Interview With Covid-19 Survivor Marko Franovic

 

Marko Franovic, July 2020
Photo: BokaCroPress

Interview conducted by Ina Vukic

Croatian born Marko Franovic, a most successful businessman and a generous benefactor and philanthropist particularly for causes directly relating to the achievement of Croatia’s independence and promotion of its truths. Living in Australia (Sydney) for decades he has never abandoned the good fight for Croatia and indeed, with his intense passion served as one of its freedom wheels.  Fleeing communist Yugoslavia in 1960, after some months in refugee camps in Northern Italy he ended up in Australia’s Bonegilla Migrant Centre and then in Sydney and was later joined by his two brothers (Bozo and Ivo), who also fled communist Yugoslavia. Approaching his 80th birthday (which will be celebrated in 2021) he contracted COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and survived. The path to his full recovery was harsh, demanding and still continues but, seeing him four months after the infection one is in awe and filled with tender hope amidst the darkness seen around COVID-19 on a daily basis. Today we read of more than 17.4 million cases and more than 670,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

COVID-19 cases July 2020
Photo: Screenshot John Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center

So what is it really like to have been infected with COVID-19 Coronavirus and come out the other side recovered and pursuing life to as fullest as possible? Here is what Mr Franovic had to say in my interview with him.

In March of this year you were infected with COVID-19 Coronavirus. Can you tell us what happened?

I was invited to a dinner in Sydney with about 100 people from all over Australia and the possibility exists that I was infected with the virus there; the place was crowded. Before that day I hadn’t been anywhere where there were large crowds or lots of people in one place for an assembly of sorts.

When did you first feel that you may be ill from COVID-19? That is, what did you feel, what symptoms?

A couple of days after that dinner I began to feel some kind of weakness, I simply did not have control over myself, I wasn’t capable of driving a car. I went to the hospital for COVID-19 testing.

Did you feel like fighting the virus before you ended up in hospital? Did you try and resist the symptoms of the illness?

To tell you the truth, I did not believe at the time in such symptoms of the virus. I was sceptical about a virus causing so many consequences. I did not want to believe that I was infected. Given that the medical findings upon X-ray screenings of my heart were all good I went home from the hospital, thinking everything was fine with me.

After how long and with what symptoms did you end up in hospital, again?

After I arrived home my condition began deteriorating. General weakness, I could not getu up from the bed, my breathing was laboured and difficult and I felt a constant pressure against my lungs and, hence, ended up in hospital again.

What happened in hospital, how did it all go and what was undertaken to get you back to health?

On the fifth day my health condition began deteriorating rapidly. When I was started on 9l of Oxygen they transferred me into the intensive care unit. After that they put me onto a respirator and I was in an induced coma for 25 days and on dialysis for 30 days. My kidneys were failing, pneumonia developed, my liver was infected, my gall bladder presented with problems (I will need surgery), I suffer from diabetes, and with all that I contracted blood infection – sepsis.

It must have been very difficult to discover how much your illness was life-threatening. How did you carry yourself with such a realisation? What was the most difficult part of your healing?

As I was in an induced coma, I was not aware of anything, which perhaps is a good thing. When I woke up from the coma I initially did not know where I was, I don’t remember anything. The first thing I asked was whether one of my company’s jobs had been completed. Lying in bed on my back for two months I could not turn to the side (I usually sleep on the side), it was very difficult for me. I lost 11 kilograms of my body weight while I was in hospital.

What was the most important thing for you during your treatment?

Given that I was not conscious during the time of my „sleep“ whatever they did was fruitful, brought about good results.

How would you comment on the health services that were provided to you?

I was treated in Sutherland Hospital. I have no words that would adequately describe the care that I experienced there. Words fail me when I try to describe the care I recevided from medical staff there. In caring for the sick these people risk their own lives and the lives of their families every day. I think the public doesn’t respect them enough. I can say that I am alive now because of their efforts.

I was treated with the experimental drug Hydroxychloroquine and an another medication in the combination. Did this help me? I do not know. When I woke up I was told that I must have a strong wish for life because, they said, I fought and that it was much due to that will for life that I survived. The doctors consider my recovery a miracle.

I believe you had heard while in hospital, while you were so weak due to COVID-19 infection that thousands of people across the world were praying for your recovery. How did those prayers affect you, how much did they mean to you?

Being in a coma I was not aware that people were praying for me. There are no words with which I can express my gratitude for the prayers for my recovery. I was amazed, words failed me when I was told of this. Sometimes I feel as if I’m still confused because I feel as if I need to make up for the lost time through the long „sleep“. So much has changed from March of this year, the whole world is different. I don’t know whether you can place yourself in a situation where you wake up and you realise that a whole month has passed by through which unbelievable events had occurred throughout the world.  It’s like falling from planet Mars, and now I constantly look at what had occurred and try to stay up to date with things.

