Croatia And Psychological Importance of History And Its Facts

 

Psychological importance of history and truth
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National identity is the pillar of individual affiliation with a state or nation. It is the catalyst that drives people to do their best for the sake of the homeland, including sacrificing their lives in support of a country and protecting its achievements. In this strong affiliation lies, absolutely, the success of Croatian people’s magnificent victory over the brutal and genocidal Serb-led aggressor in the 1990’s.

It is without doubt that national identity plays a vital role in guaranteeing progress, prosperity, security and stability of any country. It is a homeland that, in its truest sense, safeguards human dignity, ensures happiness and a decent livelihood for its citizens, who, wherever they go, have pride in belonging to that homeland, which, in turn, is proud of its people. Globalisation has contributed to changes in both the notion and nature of national identity across the world. With technology and communication advances and freedom of movement, with globalisation came the so-called global society but this new global society is no alternative to national identity.  It bears no hallmarks of individual sacrifice for greater good, it bears no sense of belonging, which is one of the basic needs human beings have in life.

But, in Croatia, things have gone terribly wrong especially since the minority governments started forming governments with Croatian Serb minority leaders who did not (during the 1990’s Croatian War of Independence) and still do not see Croatia as their homeland but rather see Serbia as their homeland. Hence, even the age-old Croatian greeting and salute “For Homeland Ready” (Za Dom Spremni) has been the target of vicious attacks, constant bombardments and barrages of humiliation and bullying aimed at Croatian people who hold their homeland dear; these bombardments come and came through historical lies devised by no other than the Serb-led communists of Former communist Yugoslavia.

At this time in particular, when the Croatian government has evidently dropped the superior importance of Croatian homeland for Croatian national identity and callously works hand-in-hand with the Serb minority leaders in Croatia to run to the ground the very positive and elating emotion in loving the homeland that had preserved and saved from perish the Croatian nation through centuries and particularly the 20th century, it is good to remind ourselves of the importance of knowing our true history.

Serbia has not given up its sights on access to the sea – the Adriatic Sea! Since 1918, when it managed to create a Kingdom that would include Croatian territory even though the Croatian Parliament never wanted nor ratified that it be joined to Serbia in the kingdom, through WWII and after it, when it held wielding power within the Yugoslav Army and ruling communist party and in 1990’s when it brutally attacked Croatia because Croats wanted out of Yugoslavia – Serbia has demonstrated over and over again that it would do anything and everything to have access to the Adriatic and retain command over the fate of Croats in Croatia (and in Bosnia and Herzegovina).

As human beings progress through life building social attachments in order to fulfil their basic needs developmental theories such as those of Jean Piaget suggest that children undergo a socialisation process that moves from the egocentric to the sociocentric. From the perspective of a nation the group satisfies and fulfils sociocultural, economic, and political needs, giving individuals a sense of security, a feeling of belonging, and, of course, prestige. We find that Psychology’s leading theorists (e.g. Abraham Maslow, B,F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud …) agree that the need to belong is a fundamental human motivation; national attachment can fulfil that need and help individuals construct their identity. Henri Tajfel’s social identity theory suggests that a person’s identity is based in part on his or her group (nation), so a group’s status and importance affect the individual’s own. In other words, you want to view your nation as being superior to others to increase your own self-esteem, creating “in-group favouritism” that drives enthusiasm for life and work (example: the classic “U! S! A!” chant; for Croatia “Za Dom Spremni” [For Homeland Ready]).

It would be, therefore, justified to say that we all as human beings have an existential interest in history. Compare a nation which has no interest in its own past with one which has a very pronounced interest in its history and the conclusion usually reached is that the latter may be humanly progressive while the former cannot truthfully be so designated. The knowledge of the past is not only of critical value to the fundamental needs of human beings but also to dealing with the modern problems human beings encounter, for if history does not repeat itself, there are undoubtedly some very striking analogies. If experience is the best teacher for an individual, the same may be said to apply for a nation, which is only an aggregate of individuals. Whether in classrooms or within family unit or on the streets education and knowledge we gather on the history of our and other nations impact significantly on personality and character development of each individual, and, therefore, the nation. If that knowledge is healthy, if it is commensurate with the sense of justice, which all human beings possess albeit in myriad ways or nuances, then a sense of pride is that harmony that defines a progressive nation that satisfies the basic needs of a just and good life each individual within it has.

