Croatia: PM Visits Bosnian Croats And Protesters Say No Sex In Public Firms

Centre: Zoran Milanovic, Croatian Prime Minister In Mostar 9 Feb 2014 Photo: Branimir Boban/Cropix

Centre: Zoran Milanovic, Croatian Prime Minister In Mostar 9 Feb 2014
Photo: Branimir Boban/Cropix

This is not a joke; this is reality!
“Why is there no sex in state firms and government offices?… Well because it’s all relatives…family … in the Council, in the Government, in the Cantons ” says a protester on the streets of Bosnia in this translation of this fresh video clip.

In other words nepotism is rampant and chances for achieving real changes without some serious moves are nil!

Failed, fraudulent and corrupt privatisations, obscenely rampant unemployment (almost 60% among youth and about 42% generally), obscenely wide gaps between the rich and the poor, and the utterly inefficient and unaccountable political system are said to lie at the basis of the predominantly Bosniak (Muslim) protests that had gripped Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for over a week now.

Protests in Tuzla, Bosnia Photo: AFP Getty Images

Protests in Tuzla, Bosnia
Photo: AFP Getty Images

Parts of towns and cities across BiH have seen eruptions of aggressive protests; government buildings burning (even the National archives building where a great deal of a thousand years of history has been reported as destroyed), rocks and all sorts of steel, sharp missiles thrown at government buildings, at hordes of bewildered police that sheltered themselves behind shields, crawling and shuffling at times against walls like black caterpillar formations in fear of injury, yelling and screaming “Down with corrupt government” “thieves – out!”, holding banners with inscriptions such as “Moja jedina nada, je da padne vlada” (My only hope if for the government to fall). In Tuzla, Mostar, Zenica and Sarajevo, government buildings have been set on fire and there have been demonstrations across much of the rest of the country. Hundreds have been injured, including policemen, but the determination in the protesters’ eyes is fierce – they want to overthrow the government that has brought them nothing but misery, unemployment, hunger, more corruption…no hope for their children’s future…

Graffiti: "He who sows hunger, reaps anger!"

“He who sows hunger, reaps anger!”

Several leading elected officials in BiH have been under investigation for corruption. Ethnic or nationalist squabbling has paralysed government institutions and it’s not getting any better.

It is in that circumstance and reality that one must protect the nationality or ethnicity that’s being downtrodden and repressed, just as we would do for ethnic minorities anywhere.

Serbs and Bosniaks outnumber the Croats in BiH and, as a result Croats have demonstrated the suffering from threats to their very existence, identity, power to self-determination and struggle for equality amidst an ever increasing and ever louder self-imposed ethnic and administrative superiority of Serbs and Bosniaks.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic had decided to pay an emergency visit to Mostar and its burned buildings last Sunday. On that occasion he said, “all this would not have happened had the EU had clear BiH politics …I will make efforts towards achieving talks between EU and BiH …”. He emphasised several times that he had come there to give support to the EU path for BiH although some saw his visit to Mostar as support for the Croats living there for whom he said were already citizens of EU (apparently referring to those who hold double citizenships/that of BiH and that of Croatia).

Back in Zagreb, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic stated:

It’s not realistic to ask a state such as Bosnia and Herzegovina to change its constitutional frame, which is 20 years old, and there is no consensus for this. Let’s accept Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is now. It’s not perfect, its Constitution is not the best but in the EU there is at least one country in which it is known that the president must be of one religion, vice-president of another religion or nation. That is not good, but at this moment this is the only possibility.”

At the same time Serbian Republic’s Milorad Dodik keeps pushing for a territorial division of BiH into three parts; One for Serbs (well they already have it in Serbian Republic, which they seized through genocide and ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats in the 1990’s) one for Bosniaks and one for Croats (source: Croatian TV evening news 13 Feb 2014 ). Having previously stated that the protests are also to destabilise Repubika Srpska and further involve the international community in the country’s politics.

