The Ghosts of Medak Pocket

The Story of Canada's Secret War

Publisher: Vintage Canada
In 1993, Canadian peacekeepers in Croatia were plunged into the most significant fighting Canada had seen since the Korean War. Their extraordinary heroism was covered up and forgotten. The ghosts of that battlefield have haunted them ever since.

Canadian peacekeepers in Medak Pocket, Croatia, found no peace to keep in September 1993. They engaged the forces of ethnic cleansing in a deadly firefight and drove them from the area under United Nations protection. The soldiers should have returned home as heroes. Instead, they arrived under a cloud of suspicion and silence.

In Medak Pocket, members of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry did exactly the job they were trained — and ordered — to do. When attacked by the Croat army they returned fire and fought back valiantly to protect Serbian civilians and to save the UN mandate in Croatia. Then they confronted the horrors of the offensive’s aftermath — the annihilation by the Croat army of Serbian villages. The Canadians searched for survivors. There were none.

The soldiers came home haunted by these atrocities, but in the wake of the Somalia affair, Canada had no time for soldiers’ stories of the horrific compromises of battle — the peacekeepers were silenced. In time, the dark secrets of Medak’s horrors drove many of these soldiers to despair, to homelessness and even suicide.

Award-winning journalist Carol Off brings to life this decisive battle of the Canadian Forces. The Ghosts of Medak Pocket is the complete and untold story.


From the Hardcover edition.

READ AN EXCERPT

PROLOGUE: A NEW WAR DAWNING

Fate is the same for the man who holds back,
the same if he fights hard.
We are all held in one single honour,
the brave with the weaklings.

—The Iliad of Homer


Rudy Bajema got up before dawn on September 9, 1993. He wanted a moment of quiet...
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PRAISE FOR

“A gripping read.”
Toronto Star

“Carol Off has written a first-class account of Canada’s soldiers in action. Her prose is lively and her tone impassioned. Combining credible secondary sources with a large collection of first-hand accounts, the best evidence of all, she has made a solid argument for a reassessment of Canadians’ attitudes toward peacekeeping.”
The Globe and Mail

“A mordant and provocative account.”
National Post

Praise for The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle:

“Off is a smooth and powerful writer, delivering a mixture of descriptive passages, contextual background and editorial argument which collectively produce a provocative page-turner.”
The Globe and Mail