Monday 9 May marked Victory Day – World War II victory against Fascism in Europe. In Croatia, just like for example in Russia, those that celebrated V-Day were descendants of or supporters of murderous communists who, unlike the defeated Fascists, systematically built trails of despair, destruction, oppression and slaughter of innocent people for decades to come after WWII.
Monday 9 May 2016 was the day when Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic decided to address the nation from her Office in Zagreb via a televised special event, which caught many Croats by surprise and which left a great deal of mixed feelings; probably unease, bitterness, defiance and approval in equal doses spread across the nation.
Not unexpectedly, the international press that is more often than not anti-Croatia interpreted her address as an “appeal for reconciliation between right and left wing supporters for the sake of the future,” and not missing the opportunity to say to the world that in the same appeal Kitarovic said Croatia faces “an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and glorification of destroyed criminal regimes,” “referring to both the Nazis and Communists.”
There has never been a Nazi regime in government in Croatia but, hey, for much of the twisted world media that does not matter – truth is cheap.
She said the current divisions “destroy the foundations of the state.” Also, her address gave the international press yet another opportunity to vilify Croatia’s new government as “right-wing government has been accused of turning a blind eye to the surge of the far right and contributing to a surge of fascist sentiment in Croatia.”
Of course, Grabar-Kitarovic is no clairvoyant nor can she (as far as I know) look into a crystal ball and predict the future, but she could have easily predicted that her address to the nation of this magnitude and content would pour more oil onto the fires that maliciously paint Croatia as a country with a fascist renewal.
“In recent times we have witnessed an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and the glorification of failed criminal regimes…
Once again, loud and clear, I will say the Ustasha regime, with its ties to fascism and Nazism, maiming parts of Croatian territory and with criminal acts of mass expulsions and killings had in the worst way abused and severely tarnished the then legitimate desire of the Croatian people for their own state.
Likewise, we must strictly separate anti-fascism, as a value of modern Europe and modern Croatia, recorded in our Constitution, from the criminal Yugoslav communist regime under which tens of thousands of different nationalities and ideas were brutally executed as enemies of the people without trial or any human rights.
The modern Croatian state rests upon the reconciliation between the children of the Ustasha and the Partisans. If we were so divided in 1991 as we are today, we would certainly have not, under the Croatian President Dr Franjo Tudjman’s leadership, realised our dream of free Croatian state…
I ask a question to the Croatian government and all state institutions: Are you aware that busloads of our young people are leaving the country on a daily basis, not only because of lack of work, but also because of the unbearable pollution with hatred and intolerance of the atmosphere of the public space. Snap out of it! Stop quarreling and get to work! …
Otherwise, this spiral of competition to justify regimes that do not deserve justification, will escalate into the streets, the tram, the stadiums, and then there will be no more chance for corrections…”
Well, it is true: ideological divisions between the “left” and the “right” are rife in Croatia but aren’t they everywhere else! One only needs to look at the US Presdential Elections or the British general elections coming up, or the French or … to see the gaping divisions filled with hate and intolerance and lies. That is the political fight that’s seizing the world like a plague.
In Croatia, though, this division is not as “simple” as just ideological, as president Grabar-Kitarovic calls it – it has much to do with unfulfilled justice for the victims of communist crimes and it bothers me very much when this fact is put in the same basket as “ideological differences”. The roots of divisions are amply in the fact that Croatia has not dealt properly with the communist Yugoslavia past, it itself calls criminal. The Ustashe regime has been criminalised through banning of its symbols etc but the communist has not! So, I am once again most disappointed in President Grabar-Kitarovic’s address as it stands for rhetoric and a kind of parental reprimand, which never goes down well among the adult population. She, one can see, has not made a move it seems to urge the Croatian government to legislate for the banning of communist symbols etc.
Regretfully, she has not in her address to the nation given any concrete guidance as to what may be done to improve the things of ideological quarrels and divisions that alarm her; she does not for instance say: I will lobby and urge the government and the parliament to pass legislation that will make the communist Yugoslavia regime a criminal regime by law not only by hearsay.
She should not go about leaving the impression that she is unperturbed with living a double-standard that the lack of such legislation points to and expect the people throw blind eyes at it! It’s not a good look for a president otherwise well loved and respected.
Furthermore, it is not entirely true that Croats were not divided ideologically in 1991, as she said – it’s an established fact that when Croatian Parliament went to vote for secession from communist Yugoslavia the League of Communists/today’s Social Democrats walked out of the Parliament as they did not want an independent Croatia. They wanted Yugoslavia then and they want it now! The alternative for them is to accept and bear at least an unwanted ideological burden of the criminal heritage they carry from being tied to the communist regime!
The only ones who need to “Snap out of it! Stop quarreling and get to work” are indeed the government and the public institutions dealing with legislature. Pass the law outlawing communist Yugoslav regime and its expressions and the future will turn for the best. Stop living double-standards, stop spewing rhetoric that reminds of former president Stjepan Mesic who would prostitute himself politically to anyone who pays but never really do much in actually disarming the residue of communist Yugoslavia activists within independent Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)