Croatia: With Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic “Berlin Wall” To Finally Tumble Down

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Candidate for President of Croatia

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Candidate for President of Croatia

In one week, on January 11, Croatian presidential candidates Ivo Josipovic and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic face their final battle for the Office of the President. One of the more significant platforms pursued by Grabar-Kitarovic in her election campaign is “the return to where Franjo Tudjman stopped”.
He (Tudjman) is a man who gathered us all around the idea of freedom and independent Croatia and, led by him, the Croatian people and all the citizens who fought for Croatia, our state was created and it’s now our duty to complete the work he started and take Croatia into prosperity,” she said in December 2014 at the 15th anniversary of Tudjman’s death.
When Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991 the communist Yugoslav Secret Police (KOS, UDBA) controlled a great deal and Croatia was faced with a brutal war of Serb/Yugoslav People’s Army aggression. This was the time just after the “Berlin Wall” came down, promising freedom and democracy to Eastern European countries that had been suffocated by Soviet-led or Soviet associated communist regime for decades, since WWII.
Franjo Tudjman, announcing paths to freedom from the Yugoslav communist regime and democracy for Croatia started the tearing down of the “Berlin Wall” that had existed within former Yugoslavia since WWII. In the early 1990s Croatians, led by Tudjman, along with Slovenians and eventually Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, turned towards West (while Serbia and Montenegro, along with those organised individuals in the other aforementioned Yugoslav states wanted communism to flourish, dug their vicious pro-communist heels in) and broke their ties with Yugoslavia, which was dominated by the Serbs. Most, but not all, from the Serbian minority in Croatia tried, with the help of the Yugoslav Army, to stop Croatia’s secession from Yugoslavia. After several years of bloody armed struggle, Croatians managed to militarily defeat the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian rebel forces.
But this success of Croatian Homeland War veterans and their leadership was not to see uninterrupted the next phase that would entail putting into place all the necessary political, ideological, administrative and legislative actions within Croatia that would see Tudjman’s path for a truly democratic and prosperous Croatia in action. The viciously ardent communists, led by Stjepan Mesic, staged and aided an all-out war of vilification against Tudjman and Croatian Homeland War Generals, setting their sights on criminalising the war and equating the victim with the aggressor. As the new Croatian state was formed during the Homeland War, the former Yugoslav communist Secret Police was not dissolved, allegedly because the new Croatian leadership could not risk an ‘internal war’ with the remains of the totalitarian regime. At the time Tudjman was to support lustration – removing from higher office those who were operatives of the Yugoslav Secret Police – the chase to vilify him as an ultra-nationalist who participated in joint criminal enterprise against Serbs in Croatia picked up and constantly threw dust into the eyes of those who wanted to work on further and more profound democratic changes in Croatia. (It took 18 years for the International Criminal Tribunal of Former Yugoslavia to peel off this vilifying coat when in 2012 Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were acquitted of crimes they were charge with as Generals of Tudjman’s army…)
By the year 2000 “reformed“ communists came to power in Croatia, both in Government led by Ivica Racan and in Presidency of Stjepan Mesic. Ivica Racan’s former Communist Party changed its name to “Social Democratic Party,” yet everything else remained the same. They kept their close relationships with the Serbian minority in Croatia and the Serbs in former Yugoslavia – with the same old communists in their respective positions of leadership. Stjepan Mesic, having been ousted as parliamentary speaker in 1994 by Tudjman on account of his vicious and vilifying attempts to oust Tudjman from power, had meandered through creating new political parties to acting as independent to stay in power and continue his work on burying the democracy Tudjman had set as Croatia’s goal.
Social Democrats and Mesic had pushed on with “drowning” Tudjman and Croatia’s Homeland War and resurrecting communist Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito along with suffocating the efforts to bring communist crimes perpetrated during the times of communist Yugoslavia to justice. Croatia’s current president Ivo Josipovic had picked up where his predecessor Mesic stopped and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic where Racan’s government had stopped. Croatia had become a battleground where values of communist Yugoslavia were elevated above those of Tudjman, Homeland War and democracy and, hence, widespread corruption that has its roots in communist Yugoslavia continued to flourish no matter which political party was in government after year 2000.
Instead of reforming the economy and cutting the government costs, Croatia continues to borrow and sell off national treasures, while increasing taxes. As of today Croatia is the EU member with the GST/VAT at 25%, and with the highest unemployment rate, especially among young professionals who increasingly seek relief from poverty and existential hopelessness abroad.
The Croatian media scene is dominated by the same people who used to glorify former dictator Tito. The current head of the national television, the “HRT,” is Goran Radman, himself the last president of Tito’s communist youth organization. This well-rehearsed team sends to jail or fires someone every week because of “corruption,” in order to distract people’s attention from the real problems. The vast majority of cases involve political opposition leaders.
The media is served a steady stream of “secret” witness depositions, demonstrating how the country is being robbed. At the same time the attention is drawn away from the real problems, concealing the fact that the fleecing of the country is carried out by the government itself.
Increased taxes, no investments, no encouragement for private investment projects, halting the funds earmarked by the EU – all this seems to be the hallmark of the Josipovic’ regime” writes Dan Rados of The Daily Caller in his thought-provoking article titled “Is Serbia controlling Croatia by blackmailing its president”.
All that and much more seems the hallmark of the politics of those who do not want a democratic and prosperous Croatia and they are those who remain loyal to the values of communist former-Yugoslavia. One wonders how much of this pro-communist Yugoslavia outlook has stopped Ivo Josipovic visiting again the protest-camp site outside Veterans’ Affairs ministry building in Zagreb where 100% war-invalids have been rallying for changes and rights since October 2014! I.e., aloof faced, Josipovic has visited the protesting veterans on 24 October and has done not a thing then or since then in attempting to truly listen to the suffering veterans, to create or help create a constructive dialogue and seems unperturbed by and deaf at the veterans’ plights. His excuse for failing to speak to the protesting veterans since late October is that he has invited them to visit him in his office! And this is the man who tries to tell the people that he too holds that independent Croatia of today is based on the values of Croatia’s Homeland War (as well as antifascist)! The communists of today, such as Josipovic, seem brazenly and spitefully determined not to let Croatian Homeland War veterans achieve fully an upper hand they deserve.
Throughout the campaigning for the presidency of Croatia it has been so refreshing to come across a candidate like Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic who, unlike Josipovic, emanates with democratic justice, providing for citizens’ and human rights for everyone based on the law of the country, due process and fairness. She is adamant in unifying the Croatian nation into working towards the goals set by Tudjman and, unlike Josipovic and the Social Democrat led government, appears to place Homeland War veterans above any former communist or antifascist crusader. With her victory on Sunday 11 January Croatia is surely to start breathing fairness and justice once again and the “Berlin Wall” will finally tumble down for Croatia just as it has many years ago for the other European countries adversely affected in the past by it. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Let’s Create the Europe of Good

Candidates EUP

Dr. Slobodan Lang headed the list of candidates for the Joint Movement of Good that ran for the European Union Parliament elections in Croatia last month. Although the group of candidates did not succeed in achieving seats in the EU Parliament the underlying election platform of the group lives on, in the hope that future will mean the future of Good for Europe and the World.

Dr. Lang has written the following reflection and invitation, published in tjedno. com ( a couple of days ago and I (Ina Vukic) have translated it into English for the readers of this Blog and for all those interested in spreading the idea of creating a Good world for our children and grandchildren… in contributing to creating a Good future.

Let’s Create the Europe of Good

We are entirely unimportant – but joining into a Europe of Good is critical.

Let’s commence immediately with the joint creation of Europe of Good, from the leading people of all religions and convictions, knowledge, ecology, media and politics, to all nations and states, all towns and villages, institutions, associations and organisations, across Europe, to every family home and individual – the vision needs to be fulfilled with individual and joint action, knowledge, arts, economy, faith and humanity – let’s start the life of good and realisation of a better world.

The colonial Europe has committed terrible crimes, murders, slavery, plunder, obstructing development and denying freedom all over the world. Because of that I contritely apologise here today. I am unhappy and I accept responsibility so that such things never happen again. I propose that a competition for raising a monument to the so little yet so large Gandhi be initiated immediately as a demonstration of such commitment. I propose that the competition includes all children and all artists of the world equally, and that the choice of the place where the monument would be erected also becomes a part of this competition. And when we eventually raise the monument, let’s start with real creation of good in ourselves and in our actions.

Still, we know that we cannot do as much harm to others as we can to ourselves. Every country and the whole of Europe can do more harm to themselves than to others or others to them. Today’s European politics are not creating good. The bearers of responsibility, planning, adopting and implementing the politics perhaps do not mean to do harm, they may themselves be confused and unhappy, even frightened at the face of the future. I believe it is like that. But I know that they did not wish hard enough, that they did not believe, imagine, learn, try and organise the Europe of Good hard enough.

I believe that there are very few leading and prominent people in Europe who regularly invite into their homes or visit the homes of the poor, the sick, the foreign, the unhappy … Leading persons of Europe do not know how to cry. The greatest debt Europe has is tears.

In June 2011 Barack Obama presented Angela Merkel with the President’s Medal of Freedom. At the ceremony, in the Rose Garden, she spoke of the moment when the Berlin Wall was raised: ” I was seven years old at the time. Seeing grown-ups, even my parents, so stunned that they broke out in tears, shook me to the core. My mother’s family, for example, was divided by the building of the Wall“. On the same day I, 44 years old at the time, walked through the wall and spent the night with women of East Berlin. To my admiration they united Europe non-violently, these women and mothers told me: “Doctor, we did that for the future of our children, and in twenty years times our names will not even be mentioned”. I speak today in the name of these women and in their name I ask that we create a Europe of good.

I am a Croat and a Jew, and through the Balkan wars of the nineties, I constantly placed my life in jeopardy  through those ten years so that I could tell you today, here, that we have saved the lives of thousands of Albanians, Bosniaks, Croats, Roma, Serbs, Jews and the life of everyone else that was endangered. For them we placed our lives in jeopardy and I ask that you place yourself at disposal today and that you abandon the false morals, selfishness and power – that you engage yourself for the youth of today, for the future of Europe.

At the beginning of these wars, in Summer of 1991, I asked Mr Henry Kissinger for help. He told me that the Europe of that time did not know the Balkan, allows prejudice and does not have enough humanity to stop the war and suffering.  He told me that our only real ideal is the experience of suffering, revolt and defence of people in the Warsaw ghetto.  We commenced our “Challenge of good” program basing it upon these experiences.

I served the Wounded Christ during the wars that have passed, and I had not abandon him when they judged him nor when he carried the cross. The Wounded Christ stayed alive in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Knin…

At the Copenhagen summit in March of 1995, I asked all the heads of states to protect “the most tragic of Europeans”, to protect Srebrenica. They did not understand what I was talking about. The criminals have been convicted for genocide. Serbia has also been convicted for not preventing genocide. But no one put the question about the United Nations’ and the international community’s responsibility.

When I discovered a group of disabled children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a 12 year old girl told me – “Doctor, we loved you all, even when you did not love each other or us, or yourselves“. I remained quiet and wept, and I’m giving you her message – do not forget to love other people.

I have learnt that the state where people are killed occurs when those involved do not know each other, and those that do not know each other send them to war.

In 1965, in Czechoslovakia, professor Ota Sik described to my father how they would attempt to achieve freedom and that they would not succeed. At my question – why attempt it then, he said to me ‘We owe it to the future to try‘.

My father, an economist, was involved at the university in the then West Germany in a debate about how large should German compensation be. After the financial appraisals by Germany economists, they asked him how much does Germany owe. He said that Germany itself must decide how much the lost lives are worth.

The European youth of today do not want to have colonies, they do not want to exploit others, they do not want to hate, accuse, enrich themselves. They are tired from evil and want to be the generation of good, they want to create new life, children, family, their villages, cities, countries and the whole of Europe.

All the powerful people are in the right when they say that the young are often not in the right, but it is a sure thing that every society that is against its young becomes itself entirely wrong.

I’m asking you here today not to think through money, allow yourself the right to be a human being, to release a tear, to want to do good and to send that message to all the countries and nations, to every home and every young person. Do not be afraid! We need you so we can create the Europe of Good together, so that you could learn, work, have children, joyfully look to the future.

There, that’s why we have united into the joint movement of good and entered our candidacy at the first Croatian elections for the European Union parliament. We did not succeed, but that is not important, because 6,000 people across the world voted for us and each and every one of them has the right to have their say for the creation of Europe of Good. All the elected members of EU Parliament from Croatia and all those they’ll meet there can pass on our message, and make it stronger, better and cleverer. We need all the people and states, which are not yet part of Europe, to create the Europe of Good together and as equals.

These are the words I wanted to say to Europe, with my belief, my actions, my knowledge, my inheritance and my experience.

Abandon money, aggression, hate, power and all false gods, they spread fear and they do not spread safety, they demolish and don’t build, they take away the present and do not open the future.

Tears, knowledge, work, youth, family, humanity and faith are the true values. Let’s create the Europe of Good upon them!”

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