A Croatian Misery: War Veterans Denied Request To Address The Parliament

Front: Djuro Glogoski, invalid war veteran one of the leaders of Croatian War Veterans Protest Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr news 29 January 2015

Front: Djuro Glogoski, invalid war veteran
one of the leaders of
Croatian War Veterans Protest
Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr news 29 January 2015


It’s been over three months of continued protest by Croatian war veterans in which they are camped out in front of the War Veterans Ministry building in Savska street, Zagreb, seeking among other things better treatment for war veterans, especially for the disabled veterans, a legislative protection of veterans’ rights, a move to remove veterans’ rights from the country’s “social welfare” laws and returning the same into laws and regulations that deal exclusively with veterans’ rights, a cessation of current government’s attempts to equate the victim with the aggressor, as well as resignation of War Veterans Minister Predrag Matic and two of his close advisors.

These men and women who protest in the Savska street tent were the warriors who stood up for freedom when, after the 1991 plebiscite 94% of Croatian voted elected to secede from communist Yugoslavia, many rebel Croatian Serbs and Serbia waged brutal was of aggression on Croatia’s sovereign territory.

These protesting men and women are among those who make up the very heart of independent Croatia today. And that is why they are gaining widespread support of Croatian people as well as veterans’ associations and many politicians.

On Thursday 29 January 2015 representatives of protesting war-invalids veterans walked out of parliament shouting “Shame on you” after the Speaker Josip Leko, citing Standing Orders, refused to allow them to address the parliament. Parliament was to have discussed reports on the implementation of the law dealing with veterans’ rights, the rights of their families and the operations of the Fund for veterans and their families. Josip Dakic, HDZ member of parliament asked that the veterans be given ten minutes to address the floor but this was denied.

The war veterans wanted to have a say before the members of parliament on matters that affect their lives and welfare directly, and which matters are closely associated with the parliament’s agenda of the day! The Speaker refused to allow them to speak!

How awful and disgraceful!

The opposition parties, HDZ and HDSSB, requested a break after Leko turned down their request that veterans’ representative Djuro Glogoski address MPs before the reports were submitted.
Speaking after the break, Ivan Suker of the HDZ said Glogoski should have been allowed to take the floor “so that you can see that they are not protesting for material rights, greater rights, but for dignity and respect for those who defended their country with bare hands.”
Suker accused the ruling coalition of lack of sensitivity. He said veterans “put parts of their bodies into the foundations of the Croatian state and are asking that what they did doesn’t get forgotten.”
Speaker Josip Leko insisted, in cold blood: “I’m in charge of protecting procedure and this is a guarantee that parliament acts on democratic foundations, and some Standing Orders provisions concern the Constitution. Who can speak in parliament is part of the democratic procedure. I don’t intend to bargain with love for veterans and the Homeland War by arbitrarily running the session.”
A standard should be established beforehand, Leko said. “Otherwise we will turn into a debate club and I want no part in that,” he said.

The déjà vu here from the communist Yugoslavia times is astounding! Indeed, shame on Leko and shame on the Croatian parliament!

The Croatian parliament’s rules of procedure, in Article 224, for example, says that the Speaker suggests the agenda for the sitting/meeting, in writing… that the Speaker can during the parliamentary sitting change the Agenda in a way whereby he/she will take out certain items or add new items to the Agenda if at least 1/3 of representative request the change in writing…And since the Speaker Leko waved the connection of Standing Orders with the Constitution it’s shameful and alarming that he did not, after refusing the war veterans to speak to the parliament on Thursday (because of allegedly not fitting into the Agenda or Standing Orders), mention the constitutional provision for the parliament to call an emergency session on this issue which has been crippling Croatia for months!

Also, the opposition parties HDZ, HDSSB … should “put their money where their mouth is” and instead of just commenting on and criticising the move by the Speaker to deny the war veterans’ speaking to the parliament, start and finish the formal process of seeking an emergency session of parliament which would give the war veterans the floor for the day and in relation to the law that directly affects their welfare.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Glogoski voiced his bitterness, saying everyone could be discussed in parliament except war veterans. He rejected the Standing Orders interpretation of who was allowed to take the floor and said Leko disappointed him. “Anyone can address parliament if the speaker and the parliamentary groups agree on it,” he said. “This incident convinces that, after all, the Croatian parliament if not a home of all Croats and that only certain people can speak in it, those elected by the people but not those who are most deserving for the creation of the Croatian homeland,” Glogoski continued.

