The Vomit Principle in Serbia’s Political Spin

 

The “Vomit Principle” in modern marketing trends hasn’t eluded Serbia’s politicians. The vomit principle is a political tactic that wilfully disgusts people in order to grab their attention. When it comes to Serbia’s denial of its horrendous crimes in its pursuits of a Greater Serbia, stretching into Croatian territory and the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990’s, then it has almost perfected the “art” of the “Vomit Principle”.  Serbia’s politicians, whether in Serbia (for example Aleksandar Vucic, Ana Brnabic, Ivica Dacic) or in Croatia (for example Milorad Pupovac, Boris Milosevic) or in Bosnia and Herzegovina (for example Milorad Dodik) are sticking to their marketing message, sprouting their their passively-aggressive slogans and genocide denials ad nauseam. You’d think they’d get sick of saying the same thing at every turn. And if by any chance, you are asking why I’m putting Serbs from Serbia, Serbs from Croatia and Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the same cauldron here it’s because both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had ethnic Serbs living there who emerged as rebel Serbs (rebelling against the states’ secession from communist Yugoslavia), mounted terror against non-Serbs in those two countries, and were joined in that fight by Serbia with its deadly viciousness. If Croatia’s minority government had the courage and prudence to side with the Croatian Serbs that fought with Croatians against Serb aggression (and there was a significant number of them) we would surely now be looking at a different political scenario, perhaps even at a good progress in reconciliation. But it didn’t and it doesn’t! It sides with Croatian rebel Serb camp that promotes Serbia’s politics in Croatia.

No matter how many times they repeat their spin based on fabrications, there will always be someone who has missed it.  So, repetition is essential to the point of making people feel sick. This is the “Vomit Principle” and it shows particularly at that time when you realise that the spin, the message, the slogan, has been said so many times that you feel that if you hear it or say it once more you are just going to throw up and that is the point at which people hear it. In other words, all marketing that achieves intended results relies on a message which resonates, repeated often enough until it penetrates the minds of your intended audience and gets them to take whatever action you want.

And Serbia wants the world to forget that its aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina ever occurred! That the genocide, the ethnic cleansing, the mass rapes, the torture, the sheer wanton destruction it committed during 1990’s did not occur and if it did occur then it was justified to pursue such course of action because Serbs say in deceit that Croatia, for example, engaged in genocide during World War II. I will not go deeply here into the fact that WWII history regarding Croatia when it comes to, say, Jasenovac camp and the numbers of people who perished there, was largely fraudulently written by Serbs and other communists and, judging by relatively recent research into WWII, it does not represent the true picture, or actual facts. I will not go deeply here into the fact that, for example, Serbia (its leaders of the 1990’s aggression) were convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague of genocide in Croatia, and Croatia was not.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic took part in a commemoration ceremony Tuesday, 4 August 2020 in Sremska Raca near the borders with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ceremony marked the day when, in 1995, the Croatian military’s Operation Storm, which marked the end of the war for Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia and was organised by official Serbia in remembrance of the Serbian victims and refugees.

We will not celebrate the tragedy of the Serbian people, the killing of Serb civilians, the killing of the Serb children. We will not be humiliated,” Vucic said at the commemoration in Sremska Raca. “Reconciliation, yes. Humiliation — no,” said Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic!

Knowing the fact that there are no known civilian victims during Croatia’s Operation Storm on 4th and 5th August 1995 and that the exodus of some 200,000 of Serbs from Croatia at the time was actually an ordered evacuation that was directed by Serbia itself puts a bitter taste and outrage to these words uttered by Vucic, yet another of many times!

Then, at around the same time, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, regurgitated Vucic’s vomit against Croatia.  “We want reconciliation, peace, we do not ask you to apologise, admit the genocide in Jasenovac, but we want you to let us mourn that day or those days. We want reconciliation, but not humiliation, which we will not agree to.”

