Friday 23 August was the European Day of Remembrance of victims of totalitarian regimes/ Nazism and Communism.
“Millions were killed during World War II and more suffered under totalitarian regimes for decades after the war ended. To commemorate these victims and to make sure that we build our future while remembering our past, 23 August is the Europe-wide day of remembrance of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes…
Today is a day to reflect upon and draw lessons from the most devastating chapters of European history. Preserving the memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes is the only way to show younger generations that democracy and fundamental rights are not a given, but the result of a painful history. Keeping the memory alive is a way to ensure that Europe’s people can never be divided again. Totalitarianism has no place in Europe”, said European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding.
In Croatia, though, president Ivo Josipovic posted a very different message on his Facebook page to mark this Day of Remembrance of victims of totalitarian regimes. His Facebook message clearly leads one to conclude that he has significant difficulties in shedding his inclinations towards communism, his lack of resolve in separating totalitarian regimes from the democratic ones.
His Facebook message includes the following statement: “Ahmici, Bleiburg, Jadovno, Jasenovac, Kampor, Krizancevo Selo, Ovcara, Paulin Dvor, Sarajevo, Sijekovac, Srebrenica, Tezno… Upon this horrible and long string of pain, upon tens of monuments and unmarked graves I paid homage to victims of war, of totalitarianism and hatred, deeply believing that seeds of new evil must never sprout from their mounds…”
Here, in the name of totalitarian regimes’ evil, Josipovic lumbers together the crimes of WWII Nazism, the crimes of WWII and post-WWII Communism and the crimes of 1990’s war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina! While the crimes of Nazism and Communism count millions upon millions of murders and exterminations of innocent people, the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina counts an estimate of about 150,000 (including soldiers killed). While Nazism and Communism were totalitarian regimes of oppression, this certainly cannot be said for the underlying political motives of war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina unless, of course, Josipovic wanted to say that the victims of this war were in fact victims of communist crimes, i.e. communist Serbian forces brutally attacking those states of former Yugoslavia that wanted out of communism?
Somehow, I do not believe that Josipovic had the latter in mind when he wrote the deplorable Facebook message. What is evident from the list of places he entered into his message is that Josipovic has, by association with places of crimes, likened the 1990’s Croatia’s Franjo Tudjman, Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Alija Izetbegovic to Hitler and Stalin!
This deserves utter condemnation for it demonstrates just how abysmally low a president of a nation can stoop in his avoidance to acknowledge fully (and in earnest) and prosecute the known and horrendous communist crimes committed over the innocent people of his nation.
To serve such travesty of justice upon his people at the time reserved to pay homage to victims of Nazism and Communism is beyond contempt in my books. To serve such travesty of justice upon the plights for self-determination and democracy, for which Croatian people were forced to defend their bare lives from Serb (Yugoslav) aggression in Croatia during 1990’s, is unforgivable, even if it may be politically fathomable when one knows that he comes from die-hard communist pen, much of which was against disintegration of communist Yugoslavia in the first place.
Back to Viviane Reding, and associated matter (communist crimes) , in one of my previous posts I wrote about the EC’s demand that Croatia amend it’s rushed law regarding extradition of it’s communist crimes suspects (politically motivated murders of Croatian nationals by communist Yugoslavia’s operatives). The deadline given was 23 August but the Croatian government kept delaying its reply. Finally, on Wednesday 28 August, Croatian media reports that its government has sent a reply to Reding, stating that it would amend the law on judicial cooperation in criminal matters with EU member states, popularly dubbed Lex Perkovic, with regard to the time limit for the enforcement of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), and that this would happen under regular procedure. But extraditing a communist crimes suspect will not it seems come without a further fight in Croatia. There’s a matter of statute of limitations that needs to be addressed as well.
Since it won it’s freedom from communism, since it won its bloody battles for democracy towards the end of 1990’s we have watched the Croatian nation falling under the spell of liars, fog merchants and thieves. For the sake of so-called reconciliation we have seen attempts to blame the victim for the crime; we have seen the equating of victims with the aggressors; we have seen planned political attempts to criminalise the right to defend one’s life and the right to self-determination… we long for the day when justice will be served for victims of all totalitarian regimes because that is the day when true peace and reconciliation will start blooming.
I guess, no one imagined for a moment that transition from totalitarian regimes (Communism in this case) into democracy would come easy. But also, few imagined that it would be so perfidious as it has been so far in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)