Croatia: Boundless Is Love For My Country – The Life And Death Of Zvonko Busic

Zvonko and Julienne Busic Photo:

Zvonko and Julienne Busic

People who have not personally experienced the blighting devastation oppression of totalitarian regimes cause to human lives may find it difficult to understand acts of extreme determination by individuals in efforts to right the terrible wrongs impaled by such regimes. By large numbers, Croatian émigrés, who or whose family fled the communist regime of former Yugoslavia, with which they did not agree, understand only too well the personal sacrifices individuals make in their efforts to keep the hope of freedom and self-determination alive – to help make the hope into reality.

Love for ones country is sublime, but also like a painful disease that grows ever so insufferable as oppression flourishes, and must find a release.

So please, don’t call it nationalism – call it patriotism.  But whatever you call it, examine your soul and see how much love for your country you hold in your chest – you will find that whatever you call this love, it is a great love; it is the place from whence the word “home” arose; it is a place where you are safe and you are – you.

Even though communism in former Yugoslavia had flourished for decades after WWII – much due to “western” admiration of Tito who stood against Stalin in late 1940’s, I dare say – 1970’s was still the time when the oppressive communist state regime of former Yugoslavia engaged in war against Croatian nationals at home and those living abroad. The regime was determined to obliterate Croatian national pride, even if it did pretend to offer crumbs of “ freedom” along the way – e.g. abolishing the mandatory Serbo-Croatian language in official use during 1970’s and introducing Croatian or Serbian languages to be used as one pleased, one or the other.

And now I come to the reason for this post. Zvonko Busic, a Croatian emigrant whose boundless love for Croatian freedom and freedom from oppression has earned him both fame and infamy on an international scale.

Zvonko Busic used fake explosives in 1976 to hijack a TWA plane out of La Guardia Airport, New York, and planted a bomb beneath the Grand Central Terminal in New York which, upon efforts to detonate it at a bomb disposal polygon well away from where it was left a police officer was killed. Hijackings for political reasons were quite common during 1960’s and 1970’s – especially when such drastic and desperate measures had the aim of exposing brutality and oppression by a state, a government …
Zvonko Busic, who was 30 at the time and living in Manhattan, said at the time he wanted to draw attention to Croatia’s struggle for independence from Tito’s Yugoslavia.
He and his American wife Julienne Eden Schultz, as well as three Croatian men (Frane Pesut, Petar Matanic and Mark Vlasic) who had also been living in the USA, boarded the flight on the evening of Friday, Sept. 10. The plane, a Boeing 727, was carrying more than 80 passengers and crew members bound for Chicago.
Today, The New York Times writes:

During the flight Zvonko Busic handed a note to a flight attendant, who delivered it to the pilot. The note said that he and his co-conspirators had five bombs on board and were commandeering the plane, and that another had been planted in a subway station locker under Grand Central. Implicit in the note was that they would detonate the devices if their demands were not met.
The hijackers demanded that a declaration of Croatian independence be published in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The International Herald Tribune in Paris, the next morning. They also demanded that authorities drop leaflets printed with the declaration over London, Paris, Montreal, Chicago and New York.
Their demands were largely met: all the newspapers except The Herald Tribune printed the declaration, and leaflets fluttered over all five cities, some from an escort plane, some from helicopters.
But what the hijackers had displayed as one of their bombs was actually a metal pot with wires and clay cobbled together to look like the real thing. The hijackers had smuggled the components through security and assembled them on board. Only the one below Grand Central was real, as the New York City police discovered after being directed there while the hijacking was in progress.
In his note, Mr. Busic explained where the bomb was hidden and how to remove it safely. He never intended to detonate it, he said later; it was a ruse, to convince the authorities that he had real bombs on the plane.
The police officers took the device to a bomb squad demolition range in the Bronx. There, as officers tried to defuse the bomb, it detonated, killing Officer Brian J. Murray, partly blinding Sgt. Terrence McTigue and wounding Officer Hank Dworkin and Deputy Inspector Fritz O. Behr.
Meanwhile, the plane was heading for Europe under the escort of a Boeing 707, making four stops to refuel; the 727 was not designed for trans-Atlantic flight. In one stop, in Gander, Newfoundland, 35 hostages were released.
The French government allowed the plane to land in Paris when it became clear that it was low on fuel. Surrounding it at Charles de Gaulle airport, the French police shot out its wheels during a 12-hour standoff that ended with the hijackers’ surrender at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12.
None of the hostages were harmed.
“I wish them well,” one passenger, Warren Benson, told The New York Times. “They had nothing against us, but wanted only to get a story across. They were concerned for our welfare, and we were treated well during most of it.”
Returned to New York, the hijackers were charged with air piracy resulting in a death and conspiracy. Croatian partisans helped pay for their defense, and the defendants had $4,000 converted into a trust fund for Officer Murray’s two young children. The officer’s widow, Kathleen Murray, later said she regretted accepting it.
All five were convicted in 1977. Mr. Busic and his wife received mandatory life sentences, while the others — Frane Pesut, Petar Matanic and Mark Vlasic — received 30-year sentences”.

Julienne  Eden Busic was released on parole in 1989 after serving thirteen years in the minimum security Federal Correctional Institution at Pleasanton, California. She remained dedicated to her husband Zvonko Busic and their deep and purest love for each other as well as for Croatia. She initiated and maintained contact with police officer Brian Murray’s widow Kathleen for a number of years afterwards.  Julienne also wrote a bestselling account of the plane hijacking and political activism for Croatian independence at the time in her book “LOVERS AND MADMEN: A TRUE STORY OF PASSION, POLITICS, AND AIR PIRACY

Finally, after serving 32 years of prison of his life sentence in USA Zvonko Busic was released on parole in 2008 and, with is wife Julienne, made his way back to his beloved Croatia – the Croatia – the free and democratic Croatia – he dreamed about but for which he committed unthinkable and desperate acts of air piracy and planting a bomb with which it’s said there was no intention of hurting anyone.

