Josip Simunic

Josip Simunic

Because he chanted “For Home” (Za Dom) and because the public at the World Cup qualifying match against Iceland on 16 November 2013 responded “Ready!” the Croatian defender Josip Simunic will miss the World Cup after being banned for 10 matches by Fifa.
World governing body Fifa on Monday confirmed Simunic’s ban will start at the World Cup in Brazil, and also announced he will be banned from entering the stadium for any of the country’s matches.
Simunic has also been ordered to pay a fine of CHF 30,000.

A Fifa statement said: ”The committee took note that the player, together with the crowd, shouted a Croatian salute that was used during World War II by the fascist ‘Ustaše’ movement.
”As a consequence, the committee agreed that this salute was discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning, inter alia, race, religion or origin, in a clear breach of article 58 par. 1a) of the Fifa disciplinary code.
”After taking into account all of the circumstances of the case, and particularly given the gravity of the incident, the committee decided to suspend the player for 10 official matches.”

FIFA Disciplinary Code, Article 58 – Discrimination:
1. a) Anyone who offends the dignity of a person or group of persons through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions concerning race, colour, language, religion or origin shall be suspended for at least five matches. Furthermore, a stadium ban and a fine of at least CHF 20,000 shall be imposed. If the perpetrator is an official, the fine shall be at least CHF 30,000.”

Now, it is a fact that even FIFA cannot deny: multitudes of Croats in Croatia and worldwide have expressed and do express that calling the chant “Za Dom Spremni” (For Home Ready) a fascist or Nazi chant discriminates against them because they, like Simunic, do not hold it as such but as an historic (pre-WWII) expression of patriotism and love for Croatia.  Indeed, even though FIFA it its 16 December 2013 media statement says it has taken into account “all of the circumstances of the case” it is blatantly clear that it had brutally disregarded the information/circumstance of that greeting not being the greeting that can only be attributed to WWII Ustashe regime in Croatia, or that Simunic had clearly stated he had not used that greeting as Ustashes had.

Here is just one example of a letter sent to FIFA or information sent several days before it made its decision to brutally punish Joe Simunic:

The origin, meaning and actual context of the «For Home» («Za dom») phrase

Historioghraphically, it is completely undoubtable that the phrase «For home» belongs to the Croatian traditional heritage and, as such, it has been very prevalent in various types of Croatian social life for several centuries. Historical sources evidence that the phrase «For home» was used in ethnological, literary, music, political, military, cultural and other forms of Croatian social life during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It has been applied to very differing occasions and situations; official and everyday ones. Because of all of that the phrase «For home» has become naturalised among the various generations of the widest of classes of Croatian population.
With that, the phrase «For home» has acquired very wide communication meanings. Cumulatively, it had represented the widest expression of value of social solidarity. i.e., devotion to home and homeland, but it was also used as a spontaneous and amiable everyday greeting.
The omnipresence and social desirability of the phrase “For home” and the different variations with the word home had been recognised by different social groups and political parties and movements in Croatia, which used them in their activities. For example, the largest and the most influential Croatian party of the 20th century Croatia – Croatian Peasant Party, which was of the left ideological orientation – had given its main newsletter the title “Home” (“Dom”).
The Ustashe movement, which collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II and established a totalitarian regime in the Independent State of Croatia – NDH (1941 – 1945), used a series of contents from the Croatian traditional heritage in their original or adapted forms. Among other things they adapted the traditional phrase “For home” into their salutation “For Leader and Home!” With the ending of World War II, NDH ceased to exist and the newly established Yugoslav communist totalitarian regime mounted a cruel and thorough revenge with its representatives and its ideology. The war collaborative regimes in Slovenia and Serbia experienced the same fate.
But, the Yugoslav communist regime had during the post-war years, across the whole of Yugoslav territory, especially systematically, thoroughly and cruelly, destroyed the overall material and spiritual pre-communist civilisation and national heritage. Traditional heritage of ethnic majorities (Slovenians, Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs, Albanians, Montenegrins, Macedonians) and of some twenty ethnic minorities had in the national sense, suffered equally.
All these crimes occurred in the name of the exclusive and bigoted communist ideology. All non-communist and, to the regime undesirable persons, associations, ideas, symbols etc. were pronounced counter-revolutionaries and enemies and were neutralised through limitless aggression (via the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat).
Within the territory of Croatia everything that was not to the regime’s liking was most frequently and without any foundation pronounced fascist or Ustashe, and was exposed to destructive violence. Even distinguished Croatian communists who came into conflict with the regime were marked as Ustashe and fascists, then killed, banished or neutralised in some other ways. For example, the long-standing and most prominent Croatian communist Andrija Hebrang was arrested and killed under such circumstances. The murder most likely occurred in 1949 and the details of the murder are not known to this day, or the fate of his post mortal remains. A number of head communists in Croatia (Savka Dabcevic Kucar, Miko Tripalo and others) were completely neutralised through similar accusations at the end of 1971.
At the end of 1980’s, at the height of the Yugoslav crisis, the Serbian communist regime of the “Balkan Butcher” Slobodan Milosevic had openly called the leading communists in Croatia as Ustashe and fascists and consequently the armed aggression against Croatia commenced.
The Republic of Croatia had on 1st July 2013 become the 28th member of the European Union even though European and world professionals emphasised that Croatia was one of the most corrupt countries and had the highest debt.  The day when Croatia entered into the EU became a day of the greatest of scandals in the history of European integration, because the highest of powers in the Republic of Croatia – against the accession agreement and the European legal wealth – had passed the law which had as its aim (according to the assessment by Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission) the protection of Yugoslav communist regime’s criminals who had committed the most serious of crimes, including the liquidation of about 80 Croatian emigrants who lived in countries of the Western world.
EU had thus came face to face with the fact that most of the state and social power in the new EU member state – Republic of Croatia – is held by the administrative structures inherited from the communist Yugoslavia era.
In addition to that, the economic, political and social situation in Croatia has been worsening dramatically during the past year. The regime attacks in increasingly radical manner, with its statements and via mass mainstream media it controls, every democratic will of Croatian citizens. Just as in the communist era, every public activity in Croatia that is not under the regime’s control is being pronounced as fascist, Nazi, Ustashe and backward.
Croatian citizens are not the only ones who suffer in the face of the thrusts of such bigoted radicalism but, in spring of 2013, Judith Reisman, the distinguished American scientist, a Jew whose family suffered severely in the Holocaust, had suffered also.
Mrs Reisman visited Croatia and appeared in public in support of the internationally awarded journalist Karolina Vidovic Kristo, who is being persecuted by the regime in Croatia. Government representatives, regime’s media and scientists had, because of that support, unleashed a shameful, strong and most primitive public campaign against Mrs Reisman, disqualifying her professional and personal dignity. While at it, they also pronounced Mrs Reisman a Nazi even though they were well aware that her family had suffered horribly under the hand of the Nazi regime.
Now, half a year after Mrs Reisman, the regime in Croatia and its media and other followers, have set in motion a similar campaign against the footballer Joe Simunic because he had greeted the public after an important game of the Croatian football representation with the old Croatian salutation “For home”.
It is important to emphasise here that Simunic is a child of Croatian emigrants and was born in 1978 in Australia, where he lived, grew up and successfully played football until 1998. Then he came to play for European clubs, and alongside that, from 2001, he also plays for the Croatian representation. Only since the summer of 2011 Simunic plays for “Dinamo” club Zagreb and lives in Croatia.
So, J. Simunic spent the first 33 years of his life in a democratic Western world, playing football exceptionally successfully and forming his personality without any discriminating incidents.
In light of all of this, we truly hope that the experienced world and European football organisations will not succumb to the hysterical pressures of the regime and the motives that hide behind unfounded attacks against the outstanding world and Croatian football player J. Simunic”.  (Original text in Croatian by Prof. dr. sc. Josip Jurčević, Senior Scientific Adviser At Institute for Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Professor of contemporary world and national historyAt Croatian Studies University of Zagreb, In Zagreb, 4th December 2013 – Translated into English by Ina Vukic)

According to Croatia’s Vecernji List the news of FIFA’s sanction against Simunic shocked many, including Simunic and the executive president of Croatian Football Federation (HNS) Damir Vrbanovic, who stated:

We are shocked at FIFA’s decision to punish Simunic…we will give every support to our representative player in his likely appeal against this decision, but we need to acknowledge that this sanction means that Simunic will not be able to play in Brazil. Although we know that Simunic did not want to offend anyone with his behaviour, FIFA has, with such a draconic measure, evidently wanted to send a strong message…

Croatia coach Niko Kovac said he was “unpleasantly surprised, shocked and disappointed” by the FIFA sanction.
“I know him (Simunic) for a long time… and I am absolutely certain that he did not want to hurt anyone in any way,” Kovac said in a statement.
Tracking back to 16 November, Simunic said that he was motivated solely by “love of my people (Croatian) and homeland”.
“The thought that anyone could associate me with any form of hatred or violence terrifies me,” he said.
“If anyone understood my cries differently, or negatively, I hereby want to deny they contained any political context.
“They were guided exclusively by my love for my people and homeland, not hatred and destruction.”

Indeed it is a terrifying world when those in whose interest it is to keep pounding on about WWII fascism as if it were alive today only to keep justifying communist crimes and delaying prosecution of the same and for other political agendas. Indeed it is a terrifying world when one sees that FIFA, an organisation supposedly determined to stamp out discrimination actually discriminates against some in order to accuse others of discrimination. FIFA would have done a much better job had it thoroughly looked into all aspects of “For Home” salutation when it comes to Croats, rather than plucking out 4 out of 200+ years of its usage as its defining meaning. As far as I see it this move by FIFA desecrates Croatian history of the greeting “Za Dom” (For Home) and no one should be permitted to define history as they please. To top it all off FIFA’s brutal sanctions against Simunic practically ends his career as player in a national representative team! A young man who had done nothing except worked hard and loved the country of his ancestors – Croatia (he was born and grew up in Australia)! Such brutality takes back to 1991 when arms embargo was imposed against Croatia at the time of Serb aggression – it was left helpless in defending her own lives!
But don’t forget, everyone: Croatia was defended in 1990’s from brutal Serb aggression by Croat veterans who wore rosary beads around their necks and greeted each other on the battle fields with “Za Dom! (For Home!)” There was no fascism then, even if some who attempt equating victim with the aggressor might try and disagree. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Mario Budak says:

    INa, thank you for making it crystal clear for everyone who has eyes to read, what the real truth is. As long as we have the communist oligarchy in Croatian government, we cannot expect anyone in the world to treat Croatians in a civilized manner. When they burn Croatian flag and chant slogans of hate and discrimination, ‘our sports minister’, ‘foreign minister’ and all other in the positional power, are deaf and blind, however, when Joe or someone says anything that might attempt to unite people, then they are spreading the hate. For 5 years ‘free’ Europe and the rest of the world watched Croatia suffer, and instead of coming to its rescue, they imposed sanctions. Argentinian government officials are being sentenced 20 years later for helping Croatia. God save us form this type of justice!

    • Thank you Mario Budak – we must persist with truth – I’m glad to be a part of that path even if it is bitter – but the end will be sweet, because truth does prevail in the end!

  2. I urge all Croatians to chant Za Dom Spremni at every FIFA game. Croatians take back your history. And never let anyone bastardize it in any way again!

    • My thoughts too! Telepathy is a great thing Sunman!

    • Now that would make a statement !!


      Prvo posetite ova dva linka (ko zna da cita engleski, jer na srpskom i hrvatskom iste teme se itekako razlikuju tako da je englesko tumacenje neutralnije)!
      Inace, “Za dom spremni” je ustaski poklic pozdrav! A svi znamo ko su ustase i sta su radili kad su bili na vlasti tih godina i za vreme drugog svetskog rata. …Ustaska je bila cela drzava jer su ustase bile tada na vlasti ako niste znali…

      Translation: first visit the link (if you can read English, because the same topics are discussed in Serbian and Croatian but the English version is more neutral)! Otherwise, “For Home Ready” is an Ustashe salutation! And we all know who Ustashe were and what they did when they were in government during World War II ,,,the whole country was Ustashe then because Ustashe were in government if you didn’t know …

      • Dule, dio vaseg komentara je izbrisan … ne cijela Hrvatska nije bila ustaska, ako je prema vama cijela Hrvatska bila ustaska dali onda to znaci da s obzirom da je Srbijom u Drugom svjetskom ratu vladala vlada Milana Nedic – koji su poubijali i/ili odveli 94% srpskih Zidova do svibnja 1942. u okrutu smrt da je cijela Srbija bila “srpsko-rojalisticka” odnosno ubilacka.

