours, and therefore, if it is not difficult for you, if there is still a youthful whisper left in you, join in.
Someone meddled with my parks, the benches in which your names are still carved, the shade under which you simultaneously gave and received that first kiss – someone simply stole everything because how can it be explained that even the shade no longer exists?
There is no longer any store window in which you admired your joy, no cinema where you watched the saddest film, your past is simply shattered and you now have nothing. You must rebuild. First, your past… look for your roots and then, your present… and then, if you have any strength left, invest it in the future. And do not be alone in the future.
As for the city, do not worry about it, it was in you the entire time. Only hidden. So that the executioner does not find it. You are the city.

Siniša Glavašević wrote Story of the City in besieged Vukovar and became one of the symbols of the proud Croatian city. Born on 4 November 1960, he finished primary and secondary school in his native Vukovar and then enrolled in the study of comparative literature and librarianship at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo. After finishing his university studies, Glavašević worked in schools in Lovas and Borovo Naselje.

Glavašević found employment as an announcer with Croatian Radio Vukovar and became its editor and war reporter during the Homeland War. A poet at heart, he also wrote lyrical stories about Vukovar, people, life and himself that were published by Matica Hrvatska and entitled Stories from Vukovar. On his birthday in 1991, Glavašević made his way to the hospital to collect information for his news reports when he was wounded by shell fragments. He would spend his last birthday in the Vukovar Hospital and was executed at Ovčara on 20 November 1991 where his remains were exhumed in February of 1997.

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