What did you feel when the hospital doctors told you you could go home?

What do you think I felt? I could not walk properly, I was emotionally shaken by everything that had happened. I have a family, I worried about them, I worried about work, I did not not know how long my full recovery will last after the hospitalisation.

How is you full recovery coming along?

It’s unbelievable that my lungs have recovered so well and that my kidneys no longer pose a problem. I still have problems with walking but with ongoing exercising it’s getting better by the day. A week after I came out of hospital I went to work. I now work full time, my brain functions well and full recovery will take a bit longer. As I’m in advanced years of my life some things will take a bit longer to recover, but it’s getting better. I see progress every day.

When you now look at the dangerous state your health was in due to Coronavirus and when you look at the path of your recovery do you think that you have been given a second chance at life?

I am grateful for having been given a second chance. Many younger people have not been as fortunate. Many families are wrapped up in mourning black. I respect life more now.

Marko Franovic in his office July 2020
Photo: BokaCroPress

Are you planning on staying active with work? Has anything changed with that due to Coronavirus infection and its consequences for you?

Well, as I said above I am back at work full swing. Walking gets slower and more tiresome but I’m building up my energy; I tend to my other medical issues with the intent of staying as strong as possible. I was never the one to give up on working, or contributing with work in my companies’ success.  As long as my health and my fighting spirit allow me – I will work.

Do you have any message to pass on regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus?

Yes I have. As it has been told us, we should adhere to the instructions given to us about COVID-19. Hand washing, social distancing, wearing a mask; all that has its own reasons and it is up to us to comply with what is asked of us. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, millions have been infected. I don’t even want to talk about the economic crisis that has emerged but I do want to say that we are all in it and that we need to help each other to stay healthy, to look after our elderly, not to be arrogant and think that the virus will not touch us. You never know when and how it can strike at us. From my personal experience I can say to your readers: look after yourselves and, once again, thank you for all the prayers for my recovery, which evidently have been answered and granted.

On Saint Benedict Day In 2020

St Benedict of Norcia

Today, 21st March marks the day when in 547 AD Saint Benedict of Norcia, patron Saint of Europe, died.

Today, 21 March 2020 is the day that marks a need for exceptional courage and humanity due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) devastation throughout the World. With the frightening onslaught of the coronavirus affecting multiple facets of people’s lives, one can easily fall into a tailspin of anxious thoughts and seemingly insurmountable fears. With so much suffering and discord dominating the headlines – and even our personal lives – we may miss all the good things happening around us. So, make an effort to find positive things around you, make an effort to make life easier for those you love and stay connected – virtually or in person; in personal contacts use caution – do not abandon!

St. Benedict used the family structure as the basis for his Rule for his monasteries. The community life of a monastery imitates the primary unit of society, a family.  Vice versa, the family can use the Rule as for guidelines for structure in daily life and prayer.

Founder of a monastery at Monte Cassino, between Rome and Naples, in the sixth century, St Benedict intended his Rule to be a practical guide to Christian monastic life. Based on the key precepts of humility, obedience and love, its aim is to create a harmonious and efficient religious community in which individuals can make progress in the Christian virtues and gain eternal life. Here, Benedict sets out ideal monastery routines and regulations, from the qualities of a good abbot, the twelve steps to humility and the value of silence to such everyday matters as kitchen duties, care of the sick and the suitable punishment for lateness at mealtimes. Benedict’s legacy is still strong – his Rule remains a source of inspiration and a key work in the history of the Christian church.

The Rule of St. Benedict is a timeless document – in so many ways as fresh and relevant as it was when it was written almost fifteen hundred years ago. Although written for monastics, many of the issues addressed in the Rule can be applied to life in the world outside the monastic community. The qualities which make up a valued life – humility, patience, simplicity, solitude, caring for others, and living in community – concern everyone. These specifics of the Rule, and the framework it provides, have great meaning for people who are seeking to live out their faith in the world today.

Many say that prayers will not stop the Coronavirus and they may be right but we must humble ourselves and remember what every faith tradition reveals: that God is present among the most vulnerable among us, and that if we act now to protect those at the bottom we have the greatest chance of protecting us all.

On that note here is a St. Benedict prayer:

“O Lord, I place myself in your hands and dedicate myself to you. I pledge myself to do your will in all things: To love the Lord God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength.

