Croatia: WWII Communist Partisans Are Not Your Heroes – Homeland War Veterans Are

 

Croatian Homeland War Invalids  At protest site in Zagreb Photo: Borna Filic/Pixsell (click to enlarge)

Croatian Homeland War Invalids
At protest site in Zagreb
Photo: Borna Filic/Pixsell (click to enlarge)

Old habits die very, very hard, as the news reminds us every day, but change begins with illumination — attention, pointing, identifying and generally shining lights in dark places. However the president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Predrag Matic through their public comments continue to deride and belittle the group of protesting war invalids in Zagreb one thing is emerging as clear: the rally by the war veterans, which seems profoundly taxing on the already frail health of the war invalids, points very clearly to the fact that the Croatian Homeland War Veterans have not been afforded their rightful place as the nation’s heroes that they deserve. The current Social Democrat government and the current President of Croatia (the ideological heirs to the fallen communist Yugoslavia) have more often than not raised the value of WWII communist partisans for today’s Croatia far above the actual Homeland War veterans, who in fact were the ones that ushered today’s Croatia into the free and democratic world, sacrificing life and limb.
Monday, 3 November 2014 will mark the end of full two weeks since Croatian war invalids, Homeland War veterans took to the street in front of the War Veterans ministry building in Zagreb, setting up camp, staying determined in their demands for the protection of their rights, for the removal of the Minister for Veterans Affairs Predrag Matic and two of his closest aides and for certain legislative changes that would see veterans’ rights and plights for freedom and democracy included in constitutional law.
Indeed, the Homeland War invalids and veterans were born in Croatia when it was part of Yugoslavia under the dictatorship of Marshal Josip Broz Tito. They have worked and lived there ever since, experiencing firsthand the tumultuous history, including the repressions and then the fall of Communism, the disintegration of Yugoslavia through freedom loving plebiscites (in every state of former Yugoslavia bar Serbia), which resulted into hostile Serb aggression and the catastrophic violence.

The danger that the 1990’s Homeland War figures and real events disappear from memory, or their importance for today’s Croatian state, has been an ever-present concern among multitudes of Croats. Croatia’s so-called antifascists, those who still hold the WWII fighters for a new communist Yugoslavia as heroes have turned every political trick in the book to ensure that the meaning of the Homeland War events become distorted and manipulated by their political agendas. The pro-communist/socialist Yugoslavia left-wing governments and presidents (including the current ones), that the independent and democratic Croatia has had the misfortune of having, have consistently promoted a type of amnesia, which – if allowed to continue undisturbed – erases national Homeland War heroes and heroines from public consciousness. There was the era of de-Tudjmanisation, which commenced particularly after 1995 (after Croatia won the war of Serb aggression against it) headed by Stjepan Mesic, the Croatian president after Franjo Tudjman’s death, whose mission in life appeared to be nothing except the propagation of cruel lies against Croatian first president Tudjman and equating the aggressor with the victim in the Croatian Homeland War. The attempts by many a prominent politician, academics and leaders to reconcile Croatia’s WWII and post- WWII history as part of transitioning from communist totalitarian regime into a democratic one, based on individual freedom and responsibility, have been thwarted by the left-wing politicians every time the truth about communist crimes had stuck its head out into the public arena. Franjo Tudjman’s and Homeland War veterans’ struggles against the communist Yugoslavia and the 1990’s Serb aggression have in many important aspects evaporated from the public conscience; the fight to prevent the total and effective evaporation of the importance of Franjo Tudjman and Croatia’s Homeland War veterans for freedom and democracy has and is resting in the hands of the brave veterans and their supporters.
The current young generation in Croatia are quite ignorant of the Homeland War heroes. They don’t seem to fully understand what democracy means, how much has been sacrificed for their freedom, how much has been achieved and how much needs to be done. The livelihood and life’s advancement opportunities of an overwhelming number of Croatian young has been reduced by the incompetent government and the country’s presidential office to existential anxiety; poverty is sweeping away the courage to fight for the truth and it is left to the veteran few and their supporters, who still have fighting courage, to ensure Croatia of today does not lose its true identity amidst the communist lot.

Indeed, it was yesterday, Saturday 1 November, that the representatives of the Croatian network for combat against poverty, the Pulse of the People (Bilo Naroda), arrived at the protest site offering the war-invalids/veterans their absolute support. A joint statement by the network and the veterans’ association included that “the Croatian government representatives and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs publicly impose the idea of guilt sharing for the war in Croatia, and that one of their new tactics is the equating of the Croatian Homeland War with the Greater Serbian aggression and occupation through the manipulation of facts within the strategic documents towards the EU,” reports Vecernji List.

They say that they had noticed this manipulation in the draft of the operational plan “Competition and Cohesion” in which the government labels Croatia’s Homeland War as destructive. The Croatian veterans’ associations and the Pulse of the People association say that this document was only until recently written in the English language, therefore not transparent to the Croatian population, and that it describes the countless minefields in Croatia as the result of the Homeland War and not, as the facts are, as the result of the Serb aggression and occupation of a third of Croatia’s territory in early 1990’s.

It is through these and similar practices towards the Homeland War and its veterans that the Croatian government ignores the foundations of the Croatian state it governs, it does not engage in thorough solutions for problems that arose during the Homeland War and it manipulates the Croatian and worldwide public and it does not assist the veteran population to turn to the future. This is one of the reasons why we seek the replacement of minister Predrag Matic, his deputy and his aide,” said Ante Deur, president of the Assembly of the veterans of Croatian guard units.

The public talks of veterans’ privileges,” said Ante Deur on Friday 29 October, “and, yet, the children of communists enjoy privileges in Croatia.” He said that veterans’ rights must be part of the Constitution “so that no one could touch them any more”.

And indeed, the support for the war-invalids’ veterans is amazing; so many organisations and citizens are rallying behind them and also making sure they are fed and warm at the “camp” outside the Veterans’ Affairs building. And the light their protest is directing to expose the dark place of communism that still exists in Croatian politics becomes even more relevant when we come across the statement made last week in the city of Split by president Ivo Josipovic at the 70th anniversary of liberation of Split from German/Italian occupation: “Those who want some other Croatia, Croatia in which Kevo’s Pits are returned, Croatia in which the Partisans are declared criminals, Croatia in which history is not understood, are not doing Croatia any good.”

The reader needs to know that the “Kevo’s Pits” referred to by president Josipovic is a synonym for hundreds of mass graves and pits (close to 900) where hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of Partisan and communist crimes lie; still to this day without justice!

Evidently, Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic fails miserably to accept the Croatia created as a result widespread rejection by the Croatian people (1991) of the “Partisans’ Yugoslavia” and through defending of the idea of free Croatia from brutal Serb aggression. So who else but the veterans must persist in defending free and democratic Croatia from communist onslaught!? And as Djuro Glogoski, the president of Croatia’s 100% Military War-Invalids Association, said: the veterans are not placing their monetary payments or rights in the first place but their priority lies in their determination not to ever again permit the putting down of those who had participated in the creation of Croatia. “You shall never again trample on our dignity, and we shall be together in this to the end,” is Glogoski’s message to the Croatian government and leaders.

 

Djuro Gologoski President of 100% Croatian Military War Veterans Association Photo: Davor Puklavec//Pixsell

Djuro Gologoski
President of 100% Croatian Military War Veterans Association
Photo: Davor Puklavec//Pixsell (click to enlarge)

I say: Good on you – Croatian Homeland War veterans! Do not let the WWII past and communism that followed define Croatia’s present and future; make sure that Homeland War truth and the fight for freedom and democracy are! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Another excellent posting, Ina. Bless You!

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  2. To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his child by serving and honoring the men and women who are Croatian veterans. They just want you to be able to go from military to civilian … and keep on going. Thanks, Z. S.

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  3. Wilkinson says:

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    • “To Battle, to battle” indeed, Wilkinson. The fight for justice is not over yet – sadly. But the good thing is that Croatia is filled with Homeland War heroes. Cheers.

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  4. croatian hope says:

    Why can’t the Croat Partisans and Homeland 90s veterans be equally as important?
    Why do they have to be different?
    Both liberated their home towns!!

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    • I don’t pretend to know the full answer to your questions, croatian hope, but I do know that they cannot be equally important because the Partisans went on to create the Yugoslavia that to many turned out to be repressive, to many it turned out to be an executioner. To top it all the Partisans/many of them (or antifascists as they call themselves) are the ones who put the Homeland veterans down, are the ones who did not want independent Croatia etc. To my view, WWII events can never be equal to 1990’s events – the latter are the foundation of today’s Croatia not WWII.

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    • Let’s put it a different way, without a Croat partisan movement with all its flaws, the Serbs would created 1000 Bleiburgs and chances are that we would not be posting today. I cannot find flaws in fighting against Italian fascists that dominated our homeland. Without zavnoh….no Tudman no generals that guided us his time. Let’s stick with Gen Gotovinas view …Samo vazi i buducnost…and my family were all domodran, plava legija and

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      • The Serbs, Chetniks and yes their friends the Partisans DID in fact create more than 1,000 Bleiburgs. From Slovenia south the land is blood soaked. Mass graves are being uncovered monthly. But the process is slow as this Commi government refuses to acknowledge the crimes. Mario you talk about the ‘partisan movement with all its flaws.” wow, amazing how we can reduce the slaughter of civilians to a mere ‘flaws.’ The problem we have today is that few people, but for some historians and the Church, fail to acknowledge the crimes committed by the Partisans. BTW, these crimes far OUTNUMBER those of the Ustashe.

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    • To “croatian hope”……you equate the 1990s wars of Croatian liberation from Greater Serb Yugoslavia with that of the Partisans??? Are you kidding me?
      You sound like Pres. Josipovic.
      The Partisans slaughtered on mass anything that did not equal complete submission to Communist Red Yugoslavia. They didn’t ‘liberate’ they obliterated.
      If you didn’t follow the regime you were executed or jailed. If you didn’t snitch on your neighbour you were enemy number one. If you were a faithful Catholic you were scum to them. They had no issue with executing clergy, just because they did not submit to Communism but to God.
      The Partisans and their ilk worship Trotsky, Lenin, Marxism. They hate mankind and in turn God. Look at what they taught in schools.
      Watch the film Soviet Story. What the Bolsheviks did to Ukrainians and others, the Partisans and their ilk did to faithful Croatian Catholics.
      Get your head out of the clouds and actually research how evil the partisans were! The information is out there!
      Ina your comments to this writer are bang on.

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  5. John P. Segvich says:

    Ina,

    In your recent post on the Homeland War Veterans you stated: The current young generation in Croatia are quite ignorant of the Homeland War heroes. They don’t seem to fully understand what democracy means, how much has been sacrificed for their freedom, how much has been achieved and how much needs to be done.

    Sadly, this is an issue that extends beyond Croatia’s shores to those who can claim they are Croatian-Americans. The sacrifice of the veteran men and women have enabled those of us in the disapora to be proudly identified as Croatian-Americans. The acceptance by the general populace in America that we have a Croatian ancestry that there is and always has been a Croatia has only been viable for the past 20 years due to the sacrifice these individuals.

    In fact our success in acquiring positions of prominent responsibility in America can in some measure be traced to the independence of Croatia. Who should never forget that the blood that flows in our veins was formed in Croatia and assembled in America. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    If we forget where we come from, we will not understand that there is a world far beyond are home that has provided our gift of success in America. The values and tradition of our Croatian ancestry has given us the tools to be recognized as valuable members of American society.

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    • So true, John – the pride in being of Croatian descent in the “West” has a great deal to do with the sacrifice and determination of these brave men and women who sacrificed life and limb to achieve democracy and freedom – something the “West” understands well, I think. It’s quite sad that almost twenty years after the war in Croatia ended there are organised excursions of school children from Croatia to Vukovar and the news coverage treats these as a wonderful novelty that will help children understand more about the war. It should not be a novelty, the meaning of Homeland War should be felt at every corner, at every age … just like the “West” Croatia should do much more to honour and mark the greatness of its freedom fighters without appearing as though it would offend the aggressor (Serbia) if it does. Perhaps the diaspora will contribute to such displays of pride and help peel away the nationalistic labels of such displays of pride many left-winged politicians in Croatia maliciously keep pinning to it.

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  6. Ante Saric says:

    A war to the death with Serbia was always going to come. It was destiny.
    Unfortunately, Croatia’s loony left simply cannot get its head around this simple Realpolitik.
    They thought peace and love through “brotherhood and unity” would conquer nationalism and we would all live happily ever after.
    You would think after all that has happened. After the the failure of the second Yugoslavia and the third now in Bosnia that they would actually learn something about human nature.
    This brings me to another point about WW2.
    Tito ‘s Partisans did not solve the crucial Serbo-Croat question. All they did was leave the dirty work to their grandchildren and Franjo Tudman. What a bunch of low life to do that.
    When we finally did go to war with Serbia in 1990 we had no weapons and no Allies apart from Germany and the Vatican.
    Despite a poor start, under the inspirational leadership of a Tudman, we emerged victors.
    Croatian youth of today should know how close we were to outright defeat. If they did they would not take their freedom for granted.

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    • Perhaps, Ante, things may change if the referendum on preferential voting etc goes through – the career politicians will not sit back so comfortably (?) – might try harder to do a bit of ground work on teaching and practicing democracy in daily lives and ensuring the children grow up knowing well who Ho9meland War veterans are. Croats are a strong and united people and we had proven that in 1990’s (without the Croats of red-coloured denomination who did not want independent Croatia, once their wings are clipped through lustration etc – Croatia should be right and until then the veterans are our main strength

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  7. It seems to me that the Communists hold Croatia as very valuable. I think the Croatian people have spoken. They have fought the Communists or fled to find freedom. I am of Croatian descent. I say, Let the Croatian people go. Value your vets. I do not believe in war but in America, we have learned to accept their service to our country. What we need most is to end all war. Hugs, Barbara

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  8. Fascinating article,its sad to see the new generation careless about their history ant the struggle of the older generation ,the same ignorance exist in the USA and many European counties l have visited.Best regards.

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  9. Hi Inavukic, I´m argentine. I got to know a bit of your country´s history reading a novel: The Island of the world by Michael O´Brien. Form that moment on I started to admire the strenth of your people. I kneel at you all! Bravo! Felicitas

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  10. Why? How could Croats let this happen to themselves and their truly Magnificent and Honorable victory. This is shameful. Is this all we are capable of. Are we so weak as to let ourselves to exploited, deceived and deprived by a bunch of left wing loonies who only know how to lie and manipulate. Croatia needs a revolution not based on arms but on intelligence and truth.

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    • The pressure of intellect and endurance is on, Sunman – I think that we need to be proud of the way war veterans are handling themselves. We always knew that transition away from communism wasn’t going to be an easy one and we are certainly seeing quite a bit of that. Truth does win in the end, so in meantime we push on, everyone the best he/she knows how.

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  11. Hello! I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Please pick up your award at http://idealisticrebel.com/2014/11/02/one-lovely-blog/

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  12. Michael Silovic says:

    The Partisans were not heroes. I think Croatia would have been a lot better off if we would have followed the path of the fascists at that time.Our country could have been much further along then what it is today and with our original borders.In fact if you really understand history you would come to the conclusion that the fascists had the right idea all along.You can see all around the world today that many people have read and understood history and are yearning to go back in time to what the fascists stood for which was patriotism ,Heritage, culture, ethnicity.Sadly today if you proclaim your love for your country , its heritage and ethnicity you are called a fascists. I would rather be known as a fascist rather then not defending my heritage and culture and race. I can guarantee you that if we continue on the path we are there will no longer be a Croatia as we know it.I can go on with this commentary which will lead me into my appreciation for the FUHER and his Ideology which really isn’t that far off from what people in the world are seeking today to a degree.

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    • I think, Michael, the idea for the independent Croatia of today did not follow fascism or communism ideals. Totalitarian regimes of any form are not welcome in my book but in case of Croatia the “Croatia First” policy of which you speak of as ideal would ensure a great deal of sovereignty and social and economic betterment for the country.

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  13. For those of us who were not there, who don’t know the full story, it’s very difficult to discern who did what when governments are praising/promoting (whatever the hell is is they’re doing) certain factions. It’s good that we have people like yourself, Ina that can point out, who actually did what, why and what they really stand for. Otherwise, we would see a parade of sorts and automatically assume, these are great people… you get the gist. It’s good for those who are truly deserving to get the recognition. 🙂 (Hope this makes sense)

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  14. therealamericro says:

    Ina, I have one point of argument.

    It was not de-Tudmanization, it was de-Croatization i.e. re-Yugoslavization that took place post-2000.

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  15. Today as we commemorate Remembrance Day in Canada I’d ask you all to remember our brave branitelji (defenders) in Croatia.
    It is shocking for many of us who live abroad, in countries that honor their soldiers, both the living and the fallen, to see what is currently happening to our branitelji in Croatia. The brave men and women who have been demonstrating/camped out in the cold for weeks on Savska Street in Zagreb, demanding their legitimate rights and dignity, have been demonized and demoralized since the various regimes in Croatia have been in power from the year 2000.
    Some of you do not know this because of a media blockade by the current communist regime in Zagreb. I have also seen no coverage of this in the foreign media.
    It is heartbreaking to see how many thousands of brave soldiers in the HV, HVO and other units have taken their own lives in despair because today’s Croatia is not the freedom-loving democracy they fought for. Instead today the same men and women whose family members were responsible for mass executions, human rights violations and imprisonment during Yugoslavia and Tito’s reign of terror, are in power.
    These same people in power see no issue with having a war criminal like Seselj visit eastern Croatia, or parades and parties honoring Partisans and Chetniks. These same people do no acknowledge the WW2 mass graves of Croatians littering Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina or the Bleiburg victims and Death Marches, these same people see no issue with funding Chetnik publications and parties in the Croatian Sabor, nor do they think branitelji are ‘owed’ anything….
    Imagine the equivalent happening where you live today.
    Sadly many residents in Croatia either cannot see this, do not know any of this because the media is state-controlled, or are completely apathetic.
    Were it not for our branitelji, remember what a pathetic, backwards, corrupt country, where many of our parents could not return to without being harassed or jailed, Yuga actually was.
    Please remember our own branitelji and pass the news on about their plight (covered by various portals including Ina Vukic’s blog, braniteljski portal, dnevno.hr, Glas Koncila, Mreza TV, Jabuka TV and others. If you are able to, please do vote for change in the upcoming Croatian elections in January 2015.
    Thanks for your great posts Ina.

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  16. Ein schönes Wochenende. LG. Wolfgang

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