To Remove HOS Plaque Is Moral Suicide For Foundations Of Croatia’s Democracy!

The Law is set in stone!
No compromises, no apologies!
You touch one, you touch all!
So, be ready for a second Storm!
Whether in the homeland or in the diaspora,
We are ready!
For Home Ready!

Moral convictions shape a nation. Moral convictions shape a nation’s political opinions and actions.

When insistence on a political compromise dictates that one side to the compromise relinquishes its moral foundations then you have a huge problem of, in fact, forcing the latter to commit moral suicide. This would epitomise the current political climate in Croatia that is seriously and bitterly disrupting daily life in Croatia and its diaspora. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s (HDZ) coalition government (with leftist party HNS and Serb minority-led SDSS…) has in the past few days announced that it will “install” a compromise with regard to taking down the HOS “Za Dom Spremni” (Croatian Defence Forces “For Home Ready”) plaque in Jasenovac … raised in memory to HOS defenders who perished there at the hands of Serb aggression in 1991. The issue is charged with the leftist (communist) malicious branding of the salute “For Home Ready” as being the salute of the WWII Ustashi regime. The historical facts show indisputably that the salute “For Home Ready” is hundreds of years old among patriotic Croats and the WWII salute was “For Home and Leader Ready” (Za Dom i Poglavnika Spremni) – not “For Home Ready”.

The announced installation of a compromise does so remind of the dictatorial era of communist Yugoslavia, when compromise meant no compromise but mere stamping of hard party lines. The pertinent issue here, upon which there cannot be any compromise because it is a historical fact, is that the HOS flag and emblem contained in the Jasenovac plaque was the emblem under which HOS forces defended Croatia from Serb aggression, hence significantly contributing to the creation of the modern and independent state of Croatia. “For Home Ready” moral energy was crucial to this and, now, the government obviously pressured by its leftist coalition partners who have been clearing and forcing the path to equating the victim with the aggressor, seeks to remove it! Replace it with “something else” (that doesn’t contain the salutation “For Home Ready”) that, Prime Minister says, is yet to be legalised!

Given that a true process of compromise requires partners there is no sign of partnership being formed here at this stage. What is there is the head of government dictating how a compromise will look and a frantic swell of community and Croatian defenders’ expressions of intent to save the Jasenovac plaque from being taken down; to defend the honour and the righteousness of the good fight – the fight for independence from communism.

The compromise that the Croatian government is announcing digs into the very historical facts and defence motivation of the 1990’s Croatian Homeland War. As such, it is not a compromise to be entertained behind closed doors or one side dictating the outcome of the intended compromise – it requires a referendum! After all, the 1991 referendum saw 94% of Croatian voters vote for independence from communist Yugoslavia, bestowed upon the salute “For Home Ready” a driving moral force that led to victory over the brutal Serb/Yugoslav aggression. In the current make-up of the Croatian parliament, where the HDZ majority is stitched up with Serb minority, pro-communist minor parties, etc., one cannot even contemplate that any passing of a law or bill on the removal of the plaque would be in any sense of justice to the victims of Homeland War an acceptable compromise. The consequences of any compromise reached as the government announces – to remove the Jasenovac plaque and replace it with another, more “acceptable” one that would not have “For Home Ready” salute written on it would be catastrophic. This is particularly so because the former/current communists in Croatia would grow stronger wings and the shedding Croatia of the communist mindset and practices would reach a new stage of impossible tasks. That this reasoning is justified one only needs to visit the pro-communist Yugoslavia rally that was organised only a couple of days ago on one of Zagreb’s main city squares, with communist Yugoslavia flags, songs and colours! An abomination to experience in this day and age, 26 years after the Croatian referendum to secede from communism, 21 years after the Homeland War ended laden with untold aggressor brutality and Croatian lost lives and devastation.

Whatever happened to the responsibility of the Croatian government outlawing in legislation the display of all totalitarian regimes!

It is clear that it is impossible to reach any compromise in the matter of the HOS “Za Dom Spremni” plaque in Jasenovac without causing real and grave damage to the status of Croatia’s Homeland War objectives, it’s political and patriotic profile. The plaque has become a symbol of the good fight for democracy and to desecrate that symbol by taking it down spells out grave injustice not only for the HOS victims who perished on that spot for democracy but to the whole plight and fight for freedom from communism.

Obviously what is afoot here in Croatia is the situation of a compromise being touted by the coalition government against the background of moral conflict. The murky parts of the political establishment and part of community hold hard onto moral convictions that communist Yugoslavia was acceptable and the other part of the political establishment and community hold that it was not. The reality of the brutal Homeland War and the reasons for which it was fought stand firm on the side of the latter. It is a conflict of interests and a conflict of incompatible moral convictions. Moral conflict is a conflict of incompatible commitments. It is clear at this point that commitment to retaining a communist mindset in Croatia flourishes to a disturbing extent and, if only because of that, there can be no compromise in the case of the HOS plaque in Jasenovac. Ina Vukic

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