Nest Of Hate Speech in Croatia – “Croslavia”

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“If there was a university degree for greed, you cunts would all get first class honours,” said in the Australian Parliament in 1985 The Hon. Paul Keating, Treasurer (who became Australian Prime Minister in late 1991), after backbenchers had complained about having to substantiate, for tax purposes, their electoral allowances. Translating that greed into greed for power and control Keating’s quote could well be placed with today’s Croatian government.

“Enough with deception and reckless trampling on human values without responsibility.” Wrote on his Facebook profile 22-year old Danijel Bezuk from Kutina near Zagreb some 20 minutes before he marched up to the Croatian Government building at St Mark’s Square on Monday 12 October 2020, holding a shotgun and firing from it towards the building, wounding a policeman guarding the government offices, walking away and then fatally shooting himself in the nearby Jabukovac/Tuskanac.

Andrej Plenkovic’s, Croatia’s Prime Minister’s first response to the shooting was that of seemingly utter surprise and saying “we must ask ourselves where does this radicalisation come from?” Suggesting, in no uncertain terms, that this young shooter, that people at large, have no reason to despair, to enter into acts of desperation by shooting at the government building. Then, within hours, Plenkovic announces that the government will do all in its power to locate “the nest of hate speech” from where influence for acts such as young Bezuk’s comes from. Of course, all the while pointing at the parliamentary right wing or Patriotic opposition and in particular the leader of the dr Miroslav Skoro Patriotic Movement (Domovinski Pokret) and its evidently much respected by the public outspoken government critic Member of Parliament Karolina Vidovic Kristo. At the same time Plenkovic lets out his fears that he himself may have been the intended target of young Bezuk’s shooting. Then veterans’ Minister Tomo Medved together with police Minister Davor Bozinovic get on the lynch bandwagon which would see to it that the government investigates, scrolls through social media etc, to look at even the slightest possibility of anything anybody said in public that could have influenced young Bezuk to commit such a crime… The government seems to be using the proverbial fine-tooth comb to run through social media, print media, portals, past public gatherings etc to find what they call “hate speech” that influences or encourages such “radicalism”!  

It is clear that what the government is really looking for is not hate speech but protests against the governments and presidents who have since year 2000 brought Croatia to a life of desperation for multitudes of citizens. But they are set to call protests hate speech regardless of the fact that just about all protests and all criticisms of the government and the presidents have been about lack of democratising Croatia, lack of decommunising Croatia, lack of actions in ridding Croatia of crippling corruption and nepotism, protection of family unit, protection against the Instanbul Convention, etc. In short, it has been the governments themselves that have stopped transition from communism into full democracy in Croatia since year 2000 or since the Independence War fully ended in 1998.

It would seem that Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is staring in the face of the fate minority governments face (his government only got just under 17% of votes when the entire voter body is counted) and refuses to accept the fact that he is leading the government of a country where the majority of people are against the government or have not bothered to even vote in July of this year, which amounts to widespread disillusionment anyway.

Since year 2000, across Croatia, we have witnessed waves of protests against governments that were and are well-padded with former Yugoslav communists and rebel Serbs who attacked Croatia in 1990 when it wanted out of communist Yugoalavia. We have witnessed Presidents of Croatia, since year 2000 i.e., since Franjo Tudjman’s death, criminalising Croatia’s efforts in defending its people and nation during the brutal Serb/Yugoslav aggression in the 1990’s, even standing behind the politically trumped-up UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia charges of joined criminal enterprise against Croatian generals, instead of insisting on their innocence, which innocence was later proven by the ICTY Appeal Tribunal (2012). We have seen since year 2000 corruption and nepotism thrive to the point where hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of young people have left Croatia to seek a better life elsewhere. We have seen since year 2000 an increasing boldness on the streets of Croatia in celebrating the murderous and oppressive Yugoslav communism and trampling over Croatia’s Independence War veterans and their rights and dignity. We have seen since year 2000 an intolerable process of equating the Croatian victim and Serb aggressor from that war.