The English historian Edward Augustus Freeman defined history as “Politics of the past” and Sir John Seeley extended the concept into saying that “History is past politics; and politics present history.” In the case of May 1945 Bleiburg massacres, as well as massacres and murders of multitudes of Croatian people who fought for or were associated with the efforts for an Independent State of Croatia by Yugoslavia’s communists after World War Two, the fact that often vocalised reasons for these mass murders and massacres remain to this day uncondemned on a national level speaks volumes into the truth behind Freeman’s and Seeley’s above mentioned phrase. By the end of the 20th century there was much talk worldwide of the decline of the nation-state: the institutions that had once defined politics appeared to have been bypassed and undermined by ‘globalisation’ on the one hand and consumerist, empowered individuals on the other. It is in this that I argue there is, in this period of the 21st century, significant potential for the “people” to be active in the making of their nation’s history.

We have already experienced the use of the word “revisionism” in a negative, reprimandable, sense when any scientific researcher attempts to look into the history with view to either confirm existing historical records or to disprove them – to set the record right as the popular phrase would say. For the case of a great percentage of Croatian people (who either fought for or yearned for an independent Croatia as the most important parameter defining lasting happiness of Croatian people) revision or research into the history is not only paramount for the Croatian human spiritual and existential importance of truth and facts but also for refusal to live a lie. Limiting history to the 20th century in this article, Croatian people thriving on pride arising from being seen as Croatian nation have suffered greatly, whether by being unwillingly pushed into a union of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia or whether subsequently being persecuted and oppressed by Yugoslavia’s communist regime. As the European Parliament has declared (September 2019) that the Communist regime was criminal regime (as well as Nazism) it is absolutely necessary and essential to research the history of Croatian suffering because it is a fact that hundreds of mass graves of communist crimes victims, hidden and denied by the communists during Yugoslavia era, have been discovered since 1991, i.e. since Croatia seceded from communist Yugoslavia.

Revision and research of history is vital for and meaningful particularly to a nation that has spent the 20th century being denied historical truth and fact. World War Two Jasenovac and Bleiburg massacres have divided the Croatian nation during that century and continue to divide it in the 21st largely because the presented truth and available facts are not something people can safely rely on in formulating or planning for a better future. Put in terms of psychological factors of individuals making up the nation the sense of belonging to a nation is dichotomous; the sense of belonging under one umbrella – Croatian nation – is difficult to develop a sense of belonging when one part of that nation does not see the other as one of their own, and vice versa. This dichotomy within the same nation of people can easily be attributed to the fact that much of the official history of 20th century Croatia has been written with political pen and fabrications and lies, and as such taught at schools and in life. Mixed with home or non-mainstream teachings (teachings by family members of a child, of an offspring or by activists in society) that either differ from, or are same as the claimed official version of the history are a consideration towards a national harmony in belonging for the Croatian nation, indeed, for all former communist countries undergoing transition towards actual truth, whether historical or current.

Challenging the historical events and accounts by Yugoslav/Croatian communists isn’t just an academic issue but has profound implications for the way a Croatian person understands his/her own nationhood. The decades of commemorations of mass murders of Croatian people by Yugoslav communists, the decades of discovering new mass graves of communist crime victims – a thousand of these so far and only a few days ago another one was discovered, the decades of commemorations of thousands fallen at the hands of Serb aggression for the Croatian homeland are our courage and strength to pursue the truth of history and reject the deceit in it injected by the Greater Serbia politics and die hard communists of Yugoslavia/Croatia. Ina Vukic

Croatian Operation Storm 1995 and the Serb Self-imposed Exodus From Croatia

 

In honour of the 25th Anniversary of the Croatian August 1995 Operation Storm that within a matter of days liberated much of its Serb occupied territory I would like to share with the public and my readers the documentary film in the English language that clearly, verifiably and with absolute and irrefutable truth demonstrates the magnificent courage of the Croatian Defence Forces in bringing to the people a free and independent Croatia. This video focuses on some of the crucial military tactics employed by the Croatian Defence Forces, ensuring that there were no victims of the shelling of Knin, which was usurped by rebel Serbs as the capital city of the area they occupied via ethnic cleansing of Croats, via murder and destruction and gave it the name of Serbian Republic of Krajina. The video demonstrates with historic evidence that Croatia did not forcibly expel Serbs from Croatia in August of 1995 and is in itself a document of truth. Very worthwhile watching, and I trust you will watch this video and share it. It begins with:

“Hello and welcome to my Youtube presentation entitled “What caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm”. My name is Luka Misetic, I am an attorney in New York, I spent seven years before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as defence counsel in the case of General Ante Gotovina which dealt extensively with Operation Storm. So, I have spent many years looking at the evidence in the case. At the end of this presentation hopefully you will learn three important things about Operation Storm. The first is what caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm. The second important thing is that you will learn the critical role that General Ante Gotovina played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and the third thing that you will hopefully learn is the importance of a little village in the Southern part of Croatia known as Otric and the importance that that village played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and in the departure of Krajina Serb civilians and military from Croatia during Operation Storm.

