Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Anton Kikaš

In Croatia he is a national hero, a patriot during the Yugoislav wars of the 1990's, worth exchanging for the highest-ranking Yugoslav general, a man feted on street corners, hounded by the media and honored by the president.

In Canada, Anton Kikas is largely unknown save for his sudden notoriety as a gunrunner; he was arrested at Zagreb`s airport in 1991 with a chartered Ugandan Airlines Boeing 707 and 18 tons of arms.

Kikaš, a Croatian Canadian, makes no attempt to deny that he was smuggling arms to support the war effort of breakaway Croatia.

He long has been active in Canada`s expatriate Croatian community. He as president of the Croatian-Canadian Home Foundation and the Canadian-Croatian Business and Professional Association. Before his arrest, he also was involved in a fund-raising effort to ship medical equipment to Croatia.

An accomplished poet and award-winning songwriter, Kikas said he wrote 25 songs in prison. ''They were different, in that they expressed the reflections of my soul as it felt within those four walls. . . . At first, I was afraid to write what my soul was whispering to me.''

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