When in 1977 the US court pronounced his criminal conviction he said to the court: “I did not do this act out of adventuristic or terroristic impulses, it was simply the scream of a disenfranchised and persecuted man.”

Last Sunday, 1st September 2013, Zvonko Busic was found dead by his wife Julienne. He had taken his own life with a gun. He was 67 years old and evidently crushed by the current caustic political state of the very beloved independent Croatia he fought so hard for.
According to Croatian news Zvonko left two farewell letters. To his wife Julienne, to his family and friends as well as to Croatians in which he asks for forgiveness for taking his own life, but he could endure no more.  He beseeches Croats to continue fighting for Croatianess and for Croatia. In one paragraph of his letter to his wife Julienne he wrote that he could live no longer in Plato’s cave. That’s a picture that tells us how Zvonko may have been experiencing today’s circumstances and how there is a large difference between the picture of Croatia he carried with him, and because of which he faced a tragic life, and the circumstances in which he found himself in.

On Wednesday 4 September 2013, in Zagreb, prominent Croatian politicians joined thousands of others in giving him a hero’s funeral.  For, despite the terrible acts of air piracy and planting a bomb – which cannot easily, if at all, be justified, his selfless sacrifice for Croatian independence, freedom and democracy is the marrow of which heroes are made. Personal, willingly, and beyond any call of duty bar duty to ones own convictions for freedom.

Many in Croatia (including many government agents – whose political predecessors by the way were the communists Zvonko Busic acted against) only see the acts of terrorism he had committed, viz. hijacking a plane and leaving a bomb.  And when writing about Zvonko Busic this matter cannot be ignored. I dare say, even if I did not know Zvonko Busic personally, he too would not want it ignored for it had seized most of his life on this earth.

Those who only see these acts of terrorism in the full context they arose from they also do not bother to understand them. One does not need to condone while understanding, but understanding certainly brings things into perspective (especially in case of Croatia when we know that in 1990 the overwhelming majority voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia).

And so, whether or not certain acts are terrorism is, I believe, very much dependent on the observer’s political/moral bias. However, while expounding no moral judgment whatsoever, let’s remind ourselves here of some instances where (by definition) terrorism was used and brought about a greater good for the society.
• The American Revolution – prior and during the War the colonists used terrorist tactics to incite fear into British tax collectors, British loyalists, and those who weren’t on the side of their revolution.
• The struggles of the Maoists in Tibet; using tactics that the West have labelled “terrorism” against an oppressive monarch.
• The French Revolution has often been cited as being plagued with terrorism yet brought about the end to absolute monarchy in France (until Napoleon).
• Examples throughout history where individuals who acted against an oppressive government and were then, even if only for a while, labelled terrorists – and are heroes of today – Nelson Mandela comes to mind and there are many…
Were the individuals who participated in these events “terrorists?” This is a highly debatable issue, for the apparent success rate of these movements is apparent in history today.

Zvonko Busic was buried in Zagreb’s Mirogoj cemetery; his grave is next to Bruno Busic’s – the Croatian political dissident, fighter for freedom from communist Yugoslavia who was slain in Paris in 1978 by agents of Yugoslav secret police UDBA. Bruno Busic’s mission in life was to “fight for freedom, equality and the formation of a free Croatia based on democratic principles”. Same as Zvonko Busic’s. On the other side of Zvonko Busic’s grave is the grave of Gojko Susak. Gojko Susak returned to Croatia from Canada to join Franjo Tudjman’s political initiative in late 1980’s for a free, independent and democratic Croatia; he was Croatia’s wartime minister of defence and died in 1998.

These three graves in Croatia’s capital Zagreb are a proud reminder of the Croatian diaspora, that second Croatia which, I freely say, will never rest until the last breaths of communism and oppression are extinguished in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Zvonko Busic laid to eternal rest at Mirogoj, Zagreb, Croatia 4 September 2013  Photo: Dnevno,hr

Zvonko Busic laid to eternal rest at Mirogoj, Zagreb, Croatia
4 September 2013 Photo: Dnevno,hr


  1. Will I or Wont I says:

    His suicide is counter productive… He gave into the oppressors and that is no message for the young people of Croatia and the Croatian diaspora. He undid his struggle.

    • Perhaps you are right Will I or Wont I – but his suicide could also also be interpreted by many as the ultimate sacrifice for his country and its freedom

      • Will I or Wont I says:

        How so? He got involved with HSP AS, things did not gel for him there. He created his own party, and did not succeed. Was anything good enough in his eyes when it comes to the purity of the Croatian State? His contribution was raising awareness to our struggle for independence. He did his time. Maybe he should have left it at that …? When you think about it, it is a bit of a one way train (his way or no way). Croatia is independent. Part of the EU. what more did he want? a croatian utopia? that does not exist. its a fact former socialists run the country. they will until they die. having assimilation issues is not a reason to kill yourself. it is not the ultimate sacrifice to Croatia. Its actually bad for him, because unfortunately there are people in Croatia that are celebrating his death and labelling him a terrorist when he wasn’t. It is sad to see a man go this way, its upsetting that he “popped” himself as he was a respected Croat. And we would think that people who we looked up to dont take the cowardly route of killing themselves. What has happened has actually made me open my eyes. Looking at the people at his funeral, there were some surprises there.. I think Zvonko would have told them to leave.