As I record this in August of 2020 and we are approaching the 25th Anniversary of Operation Storm, which took place between 4 August and 8 August 1995. Every year around this time tensions rise between Croatia and Serbia over the anniversary of Operation Storm. There are competing narratives between the two countries about the Operation. Operation Storm is celebrated in Croatia because it liberated 10,400 square kilometres or 4,000 square miles of Croatia’s territory that had been occupied by rebel Serbs for more than 4 years. The territory liberated by Operation Storm accounted for more that 1/5 of Croatia’s overall territory. Croatia celebrates Operation Storm every year on the 5th of August as a national holiday. In Croatia it is known as Victory Day and Day of Homeland Thanksgiving.

In Serbia the anniversary of Operation Storm is a Day of National Mourning. The Serbians view Operation Storm is that it is the biggest ethnic cleansing in modern Europe with the claim that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were expelled by Croatian authorities in 1995.

It is true that many Serbs left Croatia during Operation Storm… many civilians packed up and left and exited Croatia in long columns that took several days, leaving for the Serb occupied territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina known as Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) or going on to Serbia itself. But the key question that has to be asked is why did the Serbs leave during Operation Storm? The issues or questions are were they forcibly expelled by Croatia or were they encouraged to leave by their own Serb leadership which caused a panic among the civilian population and a mass exodus.

The fundamentally contradictory historical narratives are at the centre of the dispute between Serbia and Croatia which arises every year in August during the anniversary of Operation Storm. In this video I will explain the true reasons that caused the Serb population to leave Croatia in 1995….”

 

Thank you Luka Misetic for this detailed video of Croatia’s victory in its harsh path to independence, corroborated by facts, that stands tall in the line of magnificent Croatian truths. Happy Victory Day to all Croats around the world! Ina Vukic

 

 

HERE ARE SOME SCREENSHOTS FROM LUKA MISETIC’S VIDEO. PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE:

 

Croatia: A Seriously Flawed Democracy

Photo: The Economist Intelligence Unit, eiu.com

The rise of disinformation about politics and public affairs represents an existential threat to democratic governance in many countries, and Croatia is no exception. After all, democracy rests on citizens having access to accurate and reliable information sources in order to make judgments about how they should be governed.

Although I receive email comments, letters and submissions by readers of my blog articles from all over the world on a daily basis, I have not written an article about these before. Several weeks ago, I received an anonymous three-page letter that caught my particular attention, perhaps because it, more than any other, made me ask myself the question as to why I started this blog “Croatia, the War, and the Future” in the first place in October of 2011. The anonymous writer claims to be a leading member of the Australian-Croatian community (I have no way of knowing whether this is true) and questions the need for me to write about the Serb aggression against Croatia and ultimately about the need to decommunise Croatia (for which rivers of Croatian blood were spilled in the 1990’s Homeland War)! The writer claims that such content of my articles (indeed anyone’s) serves as fuel for hatred between Croatian and Serbian community in Australia etc.! Well, for one, I personally have never felt that hatred on Australian soil and am not aware of it. All efforts to try and help Croatia develop a decent functional democracy in Croatia have always to my knowledge concentrated on issues within Croatia, not the diaspora, not in Australia.

In a recent survey UK poll regarding information available to the public, the role of government and the journalists more generally, it has been claimed the public want health information not adversarial journalism at a time of national crisis to do with Covid-19.

Some participants, for example, echoed those politicians asking for a “rally-round-the-flag” approach to reporting, saying that it’s not appropriate to criticise the government at a time of national crisis. But most people called for more – not less – scrutiny of political decision making. While the BBC and ITV were singled out for not being critical enough, many respondents wanted both broadcasters to hold the government to account more robustly.