One cannot but shudder from horror at what ensued after the above incident in the Croatian parliament: word spread that the police were planning to swoop down on the war veterans tents on Savska street in Zagreb and forcefully bring the protest there to an end. While the war veterans minister Predrag Matic denied any knowledge of this, or that it had substance, he stated: “The only thing I can confirm, and I hope you’ll understand that I am ironic, is that we have 100 or 200 special police force members, armed to their teeth, staying in the cellar of the ministry building and all are of Serbian nationality…”. This statement is no irony; it’s a direct attack on and intimidation of war veterans who defended Croatia against Serb aggression and an attempt to continue vilifying the justness of Croatian War of Independence. It’s a direct vilification of Croatian war veterans for not in one single moment during the 106 day protest have any of them said anything against Serb nationals; one does not expect much better from a minister who obviously draws his strength from the former communist regime but one does expect the people in a democracy to do their best and hardest to rid Croatia of such political garbage.
The man, Predrag Matic, has no place being a minister for veterans’ affairs and this latest statement of his adds to the justification of the protesting veterans’ plight. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Antifascists Still Protect Lies!



Jasenovac, Croatia, May 2014  Wreaths and flowers to remember WWII victims  Photo: FaH

Jasenovac, Croatia, May 2014
Wreaths and flowers to remember WWII victims
Photo: FaH

Instead of the usual Sunday after/closest to 22nd April the commemoration of WWII breakout from Jasenovac camp occurred this year on May 4! Reason? Sunday 27 April Croatia’s president just had to, it seems, attend the canonisation in Rome of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII, even though he is no church-goer or believer!

Surviving former inmates, top Croatian officials, foreign ambassadors in Croatia, and many other delegations on Sunday May 4 attended a ceremony commemorating the 69th anniversary of the breakout of inmates from the Ustasha-run Jasenovac camp on 22 April 1945, paying tribute to 83,000 victims of this WWII camp.

Of the 1,073 inmates who were in the camp on 22 April 1945, 600 attempted to escape and only about a hundred survived. The remaining 473 inmates who did not try to escape were killed and their bodies were cremated. The camp Jasenovac was the largest forced-labor and concentration camp set up by the Nazi-style Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in marshland at the confluence of the Sava and Una rivers near the village of Jasenovac in the second half of 1941 and operated until the breakout in 1945.

Addressing last Sunday’s commemoration, President Ivo Josipovic, Parliament Speaker Josip Leko and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic as well as other speakers sent a message that crimes such as those that had been committed in Jasenovac should never again be allowed to happen.

Josipovic, in his speech, called on everyone to protect the memory of the people who had died in that camp, a place that would remain in collective memory forever.
Evil should be called by its real name, opposed and denied any opportunity to happen ever again,” he stated.

At this site, crimes, that was genocide, were perpetrated and it would always be painful and we will never forget it, Josipovic said in his speech.


We must sincerely regret at the commission of such horrendous crimes in the name of creating a Croatian state, the president added.


I just wish he would also name and talk about the victims at Jasenovac who perished at the hands of communists in the years post-WWII!
What about the horrendous crimes committed to create the Yugoslav state!?


Those who perpetrated such crimes also did evil to Croatia and the Croatian people, Josipovic said recalling that Jasenovac was the detention centre for those of a “wrong” ethnic background, a “wrong” religion or worldviews.

He warned that in times of social crises such as the current one, there were risks of exclusion, hatred and intolerance and that “germs of fascism and other totalitarian ideologies always remain latently present” – you bet, Mr Josipovic – and you are an ugly germ of communism!

Don’t forget that a dire economic situation can pave the way to fascism. Crimes perpetrated in Jasenovac and other camps throughout Europe remind us of the devastating potential of totalitarianism, Josipovic said adding that everything should be done to prevent recurrence of such crimes,

No need to say, Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Speaker of Parliament Josip Leko – all of whom are political pals with Ivo Josipovic when it comes to communism of former Yugoslavia, said essentially the same things albeit in different words.

Prime Minister Milanovic said also that crimes committed during the NDH regime had no justification. Indeed, I agree!

Croatia’s “red” leadership failed, once again, to use this opportunity for setting the records straight on the truth about Jasenovac. They failed miserably at pointing out to the Serbian or pro-Serbian propaganda, which promotes the lie – because such figures pulled out of the sleeves of those who offer no verifiable corroboration or evidence in particular to the number of Serbs that perished in Jasenovac – that ” more than 700,000 Serbs, 23,000 Jews and around 80,000 Roma died in Jasenovac in the period between 1941 and 1945″.

If Ivo Josipovic truly cared about the dignity of victims and justice for the truth and perpetrator then he would lead the way to oust or deny any credibility of this rotten lie about the number of victims perished instead of allowing such propaganda to flourish – unchecked and unchallenged. It is his duty and the duty of the whole Croatian leadership to actively protect Croatia from lies and vilification whether based upon historical or current events!

But telling the truth about Jasenovac and actively trying to stop the lies is something that is politically not of interest to current and former communists and antifascists! If it were not like that then this appalling set of figures in Croatian leadership (communists) would have long ago spoken of the THREE and NOT ONE Jasenovac camp. The three Jasenovac camps existed under different political regimes and they were: 1941-1945 under NDH Ustashe, 1945-1948 and 1948 – 1951 under Yugoslav Communists, which means that among the perpetrators of communist purges other “Yugoslav” nationals were involved as well as Croats.

Why does this set of Croatian leadership still place the victims of all three Jasenovac camps into one Jasenovac camp, into one crime – the one from WWII under Ustashe?

Such false and malicious manipulation with the number of victims is detrimental to the Croatian people,” said in his recent letter to the Croatian Prime Minister as well as the President Mr Stephen Asic, Secretary of the Croatian World Congress .

It is time to put a stop to these fabrications that these fabrications,” Asic continues in his letter, “The crimes that were committed cannot and should not be denied and certainly not justified, but also, at the same time, we cannot permit their belittlement through amplification of their number ad nauseum!

This kind of falsification of history is not only an attack against the perpetrators of these crimes but also against the whole of the Croatian nation. The ideological political divisions which once existed among us have no place in today’s democratic Croatia. That is why our positions in defending the Croatian name in the world need to be within a frame of unity. Only with the truth and unified positions will we change the picture the world has of us.”

It will be interesting to see what, if any, response Mr Stephen Asic from Australia (Croatian World Congress) will receive from Croatia’s Prime Minister and President! Indeed, one cannot but agree with what Mr Asic is saying regarding the number of victims being attributed to the regime of WWII Independent Croatia. The same Mr Stephen Asic is part of the advisory body to Croatia’s government on Croats living abroad – i.e. the body that was formed recently with view to increasing or improving the relationship between Croatia and its diaspora.

I am personally not holding my breath waiting for Mr Asic to receive a reply from Croatia’s top government and leadership posts. After all, and judging from their repeatedly twiste rhetoric on WWII and post-WWII the communists and former communists are not likely to own-up to their share of Jasenovac victims between 1945 and 1951any time soon. So it is up to the people, to us, to pursue setting the truth in the right places. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Shammed Democracy – Persons With Military Background Cannot Have Opinion

Croatian Assembly of Generals meets  Photo: Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

Croatian Assembly of Generals meets Photo: Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

For many citizens it landed like a much needed balm of good and promising prospects of advancement to the shattered state of political confusion, lack of clarity and direction as to national interests and the seething economic hopelessness the Croatian nation has been suffering in a crescendo for at least a decade – about to reach boiling point. For the government and its supporters (including many media outlets) it landed like a bomb out of nowhere.

48 Generals from the Croatian Assembly of Generals (largely forcefully retired by former President Stjepan Mesic) met Saturday 2 March in Zagreb to do what needs to be done: look at what’s happening in Croatia and come out with some expectations, some standards expected from the government in order to protest and advance interests of Croatia and its people.

The fact that 48 Generals met signifies very strongly that, indeed, all things are not right. Croatian HRT TV writes that some had labelled this meeting as “a state of internal aggression“!

The Generals among other things came out with concerns regarding the official number of Serbs in Vukovar as propagated by the government to be adequate in order to apply the law regarding bilingualism in the area. In relation to the Generals’ meeting it’s been stated that there are some 20 – 30 people registered as residents at one house address – blatantly obvious abuse of the law and the government does not seem to be wanting to review the fake census figures upon which it says it will base its introduction of the Cyrillic language in Vukovar. The Generals also emphasised that they will not permit the government to sell off Croatian lands, water sources … to foreigners through its Strategic investments proposal, which had recently caused a great deal of distress among the general population of Croatia.

This seemingly sudden and decisive step by the Croatian Assembly of Generals alarmed the government and its supporters (including much of media outlets) and the resulting out pours could easily be summed up as scrambling, laughable panic of Bolsheviks.

Evidently shielding his government from further derogatory criticisms that point to incompetence – of which it has had more than plenty in the last year, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Predrag Matic, topped his own usually subterfuge and inconsiderate self. He actually stood up before the media and, sourpuss straight faced, blurted out his: “Where have they been these past 20 years“! (Referring to the Generals, of course)

Can you believe this garbage!?

Well, for starters, the generals had, like most citizens, more than likely spent the years after the war allowing the governments to develop, further and set in place the goal that, at the beginning of 1990’s,  94% of Croatian voters set for themselves. That goal was to secede from communist Yugoslavia and develop a society of democratic freedom and order. Thousands of Croatians lost their lives for that goal; all of the Generals and war veterans placed their lives at risk and at disposal for that goal.

It is only too right and expected of those who placed their lives at risk for the goal of independent and democratically prosperous Croatia to question what government have done or are doing in ensuring that focus is kept on the goal. But not only that, they have that same right as citizens who voted at the referendum about secession and democracy.

As things go in life, sadly, when you have a bunch of would-be-antifascists like Croatia’s former President Stjepan Mesic, Croatia’s current President Ivo Josipovic, Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Josip Leko pandering to also would-be-antifascist minister Matic’s vomit against the Generals’ meeting, then it becomes crystal clear that such meetings are absolutely necessary in order to return to Croatia at least some semblance of democratic freedom of expression the society enjoyed during dr Franjo Tudjman’s era; to return to the point where the door to furthering democracy in Croatia was shut and almost bolted when the politically repulsive character by the name of Stjepan Mesic weaseled his way to the top and – start again with a political heart that is truly and in earnest democratic (not some hybrid of communist resistance to change).

Mesic’s criticism of the Generals’ meeting was : “...in a country where there’s rule of law, it’s not normal for generals to participate in some special political options“.

President Ivo Josipovic said that “Croatian Assembly of Generals brings Organisations such as Croatian Assembly of Generals, in democratic countries, have as their main task the preservation of military traditions and the support of the system of defence… but, entering into daily politics brings two dangers: firstly, the danger to the organisation itself – generals differ in their personal political thinking and this will cause its disintegration and neglect of its main task. Secondly, an organisation, although part of civil society, whose connotations are military, brings about unpleasant associations with militarisation of politics...”

Can you believe this garbage!?

The Generals’ had risked their lives for free and democratic Croatia, they are citizens of the democratic Croatia and yet, if they have and express an opinion about what the government is doing and how things could be changed for the better – they’re causing unpleasantness! Heck, they don’t have the right to say anything about the country’s government and situation, even though that country is their home and they are its citizens like any other!

It would seem that neither Mesic nor Josipovic have the will to enlighten the nation that one can indeed separate one’s career from one’s duties as ordinary citizens.

The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Josip Leko, said that “in a democratic society and country everyone has the right to their own opinion, to criticise, and there are no problems when we look at it that way. The problem arises when an organisation of generals arises, the connotation is entirely different in that situation. I would not want the generals to judge about the political options“.

Can you believe this garbage!?

Can the situation regarding who can and who cannot express an opinion about the government be placed on the right tracks in Croatia, I wonder? It’s still stuck in times of former Yugoslavia when only those chosen by the government could form and express opinions about the life in the country, about the state of the nation.

I wonder if this would-be-antifascist lot are aware of the fact that, from George Washington to Barrack Obama, the majority of U.S. Presidents came into office as Veterans – 32 out of 44, in fact, had active military background when they entered the Office of the President.  No need to emphasise here that a similar situation with persons of military background being actively involved in the political life of their country is found in many democracies.

Stjepan Mesic, Ivo Sanader, Josip Leko, Predrag Matic can rest assured that what the Croatian Assembly of Generals is doing – is very normal for democracy and what they themselves are saying, is not normal for democracy. Am not at all surprised at such distortion of democratic normality by the Croatian political “leaders” – after all, some of them and their “lapdogs” were the ones who undoubtedly derailed the 1990’s plan to build and develop in an organised way the democracy in independent Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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