      • Will I or wont I, we cannot presume for one second to know fully what was it that drove Zvonko Busic to such depths of despair that he took his own life? It’s the question at the heart of any suicide, one that only one person can answer. And that person is dead. Yet for many out there it’s case closed: the mystery seems to have been solved by a crack band of journalists, politicians and people at large. Perhaps that is so because it’s said that in one of his farewell letters he wrote that he could live no longer in Plato’s cave. Briefly said, in Plato’s theory, the cave represents people who believe that knowledge comes from what we see and hear in the world – empirical evidence. The cave shows that believers of empirical knowledge are trapped in a ‘cave’ of misunderstanding. Plato’s point: the general terms of our language are not “names” of the physical objects that we can see. They are actually names of things that we cannot see, things that we can only grasp with the mind. Having in mind Zvonko Busic’s hopes and dreams for a free and independent Croatia, the one where any kind of political or otherwise oppression does not control life I would say that such a dream is not a utopia. When one looks at the widespread disappointments and cries for justice and respect (even from veterans’ organisations – which should never occur in a country where veterans put their lives on the line to achieve that which 94% of voters said they want) then one can see that Busic may have not acted out of his personal standpoint but from standpoint of many. In Croatia there has been more than 2,500 veteran suicides since the war ended – I do not believe this issue has been seriously dealt with within the wider frame of society. I do not believe Zvonko Busic wanted an utopia for Croatia, I think he wanted the same as the 94% of voters back in 1990, 1991 when secession from communism was voted in. But, that goal the people (not Zvonko Busic alone) placed before themselves has been forgotten in essence, because if it wasn’t then a much larger progress would have been made with many wrongs inherited from former communist/socialist framework – including corruption and political elitism. I do not think one can say that he was the person to live by “My way, or no way” as you suggest because, simply stated, as he went into his death he only took his life and not anyone else’s. And given the situation in Croatia for some time where there is an overwhelming array of disappointments in government moves, the profound lack of dialogue or listening to what people say, the fact that various ministers say often “people have a right to express their opinion, but it’s my job to apply the law” – without an inkling of consideration of the fact that laws are made and amended out of the needs which come from people, is quite indicative of the hopelessness of democratic good will in Croatia from governing quarters. If people accept that, socialists will run the country until they die then indeed the people have failed miserably at the task they set themselves way back in 1990.

      • Will I or Wont I says:

        what you have written is diatribe. this act has made me realise to carefully as to who are our “hero’s” … he as not true to his country nor his wife … to me that equates to selfishness. ultimate selfishness. as i said … its “his” way or no way.

      • You have a right to your opinion Will I or Wont I however that does not mean others agree with you (or me for that matter) – it is up to everyone to make up their own mind.

      • Ira Presslaff says:

        So they and you choose to make a hero out of this coward and killer. Nothing is said here about the 1975 LaGuardia Airport bombing that killed 11 good peopleAnd severely injured about 64 others. My brother Ronnie Presslaff in his early thirties was murdered in that bombing and my mother received five projectiles of shrapnel into her body that night. I was in contact with the Port Authority police very soon after this shameless murder took place. I know for a fact that your hero was being held by the Port Authority police as well as the New York City Police Department and was being questioned. I was told by a personal friend who was part of this interrogation that your wonderful hero was about to give in to the fact that he was responsible for the LaGuardia airport bombing. At that point the FBI came in and took Busic away from the ongoing investigation. The New York City police did not want to give them up but for threatened by the FBI to do so. There were many things about the bomb in Grand Central Station that were planted by this coward and the bomb that went off that murdered my brother and others at LaGuardia Airport that were common to both incidents. I still miss my brother I am now 82 years of age yet I will not take my life like this coward did.-Ira Presslaff

      • Well Ira Presslaff – you are not nor will you be the only person that will accuse an innocent person for that crime just because you have no other ideas and absolutely no evidence – so I here’s is a latest article on the matter of LaGuardia bombing in 1975 and the helpless police and FBI

    • Will I or Wont I says:

      the apathy is quite unbelievable …. Inavukić, you as a woman … how would you feel if you spent nearly 20 years of your life waiting for a man (because I presume you do possess God’s given gift to love) and then he pops himself because he put his country before you … and lets forget the time laying in jail.

      • Will I or Wont I, I understand what you mean but I cannot comment on how I would feel in such a situation because I have not lived through it – mature and dedicated love comes in forms where people accept each other as they are and respect comes with that too. Perhaps that acceptance is a part of that love?

      • Will I or Wont I says:

        the apathy prevails and continues … a very watered down and controlled response. Can I assume you would pop yourself and put Croatia before your partner and children (if you have them)?

      • Will I wont I – no you cannot assume what will or might be. Death or reaction to death of a loved one is a very personal one and there is nothing controlled about a reply to that effect. I have through my life met a number of people who have had a suicide in the family, including teenage children and partners, husbands and wives and one thing that I have discovered from these people is that their love for those they have lost does not stop because of suicide. There are different feelings that arise as well but that is personal too. I cannot say that Busic took his life because of Croatia for I have no insight into his personal thoughts and emotions, nor can I say anything about the intimate feelings those he left behind might feel. It is reported that he left letters and we know know snippets of contents – if he felt so deeply about an issue or a matter that touched his life I and anyone really need to acknowledge that. And that is not a watered down nor controlled response, that is just a fact.