And so, I return to the above mentioned three-page letter I received a few weeks ago. When it comes to the development of a functional democracy Croatia has been in a national crisis since year 2000, that is, after Franjo Tudjman’s death in late 1999. Former communists and sympathisers of the former Yugoslavia communist regime increasingly took power or came into power and the intent and goal to decommunise Croatia post the Homeland War was pushed further and further away from the national forward plan or goal. And to answer the above letter anonymous writer:

Yes, it is absolutely essential for me, and everybody else that cares, to write about the Serbo-Yugoslav aggression against Croatia in the 1990’s. It is absolutely essential particularly because, although the Homeland War had officially ended in 1998, it continued and continues on moral, cultural and national goals levels! The turn in politics during the decade starting with year 2000, to equate the victim with the aggressor has been a particularly troubling platform that ensured communist heritage in Croatia had a life even in a supposedly developing democracy! And this is particularly evident in a dysfunctional public administration that promotes and aids corruption and nepotism as part of that heritage. It is also evident in the almost aggressive and nationally destructive imposition of ethnic minority rights that saw the Serb aggressor wielding their way into the Croatian government, thus belittling, even damning Croatia’s right to defend its citizens’ lives during the war aggression.

As a reminder, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 cleared the way for the formation or restoration of democratic institutions not only in Eastern Europe, but also in Croatia. This surge of progress towards a fully functional democracy conceived by Franjo Tudjman and detailed in 1990 in his inaugural speech for the new Parliament in Croatia had almost immediately after his death begun to roll back.

The reversal in the case of Croatia is evidently the result of Croatia not having a leader that would stand in Tudjman’s decisive shoes of complete abandonment of the communist regime and its laws. Hence, the euphoria for the free and democratic Croatia that had expanded among Croats worldwide during 1990’s experienced increased pressure of dampening as former communist “bigwigs” (who rejected the idea of a free and democratic Croatia from the very start) took hold of power. As that momentum of the euphoria wore off, Croatia struggled to accommodate the political swings and contentious debates intrinsic to democracy and the meaning and the values of its Homeland War. Rapidly erected so-called democratic institutions, most of whom promoted values of former communist Yugoslavia regime rather than a desired democratic Croatia, have resulted in sustained attacks of the Homeland War values and notched up fights to suppress responsibilities of the 1990’s Serb-rebel crimes against Croatians; creating a false but unnerving picture of ethnic rivalries where there are none if one accepts the realities that minorities are only minorities and should not interfere in national aspirations generally.

Amidst all this Croatia remains an economically fragile country. Its internal politics that have since year 2000 abandoned the focus on national identity as a fully developed democracy, away from former communist Yugoslavia regime, in 2019 Croatia still remains in shambles as a democracy. The 2019 world Democracy Index, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, registered Croatia at the bottom of the Flawed Democracy category. Indeed, in 2020 it is blatantly clear that there is further decline and deterioration of democracy in Croatia. Power is being centralised to an almost dictatorship level where fear of losing ones livelihood due to political opinion expressions or disagreements with the government is widespread; exodus of young and middle-aged people during the past five years has almost surpassed the alarming levels of emigration or fleeing from oppressive communist Yugoslavia during 1950’s and 1960’s; the control of mainstream media in Croatia is foul; the courts are manipulated and protests or dissenting opinion – squelched; denial of reasonable access to polling stations at times of general elections is widespread in selected electorates akin to voter suppression.

Democracy in Croatia has a competitor and that competitor wears the robes of denying the Croatian people the dignity of developing a democracy for which they fought for in the Homeland War and the undergarments are weaved from communist mindset that includes not calling the Serbian aggressor to account for all the Croatian suffering in their own country at the hands of Serb aggressor.

The challenges for Croatia now are more fundamental than political slogans waved around during elections. The challenges are how to stimulate democracy in Croatia and discourage and stamp out the communist mindset laced authoritarianism that has sadly outwitted the democratic trend since year 2000, and how to support democracy where it is under siege because of government’s poor performance, appalling judiciary, distancing from national cohesion for democracy, failure to condemn the former communist totalitarian regime. Responding to these challenges has required and requires a greater willingness to pressure authoritarian leaders who offer short-term economic and security benefits to Croatia but spell long-term trouble. Hence, dear anonymous letter writer, I simply cannot write only about the magnificent physical beauty of Croatia’s tourist attractions. I have a responsibility like all others to write about the flaws of Croatia’s political scenes that cause suffering in everyday life of citizens because of the intolerable flawed democracy and try and act in such a way that may contribute towards obliteration of those flaws. I want full democracy to thrive in Croatia one day. I wanted that in 1989 and I want it now! To achieve that one must show and criticise firmly the things that stand in the way of full democracy and citizens’ enthusiasm and thirst for life and national pride. Ina Vukic

 

 

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