The list of misfortunes and tragedies that have enveloped the Croatian nation since its glorious victory over communist oppression and corruption could go on but for the purposes of this article the above should suffice, I believe.

Frequently, however, the Croatians protesting against the enduring communist mindset that rules Croatia are being misrepresented and belittled, insulted and often ignored in the news media and protesters dubbed fascists or Ustashas or Nazis. The fact that the Yugoslav communist regime has been declared just as criminal as the Nazi one by the European Parliament about a year ago means nothing to the mainstream media that carries a candle for the communist apparatchiks ruling the country.

What is more worrying still, both the government and the mainstream media, by ignoring the messages written by young Bezuk, by labelling healthy and fact-based criticisms of the government’s incompetence as fascism are actually attacking freedom of speech rather than acknowledging it, exercising it, in orde to call for institutional reform so that living in Croatia the way it was envisaged in 1990 and 1991 when Croatia cut its ties with communist Yugoslavia could come to fruition for most people. Institutional reform as dictated by events occurring among the people is the political action of the very kind freedom of speech aims at protecting. Not in Croatia, though.

Its government has during the past week in particular by its reactions to the Bezuk shooting demonstrated that Croatia is in fact Croslavia, as retired general and former member of Croatian Parliament Zeljko Glasnovic has been saying and dubbing Croatia’s stubborn resistance to radical changes needed to exit from communism, for several years now. But he too, is ignored by mainstream media just like multitudes of others who desire and work for Croatia to become a functional democracy.

The notion of freedom of speech is being co-opted by the Croatian government with dominant ex-communist or current pro-communist groups, and distort it to serve their interests, and use it to silence those who are oppressed or marginalised, such as those who actually put their lives on the line during Croatian Homeland War as well as those who dare to criticise the government loudly. All too often, when people depict others as threats to freedom of speech, threats to peace and security, threats to radicalisation, what they really mean is, “Shut up!” and “If you don’t shut up, we will silence you!” Sound familiar, anyone? If not, just roll back to the times of communist Yugoslavia with more than a million Croats escaping from oppression or from not being able to feed the family; hundreds of thousands of Croats purged, mass murdered or imprisoned for political reasons; corruption and large-scale theft of public goods…

Yes, the Croatian Homeland War is not ended yet as many will tell you. The military aggression has stopped but still continues the combat to oust communism and its mind set. The same enemy of independent Croatia exists today as it did in 1990 only today the issue is tragically deeper. The war veterans who fought on war fronts to defend Croatia during the Homeland War have since year 2000 been made redundant or retired while those that spent not a single day defending Croatian people’s lives from Serb aggression, or did not want an independent Croatia at all, or were on the rebel Serb murderers side during the war, have become the internal enemy of Croatian independence and full democracy.

And still, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has the gall to blame the parliamentary patriotic opposition, or individual politicians or academics or political activists for Bezuk’s shooting at the government building on Monday 12th October. He has the gall of labelling clear and needed protest against the government as radicalism. The shooting is indeed a crime under criminal law and must be treated as such but as far as radicalism goes that was the oath and promise Croatian War of independence gave to Croatian people.

In his speeches at the May 1990 inauguration of Croatian Parliament and in October 1991 when that parliament voted to cut legal ties and secede from communist Yugoslavia, President dr. Franjo Tudjman said: “…our most important task for our new democracy is to introduce and implement radical measures for socio-political changes…”! It is more than clear that majority of Croatian people have had enough from their governments and presidents since year 2000 and that any radicalism perceived as such by Andrej Plenkovic’s government is not radicalism but an old promise being finally delivered or being attempted for delivery to the 94% of voters who voted in 1991 in favour of secession from communist Yugoslavia.

And so, it appears to me that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic need not look any further for a nest of hate speech that may have influenced young Bezuk to shoot at the government building – Plenkovic is sitting in that nest. It’s a nest of hate speech against Croatian independence, hate speech against Croatian national identity, hate speech against the glorious values for which a terrible war of defence was fought in 1990’s. Surely, the lot that governs, the lot that spread the government’s propaganda in mainstream media, the lot that supports them, must have done a risk assessment at some point in time and concluded that there will come a time when people will rise against the government that brings no needed changes, implements no needed changes to root out corruption and nepotism, to root out political stacking among public servants and administration, to root out political party associated power at all levels of society. Given the government acts surprised by the shooting on Monday and points the finger of blame against everybody else but itself, it does seem that the lot that governs hasn’t done any such risk assessment, or, they have always had weapons to suppress dissent up their sleeves, such as dictatorship and punishing dissent. Many signs are surfacing for 2021 to be a year of numerous and large protests against the government as the political platform it currently pursues with the degrading of the values of the Homeland War is palpably a political time bomb. Ina Vukic

Cruel Irony Afflicts Unveiling Of Monument To Croatian Freedom Fighter

Defending “For Home Ready” greeting
Zagreb, Croatia, 11 November 2017
Photo: Screenshot

It is a cruel insult and cruel irony that on Armistice Day, 11th November, when World War I allies mark with respect and piety those who gave their lives for freedom and their emblems, police authorities in Zagreb, Croatia, go about disrupting remembrance gathering organised for the unveiling of the monument to the legendary Zarko Manjkas – Crvenkapa, who lost his life defending Vukovar and freedom for Croatia in November 1991, and attempt to seize the HOS (Croatian Defence Forces) flag under which Crvenkapa fought and died. The monument itself does not have the HOS emblem under which Crvenkapa lost his life fighting, which is a sad and utterly unjust consequence of current push in Croatia to declare the “Za Dom Spremni” (For Home Ready) illegal. The HOS emblem itself and the flag carrying it are protected under the Croatian law. On it, the salute “Za Dom Spremni” (For Home Ready) is written and the process to render this salute illegal is already in train as the left-leaning lot carrying political and power clout wrongfully place its origins in WWII fight for Croatian independence.

Just imagine a Britain, or any Allied country, today where the salute and greeting “For Home and Country”, or similar WWI or WWII salutes across the Allied world, were threatened with bastardisation and extinction! The protests would be as fierce as defending freedom from aggression were.

It was such an uplifting feeling to watch Croatia’s brave young, many of whom are children or grandchildren of those who gave their lives for Croatia’s independence, fiercely and determinately hold their stead, refusing to budge to the police pressure to remove the HOS with “Za Dom Spremni” salute from sight at the unveiling of monument to Crvenkapa.

The words exchanged between a young lady holding the HOS flag, other young people there, and police as recorded on the video taken in Zagreb on Saturday 11 November at the unveiling of monument to the fallen HOS fighter for freedom are as follows:

Young man: “It’s a mistake for the man who got killed for Croatia as member of HOS … everyone here is bothered by the fact that the monument is missing the HOS emblem, because he died for that, in that unit.”

Young lady holding HOS flag: “Why we are here? To give honour to our killed Crvenkapa, keeping in mind that we are very saddened by the fact that there is no HOS emblem on the monument nor ‘For Home Ready’ sign that he proudly carried and under which insignia he was killed … What impression will the future generations have looking at this monument…that Croats respect their patriots, their defenders who gave their lives for Croatia …for the freedom of Croatia.”

Policeman: “Close the flag … you have breached the law”

Police try to remove legal Croatian army banner
Photo: Screenshot

Young lady holding HOS flag: “We have breached no law, this is a legal Croatian army flag…Manjkas died under this emblem on his cap and you did not put it on the monument … who is bothered by the emblem I don’t know…you cannot move a flag at the opening of a park dedicated to a HOS fighter …”

Jounalist to the young lady holding the HOS flag: “What do you say about being chased out from here?”

Young lady holding HOS flag: “What’s there to say! Do we live in a free a free Croatia, or is this still Yugoslavia? Do Chetniks (Serbs) rule over Croatia or, perhaps, Croats …let’s take authority into our own hands and free ourselves from the pests …” – “No, not a chance, no…this flag is legal Croatian army flag that created our State,” she replies as another policeman’s insistence that she takes the HOS flag down.

Second policeman: “Please, everything is alright, the flag is O.K., move the banner…”

Young lady holding HOS flag: “Why, why should the banner be taken down. We are trying to show a big mistake, a big injustice …”

Second young man: “This is persecution of Croatian defenders … this is not right… my father was in the 204th Vukovar brigade, he fought together with HOS, HOS carried its own insignia ‘Za Dom Spremni’ and HSP (Croatian Party of Rights) was written there …”

Policeman: “Move the banner! …” ( The banner had writing on it: “Who is bothered by the ‘For Home Ready’ greeting on Crvenkapa’s monument?”

Third policeman: “Young lady, let’s have a talk, come with me…come here…” Young lady holding HOS flag: “But why!? … OK…”

Journalist: “Why are you forbidding them…” he asks the policeman

Third policeman: “We are not forbidding anything …” he says as he lead the young lady holding the HOS flag to the side.

Zarko Manjkas Crvenkapa Monument
Zagreb, Croatia
Photo: afp

The police, despite trying very hard, did not manage to intimidate these young people insisting on showing the flag and banner under which members of HOS fought and died for independent Croatia. So proud! Make no mistake here – Croatian authorities and their pervasive communist mindset are attempting to kill the love for independent Croatia that carried its defenders into the bloody battles of Serb aggression during early 1990s. No different to oppression that was in communist Yugoslavia. How else could one interpret the intimidating police surges against the holding up of a legal banner!? Ina Vukic

The Menace Of Croatia’s Communist Ideals (Im)moral Compass

Vukovar Croatian Homeland War Memorial

Watching Croatia’s current political discourse (and deadlock, political and economic chaos, government crises, unrelenting emergence of the identity of communist revenge against the victory in Croatia’s Homeland War for self-determination, independence and democracy that labels as fascist even the slogan “For Home Ready” (Za Dom Spremni) under which in early 1990’s many sacrificed everything so that Croatia could be free of communist Yugoslavia …, I see a menacing lack of authentic discussion of the core values of sovereignty and democracy for which the Homeland War was fought that ought to be guiding the Croatian people as a society.

I see Croatia as morally adrift, as not having a clear sense of how to ground its people’s identity and actions to ultimate values that transcend time and place; it lacks clear moral compass or a foundational guide that stem out from its very own fight and sacrifice to abandon communism. Valuing the original goals because of which it exists (victoriously defending its 1990’s goal to secede from communist Yugoalsavia and install democracy) comes precisely because the roots of valuing are embedded in such a moral grounding, and this is disturbingly labile in mainstream Croatia. Unfortunately, much of Croatia seems to have lost or left far behind that moral grounding that was cemented in defending it from Serb and Yugoslav Army aggression.

With its ethnic minorities Croatia somewhat fits into a frame of a multicultural country, but it is vital that Croatia remembers all who fought and died during the Homeland war, all those defenders who survived it. Today, Croatia lives in a time of amplified politically and ideologically engineered social divisions, amplified name-calling, degradation and neglect of those who fought for its independence that’s coming from the so-called antifascist ranks, most of which never wanted an independent and democratic Croatia in the first place. The fascist or Ustashi labeling of “For Home Ready” greeting even from the realms of governing powers, while symbols of former communist totalitarian regime (against which the Homeland war was fought) run freely along the streets, and the politically-engendered fear of the Other (i.e. those that vie for decommunisation of the country and are labeled as fascists or neo-fascists). There is alarming lack of will to ensure that the history being taught was more accurate (particularly WWII and post-WWII history), more representative of the truth. It cannot be right that Croatia’s children must actively search for the truth of communist crimes and the oppression that post-WWII brought upon the Croatian people. This among other truths must become something they learn as a matter of course – that is the least Croatia owes to its children in honour of the Homeland war and freedom from communism fight.

Those who fought in the Homeland war gave up everything for the country, for the people. And all that’s been done about it is remembering those who lost their lives for Croatia; nothing much has been done to complete the goal of achieving full democracy in peacetime, far away from communist mindset and its established corrupt ways of doing business with the “state”, whether it be getting a job, setting up a business, public service customer relations, getting through court proceedings, or accessing aspects of medical care…

But honour is much more than mere remembrance.

In order to properly remember those who have died, Croatia must consider the conditions that led to the wars in which people gave their last full measure of devotion. Although Veterans Day is perceived as a day to honour Croatian warriors, it must be considered that it is, more broadly, a day to honour what they were fighting for: independent and democratic Croatia severed from any shape or form of communism. The latter is sadly and continuously swept under the carpet. In order to properly honour the defenders, Croatian people ought to examine their choices as a nation, where they succeeded and where they can more effectively ensure peace and uphold the principle of democracy that develops the nation and not the quasi-democracy where the communist mindset, denial and justification of communist crimes penetrate into all pores of society, holding it back from true progress reflected in a better living standard for all.

Instead of a moral compass, people have been given enormous freedom to construct their own lives and make their own moral decisions with regards to the Croatian state; even those moral decisions that go against the grain of the goals set for Croatia to achieve just prior the 1991 onwards Serb aggression against it. This, no doubt, resulted in the current political and ideological chaos that’s holding Croatia back in almost every sense of the word. To tolerate the maintenance of communist Yugoslavia system of public administration, unfriendly laws, antagonising red tape in business, tolerance of events and symbols of communist totalitarian regime against which the hard-fought war was won, etc. that stifle progress particularly in the economic sense is actually – madness!

A madness that must be addressed!

The only way to address it is lustration.

Instead of being banned by law, the symbols and rituals/practices of the communist Yugoslavia totalitarian regime continue to generate misery and outrage. No shame seems to be felt in much of the society for the atrocities of communist crimes; defending communism has promoted this shamelessness into a valid political position. It can be attacked only at the peril of seeming to take sides in Croatia’s political wars — which the mainstream media steadfastly refuse to do.

This has silenced much of the society from expressing a sense of outrage at positions that seem outside the moral system that Croatia set its sights upon when the people decided to abandon communist Yugoslavia. It has also prevented Croatia as a nation from having a debate not just about policy, but about an evidently spreading national morality that cheers death or poverty.

When shame dies, so does our moral sense. You can already hear the applause at the grave.

That the communist morality, and shamelessness, has usurped too much space in everyday lives of the people in Croatia is only too visible in the unacceptably high numbers of Homeland war veterans’ suicides and unacceptable levels of poverty and lack of livelihood prospects that have seen enormous numbers flee the country and emigrate.

The social and political environment in Croatia, in which everything and anything about the past communist totalitarian regime is gaining ground as a valid political position (which then trickles down into policies and practices) also means that a parallel moral compass whose effects ripple into further distancing of the independent and democratic nation from its original start-point and moral compass, is being embedded once-again into the cultural space Croatia fought hard to leave.

If Croatian values are to mean anything, there are some things the people need to get straight.

The importance of the Homeland War for all the Croatian people cannot be ignored. Nor can its influence on the values the nation should hold.

If people think pro-communist liberalism has the answers and can produce a set of values that will tie the society together, they need to go away and think a lot harder.

There needs to be a moral foundation that cannot be created out of nothing or out of something the nation fought against, lost thousands of lives because of it. Lumping positions from former communist regime together with positions that arose from the plight for freedom from communism under the Equality banner and assuming everyone will want to play along nicely is a recipe for disaster. That disaster must be averted by getting back on a national level to the values and the moral compass that were the heart of Croatia’s fight for democracy and freedom from communism, or communist antifascism. Ina Vukic

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