  2. From Facebook: “These three graves in Croatia’s capital Zagreb are a proud reminder of the Croatian diaspora, that second Croatia which, I freely say, will never rest until the last breaths of communism and oppression are extinguished.”

    More beautiful poetry has yet to be written.

  3. Amir Pilipovic says:

    All of the terrorist activities in revolutions and people’s struggles you mentioned above have been carried in there own countries while Busic did it in the USA,(i have no an idea how one get ,achieve independence of Croatia terrorizing Americans)You can be a terrorist or in matter of fact you become one regardless if nobody was killed,you used plastic gun,explosives etc,etc.So to be one you just have to carry it out.We can easily call Busic a terrorist since people was killed and hurt in his rage and he was charged,convicted and served his time as a Terrorist.There is no other way around it.

    • Amir, Zvonko did act in “Yugoslavia”, threw leaflets from skyscraper in Zagreb etc, was arrested and imprisoned before the TWA plane hijacking. However, he wanted to alert the international community about the oppression in Croatia under Yugoslavia and for known reasons of oppression that couldn’t be done from where you say it should have been done. There’s no way around terrorist acts, that’s a consensus among many – others look at the specific acts within historical circumstances and take it as it seems to them – it is a free world and in it there have been many acts labelled terrorist at the time and later held as heroic. You have your right to your opinion and others have to their and that’s where it ends. Zvonko has paid his dues to society for his acts and that is all that a human society can expect and demand. And it is perhaps because of that, that many hold him in great stead

      • Djerdjelez A. says:

        I have red American papers and they call him Terrorist ,Croatian Nationalist etc,Anyways I would like to ask you or any of your readers if there is any benefit to Croatia and its people celebrating Z.Busic.and my second question is ‘How does it play with the situation in Vukovar.I am somewhat familiar with Serbian politics and it seems there aim is to equalize things or to say ‘We are all the same’.By the way I meant in the eyes of the international community.

      • Well Djerdjelez A. today’s New York Times which I quote has a good balanced article on Busic. I don’t think you can call celebrating what’s happening in Croatia regarding Busic – it’s more like respect and acknowledgment of personal sacrifices he made for freedom and democracy but also acknowledging the fact that he has served time in prison for acts that were terrorist. As one of the commentators implied here: why don’t people call Nelson Mandela a terrorist? After all that is what he was involved in many years ago and is now a Nobel Peace Prize winner and respected as hero worldwide. As to Vukovar there are still attempts to stop Cyrillic signs there and yes you are right the Serb politics are about equalising guilt and in that process the truth about how and why the war started is being pushed into the background – almost saying that people are not entitled to defend their lives when attacked – and so some on the international community follows suit. Having said this – it’s to be expected that if crimes were committed by individuals on either side those individuals must be prosecuted and punished and it seems that when it comes to crimes committed in Vukovar there is a huge vacuum there – many rapists and murderers still walk the streets (some in Vukovar and most have gone to live in Serbia).

    • Michael Silovic says:

      (quote) All of the terrorist activities in revolutions and people’s struggles you mentioned above have been carried in there own countries while Busic did it in the USA,(i have no an idea how one get ,achieve independence of Croatia terrorizing Americans)

      Amir you are not correct in your comments. First let me say that terrorism has been a part of American history dating back to the early 1960s as history knows it. Terrorism is nothing new in the world or America but we are now making it an issue because of a personal attack on the American goverment from outside of its border and rightly so. If the 9/11 attack did not happen against the American governments interest and occurred on the regular populaces we would not even have done what we did in going to Afghanistan because the goverment could care less about the people, but what was at stake was goverment interest and you only need to look at the history of many attacks in america on people for political reasons and other reasons to see that what I am saying is true. Many assassinations and bombings were done on American soil that gained little exposure but the truth is they were done and assassinations or bombings of any type is considered a terrorist activity. America has long had it own terrorists on it’s own soil that the goverment has fostered by their own policy and their current policy is fostering even more home grown terrorists that they are now becoming afraid of.. The same is true in many countries when people are denied the rights to a free goverment that is ruled by the people and not power ,money and corruption coursed by greed and a majority of the populous want a voice in how they live their life and desire to inform a goverment when they are being turned against by that goverment because of religious or political reasons.This is the new world order that has been created by our goverment and now the tide has turned and is no different in Croatia or anywhere else in the world. In some cases the goverment and their policies are the biggest threat to people and they are to blame for the creation of terrorism not the people.

      • Amir Pilipovic says:

        Michael Silovic,Can you just tell me how Busic’s terrorizing of American people will bring you independent Croatia and democratic rights,I have wondered why nobody ever tried to kill Tito and terrorize Communists,either Croatian,Bosnian or Serbian,Was’t it Tito a dude who you hated the most,was’t he the Marshal .I mean Busic did act,spend years in prison to find out that Croatia is full of communist and to add salt on the wound It’s has been run by Communists as of late,Anyways i just can’t get the part of terrorizing Americans and as some here drawing parallels with Mandela ,French revolution sounds as you people don’t know that Mandela did it in S.Africa his own country and his aim was his enemies while Busic’s rage was aimed at a friend or neutral party.Can you imagine a Cuban or N.Korean terrorizing Americans because Castro and Kim are bad ass dudes.Wouldn’t tell them to terrorize Castro and Kim.