Not to kill. Not to steal. Not to covet. Not to bear false witness. To honour all persons. Not to do to another what I would not wish done to myself. To relieve the poor. To clothe the naked. To help in trouble. To console the sorrowing.

Not to give way to anger. Not to foster a desire for revenge. Not to entertain deceit in the heart. Not to make a false peace. Not to forsake charity. To speak the truth with heart and tongue. Not to return evil for evil. To do no injury: yea, even to bear patiently any injury done to me. Not to curse those who curse me, but rather to bless them. To bear persecution for justice’s sake.

Not to be proud. Not to be lazy. Not to be slothful. Not to be a murmurer. Not to be a detractor.

To guard my tongue against wicked speech. To avoid much speaking. To avoid idle talk. To read only what is good to read. To look at only what is good to see. To pray often. To obey my superiors in all things rightful. Not to desire to be thought holy, but to seek holiness.

To fulfill the commandments of God by good works. To hate no one. Not to be jealous or envious of anyone. Not to love strife. Not to love pride. To honour the aged. To pray for my enemies. To make peace after a quarrel, before the setting of the sun. Never to despair of your mercy, O God of Mercy. Amen.”

To Saint Benedict I now plead and pray: Dear St Benedict please recommend my Friend Marko Franovic, an Australian Croat – a dedicated benefactor to multitudes in need in Croatia, in Australia and worldwide – to Jesus, who during His ministry on Earth showed His power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present, dear Jesus, now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses. May Your miracle of healing touch my friend Marko.

Ina Vukic

 

Croatia: Project Velebit Joins Battle To Drive Out Ghost Of Communism From Constitution

projekt-velebit

 

For the survival and well being of a nation it is essential that all and each generation understand the meaning of the nation’s Constitution. As Aristotle wrote long ago: “It is useless to have the most beneficial laws, fully agreed upon by all who are members of the constitution, if they are not going to be trained and have their habits formed in the spirit of that constitution.” (Aristotle, The Politics (New York: Penguin, 1986), 331; 1310a12).

 

Troubles persist, though, when facets of a nation’s Constitution collide against each other and are, due to their inherent nature, irreconcilable on the fundamental grounds of the Constitution’s own existence. This creates a multi-faceted quagmire within which the abandoned old values (in this case communist values) interfere with the establishment of new ones (freedom and democracy). Old communist values in the case of Croatia seriously interfere with the democratic ones, which should be tagged as the only and the essential values for the survival of the modern independent Croatia.

 

General Zeljko Glasnovic, MP Photo: Marko Prpic/Pixsell

General Zeljko Glasnovic, MP
Photo: Marko Prpic/Pixsell

This brings to mind a most pertinent issue, which has been brought to the public’s attention by the currently most active politician on the issue with a seat in Parliament, the independent Member, General Zeljko Glasnovic, and an impressive set of leading scholars, politicians, political analysts, constitutional experts, and people of all walks of life in Croatia (e.g. Zdravko Tomac, Admiral Davor Domazet Loso, Milan Kujundzic, Tomislav Karamarko, Branimir Luksic, to name but a handful) at one time or another in recent couple of years or so.

The issue is that a ghost of communism, in effect, resides within the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, suffocating progress to full democracy by keeping alive destructive communist mentality, habits and practices brought over from communist Yugoslavia. The latter – evidently and in general terms condoned as permissible simply because an element of the former Yugoslav communist regime is embedded in the Constitution as a valid historical pursuit to Croatian independence when in fact that Yugoslav communist regime never pursued the establishment of a completely independent state of Croatia.

 

 

At the time of the creation of its constitution Croatia was still charged and overloaded with communism and the passage of transition out of that oppressive scourge was doomed to contamination with it – the ghost of communism was inserted into the Croatian Constitution adopted in December 1990, months before, in an almost ambush-like manner, came the Serb/Yugoslav-led bloody, brutal and genocidal aggression that sought to obliterate even the very idea of independence and freedom from Croatian life.

