Like in some disturbingly teasing political oh-no-not-this-reality-show-again, Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic keeps showing us through his actions that he is out of touch with reality when it comes to duly acknowledging the serious divisions in society sprouting from the past totalitarian regimes and is alarmingly way off the mark when it comes to dealing with the victims of the communist regime, which topic, by the way, is a cancerous wound dividing the country – and he knows it. Plenkovic’s bluntly dismissive and discriminatory approach towards victims of the communist totalitarian regime is shocking and intolerable – utterly unacceptable!
He says that his announced commission for dealing with Croatia’s past, with the 20th century totalitarian regimes needs to condemn the WWII Ustashi regime up front and then sit back and analyze, soberly, what occurred after 1945 under communist regime even though there are more innocent dead in the hundreds of communist crimes’ mass graves than in the graves of those killed under the WWII Ustashi regime! What a perverse, wicked, mocking way of discriminating against the victims of communist crimes, whose mass graves have been unearthed just as those of the other victims have!
January 26 on HRT TV news interview regarding the first 100 days of his government Plenkovic, after being informed that the Croatian Jewish Council has announced its boycott of all events commemorating remembrance of victims of the Holocaust because the memorial plaque for the Croatian defenders killed by Serb forces in Jasenovac 1990 with For Home Ready/ Za Dom Spremni inscription on it had not been removed, he was asked what he would do about that. His reply recited his “resolve” that he “will fight against anti-Semitism, intolerance, hate speech and against any type of discrimination in our society … yesterday I have even spoken to Mr Kraus (Ognjen Kraus, president of Jewish Communities in Croatia)…we will work on a commission that will in professional and pluralistic way, legal, historic … formulate a framework on basis of which we could reach a political consensus and state our position vis-à-vis 20th century totalitarian regimes and their symbols, and the plaque there in Jasenovac is not a plaque that praises some leaders from WWII … it is a plaque for the 11 killed defenders who lost their lives in the defensive and just Homeland War…”
And surely enough, not even a day passed since this TV News appearance and PM Plenkovic announced matters regarding the commission to be formed, which will deal with the Croatian past. And in his announcement he does what he said he would fight against: discriminates. Discrimination against the victims of communist crimes.
Judging from Plenkovic’s announcement about what the commission will do, forget about this commission being independent of government in its deliberations, fair and reasonable and truthful to the past – the commission it seems will do what the Prime Minister says with doubtful freedom to set its own priorities and deal fairly with the past within the terms of reference set for it; unless, of course, the composition of the commission’s membership is strong enough to fight against Plenkovic’s announcement and analyze both regimes equally before any is condemned ahead of the completion of the commission’s work. The Prime Minister has already set the political tone of its work and its research and capturing of pure truth about all totalitarian regimes has thus been poisoned. He has done that practically by saying that the commission must condemn one regime straight away and then “soberly” analyze the other (the communist one).
Plenkovic had just returned from his visit to Israel last week and sought to use that event where he paid respects to the victims of the Holocaust to inflict yet another awful wound to the victims of communist crimes. “Croatia must seek consensus and establish its position towards the question of the past, the 20th century totalitarian regimes, clearly condemn the 1941 to 1945 regime, that is the Ustashi regime during which numerous crimes were committed, but also in a sober way analyze everything that had happened after 1945.” He said that that discussion had never been thoroughly carried out in modern Croatia and that “using dialogue we can come to qualitative solutions with which those questions could be put forth for discussion among the most professional people from differing professions and, with that, close the still open questions regarding the 20th century history”.
He further said that the terms of reference and members of that commission will be ready by end of February, reiterating that the interest in it is quite large.
Well of course the interest in that commission is large, it’s announced to deal head-on with what happened in the past and most politicians still really have not placed communist crimes where they should be – condemned. There’s nothing sober about communist crimes or communist criminals. One does not need to analyze, as Plenkovic insists, what occurred in Croatia after 1945 because there are hundreds of mass graves everywhere. That evidence alone, just as the one to do with the Holocaust, must be enough to condemn first up and then analyze, if you must – so to speak. Just like he intends to do with the Ustashi regime. Or, better yet: no condemnation by the commission of any totalitarian regime until the commission’s work is done. This of course would remove the pressure to “act as expected by the Prime Minister” and yield much more valid results; ensuring, of course, no political subscriber to any of the totalitarian regimes should sit on that commission. Fat chance of that after Plenkovic’s “directive” that the commission will first condemn one crime and not the other! Sad and unjust times for victims of communist crimes continue in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)