    • Amir, I invite you to read about Israel’s Menachem Begin then perhaps you will understand how one man’s terrorist is another’s statesman and how sadly this applies only to some nations and peoples and not others.
      Furthermore I invite you to read some documents about this case at:
      under ‘documents.’
      If you only read the mainstream press, or ‘Yugoslav’ press, you do not see a representation of the actual facts. You would be surprised to see the support Zvonko received from a number of the key players in the case, including passengers on the flights.
      Zvonko repented for the policeman’s death and served his time for it. Terrorists do not feel sorrow, remorse, shame or responsibility for their actions.
      This is why Zvonko is no terrorist.
      I am also certain seeing Zvonko’s humble nature he would agree that: “Any man’s death diminishes me..” – John Donne

      • Thanks Veronika – it would seem that to Amir Zvonko is a terrorist because his act of hijacking that plane and leaving a bomb at a station occurred abroad and not in his country Croatia, but Mandela is not a terrorist because his acts were committed in his own country against his own people.

      • Amir Pilipovic says:

        Veronika … Deleted …

      • Amir – just to keep things in perspective – your opinion is your opinion and it does not define people – not on this blog anyway – enough has been said on this blog regarding the issue of terrorism without your further input that actually tends to insult any other commenter on this blog.

      • Amir Pilipovic says:

        Ina, I think Busic was a terrorist because he did terrorist acts,it has nothing to do with the place of his terrorism ,I do find it too stupid for anybody from ex yu to go to America and carry out terrorist attack because things back home are no good,or not the way he would like them to be.I also never said Mandela wasn’t a terrorist but do find your parallels out of ordinary or out of first grade.History lesson ,S,Africa is predominantly black,Mandela is black and his terrorist attacks have been aim at White people so this “AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE’ is also first grade knowledge.

      • Amir – oh you do not need to teach this blog and readers about South Africa we all know what it was like during the day of apartheid – why even I as university student in Australia at that time got unpleasantries for participating in demonstrations against apartheid in South Africa – and then Mandela was considered terrorist for quite a while and yet we fought through demonstrations that he was not a terrorist – there goes your history lesson. You simply come to this blog and pollute it with your hatred against Croats and I, most readers I think – just do not need that. Don’t come here and try to tell people that Busic could have acted against Communism in his communist country that he could have alerted the world from there about it without being stopped, sent to jail etc way before his job was done. It was not a matter of “because things were not good at home”and therefore went out of his country to do the job of alerting the world.

      • Djerdjelez A. says:

        Well Veronika ,He was charged ,convicted and labeled as a terrorist in the good old USA,and in USA all you need to do to be charged as a terrorist is to plan terror attack,don’t have to kill anybody,don’t have to carry it out.The evidence presented at the trial was overwhelming and I don’t wonder why he was convicted as a terrorist.If I remember right a police officer was killed disarming a bomb Busic has armed and planted and as we know we cant ask that cop how he feels about Busic but if could I don’t think he would compliment him for his own horrible death.And to be honest I find this blog politically incorrect and your comment little bit out of whack.Why can’t we call spade a spade.This article and your justification plays right in the hands of serbs,It’s exactly what they wonted to do “Hey look ,they celebrate a terrorist” and your point if used on Milosevic would be ‘oh come on he is not bad at all,he just loves serbia’ And you do it all while stuff is going on in Vukovar.

      • Djerdjelez A. you obviously have not read the article which talks about the terrorist act – for which Busic has paid his debt to the society. You’re a nut, sorry to say – this blog cannot be politically incorrect because there are no right or wrong politics, this blog is about putting out the facts, the truth and then forming an opinion around that – and that cannot be politically incorrect whichever way you look at it – except when a person who thinks he/she knows everything thinks it is… So you will not succeed on this blog in spreading your hatred, your comments on a serious matter say ïf I remember right …” well you do not have to remember it’s all written in the article you are commenting on – all about the terrorist or criminal acts perpetrated. So stop trying and make it as if that is not the case, as if it is not acknowledged that terrorist acts were done and paid for with decades in prison. What the article was also about is that not every terrorist act is seen as terrorist act if looked at from perspectives of history and circumstance. Mandela for instance was a leader of a terrorist organisation that murdered many people including women and children, although he himself did not pull the gun on them members of his organisation did in a systematic way – it was all considered terrorism at the time but , hey, years later it’s heroism of the highest order. So, I suggest, you keep your opinion and others will keep theirs. Some will consider Busic a hero, first and foremost and others will consider him a terrorist, first and foremost, it would be politically correct for you to accept that fact, that people have a right to their opinion and an opinion does NOT come under the scrutiny of right or wrong and stop trying to paint all Croatians or all whatever nation as if all the individual people in them are the same.

  4. The country remains corruption-plagued and economically weak, the former communists are building up greater force than before, they are now against their own people just like they were before when Busic sacrificed so much in trying to stop this, it is Busic’s suicide that will open our eyes wide, wider than before, and pour courage to continue that which Franjo Tudjman started: GET RID OF COMMUNISM AND ALL ITS FORMS – NOW!

  5. R.I.P. ZVONKO BUSIC! The Lord is with you!

  6. Robert Mons says:

    “I HAVE desired to go
    Where springs not fail,
    To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
    And a few lilies blow.

    And I have asked to be
    Where no storms come,
    Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
    And out of the swing of the sea” (Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins)

    Goodbye Zvonko! Life is so much better because you were in it!

  7. Miso Sorbel says:

    Nelson Mandela was the head of UmKhonto we Sizwe, (MK), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party. At his trial, he had pleaded guilty to 156 acts of public violence including mobilizing terrorist bombing campaigns, which planted bombs in public places, including the Johannesburg railway station. He was called a terrorist and fought against Apartheid and Colonialism… today and for many years now he enjoys many honors including Nobel Peace Prize.

    Mandela was the lucky one – he received accolades – well deserved and today almost no one wants to even think about that many people were killed in terrorist activities perpetrated by the MK (not by Mandela himself, but he was the leader of the organization nevertheless).

    Whether Zvonko Busic and those like him will ever receive the accolades Mandela has is not likely – after all Mandela had Communist strong behind him and they were powerful in the world, if not still, and Busic fought against the communists and violence in those fights was far, far, far less than those when Mandela was active.

    Make your own judgment if you please – I have made mine and I genuinely grieve for Zvonko Busic’s death

  8. I first became aware of Zvonko Busic after reading an article of his for Hrvatski Vijesnik. Something about this man’s words truly resonated within me and I could only hope and pray that his story would reach more people and inspire them to fight for what they love and believe in, to keep fighting for a better Croatia. I don’t condone his acts of terrorism and I certainly hope people don’t go that far, but I commend his passion for a free Croatia. It’s sad that he did not live to see a truly free, successful Croatia, even after he paid his dues. I am saddened that his pain and struggle was so great that it overtook his desire to keep fighting.

    Let his death also be a reminder of the thousands of homeland war soldiers who have taken their own lives or a struggling through mental illnesses and receiving nothing but a metaphorical spit in the face. I hope people will be inspired to keep fighting, but I also hope the situation will not become so desperate that we need another Zvonko Busic.

  9. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, the recently established TEDxHagueAcademy will host its first event on Monday, 9 September at its facility connected to the Peace Palace in the Hague. The full-day programme features the stories of nine carefully selected individuals who will each give their ideas about fostering justice based on their own experiences.
    Theodor Meron will be speaker as well

  10. We have lost the Soul of Croatia. I hope he has found peace.

    Even though I understand why some consider it a cowardly act, and that he should have stayed on to keep fighting for his ideals, I can only imagine what he would have thought on that tragic day considering that on his arrival into Croatia in 2008 he found:

    The liberating party” (HDZ) under suspicion of deep corruption; followed by the prosecution of Senader; followed by an SDP government (ex- communists and Serb sympathisers) in power tormenting and betraying their own Croatian people. On top of all that, he faced an ill-educated population and a politically influenced media accusing him of being nothing more then a criminal and a terrorist and thus making him a pariah in his own beloved home-land. He tried making a difference politically by joining a political party and i suspect he found nothing but egos arguing about petty factional issues, and everybody wanting their 15 minutes of fame as the leader. And then to top it all off, he would have seen Cyrillic signage sanctioned in Vukovar (of all places) and the Government protecting old UDBA agents (like Perkovic, who were guilty of killing Bruno Busic in Paris), even to the detriment of our standing within the EU.

    I’m not surprised that he did end his life prematurely. The pain of the realisation that he had spent 32 years of his life in jail for this?! ……….
    Personally, I think I would find it unbearable too.

  11. Zvonko’s passing is a tragic reminder of the despair in Croatia today..where proud soldiers who fought in the Homeland War against a Serb aggressor are now marginalized and criminalized….Where Communist sympathizers and Yugoslavs run the government….where young men like Marko Franciskovic are jailed and labelled “paranoid schizophrenics” because they dare speak out in this so-called democracy..where Serb basketball fans can come to games and spit on and abuse Croatian police officers…where the government funds Chetnik publications but not Croat ones…where the government doesnt flinch when in neighbouring Belgrade Serb soccer fans burn a Croatian flag in the stands yelling “kill and rape the ustashe..” while their team plays Croatia….I could go on…

    Zvonko did not spend 32 years unjustly with murderers, rapists, druggies, US max security prisons to return to a reincarnation of Tito’s Yugoslavia!

    For anyone who understands Croatian, watch Fra. Maric’s words to Zvonko and his family at the funeral (below). Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    Dragi Zvonko neka ti je laka Hrvatska Zemlja koju si toliko volio I za njihova toliko zrtvovao.

    • Amir Pilipovic says:

      If it looks like a duck,quacks like a duck,walks like a duck, it’s a duck… DELETED …In 60,70.80 all of us including my own family had 3 options 1 being communist and supporter of Tito 2 being ustasha and hating Tito and communism 3 minding your own business,There was no option of loving Tudman… DELETED

      • Amir – you failed to provide a link where all can see that Busic called himself ustasha and frankly, whoever says what or whoever interprets his deed in whichever way will not do because that’s just other people saying their mind – and minds can be very twisted indeed. Since you did not provide a link to a specific independently verifiable source (something any reader can check or verify) your previous comment was deleted. And no the quacking doesn’t wash as fact. As to your 3 choice people had under Yugoslavia the only problem is that if someone took the option of minding their own business but loved Croatia and said he/she was a Croat, he/she was/is automatically labelled Ustasha. Many still have a tendency to call people names like that and I think you might be one of those. But there were other options as well such as: being a communist, supporting Tito and hating ustashas; being a communist and supporting Tito and hating those who mind their own business …your list suggests that communists were better than ustashas, well they were not and over 1700 mass graves holding murders by communists will hopefully tell you.

    la fotbal CM 2014 :
    Forza CROATIA !
    Forza ROMANIA !

  13. Djerdjelez A. says:

    Can I share my story with you without any intent of being rude to anybody,I have had a chance of meeting many croats upon my coming to the USA and befriending some of them,some are just regular Croats and some right wingers.I have asked them about Busic since he is in the news and my question was ‘Why would he kill him self ‘ and one of the answers with agreement of the rest was this ‘Croatia has gone opposite way of what we have wanted it to go,We came to realize that Croatia was way better off in Tito’s time and that people was way happier then it was now,Tito may be more popular then he was ever before etc,etc so in conclusion many believe that they have just wasted there lives,time and money for nothing.