Serbia continues pressuring Croatia to admit to genocide it did not perpetrate in WWII against Serbs in order to continue denying the genocide it, itself, perpetrated in 1990’s in both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina! The gut-wrenching thing in all this is that pro-communist Yugoslavia political/government leadership of Croatia does nothing to alert the world not to succumb to the nausea infecting the world from Serbia. Even, if that leadership or government of Croatia is in coalition with the Serb activists in Croatia in order to sustain its minority government, it has no right to keep silent in the face of continued barrage of lies and denials of the 1990’s murderous aggression coming from Serbia!

Whether Serbia’s usage of the “Vomit Principle” strategy in its politics to wash away its 1990’s mortal sins against the Croatian people, as if they were never willfully committed, will force Croatian current leadership to further compromise the absolute need of Croatia to defend itself from the murderous Serb aggression is yet to be seen. According to some media sources Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Barnabic has even during the past week “told” Croatia to stop using the term “Serbo-Chetnik aggression” when it comes to Croatia’s Homeland War! Will Serbia’s use of the “Vomit Principle” force a reconciliation founded on the cruel equalisation of the victim with the aggressor? It’s certainly heading that way it seems and it spells no blissful future that depends on truth; it spells a long painful future of unrest among the Croatian people, for certain.

Let’s take a look at what is evidently standing behind Serbia’s leadership’s words – behind what Vucic and Brnabic are saying. In terms of psychology Vucic’s and Brnabic’s, indeed of all Serbia’s leading politicians of decades past, telling lies and pointing fingers at others especially for unrelated acts (for example WWII) has evidently become a way not to admit that which makes them feel ashamed and they do not want to be judged for crimes Serbia has perpetrated. Serbia should be ashamed of its aggression against Croatian people who wanted out of communist Yugoslavia, which, by the way, Serbs controlled to a large extent. Then, of course, the relatively recent trends in historical research into facts of WWII Croatia have revealed several crucial facts regarding WWII Jasenovac and regarding Blessed Alojzije Stepinac that cause anxiety and panic among Serbs who had participated in writing the history of WWII Croatia, based on lies and cruel fabrications. There is the extensive research by American dr Esther Gitman on the rescue and survival of Jews in WWII Croatia which point to the fact that there were Croats, including Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, who made it their task to rescue Jews and others, but still, after WWII Serbs led the persecution against Blessed Alojzije Stepinac with trumped-up charges of Nazi collaboration. Then, British dr Robin Harris published also a biography of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, based on similar facts. But, wouldn’t you know it (!), Serbia has recently placed Israeli historian Gideon Greif on its payroll and Serbia’s lies get new reinforcement.

Historical archives being open after Croatia seceded from communist Yugoslavia in the 1990’s has enabled historians to delve into researching the history of Jasenovac camp. The results that are emerging from this research give a significantly different picture of WWII Jasenovac. This picture based on discovered documentation is definitely set to throw the false picture Serbs and their allies painted into garbage; onto the heap of human misery and deceit. Serbs and their allies have already maliciously dubbed this research as “Holocaust denial” and “Historical Revisionism”! Some notable researchers into WWII Jasenovac camp have been Blanka M. Matkovic, Igor Vukic, Vladimir Horvat and Stipo Pilic, to name just a few. They all point one to the fact that the myth about WWII Jasenovac camp was a cruel myth devised to prop-up the oppressive communist Yugoslavia regime and the Serb determination to cover up their own terrible participation in the WWII extermination of Jews and their hatred for any kind of independent Croatia.

And so, it has surfaced relatively recently that the myth of Croatian genocide against Serbs in WWII is based on lies and fabrication – and this feeds Serbia’s “Vomit Principle” with ammunition made up of lies. Associated with this principle are Croatian Serbs’, who were directly or sideways associated with the rebel Serb faction in 1990’s Croatia (Such as Milorad Pupovac and Boris Milosevic), constant attempts to characterise the “For Homeland Ready” (Za Dom Spremni) Croatian salute, used for centuries as a mark of patriotic love, as a salute that promotes a genocidal character of Croatian fight for independence! Serb aggression and the need for Croats to preserve their lives amidst the brutal aggression means nothing in their warped minds. They lived in Croatia as the 19990’s war of aggression arose, they live in Croatia today and yet they are activists for Serbia’s anti-Croatian politics!  And with this, they all call for a future that is threaded together by peace and reconciliation between Croatia and Serbia!

Surely, Serbia’s use of the “Vomit Principle” cannot possibly succeed in achieving reconciliation because that would mean that Croatia has finally cowered to the pressure of liars and aggressors and that, in no small ways, spells out yet another myth Serbia has managed to forge and place on the world’s stage! To the detriment of humanity and truth! Ina Vukic

 

Book Review and Ponderings – Blanka Matkovic Book On Communist Crimes

Croatia’s Blanka Matkovic (Matkovich), a PhD candidate at Warwick University UK, has published her Master in Philosophy dissertation in book form titled “Croatia and Slovenia at the End and After the Second World War (1944-1945): Mass Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed by the Communist Regime”.

The book is exceptionally well written and is an outstanding example of authorship – factual, clear, compelling, and essential. Through her research and meticulous digging through State and other historical archives Matkovic excavates the many mass graves of communist crimes, brings to life in our minds the multitudes of victims and the horrid last moments of their otherwise proud lives and reveals previously unknown details about communist crimes.

“This book focuses on the events that took place in late 1944 and 1945 in Croatia and Slovenia when the intensity of violence was strongest. At that time, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ), assisted by the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav Army, the Department for the Protection of the People (OZNA) and the Corps of People’s Defence of Yugoslavia (KNOJ) conducted organized terror not only by intimidation, persecution, torture and imprisonment, but also by the execution of a large number of citizens perceived by the KPJ as disloyal, passive, ideological enemies or class enemies. However, investigating war and post-war crimes committed by communist regime was not possible until 1990, after the democratic changes in Yugoslavia. This book is based on documents kept in the archives of Croatia, Slovenia, the UK, and Serbia. Many of them, especially those in Croatia, recently became available to the public, which makes them extremely valuable source of data to the academics and students in this field and which shed new light on these historical events…” (Quote from the book back cover).

With this book Blanka Matkovic delivers one of the most harrowing stories of all time. Communist crimes. This is a rare book in the English language by many measures, not least of which is the way in which Matkovic captures the magnitude of communist atrocities against Croatian people. What is frightening and tragic also is the reality in Croatia, riddled with communist descendants in power, that there are many who turn a blind eye to these atrocities and by doing so do an unforgivable injustice to their own country and people.

This book demonstrates how terror, ideology and mass murder were integrated and institutionalised in the realms of the oppressive rise to power of the communist party in Yugoslavia. Through its referenced sources for the facts presented the book gives the reader original insights and anecdotes into the ways communists went on about committing atrocities against political opponents – innocent people – thus manufacturing a nation of victims that would haunt the nation as a whole for generations.

Although the book reveals cold and brutal documented and researched facts of communist crimes committed against Croatian people en mass in Croatia and Slovenia it reads like a shattering real crime genre novel – difficult to put down until read in its entirety. It is an eye-opening book as to how political pursuits of communist terror ravaged mercilessly the Croatian being, which pursued independence and freedom. The book is a sweeping study of chilling facts of mass murders and demonstrates how the former Yugoslav communist institutions together with their Partisan armed forces ravaged the very soul of Croatian freedom and independence, and this unreconciled bloody past continues to poison Croatia’s present and threatens to strangle its future.

The truth of communist crimes is a dangerous path to follow. Communist crimes formed the very essence of the continuation for almost five decades of the communist regime in former Yugoslavia. Most of today’s current ruling elites in Croatia are descended directly from the communist regime, including its terror apparatus. They are unlikely to voluntarily condemn and bring themselves to justice and this book, along with the ones published on the same topic are largely ignored by the bent mainstream media as well as the ruling elites. In light of this, how can one view Croatia as a serious democracy free of totalitarian regime? Croatia has endured a bloody war in early 1990’s to achieve independence from communist Yugoslavia but still today refuses to face its communist, totalitarian past and in doing so, threatens the welfare and well being of its own people.

Blanka Matkovic (second from R)
at a book promotion October 2017
Photo: http://www.croatiarediviva.com

Matkovic’s book also serves as an another but significant breaking of silence over the horrors of Communism in Yugoslavia that have caused so much suffering – the detailed revelations of the multitudes of mass crime events spotted across Croatia and Slovenia are a particular evidentiary strength of this book. It reads as a dramatic “criminal indictment” of totalitarian Communism within a fact sheet of chilling evidence. The indictment becomes far overwhelming if we consider the vast areas affected by the communist crimes evidenced in this book, yielding a truly colossal record of skeletons and, apart from the depravity of political fury, absolutely unfathomable suffering.

In her book Matkovic attempts to provide answers to questions that have preoccupied many a mind during the past seventy years or so and these questions are:

1. How many people were killed in Yugoslavia during and immediately after the Second World War and how many of them fell victim to communist repression?

2. Which military units were perpetrators?

3. How did they carry out executions?

4. Was the violence systematically organised and carried out under the command of the Yugoslav Army and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia?

After reading this book every reader is bound to ask himself/herself: What now? Matkovic transports the reader into the tragic times of communist atrocities and even if the presented evidence cannot, perhaps, after more than seventy years, serve as evidence for a criminal court trial it certainly serves as evidence for a moral trial against communism, which must be mounted in Croatia as a national priority if Croatia is to stand on feet of a healthy nation. Ina Vukic, prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

 

This book may be ordered and purchased via online on www.croatiarediviva.com, Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Booktopia and others

Croatia: Denials Of Communist Crimes Dictate Profound Changes

My last week of visiting Croatia this time around is almost over and impressions run high – almost paralysing – with regard political scene and inroads. Regretfully, I shall leave Croatia this time carrying with me the perpetually present heavy load that gives no clarity as to how long the dual preoccupation with justice for victims of communist crimes, on the one side, and the “antifascist” or communist justification and denial of those crimes, on the other side, will last. Yesterday, June 22, Croatia had a Public holiday marking WWII antifascists (communists), with commemorative events held to that effect and deaf silence regarding any condemnation of communist crimes. At the same time, especially at Jazovka pit where, post-WWII, communists/antifascists murdered and dumped hundreds of politically different Croats, commemoration of victims of communist crimes was held. Representatives of Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic were at both events, holding speeches!

How long can the protectors of communist criminals and their victims live under the same roof is a question that perpetuates political nightmares, stifling progress in crucial areas of citizens’ daily lives and democracy. Croatia has not moved an inch in the direction of resolute actions in condemning all of its past (WWII and post’WWII) totalitarian regimes and the communist one is the one that still has its footprints in all current Croatian public administration lanes.

Situation being thus I think it best to promote in this article some writings of a notable Croatian woman, Blanka Matkovic, whose academic works and daily life populate attempts at unravelling the truth about communist crimes. Ina Vukic

MASS CRIMES AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS COMMITTED BY THE COMMUNIST REGIME AGAINST CROATIAN CITIZENS IN CROATIA AND SLOVENIA AT THE END AND AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR (1944-1945) By Blanka Matkovic Thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Philosophy

University of Warwick, Department of History August 2015

CONCLUSION

In the last months of the Second World War and after the war, all of Europe was severely affected by its consequences. Yugoslavia was no exception. The intensity of the violence reached a new peak between the autumn of 1944 and the summer of 1945, when mass killings occurred across the country. However, the Yugoslav authorities denied for decades that these mass killings had ever taken place and stopped all attempts to reveal them. Moreover, the Western Allies, despite knowing about these crimes, chose to ignore them in order to preserve the alliance with the Soviet Union.

