Let The Croatian Bells Wake Us All Up!

Dario Kordic
Photo: Hrvatska zvona facebook

The Croatian Bells (Hrvatska zvona) association was founded and registered in June 2017 in Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its main focus and principles are in the promotion of the Homeland War, the cultural and historical idetity of the Croatian people. It was founded with the mission of promoting the values of the Homeland War, the promotion of general well-being and the well-being of all human beings, the promotion and nurturing of Christian points of view, moral principles and democratic values, advocating for family and other social values, advocating for demographic renewal and the return of Croats from abroad, the promotion of peace and coexistence with other peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the world, connecting Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in economic, cultural, scientific and every other sense, the retention and the nurturing of the Croatian cultural heritage (verbal and written), the nurturnig and preserving of native identity of the Croatian people, advocating for the rights of the Croatian veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, advocating for the rights of the families of those veterans who were killed, imprisoned or are missing.

On its Facebook page Hrvaska zvona association says about itself that “Croatian Bells is a peoples’, veterans’ and youth association that wishes to bring new people, new knowledge and new values into the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina”

An article published by Croatian Bells association 3rd April 2018 was brought to my attention and given that it contains a Holy Easter message by Dario Kordic, former vice president and a member of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and later Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna (early 1990’s) I have translated the article into English for the benefit of the non-Croatian speaking world for whom the truth about the struggles and sufferings of the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990’s war and after – is of paramount and significant importance.

“And Dario Kordic is with the Croatian Bells!

Dario Kordic is already a symbol of the ups and downs of the Croatian people. At the beginning of the nineteen nineties he led the Croatian people of Central Bosnia into the dawn of freedom, and then into the defence for their survival in the onslaught of Serb, and then Muslim aggression. Instead of enjoying the fruits of freedom defended with blood, precisely because of the defense of the freedom of his people – martyrdom and a process of a guilty verdict followed precisely because he refused to be a slave. His life witnessed the downfall of international justice and fairness, the shakiness of Croatian statehood, and the martyrdom of contemporary Croats in the Hague Tribunal and the persistent persecution by certain elites in Croatia and so-called Croatian representatives in all public institutions, especially in the media. Coming out of incarceration (2014) he devoted his life to the reaffirmation and witnessing of the fundamental Croatian national pillar, Christian spirituality and virtuous identity and symbolism.

He is an ordinary Croatian man.

A husband and father who has been denied the right to witness the growing up of his children as has been denied to thousands of others, whom he calls upon today to follow the message of Risen Christ and not to abandon oneself to fear. For, Dario Kordic was never afraid of evil or knelt before fear.

Here is his message to the Croatian people:

In the blessed atmosphere of the Resurrection of the Lord, a group of warriors from Herceg-Bosna, feeling all the pains of tears, suffering and tests endured by the severely wounded Croatian national being in Bosnia and Herzegovina, firmly decided to engage in an unstoppable process of major changes at the dawn of coming elections of Croatian legitimate representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The honorable names of Zlatan Mijo Jelic, Zeljko Glasnovic, Marko Tokic, Marko Rados, Zdenko Juric Major, Ranko Rados, myself and many others will act like icebreakers that will clear the path for hundreds of young intellectuals, workers, students, children of the defenders of the HVO (Croatian Defence Council) to stop the Croatian people from being pushed into the abyss.

The most fatal of sins are corruption, nepotism and the employment of only the suitable in public companies with the Croatian Hercegbosnian sign. Sins are those who tremble to heaven. They are the most important reason for the exodus of thousands of Croatian young men and girls, as well as a multitude of Croatian families from the Herceg-Bosna soil. Such are also the grave failings of the promises for the betterment of the disgraceful status of the Croatian defenders and the invalids of the Homeland War disfigured by the massacre perpetrated by the previous authorities which were not of the people. Particularly painful are the decades long persecutions of Croatian war veterans accused of war crimes. They are literally being hunted like beasts. The use of double, i.e., harder criteria for the HVO members as opposed to criteria used for members of the BiH army, because the former are judged by the political qualifications of so-called ‘criminal enterprise and command responsibility’, is unacceptable.