    • Djerdjelez A. – I don’t think your story should offend anyone because there are many such stories around of those who say they lived better before etc. But much of the world lived better then anyway, the economy wasn’t so up the creek, employment was higher etc in Yugoslavia people got off scot-free when it came to responsibility, many just developed a dependency on public jobs which secured the job for life regardless of whether you were productive or not, loans kept on paying wages etc … inflation in Yugoslavia was over 1000% by the end of the eighties and when it comes to democracy everyone has to do their bit – this is a topic that’s almost endless … but Croatia was not better of freedom wise. But I guess while no one can say really why Busic took his own life, it is true that much, very much has gone wrong in Croatia with the democracy and prosperity that was initially planned – but this was stopped or sabotaged mainly I think due to internal political competitions, fights etc the political elites doing what they please it seems. If people are tolerating that then they can’t really complain because everyone has a responsibility in a democracy

    • The irony here is that Croatia has gone up shit creek precisely because of die-hard commie supporters who don’t know the first thing about leading a successful democratic nation and they certainly couldn’t care less about teaching citizens about their rights and responsibilities within a democratic nation. So much has gone to shit because of communist-like political elitism and lack of management and responsibility. However, just because people in Yugoslavia managed to live on whatever wage they had, doesn’t mean that the country or the people prospered or that people were given the opportunity (freedom) to succeed.

      • Kat – well said! Thanks

      • Respected friend,

        I fought the Croatian and U.S. judicial authorities to let the freedom Ranko Primorac, Ljubas, Čale, Zvonko Bušić … and we did manage to. Several times I was arrested in the early morning policia even during power but when they’ll let me continue to remain at the same pace. Sister of the late Ranka Primorac now dr.D.D surname is familiar with the work of Croatian patriots in freeing her brother, but others sentenced to draconian penalties. And after 14 years since the last Christmas and New Year with his hand I met Ranko in Metkovic and late Zvonko at the session party A-HSP. I shook his hand. When I saw them, Julienne and sonorous, a few years ago, sitting relaxed, heated sun, the sky, the Croatian, and to enjoy every moment a gift from God, I almost did not give up. Not nice people interfere with their privacy. But such opportunities are not to be missed. I walked over, something I spoke and handshake Croatian hero and champion of our freedom remained impressed, not only in my palm, but rather in my soul. Forever. I never dreamed that we can touch that roads in the near future. And it’s only us Croats own way. His whole life was given by Zvonko for a free and independent Croatia. Of these 32 years in prison. Julienne 19 less. All this painful story we know in every detail. But her tragedy, depth and size knew only Zvonko and Julienne. The prison did not break. Loss of freedom of his homeland for Zvonko was much worse things from him in prison. He dreamed of a free Croatia. And, it seemed … Zvonko However, seeing all the discord of his people, Launches “Croatian flame.” Powered by him to bring together people for whom the Croatian ahead of personal interest. And then moving attack. From all sides. Zvonko feared. Terribly afraid of him. They knew it was incorruptible and that there is no sacrifice which he was unwilling to submit to Croatia. On the “Croatian flames” such present-day Croatia should burn and the ash was supposed to take off her Croatian Croatian patriots we all dream from generation to generation. But it turned out that only extremely big trouble, the Croats creates necessary unity. The enemy was after the military defeat understood and followed by small increments. Another tactic. Institutions, the media, public life, culture, entertainment. Everything has come into the hands of those who are not like Croatia or wanted. And then they took us to share. I separated. And we? People? What are we doing? Instead of being the salt we have become tasteless. We are “happy and cheerful” went the day after his new dose of “bread and circuses”. We took care of the “golden calf” regular offerings overall casualties. We did everything possible to replace the Egyptian Babylonian captivity. And we did. Indeed we have succeeded. His fate, the fate of their children and the fate of their homeland Croatian we put into the hands of those who only aim to kill our dreams and our ideals. . Arrange the first meeting. I’m happy. In me to be hopeful. And then Zvonko quit. Pressures were unbearable. It is said that in his farewell letter mentioned “Plato’s cave” and to pray for forgiveness for his own life. Only God has the right to judge. Judge will Zvonko. We can not do anything. But we pray to God. Pray that we forgive. To forgive us because we killed him. We killed Zvonko Busic. We since 2000 onwards systematically bring their voices to power people who have done all that Zvonko wants to go back to prison where he spent 32 years. We went over his callousness to the fact that the 1995th The more than 2,000 veterans took her life. We look at his indifference to us rob, kidnap and sell what they have created a generation to future generations that can be enjoyed. We forget his ingratitude as our brothers in Herceg-Bosna sacrificed for our freedom and that the price to pay today. We his selfishness and pride refuse unification state-building forces that are only able to restore the dignity of this troubled country and to those who still love. Therefore, we are to blame. Therefore, we are to blame for sorrow, tears and death of so many patriots after the war. Therefore, we are to blame for the systematic disappearance of Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore, we are to blame for the death of Zvonko Busic. God, in his infinite mercy, have mercy on our Zvonko. Have mercy on him, because he was a Christian, a Croat, a patriot. And forgive us. Least those who are able to confess and repent. You dear Zvonko let’s nail this troubled country Croatia. Forgive us as we rule over their homeland gave puppeteers in the “cave”. Forgive us as we agreed that they their “shadow theater” determine our fate and the fate of our children and our destiny Croatian. Forgive us as we are allowed to keep us in the dark. Forgive us as we chose their dark “cave” and not your world freedom. Forgive us because we do not know (or know) that we do.

