Who will exorcise the ghost of Tito from Croatia: The Centre-Right or the Centre-Left?

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and its founding leader dr Franjo Tudjman have often been portrayed in the media as a nationalist movement, imputing negative connotations. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/294990.stm ; http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3166.htm ;

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/yugo-hist4.htm ; http://articles.latimes.com/1990-10-30/news/wr-3437_1_civil-war)

General elections in Croatia will be held on 4th December 2011 and the centre-left-wing Kukuriku coalition (in English: “cock-a-doodle-doo” coalition) is running under the banner of coalition for change.

If the “cock-a-doodle-doo coalition wins one may expect that the great work Croatian Democratic Union (Centre-Right-wing) led government in Croatia has done so far on the issues of prosecuting Communist crimes will fade into nothingness.

Tito’s ghost will continue haunting Croatia, reconciling the dark past by processing Communist crimes during WWII and after so that future may shine will be stopped in its tracks! What a crying shame if it comes to that!

When it comes to the notion of nationalism, national pride, there has not been nor is there anything different in Croatia since 1990 (in the years when Croatian Democratic Union held power) to that which we find anywhere we look in the developed world.

National pride means being proud of one’s country or proud of oneself for being from a country. It can also take on the form of defending one’s country in times of need and standing by the country even in difficult times. It can also take on another form of national supremacy.

Certainly, when Croatian citizens (94%) voted to secede from Yugoslavia (1991) they did not imagine themselves to be the supreme nationality within multi-ethnic/multi-national Yugoslavia. They just wanted to free themselves from the heavy and oppressive chains that held them shackled to the communist Yugoslavia (and former Kingdom of Yugoslavia for that matter) where Serbian supremacy held firm grips.

National pride has been a constant companion to personal identity – everywhere in the world. Croatia is no exception.

In 2002, data from the International Social Survey Programme’s 24 nation ‘National Identity’ survey showed that people throughout the developed world feel national pride in several areas of public endeavours, contrary to most globalisation hypotheses (http://ijpor.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/303.short?rss=1&ssource=mfc).

When it comes to national pride, Americans were No. 1, according to a survey of 34 countries’ patriotism in 2006 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13577802/ns/us_news-life/t/america-tops-national-pride-survey-finds/#.TtBPx1bhcqM sourced from Associated Press).

2009 research confirmed that Australians are among world’s leaders when it comes to national pride. http://www.australiaday.org.au/media/?x=32

July 2011, Tony Blair wants British national pride to shine at the coming Olympic Games:

http://www.eip-news.com/2011/07/great-britain-blair-wants-national-pride-in-games/

Nationalist politics and movements are very active in Britain, especially when it comes to facets of EU membership. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/20/scottish-independence-all-vote-stick-together ; http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/2011/10/21/regional-nationalisms/)

The late Ernest Gellner (Book: Nations & Nationalism, 1983) argues that nationalism is an inseparable consequence of modernism.

Author Tom Nairn (Book: Faces of Nationalism, 1997) argues that nation-building movements from 1750 to 1990 have saved the world from imperial barbarism.

Such arguments and thinking, based on evidence, may help us to understand the new forms that nationalism takes in an age of globalisation and huge concentrations of economic power in the hands of a few.

From their structure and functioning one could conclude that in modern unionist moves (e.g. EU) national independence is irrelevant. This would seem plain wrong as any union, any merger, is likely to be stronger if it recognises the profile and identity any constituent brings into the union/merger.

The nationalism, the kind that inhabits the corridors of Westminster, for example, obsessing about sovereignty, obsessing about British interests, obsessing about the GBP, most likely sees the EU as a threat to the British way of life.  (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/european-union/021-europe-approach/)

Right-wing governments (usually symbolised by Blue colour) have often been associated with any of several strains of monarchism, conservatism, the religious right, nationalism, fascism, or simply the opposite of left-wing politics (often associated with socialism, green politics, anarchism, communism, social democracy, American liberalism or social liberalism/ usually symbolised by Red colour).

The right advanced capitalism, whereas the left advocated socialism (often democratic socialism) or communism.

The Guardian (UK) research department published last week an interactive map of European political power. Citing: “With 20 EU member states now under varying degrees of rightwing government, Europe has rarely been more blue”.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/jul/28/europe-politics-interactive-map-left-right

The modern Croatian national pride does not differ from any other national pride encountered in the developed world. Given that most countries of the developed world still cherish the presence of nationalism, and often use it to advance their personal or national standing, pinning negative connotations to nationalism that may be present in Croatia is plain mean-spirited, malicious  and wrong.

It just may be that national pride will save Croatia and restore its rightful position in a just world.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner, The Washington Times, 24 November 2011, wrapped-up his article on “Myth of Croatian Fascism” with: “Tito’s ghost lives – until it is exorcised, Croatia will remain haunted and doomed”. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/nov/24/myth-of-croatian-fascism/

I do not, however, agree with Mr Kuhner when he says that “(HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union) are remnants of the communist system”. The fact is the whole of Croatia, all its political parties, are remnants of the communist system.

The only important question is: which of these political parties in Croatia is strong enough to exorcise the ghost of Tito! Certainly, the likelihood is that the Kukuriku/”cock-a-doodle-doo” coalition won’t.

If it takes nationalism to clear the way from corruption, from the weight of Communist crimes, from anti-Croatian propaganda, from twisting the Croatian truth into unpalatable meals of defamation, vilification, exorcise the ghost of Tito and communism … so be it! It would be the right kind of nationalism – progress for all. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Related posts by Ina Vukic: http://inavukic.com/2011/11/18/and-justice-for-all/ http://inavukic.com/2011/11/02/mass-murders-of-anti-communists-in-wwii-and-after-finally-get-their-deserved-attention-of-law/

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