The political/government order in BiH Croatia’s Prime Minister seems to support in reality is this: Three constitutional ethnic groups (Bosniak, Croat, Serb), five levels of government, two political entities (Serbian Republic and Federation of Bosniaks and Croats), one special district (Brcko), ten cantons (in the Federation) that compete with local governments (Councils) making it fourteen governments in BiH and one internationally appointed High Representative. The reality has been that in this situation no one answers to no one, and everyone makes their own decisions as they please, and to make things worse nepotism has spread like a plague in all public firms (and in private ones to a lesser degree).

In the constellation of loud Serbs and loud Bosniaks the Croatian voice is hardly heard; their presence in BiH seems to be even more repressed than before. So, Zoran Milanovic’s visit to Mostar can be seen as a reminder to all that the third ethnic entity in BiH exists and has rights also, although his motives for the visit can be seen as attempts to help quash nationalistic outbursts there.  Given the absolute fact that Bosnian Serb and Bosniak (Muslim) nationalistic passions are and have been running high for decades it’s a pity that he did not speak louder on behalf of Bosnian Croats who are struggling with their rights and identity within Bosniak predominance in the Federation.  Bosnian Croats have an absolute right to having in BiH what Serbs and Bosniak have – a piece of BiH where their voice will predominate; their rights be duly fought for and realised.  It was Croatia’s late president Franjo Tudjman who supported the evident and strong will of Bosnian Croats to self-determination and self-governance and for that he was branded as criminal! Perhaps Zoran Milanovic fears speking out too loudly in support of Bosnian Croats in fear of being labelled by the international political wheelers and dealers a criminal, too?

The current protests in the Bosnian Federation can only serve as a testament to what it was like for Croats in BiH during early 1990’s! A bloody fight for survival amidst competing Bosniak and Serb majorities! The international community has all but accepted that Serbs in BiH have a right to their entity; the Bosniaks seem to be waging protests not for the motive visible – get rid of corrupt government – but possibly to get rid of the cantons and thus achieve ethnic majority across the Federation, cutting any chance of expression where it counts for the Croats.  Croats deserve their own entity in BiH and that does not mean that such an outcome would result in tearing apart the BiH created by Dayton agreement.

Graffiti: Stop Nationalism Stop Nationalistic Division of Bosnia United Bosnia

Graffiti: Stop Nationalism
Stop Nationalistic Division of Bosnia
United Bosnia

It is true that the protesters have claimed to be anti-nationalist. The violence has stopped during the past couple of days and protests have taken the form of so-called “plenums” in the streets. Meetings of “fed-up” citizens at which they’re attempting to formulate political demands are being held and more planned as we speak. If these plenums don’t result in clear directions, in clear leaderships, in clear demands, nothing will change. All this unrest will be remembered as loud venting by frustrated people, some of which have been labelled by politicians in power as hoodlums.  These Bosniak led protests have been dubbed by the participants and supporter as “Bosnian Spring” – this reminds one of the recent “Arab Spring” and not the “Croatian Spring” of 1971 when Croatia unsuccessfully and with terrible backlashes sought greater independence from Tito’s Yugoslavia. How anyone can call this the “Bosnian Spring” when the only people participating in these protests are Boaniaks (Muslims) begs explanation! Serbs are not taking part, Croats are not taking part (except for a reported few in Mostar) – it cannot be a Bosnian Spring because Bosnia has three ethnic groups. Let’s not forget the Croats in Bosnia for they truly have been and are – endangered! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Better Grave Than Slave

2011 is nearing to its end and it would be remiss of a commentary on Croatia’s key events of the 20th Century if it did not pay respects to the slogan of the “Croatian Spring” December 1971 student’s and citizens’ mass demonstrations and appeals:

“Bolje Grob Nego Rob”

          “Better Grave Than Slave”

December 1971 "Better Grave Than Slave" (Bolje Grob Nego Rob) police and army use force to stop mass demostrations as part of "Croatian Spring" in Zagreb, Croatia

40 years ago the people’s mass- movement in Croatia known as the “Croatian Spring” ended as 1971 drew to its close. “Croatian Silence” followed. Tito, the president of communist Yugoslavia with his strong army quashed any Croatian freedom, even the singing of traditional folksongs.

He reintroduced a nasty, repressive regime in Croatia based on the power of UDBA, Yugoslavia’s despised secret police.

In the 1950s, the Yugoslav regime attempted to create a one unique language for both Serbs and Croats: Serbo-Croatian. The two variants were respectively distinguishable by accent and pronunciation (ijekavski and ekavski), and by scripts (Latin and Cyrillic), as well as numerous words. In March 1967, several most influential cultural and scientific institutions in Croatia published a Declaration on the Name and Position of the Croatian Literary Language, demanding that Croatian and Serbian variant be treated as two separated languages. They regarded the Croatian variant was discriminated against as opposed to the Serbian one.

Croatia sought more autonomy within Yugoslavia especially within the banking and proportional fairness in the distribution of earned wealth, to have the Croatian rather than the unnatural Serbo-Croatian language constructed in Belgrade (Serbia) during 1950’s, to freely express Croatian national pride through literature, arts and song, to have more civil freedom … to retain a Croatian identity within Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav leadership evilly labelled the whole affair as a restoration of Croatian nationalism and had the police and the army suppress the student and other demonstrators.

Army tanks, armed soldiers, police vans and cars stood on the streets of Zagreb for months after the December 1971 demonstrations.

Police patrols circled the streets at night, interrogating, beating, taking to the police stations anyone whom they pleased; young or old. More than two persons gathering as a group in public places was prohibited.

In 1971, Soviet Union leadership applied additional pressure on Tito directly by Leonid Brezhnev and indirectly by its ambassadors to Yugoslavia, to assert control of the Communist party within Yugoslavia, ostensibly adhering to the Brezhnev Doctrine.   (How the Russians Pressured Tito and Broke Croatia/article in the Croatian language)

After the calls to the student strike, in December 1971 Tito persuaded to resign some unreliable, in his view, public figures and made a sweep in Croatian communist party and local administration. Many student activists were detained and some were sentenced to years of prison.

Some estimate that up to two thousand people were criminally prosecuted for participation in these events.

Among those arrested at this time were future president of Croatia Franjo Tudjman and dissident journalist Bruno Busic (assassinated in Paris 1978 by Yugoslav UDBA secret police). There were several other notable political prisoners in Croatia from this period;  Drazen Budisa, Marko Veselica, Redomir Pejic and others.

All convicted of  “felonies against the people and the state”, “verbal offense against the state” etc–

In 2002 the confidential correspondence from the British Embassy office in Zagreb & Belgrade became available to the public. From these, Sir Dugald Stewart who was the British Ambassador to Yugoslavia 1971 – 1977, felt that the events from December 1971, Croatian Spring, will be marked as historical key events in Croatia’s flight from Serbian overbearing power.

And indeed Stewart’s hunch was right – Croatia freed itself twenty years later/1991 (sadly for total freedom it had to endure a terrible war of Serbian aggression that lasted to August 1995). article in the Croatian language.

Croatian Cross

This December also marks the 12th anniversary of the death of dr Franjo Tudjman who lived and breathed for Croatian freedom from oppression and for democracy and self-determination in Croatia.

Dr Franjo Tudjman (Franjo Tuđman) died on 10 December 1999.

In public life he was a historian, a writer, a politician, a prisoner for Croatian Spring 1971/72, sentenced to 3 years prison and 5 year public activity ban by the communist Yugoslavia in1981 for giving an interview to Swedish and German TV favouring democracy, the first President of the Republic of Croatia, 1992 – 1999.

He was a Tall Poppy that many tried to bring down, many still do. But he still stands tall in memory as a man of firm belief in Croatian people and steel courage in his battles for Croatian self-determination and truth.

Behold, we know not anything;

Dr Franjo Tuđman

I can but trust that good will fall

At last – far off – at last, to all,

And every winter change to spring.


 So runs my dream: but what am I?

An infant crying in the night:

An infant crying for the light:

And with no language but a cry.”

(In Memoriam, Canto 53 [on humanity], Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Ina Vukic, Prof.(Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: