Dr Jure Burić – An Interview: “Croatians will continue paying a heavy price until lustration happens!”

Interview by Ina Vukic

October this year will mark 30 years since the beginning of the siege of Dubrovnik and its surroundings and the bombing of its walls and vital structures, which culminated on 6 December 1991; the deaths of civilians and soldiers. You were the war commissioner of the Republic of Croatia at the time when the Yugoslav Chetnik aggression indiscriminately hit the city and its people with its murderous weapons and intentions. How much do you vividly remember those days of the attack on Dubrovnik, and can you tell us what was going through your mind the most at that time?

In summer of 1991 a decision was made by the Municipal Council of the City of Dubrovnik, in fact the then Municipality of Dubrovnik to accept and take in refugees from Vukovar. Our people from Vukovar were offered accommodation and holidays in all our hotels. Other places by the sea did the same, offering free accommodation to a certain number of refugees for a certain period of time. At my suggestion, which was unanimously accepted (I was then leading “social” matters on the Council), we offered all refugees from Vukovar accommodation for an unlimited number of people and for an unlimited period of time – not knowing that we, ourselves, would soon become refugees, and our citizens of Vukovar were shelled once again!

All resources from the Red Cross, Caritas, hotels, associations, … were made available and after the public announcement, we prepared for the reception of numerous refugees. Very soon, several thousand of unfortunate people found themselves in Dubrovnik. We selflessly wanted to help them in their suffering and alleviate the sad fact that their husbands, fathers, brothers, relatives … remained in their city defending it and losing their lives for it.

How profoundly distressing were the testimonies of women and children who escaped from the hell of war and found refuge with us. We organised swimming lessons for them, all kinds of events, sports competitions, to try to at least alleviate a little bit their grief for their fathers and their city. We regularly followed the events in Vukovar and found ourselves slowly preparing for the defence of our city – in case it became necessary.

One part of our people based their defence strategy on the fact that the City would not be attacked (after all, who would dare attacking the Pearl of the World and the UNESCO-protected city!). One part of our people, including myself, based their defence strategy on another fact and that was that our neighbours were not so smart and that there would be attacks.

Fear and unrest were felt in the City. An interesting event took place at a larger gathering (a full cinema hall right in the centre of the old town). Speakers lined up and each in their own way “analysed the situation” and fearing the fate of Vukovar. At one point of such fear and uncertainty, my compatriot from Velja Međa-Andrija Oberan, came up to the podium.

What will he say now – I’m really interested, I thought.

And Oberan began:

‘My people, I came to this city in torn trousers twenty years ago – following my belly for bread. I didn’t really have much schooling and I applied for work on a building site. The first morning I saw people around me making some agreement between them and collecting money, so I asked what it was about and if I could participate as well?’ ‘You can, Vlach,’ they told me. ‘We are collecting money for brunch’! ‘And what is a brunch?’

‘Well, it’s something like your breakfast, you Vlach.’

‘Okay, here’s the money, and what will be for that brunch’

‘White kidneys,’ they replied.

After a while, a car comes in and a large pot was taken out of the trunk, and I approached to see what the white kidneys were! I lift the lid and see – well, my people, these are testicles!

Now, whoever has balls, let him not be afraid of war, and who has white kidneys – I can’t help him! – That was the shortest and best speech I heard in those times!

Bombing of Dubrovnik, December 1991

In your opinion, what was your role in the fight for freedom, for the independence of Croatia?

It was felt that the war would not bypass us either. The Government of the Republic of Croatia had appointed me as the “War Commissioner for Southern Croatia” – one of six War Commissioners in the country!

And? On October 1, 1991, in the early morning hours, the first grenade fell on Dubrovnik.

On the same date, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) began with the ritual burning of my birth house in Ravno (Herzegovina), which was, of course, thoroughly looted by Serbs and Montenegrins before that. As it was then – so it is today – unrestored and without a roof. However, “journalists” have long ago renovated it and luxuriously equipped it – so much about our objective “journalism”!

So that is the date of the beginning of the war in BiH, and not the few months later as Alija Izetbegović said – when the shelling of Sarajevo began!

It is interesting that in Dubrovnik, the first victim of the Serbian grenades was one

honest and good man in his home Miličević- a Serb! Civilian of course!

Were the people around you, and you, fully committed to the goal of Croatian independence?

In all this difficult time of hopelessness, there was still hope. We trusted our President Franjo Tudjman and our brave defenders. We knew that we would defend and organise our Homeland in the way that befits a Croatian person. In a report for HTV, I told the deceitful and inconsistent world: with your eyes on the Croats, you remain deaf and blind and dumb, but know that these tortured old men and hungry children will not give you peace, and the public will condemn you that you could have prevented this war – and you did not!”

And a message to the aggressors – Serbs and Montenegrins:

“When you think that you killed the last man from the ruins, the hand of the Croatian defender will be raised, and he will spoil your plans”!

How would you describe the Croatian spirit of the 1990’s?

The Croatian spirit in those difficult times was constant, strong, unbreakable. It drew its strength from the fact that we were getting stronger every day and increasingly armed despite the will of the world. Thomson’s “Čavoglave” was sung by both old and young, fuelled by strength and hope for our better tomorrow in togetherness. We extended a hand of reconciliation to our former persecutors, following President Tudjman’s advice that we must all be one, because that is the only recipe for success.

I caved in, inside, and extended my hand to the man whose hand beat my late friend Bruno Busic, because he was now a true Croatian defender who was ashamed of his unreasonable act. And everything somehow “was in tune” until the former communists, seeing that nothing bad would happen to them, got stronger.

Then they spat on that outstretched hand, and they still spit on it today.

How would you describe the Croatian spirit of today?

I wrote this poem at the time of the strongest Serbo-Chetnik and Montenegrin aggression against Croatia, when the “Red Army Barracks” threatened Osijek, and General Branimir Glavas awakened hope, when they killed Vukovar and the heroic defenders led by General Blago Zadro, when they destroyed Dubrovnik … while General Mirko Norac defended Gospić, when the five-pointed star polluted our Blue Adriatic …… autumn 1991.

THE SAME MESSAGE WAS VALID THEN AND IS VALID TODAY !!! – TO US AND TO THEM!

WE ARE ALL READY FOR CROATIA!

When at dawn the first ray,

Caresses the blue sea

And it illuminates your rivers

The golden fields of your mountain

When it awakes the Lika wolf

Herceg Bosna angry snake

And a pirate from the Neretva

Let them in if they can.

Vucedol dove

Zrinjski Castle, Senj Tower

Sinj Alkar calls the Fortress

If they are allowed, let them in

From Velebit the fairy is calling

I greet you, Dubrovnik

Beautiful Istria and the Littoral

Slavonia and Zagorje

Posavina, Dalmatia

Wake them all up

He sang a song of paradise

We are all READY FOR CROATIA!

You were the County Prefect (Župan) and you were a member of the Croatian Parliament, and as far as I remember, among other important things, you once asked for the termination of cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, at least temporarily. Your request was not implemented, can you tell us something about that?

I served as the first prefect (župan) of Dubrovnik-Neretva County – honourably and responsibly trying to respect all people, and to those from the international community who visited me very often and insisted on reconciliation with the aggressor, I made clear what kind of reconciliation was possible.

I would tell them that, when the time came, Croats would forgive, but know that they will never forgive themselves if they allow something similar happen to them in the future.

On one occasion I asked them if they had heard of the “school of democracy” in Dubrovnik founded at the very beginning of the war. Of course they had not heard of it, and they remained amazed. Then I told them – on the day when the first grenade fell on Dubrovnik, we founded that school and we were professors, not students, because there were Serbs in the same shelter with us – probably relatives of those who sent us those grenades, and that not a hair fell from their heads, while their property remained intact. Find me just one example of such warfare in the whole world?!

And when they told me that they were worried about how the Serbs from Trebinje would feel one day on Stradun (Main street in Dubrovnik), I answered them very vividly: I guarantee you much better and more comfortably than the Germans in Paris ten years after the end of the Second World War!

This is where communication would usually end, and I would report it to my President Tudjman at the earliest opportunity – just in case. The President would not be angry with me – on the contrary, he was glad that someone could say something, and he for understandable reasons could not.

Dubrovnik, December 1991

You were an important member of HDZ Party from its conception until 2018, when you withdrew from membership, and the Croatian media published, among other things, one of your messages to HDZ, which read “You have become a ‘spiritual Chernobyl’ in the Croatian people.” Please tell us something about your decision to leave the party into whose fabric you been woven for decades.

In those times I couldn’t even dream that the Cyrillic alphabet would return to Vukovar, that we will ratify the Istanbul Convention, because of which I withdrew from the HDZ party in 2018. That we would silently send our generals to The Hague, believing that this court will be fair! But in fact, The Hague was for The Hague! By joining the HDS (Croatian National Assembly – that was its official name at the time), I only continued to fight for the national interests of my people.

In the meantime, the STATE one got lost?! Why? Realising all the ugliness of the court in The Hague, I asked for the termination of cooperation with such a court. I also demanded a ban on the introduction of the Cyrillic alphabet in two cities in Croatia – Knin and Vukovar, because of all the evil that had happened to the Croatian man in those cities. Unsuccessful of course.

This is what I wrote to the HDZ leadership in 2018 as my resignation from membership:

“I would like to be wrong, but I already see that the Istanbul Convention will be ratified by the Croatian National Parliament, and so that I do not wait for this joke to play out, which in fact is a tragedy – I am honestly sad that you forced me to this act, I have decided:

I, Jure Burić, a retired doctor and politician, and my wife Ljiljana Burić, a proud Croatian mother of five of our children with an address in Dubrovnik, no longer want to be members of the HDZ party.

We do not want to be your co-chairs, because you are no longer followers of its founder, Dr. Franjo Tudjman.

I came into politics from the position of head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Cervicofacial Surgery at the Hospital in Dubrovnik.

While the late President was still alive, I performed many honourable duties in the Croatian state. First as a War Commissioner (one of six in Croatia) for Southern Dalmatia, then the chief of war ambulance for the same area, the first mayor of Dubrovnik-Neretva and finally a representative in the Croatian State Parliament – that’s what Parliament used to be called!

We leave the party because we are

Ashamed of

your arrogance,

your hypocrisy,

your contempt,

your inconsistencies,

your servitude,

your cowardice,

your greed for positions,

your waiver of

GOD’S LAWS.

You have become a ‘spiritual Chernobyl’ in the Croatian people.

WE ARE ASHAMED BECAUSE YOU HAVE LOST SHAME!

Persistently beyond all reason and even though the Holy Father Pope Francis, Kaptol, Croatian bishops, the Croatian people together with their respected Croatian intellectual sons, members of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, who have CLEARLY decided AGAINST THE RATIFICATION OF THE ISTANBUL CONVENTION you still claim that it is a ‘deeply Christian act’ and that you are on the same side as the church?

AND, ratifying the Istanbul Convention with a gender ideology is a SATAN job and NOT a Christian act, which offends every follower of Jesus and an honourable Croat.

You are persistent in claiming that your ‘interpretation’ gives security to the Istanbul Convention from non-implementation of gender ideology, and you know that it is an ordinary pamphlet, a legally worthless paper with which you only rub people’s eyes (after all, why distance yourself from something – what is missing ?!)

Well, you will not anoint ours and that is why with this act we stop being members of a party that has nothing to do with its founder, the late President Dr. Franjo Tudjman.

God enlighten your mind!

One day, when, with God’s help, Tudjman’s honourable follower does come, if we are still alive, he can count on us.”

Bombing of Dubrovnik 1991

Do you think that the composition of the Croatian Parliament has changed since you left it and if so how?

With the death of President Tudjman, everything turned upside down. The people have chosen the people who will lead the state and state policy from the ranks of former communists who never had love for the Croatian state.

They don’t even have it today!

Because had they had it, they would not have passed such laws and they would never have ratified the Istanbul Convention, from which, by the way, Istanbul itself has recently withdrawn!

Why do my people accept the abnormal as normal – it’s not clear to me nor will it ever be!

Do you think that Croatian politicians in the functions of the legislative and other authorities were and remain irresponsible towards Croatia and the values ​​of the Homeland War after it completely ended with the peaceful reintegration of eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia in 1998?

Have we accepted the Brussels dictatorship in place of the Belgrade dictatorship? Have we lost our national pride and common sense?!

Why don’t we look up to the Hungarian President Orban and the Poles. Why do we reject our faith and our nation?

Why are we again “good servants of bad masters”!

We did something wrong in these “Lead times”. I know what!

We had to implement LUSTRATION at all costs after the end of the war (since we couldn’t or were not permitted to do before!). Yes – lustration – so, that way, it could not happen that our politics is run by people from the former communist system. Every, even the smallest cooperation with UDBA needed to prevent such “minds” from participating in the government of the Croatian state!

We didn’t do that, and we are paying the price and will continue paying a heavy price until the moment lustration happens!

Another evil that is equally important is theft.

Theft that has crept into all the pores of our lives. Both political and economic ones.

People no longer have human shame and God’s fear. All that matters is money, and how to get it – who cares. Handcuffs around the wrists of our political leaders and respected fellow citizens are becoming something that seems normal, and no one is surprised anymore at such sights.

Have these people ever gone to church and listened to sermons. I also bear a grudge towards the people of the Church. They are not consistent, they have ceased to be Stepinac’s followers, and how could they not be when their chief asks for the opinion of Bishop Irinej on Stepinac’s holiness. God forbid that this chief was there instead of St. John Paul II, because he too would perhaps ask that Bishop if he can and should he recognise the independence of Croatia.

There is no authority in the Church, no authority in the State, people’s memories removed, and, regardless of this, I still trust in God’s providence and His intervention, and hence, I do not lose hope and believe in a more certain future of my Croatian people!

When it comes to Croats, what do you dream about?

I no longer have dreams. I have dreamed all my dreams. Thanks be to God, I have received my beloved Croatia, healthy and in my mind. Stipe or Ivo can lead her … anyone, but they must know and confront the fact that it is mine, not their Croatia, that it was created in the blood and unseen love of her best sons! I want to keep her like that in my mind and with such a desire one day stand before the Lord!

———————–

ABOUT: DR. JURE BURIĆ – Born 1946 to Croatian parents in Ravno, Bosnia and Herzegovina; studied Medicine at University of Zagreb, Croatia; specialised in Otorhinolaryngology; participated in the Croatian Spring uprise of early 1970’s for greater autonomy and freedoms of Croatia within Yugoslavia; Former Mayor of Dubrovnik, Former Croatian War Commissioner for Southern Croatia during Croatia’s Homeland War; Chief of Crisis Headquarters for Dubrovnik; First and Former District Prefect (Župan) for Dubrovnik and Neretva Region of Croatia; former Member of Croatian Parliament.

Croatia: Yugoslav Communists Lying About Croatian Independence Movements

Zoran Milanovic (L) Stjepan Mesic (R) Photos: Screenshots

You simply know that your country’s president is a devastating and appalling waste of space when it comes to honouring the people’s wish for independence from communist Yugoslavia and your people’s fight for that independence by the persons he chooses to represent him at various events, who are equally a waste of space. During the past week Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic sent as his representative the former President of Croatia, the former President of communist Yugoslavia (Stjepan Mesic) to the commemoration of victims of the Danica camp in WWII Croatia (where communists and Serbs say 5,000 people perished but any history written by Yugoslav communists cannot be trusted, even though only one victim is one too many)! That message says a great deal. Milanovic knows that Stjepan Mesic is the leader of the pack when it comes to liars and that he was a war profiteer, scavenging away into his own pockets bundles of funds donated by the Croatian diaspora for humanitarian needs of victims of the 1990’s Serb aggression against Croatia and for defence of Croatia. Part of evidence for the latter has certainly surfaced in a civil court case in the city of Split between 2017 – 2019.

But despite the evidence and testimonies presented in that court that strongly indicate that Stjepan Mesic did engage in criminal activities of war-profiteering, none of that evidence or indications seem to have been referred to or directed to the office of public prosecutor by the court in Split. But then again, Croatia is no full democracy. It still protects communist thieves and liars that define Croatia on basis of corruption.

And so, Mesic said at Danica site last week: “I hope that the Ustasha movement will stop one day, and then it will stop if we remember these events which are facts, which cannot be changed, because in history only what happened, happened.

Then he went on to say: “The state government should first of all stop financing those who falsify history, such as those who claim that the Jasenovac camp continued to function after 1945: This is a notorious lie.

Had Mesic, forgetful of his own previous statements, not here labeled himself as a notorious liar, one might be tempted to believe him but it is terribly difficult to believe him when he, himself, is one of those leading people of former Yugoslavia who revealed to the world that Jasenovac camp did remain open after WWII ended and in there innocent Croatian people who fought for independent Croatia were murdered and exterminated at the hands of Yugoslav communists. Now he wants people who promote that fact to be cut off from financial help! He obviously forgets what he says from day to day. Not because of some problem with Alzheimer’s disease but because he is a person that will say and do anything in order to promote the criminal regime of former communist Yugoslavia, or, if circumstance so demands – “suck up” to the other political side for personal gain.

In 2017, Stjepan Mesic stated publicly: “Don’t be fooled, Jasenovac worked two years after the war. There are many Croats buried deep there. We will now ask for those graves to be dug up, and you will see that they are Home Guards and Ustashas. We will have to bring a world commission to see that. Tito knew that it was a forgery … in order to get bigger reparations. He was never in Jasenovac,” said Mesic, who called Jasenovac a labor camp, not a concentration camp as others have painted it.

If Croatia’s Stjepan Mesic, President Zoran Milanovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic – none of whom ever fought for Croatian independence and democracy but in one way or another fought against it, and still do, ensuring they hold well-paid positions they do not deserve nor have the skills to perform at successfully – think and say that Ustasha movement still exists in Croatia and its diaspora, they would in certain ways be right! Of course, the WWII Ustasha movement as per organised political force does not exist and it hasn’t existed for many decades as a formal movement since it was disbanded soon after WWII ended. What does exist today is the independence of Croatia ideology and “movement”, which, of course has, in that sense, close similarities to what the Ustasha movement was for Croatia during WWII. Independence from Yugoslavia. Mesic knows that and that is what bothers him as it does all his communist Yugoslavia “pals”! He has always worked towards running down and crushing the glory of Croatian people’s victory during 1990’s in succeeding to free themselves from the chains of communist Yugoslavia. When he became President in 2000, one of his first moves was to retire some 20 Generals of the Croatian Army and Croatian Defence Council – to cut them down, to cut down as much as he could the independence movement even though Croatia had already won its independence. But it still had a job to finish during peace time: to lustrate Croatia of communists in power.

Ah, someone might say: but WWII Ustasha movement had Racial laws in place and many victims were generated because of it! It did! But so did almost all other countries throughout the world at one stage or another. Just check the facts of 20th century history, and before, you will find even today the remnants of such utterly depraved laws and practices; Camps, Reservations, stolen land, stolen generations, mass graves, “Whites Only”, …  The world is full of destitution and dead bodies because of it. The important thing in my mind is that every era bought its own way of achieving national goals, and many were not pretty nor justifiable, but in the historical context they fit into the order things were done by all our ancestors. Not that this justifies historical deeds that ruined lives, but it does serve as a platform upon which we learn lessons of a better future.

What is happening in Croatia, though, is that former communist operatives are using examples of historical crimes, alleged crimes and fabricated crimes to cover up and bury the glorious efforts for independence and self-determination.  They will not succeed if people at large have anything to do with it. WWII Croatia and its Ustasha movement fought for independence from Yugoslavia and in that the occupying German forces were a propping hand, however critical of that we may be; in 1990’s Croatian people fought for independence from Yugoslavia on their own. And that is the beauty of it. That is what communists like Stjepan Mesic are trying hard to dishonour. They will not succeed. The word Ustasha in essence means “rise against oppression”. Stjepan Mesic doesn’t like that. Well, tough luck for that decrepit man of “politics”, the movement of rising against the very idea of Yugoslavia is here to stay. Even in peace time. Why? Because it was oppression itself, it was criminal and murderous, it was garbage! It only served best those in Communist Party positions, the rest just lived day by day or fled out of that existential misery. It is to be hoped that Croatia will not end up like Yugoslavia even if there are no serious signs of lustration on the horizon yet to stop such misfortune. Lustrating former communists in authority or high positions within former Yugoslavia would, of course, be the ideal answer to all the problems afflicting Croatia negatively on the path of full democracy. Failing that there is always the heart that cries out for independence and truth to rely upon. Ina Vukic

Croatia: No Justice For Victims Of Communist Totalitarian Regime

Retired General Zeljko Glasnovic
Photo: Screenshot

Never kid yourselves that the future does not rest upon the history; the history of struggles and sufferings regardless of their sources from everyday life or everyday people. Russia is fighting fascism to the last swastika; Ukraine is combating communism to the last red star (and so have other Eastern European countries that have been fighting the red star communism ever since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989). They have been racking up success after success.

Tomorrow, 23 August is the Black Ribbon Day in the European Union, marking the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism and, it is a Day of International of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes. This day symbolises the rejection of extremism, intolerance and oppression. Of recent years, some of the more successful countries in the process of lustrating communist mindset in order to transition fully into democracy have been labelled as developing a new breed of authoritarian rule or undemocratic regime. Hence, one can easily find these days media writeups that, say, Hungary is becoming a hybrid regime rather than a semi-consolidated democracy because its Prime Minister Viktor Orban continues his assaults on Hungary’s democratic institutions! Poland is not far behind being a target of these attacks that mainly come from the leftist or communist-prone establishments within the EU and beyond. It is a demonstrable truth that in Hungary or Poland, just like in Croatia, these democratic institutions are a far cry from democracy – they are riddled with former communist red star apparatchiks and its today’s apologists.

These critics conveniently circumvent the fact that in order to rid a nation of its oppressive totalitarian regime such as communism one must be firm and controlling in policy and process. No pain, no gain – says the well-ingrained idiom when it comes to success stories, especially!

Sadly, and infuriatingly, the picture of Croatia’s fight against totalitarian regimes of the past is a selective one to the point of cruelty. The victims of the WWII Ustashe regime (often wrongly referred to as a fascist or pro-Nazi regime by those who seem to lack knowledge of profound truth) have been given much deserved justice through continued commemorations and monuments over past decades, while the memory of victims of Tito’s communist regime is more often than not tossed into a dark ditch where it can’t be seen properly as the communist former apparatchiks and today’s apologists occupying high positions in the so-called democratic institutions still wear the red star with sickening pride; they say they were and are Antifascists! Antifascism was never a regime of oppression and murder, and communism was.  Croatia’s communist murderers and oppressors had thrown the Antifascist cloak over their shoulders a long time ago, as directed by one of the top ten mass murderers of the 20th century world – Josip Broz Tito.

The resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism passed in the European Parliament in April of 2009 recommended declaring 23 August the day of remembrance for victims of communism and Nazism. In September 2019 the EU Parliament passed a resolution declaring both Nazism and Communism (and other totalitarian regimes of the past) criminal regimes.

On 7 December 2016, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic spoke at his government cabinet meeting about a memorial to fallen soldiers of HOS (1990’s Croatian Defence Forces) at Jasenovac. The memorial had become a focus of national and international attention, since it contained a logo which includes the inscription “Za Dom Spremni” (“For Homeland Ready”), which was used during the Second World War by the Independent State of Croatia but also HOS defence forces in defending Croatia from the brutal Serb aggression in the 1990’s Homeland War:

“The Croatian government expresses reverence for all the victims of Jasenovac (Jasenovac camp WWII), as well as for the Croatian veterans who lost their lives there during the Homeland War. We are aware of the sensitivity aroused by the symbol; however, such symbols were approved in the past, at institutional and government level”, said Plenkovic.

He pointed out different rulings issued by the courts related to the symbols of totalitarian systems and announced that the government would establish a committee to consider the issue in a calm and rational way. The goal is to adopt an acceptable legal solution, in order to determine the position of the society towards the symbols of totalitarian regimes.

Well, in 2018 Croatia’s government formed a Committee that would deal with “confronting the past”, which committee was full of former and current communist operatives! Suffice to say, nothing came out of that exercise that would, for example, outlaw the communist red star.

And here we are in August of 2020 and Andrej Plenkovic is Croatia’s Prime Minister again (despite the fact that with a low voter turnout under 17% of voters voted for his HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union party. He formed a government, again in coalition with the Serb minority representatives who achieved a parliamentary seat by special electoral mechanism which does not require of ethnic minority representatives to have sweeping numbers of votes in their court – they can get a seat even with one hundred or less votes! Plenkovic has even given the Serb minority representative the position of Deputy Prime Minister (Boris Milosevic, Milorad Pupovac’s puppet in installing Serbia’s anti-Croatia politics in Croatia!).

Disaster! As I wrote only recently, fearing such an outcome.

Andrej Plenkovic’s government has, in effect, done nothing bar spread rhetoric about the need to bring about legislation on criminalising symbols of past totalitarian regimes, including communism that defined national politics of former Yugoslavia. And it’s painfully clear that Plenkovic is not about to do anything on this front in this new four-year mandate as Prime Minister. His close political allies from Serb minority have amplified their demands for the usage of “Za Dom Spremni” (For Home Ready) slogan to be criminalised, while there is no mention of criminalising the red star!

Have no doubts about it: Plenkovic’s and Milanovic’s pockets still keep the metal communist red star badge warm!

They are not about to criminalise its use any time soon! They are not about to afford real justice to any victims of communist crimes no matter how many more new mass graves with their remains are discovered.

Some say that one of the problems for those supposedly advocating for the ban on the red star is the fact that the current Croatian Constitution determines that Croatia as it now exists was founded as part of the antifascist struggle during the Second World War, whose symbol was the red star. But they omit the fact that the current Croatian Constitution also states that today’s Croatia is founded on the 1990’s Homeland War – the terrible war of Serb aggression that took place because Croats (94% of voters) wanted out of communism or communist Yugoslavia. The absolute truth is that the WWII Croatian antifascists (communists) did not fight then for an independent Croatia but for Croatia to remain within Yugoslavia! Hence, they must be removed from the Croatian Constitution of today.

It is not a surprise, although it is very sinister against Croatia’s democracy or its full development, that Plenkovic’s HDZ did everything it could to ensure that the retired general Zeljko Glasnovic does not get into this new Croatian Parliament makeup! Reports of electoral fraud and theft of votes (11 votes) from Glasnovic have persisted in some of the Croatian media since 5th July 2020 General Elections. Indeed, Glasnovic has according to these reports, taken steps to rectify the claimed electoral fraud against him. One may ask at this point: but why would Plenkovic and HDZ party do that? Well, one answer that pops to mind is the fact that while a member of Croatian Parliament Glasnovic was the leading politician in Croatia who insisted and persisted on lustration, on banning the symbols of the communist regime, on decommunisation so that Croatia may have a fair chance of a functional democracy, etc. Without Glasnovic in the parliament we may see some sporadic speeches along those lines or individual MPs coming out from time to time with similar demands but there will most likely be no pressure imposed for the chance, no consistency and persistence in demands for change. The focus on the absolute need to condemn the communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia and its symbols will thus be washed away and communists with their apologists will literally get away with murder!

Is this what most Croatian people want? I don’t think so! A time will come in the not so distant future when 94% or more voters will let us know that, just like they did in 1990.

One of the most disturbing things about Yugoslav communism is how quickly Croatia changed after WWII ended and they took power. Croatia went from pursuing independence and self-preservation to being taken hostage by Serb-led communist stronghold where political prisons arose like mushrooms after rain, where communist purges by mass murder and individual assassinations cleared the terrain from anti-communists, where hundreds of thousands fled the closed borders fearing for their lives or the taking away their human right to work etc. All this with about fifteen years from the end of WWII.

In her work “The Origins of Totalitarian Regimes” Hannah Arendt wrote: “The success of totalitarian movements among the masses meant the end of two illusions of democratically ruled countries in general and of European nation-states and their party system in particular. The first was that the people in its majority had taken an active part in government and that each individual was in sympathy with one’s own or somebody else’s party. On the contrary, the movements showed that the politically neutral and indifferent masses could easily be the majority in a democratically ruled country, that therefore a democracy could function according to rules which are actively recognised by only a minority. The second democratic illusion exploded by the totalitarian movements was that these politically indifferent masses did not matter, that they were truly neutral and constituted no more than the inarticulate backward setting for the political life of the nation. Now they made apparent what no other organ of public opinion had ever been able to show, namely, that democratic government had rested as much on the silent approbation and tolerance of the indifferent and inarticulate sections of the people as on the articulate and visible institutions and organisations of the country. Thus when the totalitarian movements invaded Parliament with their contempt for parliamentary government, they merely appeared inconsistent: actually, they succeeded in convincing the people at large that parliamentary majorities were spurious and did not necessarily correspond to the realities of the country, thereby undermining the self-respect and the confidence of governments which also believed in majority rule rather than in their constitutions.”

As in many modern democracies so too in Croatia, we can see evidence of indifference and pervasive feelings of helplessness. There is low voter turnout and an assumption that things will be the way they are no matter what an individual does, whether he/she votes or not.

There is significant pent-up energy in apathy. Arendt suggests that the desire to be more than indifferent is what totalitarian movements initially manipulate until the individual is totally subsumed.

“The disturbing factor in the success of totalitarianism is … the true selflessness of its adherents: it may be understandable that a Nazi or Bolshevik will not be shaken in his conviction by crimes against people who do not belong to the movement…; but the amazing fact is that neither is he likely to waver when the monster begins to devour its own children and not even if he becomes a victim of persecution himself…” Arendt wrote.

It’s important to understand that it is simple to isolate people who already feel isolated. When you feel disconnected from the system around you and the leaders it has, when you believe that neither your vote nor your opinion matters, it’s not a huge leap to feel that your very self has no importance. This feeling is what totalitarianism figured out how to manipulate by random terror that severed any form of connection with other human beings. And, indeed, the very inactions in Croatia to rid the state system and its operations of former communists and their apologists reeks of a mosaic constructed to keep alive the authoritarianism of former Yugoslavia that instilled corruption.

The fear is a requirement – fear is what keeps that anti-Croatian identity movement going. In Croatia there is already very noticeable fear of saying anything against the government; the fear of losing one’s job is among the most frequently encountered fears on the streets of Croatia. So, how does a government get this “power”?

Arendt argues that there is a “possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition.”

You may find here the reasons why murderous Yugoslav communist regime still lives on the streets of Croatia. The lies about prosperity of living in Yugoslavia still fill the cracks that appear to reveal the ugly truth of communist Yugoslavia.

This battle with truth is something we see today in Croatia. Opinions are being given the same weight as facts, leading to endless debates and the assumption that nothing can be known anyway. The research being carried out into WWII facts including the facts of Jasenovac Camp are aggressively labelled as historical revisionism. The government does not support them, especially if the uncovered facts go against the grain of communist and Serb -written history. The unearthing of almost 1000 mass graves of communist crimes’ victims since 1991 is barely afforded a mention in the controlled mainstream media and new mass grave dig-sites are often stopped and a ban put on them!

It is this turning away from knowledge that opens the doors to totalitarianism. “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it,” wrote Arendt so many years ago. To our alarm, her words ring true to today’s Croatia, the Croatia since year 2000 when former communists swindled their way into governments promising democracy and prosperity. Their words still linger in the ears of those who still vote for them even though their children and grandchildren have either left Croatia in search of a gainful employment and decent, prosperous living!

Had Plenkovic’s HDZ government and all Croatian governments since year 2000 collaborated with the Croatian Serbs who fought alongside Croats in defending Croatia from Serb aggression Croatia would today be many steps ahead in condemning the former Yugoslavia communist regimes, in justice for its victims. But, no, he and they chose to collaborate with the likes of Milorad Pupovac who stems from and is aligned with those Croatian Serbs that formed a part of the Serbian aggression forces against Croatia in 1990’s.

No justice for victims of communist regime crimes yet! The fight for it must continue for the sake of a better future. Our future rests on our past and that past must be dealt with in all its depravity when depravity defined it, and for Croatia it is so defined through depravity of the communist mindset. Ina Vukic

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