The political manipulation and the flaws in previous research had a tremendous impact, even on the generations born after the end of the Second World War. Unlike some other Eastern European countries where communism was installed with the help of the Soviet Army, Yugoslav partisans had gained power without the help of Soviet troops. The communist government of Yugoslavia was not imposed by a foreign power but was a result of internal factors. This is one of the reasons why the successor states of Yugoslavia have such problems to come to terms with the communist past and why former communists could often continue their careers under now democratic conditions. Macedonia is still the only former Yugoslav republic where a lustration law has been enacted (since 2009).

Croatia has not passed a law which would make the prosecution of the perpetrators of communist crimes possible. Moreover, 27 July is still celebrated as an unofficial national holiday although that was a day when in 1941 the first communist massacres happened. Between 1945 and 1990 that day was celebrated as the Day of the Uprising of the Peoples of Croatia and the murder of several hundred Croatian villagers, including women and children, was forgotten. Former leading members of the communist party still play an important role in Croatian politics and hold positions of power. The Lustration Law is therefore mostly supported by small right-wing parties and NGOs. They argue that the de-communisation of Croatian society is essential for social and political change.

Today, due to the reluctance to deal with the Communist past and, incomplete de-communisation of Croatian society, this topic in Croatia is still a matter not only of political and scholarly debates, but also of everyday life. Questioning total demographic losses and investigating communist crimes is often seen as ‘historical revisionism’, particularly by the former Croatian president Stjepan Mesić who compared it with ‘celebrating Fascism’ and argued that this might prevent Croatia from joining the EU. In February 2007, Mesić contributed to the international debate sparked by the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano. On the introduction of a Day of Remembrance in which Italy remembers the Italians either killed or forced to leave Yugoslavia at the end of the Second World War Napolitano criticised ‘hatred and bloodthirsty furor’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’. In his reply Mesić accused Napolitano of racism. In October 2011 Mesić expressed his concerns about ‘the second historical revisionism offensive’ in order ‘to judge communism which is equated with Nazi-Fascism’. Mesić said that the same thing was happening in the other transition countries and concluded that ‘the democratic Europe seems to be too democratic… towards such excesses’. Mesić ignored that in 2011 the Croatian Parliament itself had adopted the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of All Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, commemorated on 23 August. This day also refers to victims of communist crimes. Without impartial and thorough research the ‘historical truth’ will keep disappearing behind a politically motivated smokescreen of half-truths, distorted facts and manipulated victim numbers.

Croatian historians are by no means the only ones whose work is seriously affected by pressure coming from various political circles. Serbian and Slovenian historians have also reported that there is still strong resistance to this kind of research. The governments and judicial systems of the former Yugoslav republics showed no willingness to prosecute the perpetrators of these atrocities or to pass and enforce Lustration laws. As according to Serbian historians most documents about these executions are kept in Serbian archives, only a close cooperation between Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian authorities and researchers will finally make conclusive results possible.

During the last two decades several investigations have been carried out in three republics of former Yugoslavia, but the results were not satisfactory. At first sight, they seemed to be impressive. Approximately 1,800 mass graves have been identified in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. On the other hand, only a small percentage of these locations have been exhumed, mostly due to financial reasons, and in many cases the victims have not been identified which leaves plenty of space for future, politically motivated manipulations.

Despite the political obstacles, the intensity of the Yugoslav violence is very well presented by two numbers. This thesis has shown how harsh Yugoslav repression – compared to post-war purges in France and other western European countries – really was. Demographic losses in former Yugoslavia were among the highest in Europe. According to Vučković, Žerjavić and Kočović, Yugoslavia lost approximately one million people during the war, including 597,323 victims of the so-called ‘fascist terror’ counted in Yugoslav research in 1964. That means that approximately 400,000 casualties are unaccounted for. There is evidence that most of them were killed by communist partisans and the Yugoslav Army. The results provided by the research on ‘Victims of Dugopolje’ provides strong evidence that the majority of deaths occurred in the last few months of the war and immediately after the war. However, it remains unknown how many of those who stood trial later and were punished by death are included in that number.

Although it is still not possible to answer the question ‘how many people were killed in Yugoslavia during and immediately after the Second World War and how many of them fell victim to communist repression?’, the cases presented in this thesis show that number is certainly measured in thousands. In Macelj, Tezno and Jazovka alone, 2,789 human remains were discovered. This number may not sound that high, but it is important to keep in mind that these are only three out of 1,800 possible mass grave locations in former Yugoslavia and the exhumations were stopped in the early stage of investigation. Each location actually consists of several locations (Jazovka probably two), which are known under the same name. In Macelj, only 23 mass graves were dug out while there could be up to 130 mass graves. At the moment it is impossible to estimate how many people ended their lives only on these three locations. Only a further research can give at least an approximately accurate answer and prevent further manipulations with the number of victims on both sides.

The cases presented in this thesis provided sufficient evidence that thorough research could reveal more details about specific perpetrators of these atrocities. However, even when that is not possible, due to lack of archival documents, those that are available to us show a certain pattern. Following their capture, the majority of prisoners-of-wars and civilians were under control of the Yugoslav Army and its units actively participated in mass killings. In the following weeks OZNA was taking over. It is important to understand that OZNA was not part of the military but a police organisation and it did conduct investigations with the aim of getting information which would help improve its work. This is a reason why in some cases OZNA reacted angrily when prisoners were liquidated “too quickly”. KNOJ, which was subordinated to OZNA, conducted its military operations with a surgical precision. However, it would be wrong to conclude that the Yugoslav Army acted spontaneously. Sometimes that apparently was the case, and it is possible that those actions were a result of desire for revenge. However, in the cases when the killings were carried out on a massive scale, they were carefully planned and systematically organised. One example of systematic and organised mass killing is Kočevski Rog.

The question that often arises in discussion about this topic is – who ordered these crimes? Were they indeed a result of erratic behaviour and looting by a victorious army? It seems that this was not or not very often the case. Moreover, several documents presented in the fourth and fifth chapter suggest that all organisations in former Yugoslavia, including civil authorities, OZNA and the Yugoslav Army, were under strict control of the KPJ (Communist Party of Yugoslavia). In the most important matters the communists interfered in anything which was of particular interests. For example, some of the documents prove the local KP committees, such as the one in Stubica, occasionally contacted higher KP committees asking them to instruct the higher military commands how to proceed in the field. Given the fact that there was apparently a strong bond between the KPJ and the mass executions, it can be concluded that this was done with the knowledge of the Politburo, and therefore, Tito as well.

This might be the reason why so many former communists strongly defend Tito’s role and persistently claim that the killings were only ‘isolated incidents’. Another reason – at least for the older generation – might be the wish to protect themselves against prosecution. Acknowledging these atrocities and taking responsibility could also somehow diminish the role of the NOP in the anti-fascist uprising in former Yugoslavia which plays an important role for the self-understanding and prestige of the successor organisations of the Yugoslav communist party.

What is often forgotten in this story is who the victims are and why coming to terms with the past is essential for true peace. In 1997 John Paul Lederach presented his integrated framework for peace building in which the fourth phase represents ‘the longer-termperspective, which is often adopted by people who seek to prevent conflict and to promote a vision of a more peaceful and socially harmonious future’ which he called the ‘desired future’. Lederach believed that protracted conflicts cannot be fixed quickly because the healing of the people and the rebuilding of their relationships are necessary and they do take time.

20 years after the end of Homeland War and 70 years after the end of the Second World War, Croatian society is still not living in that ‘desired future’. The victims of the events, described in this thesis, are not only who were slaughtered, but many others whose lives have been affected. This is why profound changes in the Croatian society are necessary and they begin with objective and systematic research.”

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