        Translation: Dule, a part of your comment has been deleted – no the whole of Croatia was not Ustashe, if as you think the whole of Croatia was Ustashe does it then mean that, given that Serbian government in WWII under Milan Nedic – who murdered or took to slaughter 94% of Serbian Jews by May 1942 the whole of Serbia was “Serb-royalist”, that is murderous?

  3. Croatia should boycott the World Cup in protest of this injustice!

  4. Seems rather harsh – history can be cruel!

  5. The swastika isn’t a German/Nazi symbol. In fact, it’s an ancient symbol of a sun god. Yet this is also banned, not because of the historiographical origins but because in the context that it was adopted by and used extensively by the Nazis to the point that it also became their symbol. Same with this “za dom spremni”. So I want to ask you: Shall we just bring back every fascist saying and symbol in existence and shove it in people’s faces in public because practically none of them were invented by the fascists themselves? And the fact that so many Croats (like you) had to look up the origin of that phrase is very telling. How many actually knew by heart that it came from Ban Josip Jelacic, and how many only knew it as something that was used by the Ustasha? I’m willing to bet my bottom dollar that a great majority-including Simunic himself-knew about it only from the latter.

    • D – I did not have to look up the origin of anything so do not go assuming. But the text in article regarding Za Dom history was actually an extract from letters sent to FIFA and UEFA. And if you read my first article on the matter it does mention Ban Jelacic. YOU ARE WRONG! Majority people of Simunic’s parents’ generation know of “Za Dom” as being an old Croatian expression of solidarity for everything Croatian. You’ve lost your bottom dollars! Just because many know it was used in WWII everybody knows MORE ABOUT BAN JELACIC than Ustashe!

  6. For a guy who lived in Oz, played in Germany and has travelled the globe, he is shockingly ignorant of how the world sees things. For all the arguments about the historical examples of za dom – spremni, most regard it as an ultra-nationalist hate chant and thus consider Simunic to be either inciting hatred or being just plain stupid. I prefer the latter.
    I realise the sentiments expressed here will seek to support him but this is a very small place and has a tiny followership. Right or wrong is not my argument, but was he mischievous or stupid? There are many ways to express love for your homeland, why choose this one?
    In terms of international image marketing, this was an own goal. I for one, do care about how the world perceives us.

    • Yes Pavao there are multitudes that will and do disagree with what you say here. Do you call the Croatian veterans who defended Croatia in 1990’s at bloody battle fields of Serb aggression, greeting each other with “Za Dom” as ultra-nationalists? Do you then call the 94% of Croatian voters who voted for secession from Yugoslavia in 1990 as unltra nationalists and because of which Serb aggression occurred?
      Where do you get the information that this place is small and has tiny followership? You have no way of knowing what the readership or following actually is as such information except Facebook is actually not on public display but let me assure you this place is so huge that it would give you a heart attack because of your small mindedness.

      You ask why choose this way of expressing love for home – why not!? We all know that there is a chance that people will interpret it in ways FIFA has and those who only talk of WWII, so, yes, people like you would say better steer away then! I say continue using it because that is the only way that we can prove it is an historic, proud Croatian chant! There’s nothing ultra-nationalist by merely expressing your love for your homeland with words used for centuries in this case.

  7. Reblogged this on Diaspora Diaries.

  8. Michael Silovic says:

    This is really not so much about about the words Za Dom Spremni. The reality of it is that because he was not born in Croatia he is classified as a diaspora and our goverment and those in charge of Croatia affiliates are afraid of Croats who are western educated about the truth of who we are as a people and our history as they know they can not control us like they do with those who live and were born in Croatia and are afraid of our influence. This is clearly proven by the fact that Josip can not even enter any stadium in a show of support for his team. In any sport in a free world if someone is suspended they are kept on the side line but never kept out of any stadium. I would like for someone to prove to me when this was ever done before. They think if he is not there then no will chant Za Dom Spremni but we must work to get the word out to have everyone do so just to prove the point that we are people with a rich history not a bunch of sheep that will be silenced.

    • Diaspora must influence more, be active more – so that those in Croatia who don’t want this get to pull their own hair out in frustration.

  9. Ina I think you are mistaken here. Fascism is alive and well in the Balkans. It exists as the Republika Srpska (aka the chetnik entity or Četnitet) which ethnically cleansed 49% of Bosnia and Herzegovina and forced hundreds of thousands of Croats and Bosnian Muslims from their homes. Not to mention that the officials there have made it difficult for people to return to their pre-war homes.

    Yet the powers that be, would rather focus on finding fascism where it doesn’t exist.than facing up to the fact that they were accomplices to greater Serbian nationalism, which chillingly reminds me of the Nazi’s plans for lebensraum or living space.

    So Croats get lectured on being fascists but the real ones in the Republika Srpska are getting off scot free.

    I agree with Sunman we need to take back out history and not let anyone bastardize it.

    • Yes Marko P – I should have said: there was no fascism then where Croats were concerned but where Serbs are concerned – fascism in abundance. Thank you for pointing that out Marko P

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  12. It is about time that Croatian Parliament starts debating the slogan “Za Dom Spremni” and explains to FIFA and whoever that it is the right for Croatians wherever they happened to be to say Za Dom Spremni. This is where this should start and where it should end.
    Croatia parliament needs to address this question ASAP to stop continuing rage, and prosecution, and we know what FIFA came to conclusion. What Fifa knows about Croatian struggle for democracy..? NOTHING.
    Croatian people will clearly get bad rap for as long as Croatians are prosecuting Croatians, and that is the reason the LAW needs to be changed.

  13. Vladimir Orsag says:

    I am not puzzled by FIFA’s decision to punish Croatian player for raising his hand because we experienced in Australia a similar conduct by a Croatian player. I always believe that we should abstain from such outbursts of ‘a national pride’ because we know by now how it is going to be interpreted.
    Some Croatian clubs in Australia were/are openly displaying pictures of Pavelic and celebrating 10th April as a national day, by thus abusing Australian hospitality.

    • Yes Vladimir Orsag some clubs have been or are displaying Pavelic’s picture – they have never been called fascists or Nazis by the Australian government, authorities etc …

    • Who raised their hand??? It’s amazing how ignorant some people can be. Also, which player in Australia raised their hand?

  14. Let’s test our government, all members of parliament and all opposition as to what Croatian people are allowed to say, sing, write or read in public. I think Croatian parliament should be debating any matter that concerns Croatians. After what happened to Simunic, I really don’t know if I have freedom of speech in my own country. Is it in the Croatian law that your freedom of speech is not guaranteed??

    • rb it’s the case here that the government doesn’t give a hoot about freedom of speech – they will blacken your name if you don’t speak the way that want you too. They ARE responsible for what has happened to Simunic I believe

  15. Thank you Ina for sharing on subjects I would otherwise never know about.

  16. He is a Hero despite the liberal Fifa decision .These organization are following the orders of the super powers ,UN,human rights are doing nothing to defend the Truth.Have a wonderful Christmas and blissful New year.jalal

  17. Merry Christmas !

  18. That’s not an Ustashe salutation at all. Ustashe salutation was “For Home and Leader” (Za Dom I Poglavnika). This has been heaped against Simunic by domestic spies who compromise history.

  19. Excellent explanation. Every respect!
    Now this needs to be sent to FIFA so they can see officially what a grave mistake they’ve made. It would also not go amiss if this was translated into Serbian and Cyrillic, sent to Jovanovic, so that he too could perhaps understand some of it.

  20. “On June 4, 1848, General Josip Jelacic Ban read out an ancient Croatian oath in the traditional Croatian manner before a crucifix and two lighted candles, promising before the living God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints to serve God’s justice on behalf of Croatia culminating with our historical salute of Za Dom Spremni (ZDS). This is clear evidence that our sacred Croatian expression was used way before the Ustaše movement which commenced on August 8, 1929 after the assassination of a prominent Croatian politician named Stjepan Radic. Therefore, there are no merits to FIFA’s ten-match suspension to be served during the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil because this FIFA ruling was based exlusively on “the ZDS salute was also used during World War II by the Ustaše movement”. The FIFA completely ignored the fact that this salute was not created nor owned by the Ustaše movement such that the FIFA cannot take away an ancient Croatian expression merely because one group chose to also use this expression. In my opinion, this clearly demonstrates that the FIFA is a biased organization against Croatians because the Croatians do not have any personal, financial or political interests with the FIFA to have our side of the story heard.”

  21. Only limited minds can ascribe ideological meaning to a greeting

  22. Katarina M says:

    This FIFA madness needs to be stopped, it’s discrimination against Croatians

  23. Bravo Ina, bravo!

  24. It’s like this because those who are in government in Croatia are the ones who must be lustrated and because Croatia is the only state in the EU where totalitarian communist regime has not been punished or condemned.

  25. Fifa is senseless!

    • The FIFA decision is senseless I think, Ja. But one can live with senselessness on its own, it’s the pain and damage such politically coloured decisions do that is a worry. To ruin a persons livelihood, his career on such biased decision is just awful to my view.

  26. Thank you, dearest Ina. You should be UN representative for Croatia – you are doing the job anyway… God bless you…

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  28. Its all the serbs fault

    • I don’t think so Evolve, but Serbia’s authorities were among the first lot to jump on th lynch wagon with their media and recent “diplomatic offensive” I wrote about too

  29. Just thinking out loud…would it be worthwhile to start a scholarship fund called Za Dom Spremni. The purpose of the fund would be a post secondary fund for the Furtherance and Protection of Croatian National Identity through Scholarship and Research in Croatian culture and arts, Croatian history and truth and for academic study in science, math and arts / humanities related to Croatia. And just for the fun of it could also fund a soccer sports scholarship for aspiring athletes to study at a post secondary school. The fund could be funded through donations, but the name would be proudly proclaimed as Za Dom Spremni Scholarship. What do you think?

  30. check out the letter by the war veterans to FIFA…keep chanting our proud, patriot and old greeting…

  31. Why did you delete my post you coward.

    Your not deserving to be called Hrvat.

    • Tomislav, your comment was deleted because it did not refer to Simunic nor the historic meaning and use of “Za Dom Spremni” – before and after WWII Croatia. This article is about Joe Simunic’s use of the greeting and what it means to him.

  32. For as long as I can remember, in America, was the outcry “Better dead than Red”. In this was meant that “Red” was communism. Communism, was and still is, the manifestation of the subrogation of the rights and dignity of humanity to (a third entity) an all powerful central control government. Nowadays in America, this same word “Red” is the color of the election map(s) depicting Republican political entities (with Democrat entities depicted by “Blue” color). NOBODY associates the use of “Red” of communism with “Red” of Republican political. In America, and perhaps much of its great strength, is the inclination and preference to see the present in the present, not in the past. For Americas immigrants, and sons and daughters of immigrants, “For Home” is two lands united together in ones own heart. FIFA has violated their own regulation by “offending…groups of persons” being all immigrants to all countries of the world that “For Home” is their cherished multiple heritage. SO, therefore, how shall FIFA’s senior management’s discriminatory conduct be reversed and appropriately punished?

    • Thank you Connor Vlakancic for your comment. Much appreciated and so relevant and true regarding “For Home” greeting and what it means particularly for those born and bred in diaspora. I trust the appeal that I understand Simunic will mount will provide an avenue of correction. As to punishing FIFA for its atrocious behaviour and interpretation of Simunic’s chant I would love to see that happen however there may not be enough courage around although I understand there are many protest letters being directed there.

  33. Merry Christmass
    I just want to say that “swastika” can not be compared with chant “za dom spremni” because “swastika” was used in Germany only during Nazi regime, never before, never afterwards… but in Croatia, we use chant “za dom spremni” in various versions for centuries

    • Indeed this is true. What’s more is that Hindus have and will not ever give up their symbol that the Nazis used (Nazis removed the 4 dots and tilted the symbol about 45 degrees). It would be absurd for any Hindu to be ashamed of their cultural/religious symbol. Same should be for the Croats…never give up our cultural, historic and religious symbols.