 

That ghost of communism within the Constitution sits under the Constitution’s “Historical foundations” (for independence). “The millennial national identity of the Croatian nation and the continuity of its statehood, confirmed by the course of its entire historical experience in various political forms and by the perpetuation and growth of state-building ideas based on the historical right to full sovereignty of the Croatian nation, manifested itself:…“- in laying the foundations of state sovereignty during World War Two, through decisions of the Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation of Croatia (1943), to oppose the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia (1941), and subsequently in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Croatia (1947), and several subsequent constitutions of the Socialist Republic of Croatia (1963-1990), on the threshold of the historical changes, marked by the collapse of the communist system and changes in the European international order, the Croatian nation by its freely expressed will at the first democratic elections (1990) reaffirmed its millennial statehood.”

project-velebit

The absolute fact remains that Croatian independence and all its voices and propagators were quashed, many  assassinated, multitudes murdered, exiled, imprisoned, tortured…by the Yugoslav communist regime after WWII. No independence of Croatia as a state there. Operatives of the communist regime evidently got to contribute to the writing of the current Croatian Constitution, dressing-up the controlled and oppressed Socialist State of Croatia within the Yugoslav federation as independence. One could say that this blasphemy about independence could have survived, had the war of aggression against Croatia, because of its pursuits towards independence, not ensued from 1991. But the war did ensue and Croatia earned its independence at terrible costs to human lives because of it.

 

The War of Independence/Homeland War is the true foundation of independent Croatia and as such it must be reflected and embedded in the Constitution without being constantly undermined by the ghost of communism residing in there. While in recent years the War of Independence/Homeland War did finally make it into the Constitution as one of its historical foundations, its importance is significantly diminished within the constellation of historic foundations that include the false allocation of independence of Croatian state under the communist Yugoslavia federation.

 

The new Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (1990) and the victory of the Croatian nation and Croatia’s defenders in the just, legitimate and defensive war of liberation, the Homeland War (1991-1995), wherein the Croatian nation demonstrated its resolve and readiness to establish and preserve the Republic of Croatia as an independent and autonomous, sovereign and democratic state,” is the wording in the Constitution subsequently added to include the value of the Homeland War to independence.

 

The battle to decommunise Croatia continues and a significant battleground rests within the Constitution itself. It is imperative for the achievement of what Croatian independence intended to achieve in the first place – get away from communism/totalitarian regime as far as possible – to up the ante on getting the Constitution right.

 

Marko JUric Project Velebit Photo: Screenshot

Marko Juric
Project Velebit
Photo: Screenshot

And this is where the newly established organisation “Project Velebit”, with its centre in Zagreb, could successfully contribute. Certainly, its acumen expressed through its wide and current and relevant range of principles does point to clarity and determination in advocating for the complete ban on everything pertaining to Yugoslavianism, including seeking revision of the Constitution along the lines written about above, and the implementation of lustration.

 

Project Velebit is a civil organisation recently founded by a number of Croatian patriots “who consider themselves members of the Croatian national being, regardless of where they at this point in time may be living, regardless of their current social, political, religious, age or gender status, who as interested in the promotion of sincere humanistic, national and civilised attainments and needs of the Croatian people and all Croatian citizens, with the aim of promoting the national, the cultural, the ideological and the economic safety and freedom.”

 

Project Velebit as civil organisation could well compliment the work of politicians and members of parliament whose agenda has been and still follows pursuits to decommunise Croatia. Plucking communism and all its relevant aspects out of daily lives is absolutely essential if true independence as intended in 1990 is to be had.

 

On 9 November 2016, Marko Juric, a journalist, publicist and active member of the Project Velebit group, presented Project Velebit in Zagreb at the “Media aggression and political culture in Croatia” forum:

Marko Franovic Photo: Project Velebit

Marko Franovic
Photo: Project Velebit

Many ask us what is ‘Project Velebit’. It is a consequence of this situation that’s occurring, the paralysis of the system in answering to a series of absurd situations,” Juric said. “About maybe a year ago a group of people got together here in Croatia. They concluded that all that paralysis, all the enormous frustrations arising in people, an endless string of different stories of injustice and hardships happening in Croatia, have in reality exceeded all the limits to the end. There is no sense in talking any more… A group of people from outside Croatia (one being Mr Marko Franovic from Australia) linked itself to us and we decided to join forces and change some things. I would describe Project Velebit with one word and that is – action… To move from words to actions, within the framework of the possible and, believe me, there are a great number of things possible, we just need to start…If we make the first move we can do a great deal…” According to Juric Project Velebit wants to start a revolution, an intellectual one for now. In the circumstance where much is not functioning in the country, where communists or former communists still hold key decision-making and power, if threats to Croatian independence are not dealt with in reasonable time and adequate manner then, Juric said: “we retain the natural right of all people including the Croatian people to organise ourselves…and we have already organised ourselves into this group.”

While civil groups and organisations are not a new concept as they often arise in reaction to things gone wrong from governments as perceived in society or things needed and not being attended to by the governments, Project Velebit, however, is quite unique in Croatia as its main concern is to see former Yugoslav communism finally driven out of Croatia rather than to mollycoddle communist structures still existing as many civil organisations have been doing in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: