On his non-official visit to Australia (from 9 March) Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic was met with a total ban of access to Croatian clubs and vast majority of Australian-Croatian community organisations. The Croatian community by a vast and landslide majority rejected to see him, to host any of his appearances bar the Croatian studies centre at the Macquarie University where he appeared to witness the signature to a funding agreement between the Croatian government and Macquarie University on the basis of which Croatia would fund $750,000 over five years for Croatian studies there. It’s important to know that Croatian studies at this university was founded in early 1980’s using significant funds raised by the local Croatian community.
In Sydney. On Monday 10 March, a peaceful but loud rally was held against Croatia’s Prime Minister’s visit to Australia by members of the Croatian community. The placards conveyed the messages such as: “Milanovic Tito’s Puppet”, “Milanovic Not Welcome” “Milanovic is a disgrace” etc. and the verbal messages conveyed at the rally are listed below in this post. Those who turned up at the rally on that Monday were not many as it was a working day for most people but some fifty people did turn up to serve as the Croatian community’s mouthpiece (for at least 50,000 in Sydney gravitating to clubs, churches, community associations etc.) – to ensure that the silent protest against Milanovic by the vast majority was heard loud and clear. And it was! SBS World News program covered it.
When interviewed by SBS TV World News Milanovic was on the defensive so much so that he had no difficulties in assuming he knows all about the people who were rejecting to receive him in the Croatian community. He said that those people have lived in “isolation” (still live in the WWII past etc.). He said that his government had nothing to do with political persecutions that had forced many Croats to emigrate to Australia.
“ Many people came to Australia as victims of political persecution or come from such families and I can understand that, but I wasn’t the one who persecuted them. Those times have passed. My government is liberal and social democratic and by no means Titoist or Communist. I have nothing to do with that, unlike some people from the opposite political camp. I think that some people here live in the past too much,” Milanovic said in an interview with the Australian public broadcasting network SBS.
And so Milanovic, just like a well seasoned communist, went on the attack against those Croatians in Australia who protested against him and totally ignored the reasons why the rallies and protests occurred and these include:
his government’s appalling treatment of Homeland War victim’s rights and of war veterans,
his government’s utter rejection of 700,000 signatures (out of possible 3 million voters!) for a referendum on Vukovar to be declared a place of special piety,
his government’s persecution of several individual activists,
his government’s inaction in processing communist crimes,
his government’s rejection and battle against extraditing to Germany of a suspected communist criminal (regarding murders by Yugoslav communist secret police of Croats abroad)…
No Mr Zoran Milanovic – Australian Croatians never have and never will live in isolation! Their protests in Australia were all about what is currently occurring in Croatia that deserves worldwide condemnation!
Milanovic took a bitter issue with being branded “Tito’s puppet” by the Croatian community in Sydney and he said on SBS TV: “Some people here are labelling me as a Tito’s puppet, which couldn’t be more ridiculous. I never served in the Communist Police, which many of my political opponents did. I was never a member of the Communist Party.”
Well, well of course Milanovic was never a member of the communist party – he is too young for that! Communist party dissolved in Croatia in 1990 and was re-branded as “Croatian League of Communists”, which was later re-branded again into “Social Democratic Party” of which Milanovic is the president! And when one pays a closer look at his politics and actions in politics the stench of communism is always present regardless of his rhetoric! In fact, Milanovic was a member of the communist party all his adult life it seems – he chose the communist-at-heart-SDP and not any other (more modern) political party to be a member of.
The only way Milanovic could convince anyone that he is not a communist would include active pursuit of lustration, active pursuit of condemning communist crimes and active pursuit of a public apology to the Croatian community by him, his former SDP colleague president of Croatia Ivo Josipovic and the former president Stjepan Mesic for vilifying the diaspora so! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)