  14. To learn more about the facts from the Busic’s case please go to: or check out this movie based on Julie’s book Lovers and Madmen:

  15. Ina, thank you for writing this piece. I enjoyed it very much. And I must add that your first three paragraphs are beautifully written. My education gap does not warrant a comment from me on Croatian patriotism, but I do have a quick anecdote.

    I first met my x-gf (who is Croatian) at a conference in Texas over three years ago, and one of the members of her panel on humor in film and literature addressed her before the proceedings by walking up to her, after apparently recognizing the accents on her name tag, and asking with a sly smile “Ustasha?” (Apparently this was his brand of humor). She had to explain the reference to me at the time, and, needless to say, she was quite taken back by his approach, but I find this ad hominem labeling an unfortunate side effect of what makes it into the history books. There is a seismic gap between one’s knowledge of history and one’s use of the knowledge of history that makes a person sensible, intelligent, and, furthermore, a fellow human being.

    Again, I thank you for writing these pieces, Ina. They are very informative.

    • Thank you so much eatingthepages, your feedback is very appreciated. I must say it reminded me of an occurrence at the university I was attending in late sixties in Sydney, Australia – exactly the same happened to me only there was no ? mark at the end of Ustasha and it came when after being asked where I was born I said Croatia! Of course those days were the days of communist secret police working very hard in the West to falsely and evilly tag all those who said they were Croats as Ustashas or terrorists. It will take m,any years yet to show what communism really was so all that’s needed is patience

  16. Djerdjelez A. says:

    What exactly are you trying to accomplish … DELETED Another thing which blows my mind is parallels ,compering Busic with Mandela and American,French revolutions.Was he that great and big ,I mean it’s disgrace to above mentioned people and things… DELETED

    • Djerdjelez A. – read the article again – it talks of terrorism as a concept in time, in history … and no one can deny the fact that Mandela, American Revolution, French Revolution etc involved acts that were considered terrorist at the time.

  17. p.s

    None of them had done the crime that killed a U.S. officer. Namely by (now deceased telling Ranka Primorac)
    “On the plane we abducted we had plastic guns that could not kill anyone, but when you’re over France and England dropped leaflets on the miserable life of Croats in Yugoslavia, we went down to the state of peace and democracy in America. We felt that we would not get much imprisonment for hijacking, and with this intention we carelessly went to America. But someone before we planted the explosive device in the moment when we were coming out accompanied by the police, the bomb exploded. we did not have time to set up the bomb and my conscience is clear before God , finished the story Ranko Primorac

  18. p.s

    Nitko od njih nije učinio zločin gdje je smrtno stradao američki policajac. Naime po (pričanju sada pokojnog Ranka Primorac)
    ” U avionu koji smo oteli imali smo plastične pištolje koji nisu mogli nikoga ubiti, ali kada smo iznad Francuske i Engleske bacili letke o jadnom životu Hrvata u Jugoslaviji, spustili smo se u državi mira i demokracije, u Americi. Smatrali smo da nećemo dobiti puno zatvora za otmicu aviona, i s tom nakanom smo bezbrižno ušli u Ameriku. Ali netko je prije nas podmetnuo eksplozivnu napravu i u momentu kada smo mi izlazil u pratnji policije, bomba je eksplodirala. Mi nismo imali vremena za postaviti bombu i moja je savijest pred Bogom čista, završio je priću Ranko Primorac

  19. Poštovana Ina!

    Hrvatski jezik je ravnopravan u parlamentu EU, stoga ću pisati mojim jezikom. Osim toga nije mi jasno zašto dopuštaš da dvojica mamlaza vrše nad tobom presing i psihing? Daj im ban ili pošalji pritužbu meni da ih blokiram. Naime njihova prića i argumenti se svode na spam tako da o tebi kao vlasnici bloga ovisi kako ćeš postupiti. Isto tako nemam vremena za pisati na engleskom jeziku jer ne znam ni hrvatski, i kod hrvatskog moram paziti na pojedino slovo ili rijeć. Zbog toga nisam čest gost kod tebe ali i na web stranicama mojih prijatelja, pozdrav

    • Translation of koca1111 comment: Respected Ina,Croatian language is equal in the EU Parliament, so I’ll write in my language. Besides I do not understand why you let two idiots pressure and abuse you you press? Ban them or send a complaint to me and I’ll block them. That is their story and the arguments boil down to spam so it depends on you as blog owner how you act. Also I do not have time to write in English because I do not even know Croatian, in Croatian I have to look for individual letters or words. That is why I’m not a frequent guest on your but also not on the websites of my friends, greetings

      REPLY: Thank you koca1111, I know what you mean regarding the two visitors here, I do moderate or delete personally offensive material and it is clear that they are bullies who cannot see past their hatred. But, perhaps that very fact helps the world to see what Croatians have to and have had to deal with. Comments are a part of this blog and such unsavoury comments do actually help in keeping the perspective on how much more work is needed to clear the names such people have muddied. Thank you for your concern, much appreciated.

  20. If I may — I’m so proud of you, I guess woman to woman. Such depth and intelligence here. Keep it up. And thank you for the ongoing support. You’ve been wonderful.

  21. Nativegrl77 says:

    Thank you for all your visits… quite a discussion and one in which some/most do not have access to … period

  22. Henry John says:

    … This man is a monster. The pain he felt for his homeland? Get over it. Try the pain of losing your father as a child, as his victims did. As I did. It’s only a shame he didn’t take out his wife out first.

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