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In Search of Meaning: Foreign Volunteers in the Croatian Armed Forces,1991–95

by N I R    A R I E L L I

Abstract

Foreign war volunteers are a recurring phenomenon in modern warfare. The Yugoslav Wars (1991–95) saw the participation of foreign fighters on all sides. The article focuses on foreigners who joined the Croatian armed forces (excluding returning Croatian émigrés). It examines where the volunteers came from, what brought them to the Balkans and how they represent and commemorate their wartime experiences. It argues that their participation in the conflict can be understood as part of an individual search for meaning, comradeship and empowerment.

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Jiu Jitsu in the Croatian Army

Author: Tomislav Šulj

Translated and adapted by Michael Durgo

 

Jiu Jitsu is a defensive martial art, one of many ancient martial arts perfected by Japanese samurais in their closed, esoteric schools. The samurais actually borrowed the martial art from the Chinese and then developed and adapted, over the centuries, the inherent brutality and ruthlessness of that particular style of fighting to their own values and martial requirements. ”Ju Jutsu” (soft skill or gentle skill) is the original name for the Japanese styles of martial arts. What is today known as Jiu Jitsu encompasses a number of different varieties of techniques, some of them recognized as sports. It is safe to say that the most famous of these is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But, the original skill was strictly military in character and had no connection to sporting competitions, or whatever passed as such in different locales and time periods. It included both offensive and defensive techniques of combat.

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Simon Hutt

Author: Tomislav Šulj

Translated and adapted by Michael Durgo

 

The world is increasingly taking notice of the phenomenon of the foreign nationals who fought for Croatian freedom in the Croatian War of Independence. Unfortunately, the subject is still underrepresented in the media. This state of affairs is understandable in the light of the fact that many volunteers who fought in the Croatian army and the Croatian Defense Council did not live to tell their stories. By the same token, those who survived the war returned to their homes, unwilling to advertise their exploits. I have invested a lot of time and effort, as has the editor of the Vojna Povijest magazine to bring the stories of a number of foreign volunteers to the attention of the general public. It has to be pointed out that the individuals in question were wounded multiple times during the war and suffer from various disabilities as a result. They have successfully overcome these obstacles and adapted to civilian life.

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