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Bijeli Put - White Path 10-26 December 1993 the greatest humanitarian action in European History
By Darko Žubrinić | Published  12/11/2013 | Croatian Heroes , Human Rights , Croatians in B&H , People , In Memoriam , History , Education | Unrated
The first and only successful joint humanitarian action of Christians and Muslims in History


Marking 20 years since the Bijeli Put (White Path) humanitarian operation 10-26 December 1993.

Fra Zoran Livančić was in the Croatian enclave in Bosnia all the time, also during the humanitarian operation.

Professor Slobodan Lang greeted the audience with "Hvaljen Isus i Maija" (Praised be Jesus and Mary)
and with "Selam Alejkum" (Peace be with you). H. E. Azra Kalajdžisalihović, ambassador of
Bosnia and Herzegovina in Croatia, was also present among the guests of the meeting.

Mr. Ante Damjanović adressing to the audience.


White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia:
A Chronology of a Humanitarian Convoy

Humanitarian work has always been an inseparable part of a war, particularly in our times, when technology of information spreads the news on the sufferings of those endangered by war throughout the world. Regardless of the ambiguity of the world's politics, disorganization of the warring sides and general confusion and complexity surrounding the armed conflict in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), humanitarian work accompanying the conflict received an immense humanitarian attention and help (1). We will describe here a single humanitarian action, a single convoy, believing that it deserved attention for several reasons: (a) it concerned a completely surrounded community, neglected by international humanitarian organizations and abandoned by those who wanted to help but were unable to do so (Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia); (b) it was the fastest organized and largest nongovernmental humanitarian help organized in Croatia; (c) it involved an interesting combination of the two leading groups, physicians and Franciscan monks; (d) it passed through numerous troubles and perils which revealed the roles and relationships of the warring sides in BH; (e) it was attacked and saved, one man was killed and five wounded; (f) it marked the great turn in the history of Croatian nation because it was the first aid that started from the capital city of Zagreb and reached Central Bosnia; (g) a part of its organizational scheme branched into the office of the Croatian Medical Journal, which both makes us proud and prompts us to report on the event on these pages.

Background

After the outbreak of the armed conflict between Croats and Muslims of BH in April 1993, Croats of Central Bosnia were surounded by 6 to 10-fold more numerous Muslim forces into several enclaves (2,3). The largest enclaves were Usora (population 18,000), Žepče (population 35,000), Vareš (population 7,000, occupied in October 1993), Novi Travnik-Nova Bila-Busovača-Vitez (population 70,000) and Kreševo-Kiseljak (population 36,000) (Fig. 1, ref. 2). More than busy with Muslim attacks on Mostar and North Herzegovina, exhausted by the year-long war against Serbian aggression in BH, poorly organized and rejected by the international community, Croatian community of BH, self-proclaimed first as Croatian Community Herzeg-Bosnia and later as Croatian Republic Herzeg-Bosnia, was unable to either break through Muslim lines or to negotiate the supply of food and medicines to the enclaves which formally were under its care and jurisdiscion. The Republic of Croatia, itself devastated by the 1991/92 Serbian aggression, accused for certain forms of help to Croats of BH, under constant threat of sanctions, was unable to reach Central Bosnia by any means. International community, from the UN to the last humanitarian organization did not want to hear about the sufferings of Croats in Central Bosnia (2-4). Some day this attitude should be carefully analyzed and the general context of the injustice clarified.

Action White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia

All Croats were aware of the situation of their compatriots in Central Bosnia but, as explained, all different groups were actually unable to act effectively and/or believed it was the duty and responsibility of others. By the end of October 1993, Dr. Slobodan Lang (5-7) initiated a nongovernmental, independent action aimed to help Croats and all other suffering peoples of Central Bosnia.

The idea was based on already existing improvised hospital situated in the Franciscan church Holly Ghost in the small village of Nova Bila, near Novi Travnik. The hospital was formed on Human Rights Day 1992, by local physicians and Franciscans, with Dr. Lang's involvement. After six months of Croatian-Muslim fighting and Croatian defeats (Fig. 1), the hospital remained the only humanitarian and medical resort for 70,000 encircled Croatians in the area.

Nova Bila

The area is approximately 12 km long and 1.2 to 6 km wide (fig. 2). Out of its 70,000 inhabitants, 12,500 are children, 20% displaced persons from other parts of BH and 40% women. Each point of the enclave can be reached by rifle fire of Muslim fighters on the mountains surrounding the valley of Lašva (from Novi Travnik on the north to Kaonik on the south, Fig. 2). The enclave itself contained two small Muslim-held enclaves, the Old Vitez (a part of the town of Vitez) and the village of Kruščica. The food and medicines were short. There were dozens of wounded children, some wounded and 10 killed by sniping rifle fire. Local authorities issued numerous appeals to Croats and to international community but in vain. The turning point was when a human rights activist of Herzeg-Bosnia, Mr. Ante Damjanović, managed to get in and out of the enclave and brought the alarming first-hand news to Zagreb. His teacher, Dr. Lang, helped him meet Croatian officials and other important figures on October 29, 1993, and appear live on Croatian TV.

The Action

In a TV show on October 31, 1993, Dr. Lang advised all those who wanted to help to contact Dr. Ana Marušić at the CMJ. The next morning the work on CMJ had to stop because both telephones constantly kept ringing, offering all kinds of aid, from all sides of the world, Croatia and BH. One of the calls (Mr. Juraj Bokunić) offered an office in Zagreb, Ilica 128, and a dozen of people met there the next day. The Action White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia was founded (8). The expression Silver Bosnia was chosen to honour the contribution of Franciscans, because it is their ancient name for Central Bosnia.

Soon, the founding members of the Action brought in their friends and the news spread like thunder. The aid started pouring in, threatening to flood us. Fortunately, many people with different skills joined the Action and we were able to cope with all challenges. Essentially, the Action worked through a Council and its 16 Committees, of which most did a splendid job. It was decided that the Action's convoy will start on the Human Rights Day, December 10, 1993. Owing to great organizational talent and heroic efforts of Mr. Herman Vukušić, the Convoy was ready and started as scheduled.

The Convoy

The journey, all accompanying events and data on the Convoy are not systematized yet, and the details differ from a witness to a witness, depending to his/her position in the Convoy and the fate of that part of the Convoy. Here we will try to give a cross section picture, a summary of all available data.

The aim of the Convoy was to reach Croats of the Nova Bila enclave with food, medical aid and equipment for the Franciscan hospital. A part of the aid was aimed for (a) hospital in Muslim-held town of Zenica, (b) small Jewish community in Zenica, (c) Muslim (sub)enclaves in Old Vitez and Kruščica.

At its start, the Convoy was approved by the BH government (Mr. H. Silajd`ić) and Army (General Rasim Delić). Bosnian Embassy in Zagreb not only fully supported the Convoy but was prompted to organize own convoy in Split, aimed to Muslims in Maglaj. In a friendly atmosphere, a part of this convoy was aimed for Croats in the Nova Bila enclave. It is really unfortunate that these beautiful plans soon turned into a series of tragic events, failing to fulfill most of their goals.

Through Croatia and Free Parts of Herzeg-Bosnia

The Convoy started from Zagreb with 38 5-12 tons trucks, a gasoline truck, two accompanying vehicles and a bus with medical personnel, Franciscans and newsreporters (some 50 persons). The Convoy was officially led by Dr. S. Lang and commanded by Mr. H. Vukušić.

After a small but moving ceremony at Zagreb's West Train Station at noon on December 10, 1993, the Convoy reached Rijeka in the late evening. There it spent the night, accepted four new trucks and in the morning headed for Split. The weather was bad, storm and occasional Serbian fire followed the Convoy across the Maslenica pontoon bridge. In return, the reception in Split was overwhelming. New 40 trucks and additional volunteers doubled the size of the Convoy. On December 12, 1993, it left Split for Tomislavgrad (BH), which it reached safely on the evening of the same day. From there, troubles followed the Convoy until its return from the mission.

Muslim military authorities requested new negotiations, which included Croatian Defense Council (CDC, army of the Croats in Herzeg-Bosnia) and Dr. Lang. Fortunately, Dr. Lang realized that the Muslim side was saving time for Muslim convoy to get prepared in Split. Thus, our Convoy waited for the Muslim one in the Rama Valley, making the final preparations and checks, honored by immense love, attention, care and prayers of the Croats of Rama. The implicit conditioning of our passage by waiting for Muslim convoy is in contrast both to the international rules and to our previous agreements on the unconditional passage of humanitarian convoys. However, that moment was not suitable for moral disquisitions, and the Convoy (a) waited patiently for the Muslim convoy to reach Rama and (b) negotiated (Dr. Lang) incessantly to get the permission and protection to enter the Muslim-held territory which stretched from Gornji Vakuf to Novi Travnik (Fig. 2).

On the Muslim-held Territory

At 6:15 on Saturday, December 18, 1993, 92 vehicles with nearly 1,000 tons of aid crossed the front line towards Muslim-held land. Along the first kilometer of the Muslim territory, before Muslim Military Police took over the protection of the Convoy, some 30 trucks were looted by persons in Muslim Army uniforms. Men would jump on the truck, point the guns and fastly rob the travellers of all movable goods and money. UNPROFOR escort in the front and at the end of the Convoy saw this and did nothing. Afterwards, all until Pavlovica, Muslim MP gave the Convoy a perfect protection.

Pavlovica

The searching check-point was the village of Pavlovica (Fig. 2). Gen. Delić ordered and promised that the search would end until 15:00 of the same day. It did not, but lasted until the night; thus the Convoy had to spend the night in open fields, guarded by Muslim MPs who really protected the Convoy from looter, even by shooting at them and arresting them during the day. During the night, however, the looting continued.

In the meantime, the Muslim convoy slowly reached the front line (due to the technical problems). Muslim media accused Croats for slaughtering the drivers (in Tomislavgrad), looting the convoy (in Prozor), etc., although just the opposite was true: CDC soldiers escorted it without any incidents. The waiting at Pavlovica was used by Dr. Lang to return to Rama and escort the Muslim convoy to Muslim-held town of Bugojno. However, that was the moment waited for by the Muslim side!

Contrary to all agreements, Muslims repeated the search of the Convoy on Sunday morning and - interestingly - already in the first truck found three small boxes of the military material.

We denied any responsibility for this and requested the passage: Muslims, however, posed 7 conditions (9) which, after long negotiations, we had to fulfill. Not counting the two which requested the aid to Muslims of Kruščica and Old Vitez - which we announced at the start of the journey, most of them were unfair and humiliating but, on the third day at Pavlovica, Dr. Lang had to yield. Thirteen persons, mostly physicians who volunteered to help their colleagues in the Franciscan hospital and several newsreporters, were forbidden to enter Nova Bila and returned to Rama in UNPROFOR vehicles.

Nova Bila Reached

After some 50 hours at Pavlovica, around 15:30 on Monday, December 20, 1993, the first vehicles reached Nova Bila. There was not a single person who did not cry, either in the Convoy or among the thousands that awaited it. Unfortunately, at entering Nova Bila, the Convoy came under Muslim heavy machine-gun fire which damaged several trucks. There were other ominous signs: the electricity to the whole Central Bosnia was cut off, the driver who took the aid to the Muslims in Old Vitez was maltreated, physicians had not been allowed to go to Nova Bila, the help to Jews of Zenica was banned and, more than anything, the Convoy had to leave Nova Bila within 24 hours. British UNPROFOR battalion insisted the Convoy should leave although it was obvious the Convoy would be attacked. Finally, Dr. Lang was forced to order the return on Wednesday morning, December 22, 1993. Large Muslim offensive against the Nova Bila and other Croatian enclaves in Central Bosnia was starting.

Return and Tragedy

Under fire, the Convoy reached Pavlovica, was checked again and headed for Gornji Vakuf. In contrast to the previos passage, now there were no people or looters on the streets. UNPROFOR escorted the Convoy with some 8 armored vehicles, trying to pass to the CDC territory in groups. Already the first group came under fire but managed to escape. The third group came under a heavy attack and in the fourth one driver (Mr. A.V.) was killed and five persons wounded. This broke the Convoy, and its latter half was left at village of Bistrica (Fig. 2), encircled by Muslim forces.

Later, after long and tough negotiations, UNPROFOR transferred the encircled personnel in armored vehicles to Rama, but a number of trucks were left behind.

Discussion

The gains achieved by our Action and Convoy can easily be listed: a) a considerable aid brought to the hospital and people of the Nova Bila enclave, b) the example showing the paths to cooperation and peace with Muslim side, c) unification of Croats throughout the world in helping to the Croats of Central Bosnia. Unfortunately, the failures are not less hard or numerous: a) the action was paid with a human life and sufferings, b) the Action challenged the Muslim side to show some of its bad sides which might have precipitated new hatred, c) the end of the Convoy elicited frictions within the Action threatening its very existence.

Regardless of whether it was due to our excellent relations with the government of Herzeg-Bosnia or their genuine courteousness, we were pleased to learn that this government and its military force (the CDC) could respect agreements. This we cannot conclude for the Muslim side, even for the top officials, who actually gave all crucial promises (written documents are in our files) that were broken. Thus, we believe an identical convoy cannot be organized after we learned of the risks awaiting in Central Bosnia. A mixed Croat-Muslim or very international convoy should be planned if encircled Croats of Central Bosnia are to be reached. UNPROFOR is left in our memory as a factor of doubtful impartiality and undoubtful lack of will to do true effort to help all suffering civilians in the BH. It appears that Muslim side is in as desperate situation as Croats of Nova Bila and thus may be ready to accept carefully planned peace actions. The members of the Convoy believe that there is a dissociation between Muslim people and soldiers on one and their leaders and commanders on the other side: people are not as hostile as the developments on the ground show. Dr. Lang ascribes the small number of Convoy's casualties to an invisible refusal of common Muslim soldiers to kill unarmed members of the Convoy in Gornji Vakuf. There is no other explanation why an open attack of a regular army did not bring more casualties.

At present, some mourn the dead and care for the wounded, some enjoy the recognitions that awaited the Convoy at its return to Zagreb, some are planning new convoys and others, maybe, new attacks; we however, definitely learned that if all sides invested more care and love for their people in their relations with their actual enemies, the peace would have come much faster than thousands of deaths and great amount of pain on all sides.

With this respect, we have chosen the Croatian Cross of Peace for the front page of this CMJ issue. Mr. Branko Čulo designed the Croatian Cross of Peace which comprises most celebrated sanctuaries of the Holy Lady in South Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Nova Bila, the subject of this Editorial, and the town of Vukovar, the victim of the Serbian aggression in 1991. The Cross symbolizes our yearning for peace; by touching Nova Bila it symbolizes our struggle to reach it with the Convoy, and by pleading to the Holy Lady it reveals our prayers that Peace reaches our people in 1994 (10).

Ana Marušić

Matko Marušić

Slobodan Lang

Originally published in Croatian Medical Journal 1994;35:3‑7. [PDF]
Reprinted for the readers of the CROWN by kind permission of the authors.

References:

1 Acheson D. Health, humanitarian relief, and survival in former Yugoslavia. BMJ 1993;307:44-8.

2 Ivanović V, Vlahušić A, editors. Ethnic cleansing of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1991-1993. Mostar: Office of the President of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, August 1993.

3 Judaš M, Radoš M, Lončar M, Kostović I. War crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions committed by Muslim Army and paramilitary forces against Croatian civilian population in Central Bosnia and Northern Herzegovina (September 3, 1993). Croatian Med J 1993;34:334-41.

4 World Life Institute. The games the United Nations play. Washington, D.C: World Life Institute, January 4, 1994 (unpublished).

5 Lang S. A physician and the war. Croatian Med J 1992;33(War Suppl. 2):1-2.

6 Lang S. The Third Balkan War: Red Cross bleeding. Croatian Med J 1993;34:5-20.

7 Lang S, Marušić M. Peace and human rights: Painful lessons of the Balkan war. International Minds 1993;4:6-13.

8 Anonymous. Action White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia. Croatian Med J 1993;34(4).

9 Marušić A, Marušić M. Reports Nos. 1-13, 1993. Daily reports on the developments with the convoy of the Action White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia. Personal archives.

10 Meštrović SG, Letica S, Goreta M. Habits of the Balkan heart. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1993.

FIGURE LEGENDS

Figure 1. Enclaves of Croats (black) created by Muslim offensive during Croat-Muslim conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina since April 1993. Civilians from conquered and ethnically cleansed areas of Central Bosnia were squeezed into small, surrounded territories which still resist the siege. Grey areas are held by Muslims and white by Serbs (January 1994).

Figure 2. The last part of the convoy's route to Nova Bila: Rama - Prozor - Gornji Vakuf - Pavlovica (searching check-point) - Novi Travnik - Nova Bila. The humanitarian convoy was prepared and led by the nongovernmental organization White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia. It started from Zagreb on December 10, and returned to Prozor on December 22, 1993. The convoy was attacked in the village of Bistrica on its return from Nova Bila; one member was killed and five more wounded. Dotted areas, territories held by the Croats; blank areas, territories held by the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Marušić A, Marušić M, Lang S. White Road for Nova Bila and Silver Bosnia: A chronology of the humanitarian convoy. Croatian Med J 1994;35:3-7.

Source www.croatianhistory.net



The Bijeli Put humanitarian convoy started in Zagreb on December 10th 1993, towards the Croatian enclave in middle Bosnia,
in the valley of the Lašva river.

ZAGREB, 10th December 1993, left to right: fra Stipo Karajica, Herman Vukušić - leader of the convoy,
Mons. Juraj Jezerinac and dr. Slobodan Lang - greeting the convoy.

ZAGREB, 10th December 1993, children of Zagreb for children of Middle Bosnia. Behind them Mons. dr. Juraj Jezerinac.

TOMISLAVGRaD, 14th December 1993, press conference in the franciscan convent: Herman Vukušić, dr. Slobodan
Lang, fra Ferdo Vlašić and fra Gabrijel Mioč

Humanitarian convoy in the wilderness of Bosnian mountains directing towards Nova Bila and Bosnia Argentum (Bosna Srebrena)

Every truck has been checked, and then loaded again. Pavlovica, 19th December 1993.

167 people participated volonterely, 143 of them arrived to Nova Bila (some were not allowed to continue).

The famous Nova Bila franciscan church of St. Spirit, serving as an improvised hospital for wounded people.

Franciscans and medical staff in front of the franciscan church (hospital) of St. Spirit in Nova Bila, Automn 1993.

Wounded people in the church-hospital of St. Spirit in Nova Bila, lying on benches, turned upside down and serving as imporvised beds!

Automn 1993, dr. Branimir Kuliš with collaborators, everday complicated operations in extremely difficult conditions
in the church-hospital of St. Spirit in Nova Bila.


The town of Novi Travnik in Middle Bosnia, 20th December 1993, greeting the WHITE PATH (BIJELI PUT)
humanitarian convoy directing to Nova Bila and Bosnia Argentum (Bosna Srebrena).

Finally in Nova Bila, in the church-hospital of St. Spirit, 20th December 1993, fra Zoran Livančić greeting all members of the convoy.

Greeting members of the humanitarian convoy BIJELI PUT (White Path).

Herman Vukušić, leader of the humanitarian convoy Bijeli Put, with fra Velimir Valjan and with the people of Nova Bila
on 20th December 1993.

Parish house in Nova Bila on 20th December 1993 from left to right: fra Velimir Valjan, dr. Tihomir Perić, fra Franjo Grebenar,
dr. Slobodan Lang, fra Tomislav Duka and newpapermen.

The Holy Mass in the church of St. Spirit in Nova Bila, served on 20th December 1993, on the occasion of the arrival
of the humanitarian convoy White Path (BIJELI PUT).

Fra Velimir Valjan brought a gift to fra Franjo Grebenar,  priest of the church and the director of the Hospital of St. Spirit.


Mr. Ante Vlaić sacrificed his life for the success of the WHITE PATH (BIJELI PUT) humanitarian operation.
He was a driver of one of 90 trucks filled with medical equipment for Croatians and Muslims in Bosnia. Here we can see his funeral in Zagreb.

Dr. Slobodan Lang in front of the new Hospital of Nova Bila, Bosnia and Herzegovina, built according to his suggestion in 1994,
a gift of the the Republic of Croatia.

Ante Damjanović, Mijo Tokić and Dr. Ivan Bagarić attending a Mass in Nova Bila.

Left to right: Dr. Slobodan Lang, Dr. Mate Granić, minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Croatia, and Dr. Franjo Tuđman, president of the Republic of Croatia,
in Nova Bila, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 14th June 1994.

The above photos and descriptions are taken from the following publication:

Branko Čulo, BIJELI PUT za Novu Bili i Bosnu Srebrenu, Zagreb, 2013. [PDF]











Izazov_dobra


Sa svečanog otvaranja međunarodne konferencije Pasionska baština BiH, Vitez 2010. Govori g. Zoran Kupreškić,
skroz lijevo prof.dr. Slobodan Lang. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Predavanje prof. Slobodana Langa u Vitezu: Odgovornost za dobro hrvatskih muka u Lašvanskoj dolini


Slobodan Lang i Marija Šeremešić iz Bačkog Monoštra na konferenciji Pasionska baština BiH
2010.  u Vitezu. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Slobodan Lang i Jordan Vidošević rođen 1995. u Franjevačkoj bolnici Nova Bila 2010.
U razdoblju od 1995. do 2010. rođeno je oko 4000 djece. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Zoran Kupreškić, author knjige Haška priča, i D.Ž.


Kamen iz Zagrebačke katedrale, sada Hrvatskoj bolnici u Novoj Biloj, građenoj uz potporu Republike Hrvatske,
prema ideji Slobodana Langa. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Prof.dr. Slobodan Lang i muzikologinja dr. Davorka Radica sa Splitskog sveučilišta, 2010.

Pojedinosti s lančića koje dr. Slobodan Lang nosi oko vrata. U sredini je znak Bolnice Nova Bila, BiH.
Izgradnju bolnice potaknuo je dr. Lang, a predložio je i ovaj znak bolnice.
Bolnica je izgrađena potporom Republike Hrvatske.
Fotografija dobivena ljubaznošću dr. Langa.


Slobodan Lang s osobljem Bolnice Nova Bila godine 2010. Fotografirao D.Ž.


www.bolnica-novabila.com


Franjevačka crkva sv. Duha u Novoj Bili, bivša bolnica. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Zoran Kupreškić i Slobodan Lang. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Slobodan Lang u crkvi sv. Duha u Novoj Bili, koja je bila pretvorena u franjevačku bolnicu 23. listopada 1992.
Klupe su bile okrenute naopačke, i na njima su ležali i liječili se ranjenici. Fotografiroa D.Ž.


Dvije legende Lašvanske doline: fra Franjo Grebenar i  dr. Slobodan Lang
Fotografirao D.Ž.

Fra Franjo Grebenar (župnik Nove Bile) i dr. Slobodan Lang


Veleučeni gospodin Fra Franjo Grebenar - počastni član Družtva slavonskih liečnika, 1999.
Fotografirao D.Ž.


Konvoj Bijeli put

Iz Zagreba 10. prosinca 1993. godine, pod visokim pokroviteljstvom predsjednika Republike Hrvatske dr. Franje Tuđmana i uz pratnju predstavnika Katoličke crkve i Franjevačke provincije Bosne Srebrene, kreće veliki konvoj humanitarne pomoći nazvan Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu. Trajao je 14 dana, a u Novoj Bili dočekan je sa suzama radosnicama i s do neba velikim "Hvala"!. Konvoj su pratili državnici, veleposlanici, fratri, medicinari, humanitarci, novinari, kulturni i javni radnici, a svih njih s vozačima bilo je 143. Bolnica u Novoj Bili bila je na izdisaju, ranjenici su umirali jer nije bilo osnovnih lijekova i medicinskog pribora. Glad je opasno prijetila Hrvatima cijele Lašvanske doline.

Početnoj koloni vozila putem preko Splita pa dalje preko Tomislavgrada priključivali su se novi kamioni i novi suputnici. Konvoj su predvodili gospoda Herman Vukušić i dr. Slobodan Lang. Na Pavlovici, pred Gornjim Vakufom zaustavili su ih pripadnici Armije BiH i tu su u hladnom prosincu probdjeli dva dana. Zastoj je nastao zbog muslimansko-bošnjačke ucjene, premda su bile pribavljene sve suglasnosti muslimansko-bošnjačkih vlasti čak i u Sarajevu. Napokon se nekako krenulo dalje i konvoj je stigao u Novu Bilu 20. prosinca. Svi su odahnuli, a Novobiljani su bili oduševljeni, jer je stigla toliko željena pomoć i jer su osjetili ljudsku solidarnost na djelu. Valja zabilježiti da su predstavnici civilnog dijela UNPROFOR-a odigrali sramotnu ulogu. U Novu Bilu došli su iz Kiseljaka, prijetili su ljudima iz konvoja.

Konvoj se 22. prosinca 1993. vraćao iz Nove Bile. Kada je izlazio iz Gornjeg Vakufa i prolazio posljednje kuće, pred kamione su iz obližnjih kuća istrčali ljudi u maskirnim uniformama s oznakama Armije BiH i iz automatskog oružja otvorili rafalnu paljbu po kamionskim kabinama. Naoružani su nasrnuli na krhke i goloruke humanitarce, zlo na dobrotvorce, kako zapisa fra Franjo Grbenar, župnik iz Nove Bile. Na licu mjesta poginuo je vozač Ante Vlajić, rođen 1934. godine, iz Splita, a tri sudionika Bijelog puta su ranjena. U spomen na taj tužni dan u župnoj crkvi u Novoj Bili svakog 22. prosinca slavi se sveta misa za pokojnog Antu Vlajića. Jedna ulica u Novoj Bili, ona koja vodi s magistralne ceste prema župnoj crkvi, nosi njegovo ime.

Zahvalnica

Kako su samo slabašne riječi da izraze veliku zahvalnost tisućama dragih i dobrih ljudi koji su nam pomogli i kroz pakao došli zagrliti nas, pružiti ruku pomoćnicu u znak podrške da nismo sami. Kako su samo riječi suvišne kada se tim ljudima dogodi ono najgore od neljudi. Usta zanijeme, grlo se stegne - oči orose. Samo muk! Jednostavno se nema što reći kada se u kratkom vremenu doživi prevelika sreća, a onda, skoro istovremeno, i prevelika tuga. Znam da ste znali da nam je teško, ali da nam je ovoliko teško na veliku žalost saznali su i na svojoj koži iskusili hrabri i dobri učesnici konvoja "Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu". Strahovali smo i molili da kolona nevinih sretno stigne na svoja polazišta, a prva vijest o neljudskom napadu Muslimana na ove ljude rasplakala nas je i ojadila.

Ne mogu nikom posebno zahvaliti, jer u velikom lancu ljubavi svaka je karika i te kako važna, ali u ovom trenutku ipak se moram zahvaliti sudionicima konvoja, a nadasve ranjenima i poniženima.

Pokojnome Anti Vlaiću posebno su zahvalni i duboko mu se klanjaju svih 80 tisuća Hrvata iz Lašvanske doline. Obitelji i prijateljima pokojnog Ante izražavam sućut i čvrsto sam uvjeren da će njegova smrt roditi s trostrukim životima.

Nadamo se da će njegova žrtva dobrote i patnje zaraziti i oploditi sve ljude i da će doprinijeti rađanju dugog i sretnog mira. Kao mali znak zahvalnosti pokojnom Anti ulica u Novoj Biloj će se zvati njegovim imenom.

Kao ravnatelj bolnice i župnik u Novoj Biloj izražavam posebnu zahvalnost, duboko poštovanje i čestitke za predstojeće blagdane svima koji su na bilo koji način pomogli akciju "Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu". Mir i dobro

fra Franjo Grebenar

Fra Franjo Grebenar : "Memento Bijelom putu", Sunce Lašve, Nova Bila, 1996., str. 13.-15.

Izvor www.zupa-novabila.com


Mostar, 1992. Prihvaćanje Muslimana koje su prognali Srbi.
Fotografija dobivena ljubaznošću dr. Slobodana Langa.


...humanitarni konvoj ''Bijeli put'' s 99 šlepera i 200 članova medicinskog osoblja, franjevaca, novinara i tehničkog osoblja te lijekovima i hranom, na vlastitu odgovornost, prvi put krenuo je 10. prosinca 1993. godine, na Dan ljudskih prava, pod vodstvom Slobodana Langa i zapovjedništvom Hermana Vukušića.

Konvoj se i danas, ... pamti kao jedinstven herojski čin nekolicine hrabrih ljudi koji su preko prvih linija bojišnice, uz vlastite žrtve, konvojem kamiona krenuli dostaviti nužnu medicinsku pomoć u Novu Bilu u kojoj je zbog ratne blokade bilo onemogućeno bilo kakvo liječenje ranjenih i bolesnih.

Bolnica u Novoj Biloj do 1994. godine hospitalizirala je više od 11.000 ljudi središnje Bosne, od čega su polovica bili ranjenici i to mahom hrvatske nacionalnosti. U to vrijeme bolnica je zapošljavala tek nekolicinu liječnika, a u trenutku kad je grad došao pod blokadu, bio je onemogućen svaki oblik pružanja medicinske pomoći.

Izvor dalje.com



Dva groba u Bosni jedan do drugog - katolički i muslimanski. 
Groblje Liska u Mostaru, blizu Franjevačkog samostana.
Fotografija dobivena ljubaznošću dr. Slobodana Langa.


Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu je bio humanitarni konvoj koji se sastojao 99 šlepera i 143 članova medicinskog osoblja, franjevaca, novinara i tehničkog osoblja, a za cilj je imao prenijeti hranu i lijekove u bolnicu u Novoj Biloj, koja je bila na izdisaju, a glad je opasno prijetila Hrvatima cijele Lašvanske doline. Konvoj su predvodili dr. Slobodan Lang i Herman Vukušić, a trajao je 14 dana. Humanitarni konvoj "Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu" probio je potpunu osmomjesečnu blokadu sedamdesetak tisuća Hrvata u Lašvanskoj dolini, donio im spas u hrani i lijekovima, ali i vjeru da nisu sami.

Franjevačka bolnica "Dr. fra Mato Nikolić"

Gradnja župne crkve svetoga Duha u Novoj Biloj sa popratnim zgradama dovršena je 1980. godine. U vrijeme gradnje, prigovaralo se da je crkva preglomazna, da nikada neće trebati tolika crkva. Dolaskom rata, pokazalo se suprotno. Krajem 1992. godine rasplamsao se Bošnjačko-hrvatski sukob u Lašvanskoj dolini. Stižu mnogi prognanici s teritorija Jajca, Donjeg Vakufa, Karaule, a zatim iz dijelova općina: Zenica, Travnik, Novi Travnik, Busovača, Vitez i drugih krajeva. S tih je područja prognano ukupno oko 30.000 Hrvata. Pučanstvo je, u velike, ovisilo o humanitarnoj pomoći, koja je stizala preko Kruha svetog Ante i Caritasa, najčešće preko Splita. Oko 70.000 Hrvata se, uskoro, našlo u okruženju, izolirano od ostatka svijeta, stisnuto na prostoru dugom 30 i širokom 2 kilometra. Budući da je postalo opasno, a uskoro i nemoguće upućivati bolesne i ranjene u travničku i zeničku bolnicu, morala su se iznalaziti druga rješenja.

Već je tada predlagano da se ratna bolnica smjesti u novobiljanskoj crkvi, no to nije naišlo na odobravanje kod za to odgovornih ljudi, koji su odlučili osnovati nekoliko ratnih bolnica u neposrednoj blizini obrambenih crta. To se pokazalo pogrešnim jer su, uskoro, jedna za drugom, sve te improvizirane bolnice pale u bošnjačke ruke. Tako je, napokon, na osnivačkoj skupštini 15. prosinca 1992. godine, u župnoj crkvi i prostorijama službeno osnovana Ratna crkva-bolnica, koja je, prikladno, nazvana "franjevačkom". Ime je dobila po fra Mati Nikoliću, prvom diplomiranom liječniku-franjevcu u Bosni. Crkva je, zapravo, već od 19. listopada 1992. godine, s početkom prvih ozbiljnih incidenata između Bošnjaka i Hrvata te prispijećem prvih ranjenika počela funkcionirati kao improvizirana bolnica, najprije za sve ratne, a potom i za civilne pacijente. U to vrijeme, u Novoj Biloj kao franjevci-svećenici djeluju župnik fra Franjo Grebenar i župni vikar fra Zoran Livančić. Od 3. lipnja 1993. godine, bošnjačka vojska zauzela je grad Travnik i tada započinje egzodus Hrvata iz Travnika. Franjevačka bolnica ostaje jedina bolnica za Hrvate na području četiriju općina: Travnika, Novog Travnika, Viteza i Busovače. Bolnica radi u izuzetno teškim uvjetima bez normalne opskrbe električnom energijom i vodom.

U Novoj Biloj zajedno su djelovali liječnici duha i liječnici tijela, franjevci i liječnici radili su i živjeli pod istim krovom. Kad je sukob sasvim buknuo, franjevci su otvorili i samu crkvu kao stacionar za ranjenike, tako da je u najtežim trenucima sukoba bilo i oko 200 ranjenika u bolnici. Crkvene klupe, okrenute jedna prema drugoj, služile su kao ležajevi za teške ranjenike. Nedostajalo je svega: prostora, lijekova, kirurškog pribora, medicinskog osoblja. Bolnica je postala sinonim stradanja bosanskih Hrvata. Sve poginule i umrle, franjevci su, iz sigurnosnih razloga, ukopavali u noćnim satima. U veljači 1994. godine dolazi do konačnog primirja. U razdoblju od 19. listopada 1992. do 1. travnja 1994. godine, u franjevačkoj bolnici-crkvi ukupno je zbrinuto 14.500 pacijenata, a bolnički je liječeno 7.260 pacijenata. U veoma teškim uvjetima, izvedeno je 1.260 operativnih zahvata u općoj anesteziji i oko 4.200 operativnih zahvata u spinalnoj, lokalnoj anesteziji. U rodilištu, koje se nalazilo u susjednoj kući, rođeno je 721 dijete. Mjesečno je u prosjeku obavljano 40-50 porođaja, 50-60 osoba dnevno je podizalo lijekove iz bolničke ljekarne. Jedna velika, prava bolnica teško bi izdržala ovakav tempo rada.

Bolnica je pokrivala čitavo stanovništvo Lašvanske enklave, njih oko 70.000. Tisuće prijema u tako kratkom roku, često su osoblje bolnice dovodili do ruba izdržljivosti. Liječnici, medicinske sestre i tehničari i sami su proživljavali bol zbog izgubljenog doma ili osobe. U ožujku 1993. godine, u bolnici je bilo 30 uposlenih, u srpnju 95, a studenom iste godine zabilježeno je 147 djelatnika. U lipnju 1994. godine, u posjet Hrvatima Lašvanske doline, dolazi predsjednik Republike Hrvatske dr. Franjo Tuđman. On tada obećava izgradnju nove bolnice, a u listopadu iste godine polaže se i kamen temeljac za novu Hrvatsku bolnicu "Dr. fra Mato Nikolić" u Novoj Biloj. Bolnica je dovršena i otvorena 1999. godine i stoji na raspolaganju svim stanovnicima Lašvanske doline.

Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu

Dugo i teško se istina o borbi Hrvata Srednje Bosne probijala u svijet jer su bili u totalnoj blokadi. Krajem 1993. godine, stanje je postalo neizdrživo. Bolnica u Novoj Biloj bila je na izdisaju. Ranjenici su umirali jer nije bilo osnovnih lijekova i medicinskog pribora. Glad je opasno prijetila Hrvatima cijele Lašvanske doline. Trebalo je hitno nešto poduzeti da im se pruži i materijalna i moralna podrška. U Bosni i Hercegovini i Hrvatskoj rađala se ideja o organiziranju humanitarnog konvoja. Nakon mnogih priprema iz Zagreba, 10. prosinca 1993. godine pod visokim pokroviteljstvom predsjednika Republike Hrvatske dr. Franje Tuđmana i uz pratnju predstavnika Katoličke crkve i franjevačke provincije Bosne Srebrene, kreće veliki konvoj humanitarne pomoći nazvan „Bijeli put za Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu“.

Konvoj je trajao je 14 dana, a pratili su ga državnici, veleposlanici, franjevci, medicinari, humanitarci, kulturni i javni radnici. Svih njih s vozačima bilo je 143. Početnoj koloni vozila putem preko Rijeke, Splita pa dalje preko Tomislavgrada i Prozor-Rame priključivali su se novi kamioni i novi suputnici. Konvoj su predvodili gospoda Herman Vukušić i dr. Slobodan Lang. Pripadnici HVO-a pratili su konvoj do područja „Ljubavna stijena“ (cca 1-2 km ispred Uskoplja), a od tog područja odgovornost je preuzeo UNPROFOR. U selu Pavlovica, pred Uskopljem, konvoj su zaustavili pripadnici Armije BiH i tu ih zadržali dva dana. Zastoj je nastao zbog bošnjačke ucjene, premda su bile pribavljene sve suglasnosti bošnjačkih vlasti čak i u Sarajevu. Konvoj je krenuo dalje i konačno stigao u Novu Bilu 20. prosinca 1993. godine, gdje je dočekan suzama radosnicama. Tako je nakon 248 dana, od 16. travnja 1993. godine pa do dolaska konvoja probijena potpuna blokada Lašvanske doline. Hrvati Lašvanske doline su bili oduševljeni i ohrabreni. Stigla je toliko željena pomoć, osjetili su ljudsku solidarnost na djelu.

Dana 22. prosinca 1993. godine, konvoj se vraćao iz Nove Bile. Kada je izlazio iz Uskoplja i prolazio posljednje kuće, pred kamione su iz obližnjih kuća istrčali pripadnici Armije BiH i iz automatskog oružja otvorili rafalnu paljbu po kamionskim kabinama. Na licu mjesta poginuo je vozač Ante Vlajić, rođen 1934. godine, iz Splita, a tri sudionika "Bijelog puta" su ranjena. U spomen na taj tužni dan u župnoj crkvi u Novoj Bili svakog 22. prosinca slavi se sveta misa za pokojnog Antu Vlajića. Jedna ulica u Novoj Bili, ona koja vodi s magistralne ceste prema župnoj crkvi, nosi njegovo ime.

Izvor Forum Hrvata BiH na portalu HercegBosna.org



Viteška ratna kronika

Ratni zločini u BiH

Tragom BIJELOG PUTA

Wikipedia


Kraljeva Sutjeska, 2010. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Tetovirane ruke žene iz Kraljeve Sutjeske


Kršćanski simboli na rukama


Slobodan Lang u crkvi u Dubravama kod Viteza. Fotografirao D.Ž.


Dvije legende: fra Franjo Grebenar (1951.-2010.) i dr. Slobodan Lang. Fotografirao D.Ž. na proljeće 2010.

Franjo Grebenar: Sreća, tuga, jad... i muk / Antina ulica i Novoj Biloj


ODLAZAK DOBROČINITELJA: Fra Franjo Grebenar

2. prosinca 2010.

Nakon duge i teške bolesti umro je fra Franjo Grebenar, humanist koji je kao župnik župe Svetoga Duha u Novoj Biloj ustupio crkvene prostore kako bi ranjenici i teški bolesnici imali mjesto za liječenje. Crkva bolnica u Novoj Biloj poznata je diljem svijeta zahvaljujući, prije svega, humanizmu Franje Grebenara i njegovih najbližih suradnika. U njoj su svoje snage i umijeće udružili i uložili liječnici duše i liječnici tijela. Franjo je bio omiljen kako od običnog puka, tako i od najviših političkih dužnosnika, kako Herceg Bosne, tako i Republike Hrvatske, ali i Bosne i Hercegovine.

Donio nadu

Bio je jedan od prvih predsjednika Odbora za gradnju Hrvatske bolnice “Dr. fra Mato Nikolić”, ali i čovjek koji je dočekao sudionike Bijelog puta koji je donio svjetlost i nadu u Lašvansku dolinu. Jutros se u viteškim, ali i cafeima diljem Lašvanske doline tiho šaputalo “Umro fra Franjo Grebenar”. Jedni nisu mogli vjerovati toj vijesti, drugi su, poznavajući njegovu bolest, s velikim uzdahom žalili za njim, dok su oni koji su ga dobro poznavali prepričavali njegove zgode iz života. Bio je čovjek vrlo vesela duha. Nitko nije s ravnodušnošću prihvatio da fra Franje više nema. Međutim, kažu da nakon smrti čovjeka ostaju samo njegova djela. Franjina su velika i humana. Njegova poznata izjava da “fratri uvijek žele dobro svom narodu, a Bog učini bolje”, potvrdila se u Novoj Biloj, maloj župi koja je osnovana tek 1975., da bi već 1992. i 1993. godine postala poznata diljem svijeta. U toj maloj župi župnik fra Franjo Grebenar ustupio je crkvene prostorije za ratnu franjevačku bolnicu. Bila je to jedinstvena crkva bolnica u svijetu kroz koju je prošlo oko 11.500 ranjenika i pacijenata za vrijeme ratnih sukoba u Lašvanskoj dolini. Kada više nije bilo dovoljno kreveta za ranjenike, ustupljene su im crkvene klupe. Prisjećajući se tog vremena u knjizi “Memento”, fra Franjo, između ostalog, piše: “Kao i svaki drugi dan držao sam vjeronauk u dvorani kada su došli naši vojnici i dovezli četiri ranjenika tražeći bolnicu u Novoj Biloj. Morao sam ih poslati u ambulantu u Vitez jer u Travnik i Zenicu nisu htjeli ili nisu smjeli. Navečer su ponovno došli, ali su bili prisutni i neki liječnici u privatnom posjetu i razgovarali smo o bržem otvaranju bolnice. Nemajući izlaza, svi smo ustali i počeli iznositi klupe iz vjeronaučne dvorane i unositi krevete, stalke za infuziju i ostalo.” Tako piše čovjek koji je u vrijeme najžešćih borbi HVO-a i Armije BiH u Lašvanskoj dolini svakodnevno ugošćavao UN-ove mirotvorce, inozemne donatore koji su često donosili lijekove kojima je istekao rok valjanosti samo da bi ih se riješili. Organizirao je i skupljanje slame za ranjenike koji su trebali kamionima Unprofora i autobusom biti prevezeni za Split.

Stradanja Hrvata

Sve je fra Franjo radio kako bi pomogao da se patnje ranjenih i bolesnih koliko-toliko ublaže. Primao je i humanitarke poput Sally Bayker, predstavnika UN-a Cedrica Thonberrya, ali i poznatu hrvatsku glazbenu divu Terezu Kesoviju koja je iz crkve bolnice helikopterom odvezla ranjenu djevojčicu Mirnu iz Busovače u Split. Nakon izlječenja, Tereza je maloj Mirni postala kuma. Njegova župna kuća više je sličila nekom press-centru nego Božjoj kući za Božje sluge. Zahvaljujući prije svega svojim prijateljima koje je poznavao i prije rata, fra Franjo Grebenar uspio je preko Ante Damjanovića poslati videokasetu na HTV u jeku najvećih stradanja Hrvata i granatiranja ove crkve bolnice. Nakon tih strašnih slika koje je prikazao HTV, mnogi su konačno shvatili što se Hrvatima događa u Lašvanskoj dolini. Franjo je zahvaljujući svojoj mudrosti vrlo vješto održavao i prijateljski i službeni odnos s osobljem ratne bolnice. Humor je često bio jedini lijek za zdravstvene djelatnike, ali i obične ljude koji su dolazili u bolnicu u posjet svojim ranjenim ili bolesnim. -Sjećam se kako sam prestrašio jednu gospođu, a samo sam se htio našaliti. Granata je pogodila njezinu kuću i najteže je prošla njezina kći. Dovezena je u bolnicu, a majka je zvala da pita za zdravlje kćeri. Ja sam joj ‘zabrinuto’ rekao da je ona trudna (u drugom stanju). Kako se samo uplašila i zabrinula, a ja sam joj nakon toga rekao da ima geler u stomaku i to je sve”, piše fra Franjo u svome “Mementu”. Kroz jedan novinski tekst teško se može predstaviti humanist koji je uvijek više i dalje gledao od drugih. Uvijek i samo uvijek živio i radio za čovjeka.

Susret s Tuđmanom

Nakon medijske deblokade fra Franjo je dočekao i sve sudionike Bijeloga puta na čelu s dr. Slobodanom Langom i Hermanom Vukušićem. Dočekao je i predsjednika Hrvatske Franju Tuđmana u Novoj Biloj 14. lipnja 1994. godine, a u svom pozdravnom govoru nakon što mu je ponuđeno pokroviteljstvo nad izgradnjom nove bolnice, dr. Franjo Tuđman je rekao: “Rado prihvaćam pokroviteljstvo nad novom bolnicom i mislim da ovaj puk zaslužuje da se izgradi jedna nova, suvremena bolnica na svijetlim tradicijama bolnice u Novoj Biloj.” Danas, zahvaljujući fra Franji i njegovim suradnicima, predsjedniku Tuđmanu i narodu Republike Hrvatske, Nova Bila ima suvremenu bolnicu u kojoj se liječe svi ljudi, bez obzira na vjeru ili nacionalnost. Pokojni fra Franjo Grebenar sigurno je bio čvrst oslonac mozaika koji je ljudima omogućio da bolje i humanije žive. Svjetlost vječna neka mu svijetli!

( VL )

Izvor www.croportal.ba

Hrvatske snage Dobra - Feljton profesora Slobodana Langa na portalu vlč. Zlatka Sudca: 1 2 3 4 5

Bijeli put Novu Bilu i Bosnu Srebrenu (hr.wikipedia.org)


Prof Slobodan Lang, MD, FRCH
Zagreb, Croatia
June 16th, 2010

Fifteen years ago I spent time with Mr. Thomas L. Friedman, traveling across Bosnia and Herzegovina. He wrote about it in N.Y.T. on May 5, 1996. „You must have more respect for the suffering and the pain and the prejudice that went on here. It is not something that goes away in a year." Since then I was asking that western morals, politics, justice and security cannot be based exclusively on diagnosing, prosecuting and fighting evil. Good exists as well. After every war there should be a conference (Red Cross or Nobel Peace), to identify how effective were existing humanitarian measures and what new can we do. I come from a family of Holocaust victims and Croatia Christians. During war I developed a postholocaust program of using tragic experience of European Jews to prevent or help new suffering, regardless of their nationality or faith. It worked well, for camps, humanitarian convoys, refugees, preventing genocide. Bosnia is the place wher

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