We should rapturously pray to the Savior that the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina will build their future on the younger generation of Croatian politicians who will serve their people who have suffered and be guided by determination, honesty and knowledge. Hundreds of Croatian young women and young men gathered around the newly established ‘Croatian Bells’ association shall carry the new spark with pride and courage. We shall build together all the honourable Croatian patriotic forces of various party roles throughout Herceg Bosna. It will then be much easier to find a fair political solution for the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state of three constituent and sovereign peoples. For this – faith is necessary before anything else! FAITH! Along with it, the long suppressed and almost extinguished elation that adorned us in the nineties will also come.

Most of us Croatian warriors thought that we would never again be included in some new projects of Croatian strategic importance. But persistent calls and requests from numerous Croat youths from BiH and the diaspora have thrust us to the defence-from-lightning post so that fear would no longer live among Croats in BiH. And there is too much fear from the current Croatian leaders who give out crumbs from the table to the people, threatening to deny them even that if they don’t follow them faithfully. Oh my God, my beloved God, how the dignity of the Croatians in Herceg-Bosna has been trampled upon, battered, and humiliated. This Easter Hour announces that among the Croats in BiH evil will no longer be promoted as a value, as good. Truly, the time of grace is coming where love and hope will flow enormously like rivers flowing through the Croatian Herzegbosnian valleys.

When we are Christ’s we need to fear nothing. May our hearts burn with Christian patriotic zeal. It is precisely the youth that is the spark which will in a spiritual battle fire up Christ’s inextinguishable flame. What a tremendous help are the saints to us, the blessed and the servants of God from the Croatian people in BiH – Katarina Kosaca Kotromanic, Ivan Merz, Martyrs of Drina, Josip Stadler, Petar Barbaric and the Franciscan marys of Siroki Brijeg. Welcome you honourable, courageous and self-sacrificing young men and women who have Christ in your heart and the betterment of the beloved Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let the Croatian Bells wake us all up. It is time! Let’s not be afraid! Only the truth will set us free!”

Croatia: Dandelion-like First Round Local Elections Results


Bruna Esih list
Local Elections 2017
May spell out new directions
in Croatia’s political landscape
Photo: Screenshot bruna.hr

To some people the dandelion is simply a bother, to others it is something that means a great deal. Overall, blow on the dried dandelion flower and particles fly all over the place, with no definite pattern to rely upon unless their landing is scooped into a meaningful shape.

Were one to focus on the content of local election campaigns in Croatia during May 2017 one could not but see that national issues weighed more heavily than local ones, particularly in the city of Zagreb, the relatively largest voting population in one place in Croatia, which by the same fact could be used as some sort of barometer flaunting political issues affecting Croatia. A trend to be expected given the HDZ-led (Croatian Democratic Union) minority government crisis that still strongly flutters in the air and, indeed, the polls for the capital Zagreb 21 May dealt a major blow to HDZ’s candidate for the City of Zagreb, despite the fact that HDZ had some significant first round wins sprawled across regional or rural areas.

The first round local elections results give no clarity as to which way the second round polls on June 4 will fall. Confusion and deeper political mayhem may well result, giving the message that serious changes and new blood-lines in the political climate and practice are essential to Croatia’s future.

In about mid-May 2017, dealing with his minority government’s crisis that had as part of the crisis lost its coalition partner – MOST List of Independents, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced that the seats of the coalition partner in government will be filled after the local elections so that a workable government could be formed and snap-elections avoided. The first round of local elections took place on 21 May and second round to be held 4 June. The government and political crisis have led to an evident widening HDZ’s division lines (those for and those against Plenkovic as leader, particularly) and the shedding of some key members either through expulsions from the party or through self-propelled walk-aways, as well as first round victories in 42 towns/local councils and entering into second round in 44 others suggesting a serious or at least unpredictable at this stage voter based loyalty.

The results from 21 May polls do not at this stage give much clarity as to what to expect at the second round. Virtually all established political parties are at the losing end of the confidence spectrum, but in Zagreb the new player in the field – Bruna Esih list, which had several widely politically trusted right-orientation names (Dr. Zlatko Hasanbegovic, General Zeljko Glasnovic) with a strong history of determined actions towards clearing Croatia of the still-prevalent communist mindset, as well as war veterans of note such as Marko Rados, Croatian culture devotees such as Dr. Ana Lederer, and others. This new right stream headed by Bruna Esih is about the only force in the local elections mix that commands attention as it steers attention towards hope that political leadership in Croatia may indeed develop the badly needed positive changes, which in essence spell out a more assertive building of democracy and Croatian independence self-determination. Bruna Esih’s list saw comparatively excellent results in the first round, which were twice higher than those of the HDZ candidate Drago Prgomet. She won 10.98% of the votes, and Prgomet – 5.60%. In all practicality this means that Esih’s list will occupy several seats in the City of Zagreb Assembly, forming an important element upon which the final winner of the Mayor’s chair (incumbent Milan Bandic/ “365 party” or Anka Mrak Taritas/Croatian People’s Party HNS) may indeed need to depend upon to get things done. But even if such collaboration does not occur, encouraged by the solid results at local elections, Bruna Esih team has announced the formation of a new political party to be represented nationally in next general elections.

This may well herald wider than Zagreb favourable voter sentiments to come, similar to those that come with fresh new, needed, force on the map of Croatia’s political organism that is in desperate need of clear leadership. Similar perhaps to those when third political forces such as MOST or Live Wall were perceived as the forces that would break up the two-party monopoly, which left great majorities of disgruntled citizens, to put it mildly. However, MOST and Live Wall have failed dismally to push for changes the nation needs and needed.

To further demonstrate the evident influence national political issues and ongoing national government crisis have had on local elections one can also look at the appalling results MOST’s candidates have had. MOST – list of independents – is seen as orchestrating two government crises within a matter of six months and because of it second snap elections within the same period are a likely outcome. MOST ‘s success (if it can be called that) at 2017 local election is meaningless and degrading, a far cry from the success they achieved at previous local elections, from whence MOST group climbed the ladder of power within the national parliament elections that had followed. The other quick-rising club from last national elections is the Live Wall (Živi Zid) group and they too have come up against a very telling rejection at 2017 local elections. SDP or Social Democratic Party (the other major party besides HDZ) stays on relative ice when it comes to local elections even if it chose not to have candidates in a number of council areas – it did not experience embarrassing losses but apart from its stronghold city of Rijeka where its candidate seems certain to win the second round, it can bathe in no pool of laurels and this adds to the pressure against its president Davor Bernardic to move aside for fresh SDP leadership blood.

While most political parties and independent candidates invested a great deal of energy on focusing their council election campaigns on national issues, local elections, after all, should be a vote for local councillors who will be looking after local services and issues that matter in neighbourhoods and in people’s daily lives. That is, the essential city services, the support provided for most vulnerable people, and the local economy. But this does not seem to be the case for Croatia, which suggests that everyday lives are saturated with political or ideological issues and need to be aired one way or another before life can settle into some orderly processes one expects in a democracy.

Having said all this, Plenkovic’s resolve to stay in government power as long as possible, regardless of HDZ member splits from it occurring almost constantly, could see coalition with Milan Bandic’s party, which already has members in the parliament, if Bandic wins second round polls for Mayor of Zagreb. This would mean that HDZ would link up with the party whose leader – Bandic – has been linked to corruption on a number of occasions although evidence of that has not yet percolated to the visible surface. The eventual fall of the government and new elections would mean a new cycle of uncertainty over Croatia, another postponement of vital reforms – but then again, HDZ or SDP in their governing track records have not convinced the people they have what it takes to install and achieve needed reforms. Perhaps, a major overhaul in skills-oriented leadership of HDZ is needed if HDZ is to retain government for the remainder of its current mandate. Nevertheless, all arrows for reforms seem to point to a third political option, which does not yet formally exist – regretfully. Ina Vukic

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