Fear And Loathing In Croatia

Croatia's president Ivo Josipovic Does he think, not only dress as Mao Tse Tung or Kim Il Jong?

Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic
Does he think, not only dress
as Mao Tse Tung or Kim Il Jong?


Politics is a rough game, they say. The current president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, might have a lead as a favourite presidential candidate at coming elections according to surveys, which at best are left-leaning vessels trying to shape public opinion rather than reflecting the real opinion, but just have a peek into a couple of those anti-Croat independence tropes and symbolism he has dished out.

It was February 2012 when, mean-spirited, he began using the word “snake” in talking about World War II Croatian fight for independence, trying to characterize everyone in that movement as Nazi/fascist driven extermination of Jews. Of course, his hatred for the communist camp he supports, if for nothing else then because his own father/family are said to have headed the Goli Otok (Naked Island) torture and false imprisonment camp Yugoslav communists held for decades to shut out innocent people who did not agree with communism, is nowhere to be seen. His reactions to numerous endeavours for the prosecution of Communist crimes have at best been insignificant. He pinned no “nickname” such as a “snake” to communist criminals even though, judging by the numbers exterminated/murdered by the communists, the word “snake” would be too mild to describe communist crimes. Indeed, he went out of his way to try and stop the recent extradition to Germany of two former communist secret police operatives (Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac), who are to be tried next month in relation to murder of Croatian national in early 1980’s.

This kind of hatred that attempts to equate those who fought for Croatian independence goes way beyond ordinary politics and deep into the realm of abnormal psychology. In its full-blown manifestations, it is akin to what an ophidiophobe feels at the sight of a snake: visceral and existential; categorical and absolute. It turns on the gut certainty that your adversaries aren’t looking just to raise your taxes but to destroy your whole way of life: that they are not only wrongheaded, but preternaturally evil. Comparatively few people experience these feelings on a conscious level, but they lie latent in many more of us than we might suspect and the coin turned to pro-communist symbolism, the danger for Croatian democracy is alarming.

Similarly, his often-found symbolic words or gestures leave no doubt that his message is: you defend communism (or at least communist Yugoslavia) or your life will not really amount to much. Ivo Josipovic has for some months been a busy man in his evident associations with attempts to belittle his opponent Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and even though the official presidential election campaigns have not started (it is anticipated that presidential elections will be held either late December 2014 or January 2015) he has been a busy with fear and loathing of anyone who would stand in his path to a second mandate as president of Croatia.

The attire he chose for his latest visit to flood affected Karlovac (Saturday, 13th September) leaves nothing to the imagination – it was a definite statement of loyalty to communist regimes; it was a definite statement: you like communism or else! Why else would he dress in the way that reminds one of Mao Tse Tung or Kim Il Jong! Surely, even a child would see the symbolism in the clothes he wore during this pre-election campaign time, let alone a grown up who has decided on how he will conduct himself during the election campaign months ago!

When we look at the fact that political loyalties secure jobs and other favours within the Croatian society governed by the Social Democrats, political party Josipovic left as active member as he headed for the presidential office, who sprung out of the Communist Party, his attire in Karlovac sends shudders into the thoughts as to what another mandate under his presidency might mean.

Many argue that the values of democracy and independence are being systematically eroded by political elites in Croatia, especially those who have not, even after more than twenty years since the war of independence from communism, found time and efforts to discard the atrocious past of communist indoctrination. Many argue and protest against the palpable pressure to conform to the political elites and fear for their own well being if they dared to speak against those in political power. And so, the hopes lie with presidential candidates such as Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who will know where to place and how to deal with Croatia’s unfortunate political rut and raise true values of democracy where they should be.

No matter how this presidential election turns out, the endgame has already begun: Thanks to those who love the Croatian nation and what it stands for, Croatia is becoming more assertive of its rights to independence from communist regime and its corrupt tentacles. But as every hunter knows, a wounded or cornered quarry is the most dangerous. Even as the communist hegemony declines, its backlash politics become more vicious – Croatia has felt this ugly viciousness especially in the “antifascist” efforts to criminalise the war of independence, to defame and degrade Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman with utter lies. These so-called antifascists may succeed in turning back the clock for some time if Croatian voters do not wake up to the ugly truth Josipovic and his politically soaked suit, attire in Karlovac, stand for! It is not just a suit from an ordinary wardrobe Josipovic wore at an important event on Saturday – it is an item of symbolism, either carefully or recklessly chosen but ominous, reflecting fear and loathing whichever way you turn, nevertheless. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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