Sunday, June 17, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) celebrated the 23rd anniversary of its foundation. I, too, remember the months that followed as branches of HDZ began springing up from June 1989 in many cities and towns outside Croatia where Croatian émigrés lived. It was a national movement, a peoples’ movement with the plight for Croatian freedom, independence from oppressive communist Yugoslavia and rule of democracy.
I, too, was a proud trooper (from Australia) for Croatian independence; the energy and enthusiasm for Croatian independence and democracy were often exhausting – but so worthwhile. I wanted the people of Croatia to have the freedom and democracy I had grown to respect and enjoy since my childhood.
And today, 23 years after HDZ stood up against communism I look back with immeasurable pride.
Of course, HDZ made mistakes and some individuals within it acted shamefully and corruptively but its successes outweigh the individual negativities, which, with strength and determination, can be dealt with and corrected.
HDZ fought for and succeeded in achieving Croatian independence.
HDZ brought Croatia to the membership of UN.
HDZ built the Croatian Army.
HDZ brought Croatian currency (Kuna).
HDZ freed Croatia from aggression and Serb occupation.
HDZ laid the foundations for rule of democracy and promoted democratic processes through legislation and education.
HDZ brought Croatia into NATO
HDZ brought Croatia to the threshold of EU membership.
President of HDZ, Tomislav Karamarko, delivered a strong speech for the celebration of HDZ’s 23rd anniversary:
“We are Europeans, but we are Croatians with deep roots in European history and in the history of this territory, we fought for our country and we shall continue doing the same.
We had experienced the most perverse political inversion when dr Franjo Tudjman was declared a dictator, while those who built their careers on Croatian anguish during 1970’s, were declared ‘fathers of Croatian democracy’ – and we allowed that.
Where were we when all that was happening? Where were we when the famous process of ‘de-tudjmanisation’ was happening in the Party, which fell short of being regulated as a program?” Karamarko asked and said that there has been enough of that.
Karamarko called the current government as “un-national”, saying that it’s incapable of doing anything for the economy and that he holds that the current government, on ideological and moral planes, is doing everything it can to shed away the values created during 1990’s as independent Republic of Croatia was established.
“With what gusto do they remove the sponsorship from Bleiburg commemorations; and say they won’t build the Peljesac Bridge and don’t want territorial continuity of Croatian state,” said Karamarko, adding that they won’t succeed.
“We will return the authentic Croatia to HDZ, and we will return HDZ to the Croatian people and I do not fear for the future of this Party…That which needs to be as firm as armoured concrete is our love towards Croatia, our relations towards independence, relations towards dr Franjo Tudjman and his political teachings, relations towards the Homeland War and relations towards our war dead. If we agree on that we will find ourselves gathered together quickly, again,” said Karamarko, inviting former members who had left HDZ, as well as new members to enter the Party so that all can put their heads together.
I would add: for a better and stronger Croatia.
There’s nothing more important than for both the Government and the Opposition to stay loyal to Croatia. That is their mandate regardless of political rifts and disagreements between the two. In Croatia, it seems, the Opposition (headed by Karamarko) is finally mounting a battle to return to true values and directions of Croatian independence, the values that have almost been lost through numerous destructive attempts by some former communists and their followers during the past fifteen years. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)