  34. Tomislav Rapin says:

    Putting aside the heavy-handedness of FIFA and the lynching of Josip Šimunić by our own media and government officials, for me the most frustrating aspect of this whole mess has been the naivety/ignorance of some people in trying to come to terms with the situation. First of all, “Za dom spremni” is, and can only be, a part of our fighting tradition – which is distinct from our “traditional heritage” (however broad that term may be). Also, It was never used as a “spontaneous and amiable everyday greeting” as suggested in the letter to FIFA, but in very specific situations and almost always in a military context. On 18 November “Za dom spremni” was, as always, present on the HOS flags carried by their members in the Kolona sjećanja in Vukovar. The salute is also present in the insignia of several Croatian Army units as well as official songs of one or two brigades. Even in today’s Croatia, in the right context, “Za dom spremni” is acceptable and appropriate. Furthermore, I believe Croatian courts have, on two separate occasions, ruled that the use of “Za dom spremni” was legal in the Republic of Croatia.

    So, the idea that we are being robbed of our culture, traditions and identity is clearly not right. The immediate issue here shouldn’t have been whether “Za dom spremni” has been forever compromised, it should have been an argument about context and intent. Josip Šimunić wanted to interact with the home fans after what he knew was his last home game for the national team. He grabbed the microphone and, before screaming “Za dom”, led the crowd in an “U boj” chant. Clearly, he chose the only two chants with which he could engage the crowd. Unfortunately, this was too good an opportunity for the ever vigilant “anti-fascists” in Croatia to pass up so they naturally went straight for the jugular; on the other side we had people who couldn’t wait to jump up and down about how our very existence is being questioned because of controversy over a three-word salute.

    Had Joe received some good advice straight after the game and had the HNS been doing its job, Joe would have apologised in his first post-game interview. Not for saying “Za dom”, but for getting caught up in the euphoria and forgetting that there may have been some people in the crowd to whom such a chant may be offensive – if taken in the wrong context. That would have been the perfect pretext for the HNS slapping him with a small fine or something similar. Considering their own delegate apparently didn’t even record the incident, FIFA may not even have pursued the matter. If they did follow it up then they would have had smaller scope for action once the HNS had punished Šimunić.

    Instead, what did we get? The media and everyone else who felt like it had their go at Joe, and on the other side we had a passive HNS and people defending “Za dom spremni”. But not denying that it was actually used (because it was) by a WWII regime that the rest of the world considers on par with the Nazis; but that the world should understand us and accept that “Za dom spremni” only represents positive ideals like love for the home, family etc? Once those positions were taken, Josip Šimunić’s World Cup dream and international career was doomed. And everyone on the “wrong” side of the argument, which means nationally aware and patriotic Croats, simply could be painted as ustaša apologists. In other words, our enemies got EXACTLY what they wanted.

    We as a nation don’t need this to escalate, we need the issue to be sorted out at home and not be played out in the stands at the next home game, or worse, in Brazil. We can’t, in such a short time, unwind a historical narrative that has been put together over 70 years. As painful as it is, we have to reach a compromise with our enemies at home, we have to reach consensus on this, and other issues, if we want Croatia (as a nation and society) to move forward.

    • Thank you on your comment Tomislav Rapin. Joe Simunic did explain himself shortly after the game, speaking of love for the homeland etc. A compromise or something like it would indeed be nice but I fear this is quite impossible when you have the strong so-called anti-fascist/pro-communist, ex-communist lot whose life mission is to protect the WWII communist movement and its crimes.

      • Tomislav Rapin says:

        Ina, I believe compromise is always possible. Clearly, the responsibility lies with us: are we prepared to sacrifice the public (i.e. out of context) use of the salute “Za dom spremni” for the betterment of Croatian society on the whole?

        This doesn’t mean we are forsaking our traditions or negating our history; it simply means we are finding the right balance between honouring our tradition and creating a civil society in which all people feel equally welcome to participate and express themselves.

      • I couldn’t agree more – compromise is the best way in such situations – Tomislav Rapin, however, for that to occur good-will must exist on all sides and in the case of “For Home” salutation it will be a while yet, I fear, before we see that. Hence, assertiveness is one way of getting there…

  35. Happy New Year 2014 !



  2. […] College at City University of New York) in the matter of FIFA’s disciplinary considerations in Joe Simunic case and the “For Home” chant at the end of soccer match between Croatia and Iceland some months […]

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