BBC and DW – Go Jump In The Lake! Beauty Of Croatian Lands – Celebrated!

 

Manuel Neuer (Centre)
Photo: Screenshot

“How beautiful you are”, by Marko Perkovic Thompson, is not even the national anthem of Croatia and yet it has been molested to “Kingdom come” as nationalistic, fascist, ultra-right – God knows what not, down in the doldrums of leftist miserable existence. As one unsavourily expects The Deutsche Welle (DW) and BBC (and other such politically twisted media outlets) have during the past week got their hands on a private video showing Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer on a holiday in a Croatian coastal town, having fun with a number of people singing the popular Croatian song “How beautiful you are” (“Lijepa li si”). While the lyrics of the song celebrate the natural beaty of different parts of Croatia and parts of Herzegovina where multitudes of Croats have lived for hundreds of years (and were joined into the same Kingdom or country on and off over the centuries past) these media outlets had decided to label the song as “controversial”, dubbing it as nationalistic with fascist connotations!

BBC article says that “the lyrics refer to Herceg-Bosna, an area of neighbouring state Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed by Bosnian Croats in the 1990s, who were supported by the government in Zagreb during the Balkan wars. Croatian nationalist folk singer Marko Perkovic penned the song in 1998. His performances have been banned in several European countries. Critics have linked Mr Perkovic – known as Thompson after the type of machine gun he carried during Croatia’s independence war in the 1990s – to the nationalism of Croatia’s pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in World War Two. The Ustasha was a Nazi puppet regime which killed more than 100,000 people in concentration camps, most of them Serbs, Jews and Roma. Mr Perkovic denies sympathising with the Ustasha.”

It is quite telling of BBC’s and DW’s political unsavouriness and systematic wrongful imputations regarding Croatian patriotism to write about a song that came into being in 1998, celebrating the beauty of Croatian lands after the bloody war of aggression was won (Croatia’s Homeland War officially ended in 1998 with the reintegration of Serb-occupied and ethically cleansed territory) when they immediately jump into WWII and Croatia’s siding with Germany in the war. It is the idiotic and sinister side of leftist (communist, neo-communist) politics to keep pushing the preposterous idea that Croatians of 1990/1991 did not really want independence from communist Yugoslavia even though they voted for it at the 94% voter level!

Since in its article it mentions Herceg-Bosna, it is quite telling of BBC’s rotten politics to fail to mention in the same article British very own Lord Carrington and Lord Owen who were very forceful and downright usurpers of Croatian people’s rights to self-preservation when it comes to Croats of Herceg-Bosna. Why put all the “guilt” on Croats? Why talk only of Croat supposedly wrongful nationalism in that war where Croats had to defend their own lives from Serb and then Muslim aggression? Didn’t both Lord David Owen and Lord Peter Carrington make their mark in attempting to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina according to ethnic or nationality lines, carve the borders of future countries within former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1990’s. Of course they did! Lord Carrington attempted to pass a plan that would end the wars and result in each republic becoming an independent nation. Lord Owen continued under Lord Carrington’s pursuits to recognise the importance of ethnic (nationalistic) divides in that cruel and barbaric war of aggression in order to achieve peace and self-determination/preservation.

And when it comes to Herceg-Bosna who else but Croatians from neighbouring countries would come to the aid of Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina – no one! One must ask, why then is allegiance to nationality as an important factor of peace that Lord Carrington and Lord Owen not criticised by BBC or DW or anyone else of similar calibre one may come across more important and humanly proper than that of Croatians! The inevitable answer to this lies in anti-Croatian propaganda and political lynching devoid of any common sense, facts or fair-minded reason.

Marko Perkovic Thompson (third from L)
July 2018 = celebrating Croatian victories at FIFA World Cup
Photo: picture-alliance

Marko Perkovic Thompson’s 1998 song “Lijepa li si” in translation goes like this:

How Beautiful You Are

When I remember, tears well up

The scent of memories

Every step of my homeland

And folk customs

I recognise your beauty

Which awakens my love

When I’m with you my heart

Beats stronger, it is big!

Oh, Zagora, you’re so beautiful

Slavonia, you are golden

Herceg-Bosna, a proud heart

Dalmatia, my sea

One soul but two of us

Greetings Lika, pride of Velebit

How beautiful you are

When Neretva heads for the sea

Then remember me

Be the theme of my song

For all of those who are gone

Come on Istria and Zagorje

Let’s raise up all three colours

Let’s embrace in front everyone

Let them see that we are many

Oh, Zagora, you’re so beautiful

Slavonia, you are golden

Herceg Bosna, a proud heart

Dalmatia, my sea

One soul but two of us

Greetings Lika, pride of Velebit

BBC and DW in their articles regarding Neuer’s singing say that “It is not known if Neuer understood the words of the song”! My goodness! What’s there to understand apart from celebration of beauty of the land a nation of people (Croatians) have called home for centuries! Even though “How beautiful you are” is not Croatia’s national anthem for the sake of comparison of connotations a popular song brings I wonder what BBC would say had Neuer while holidaying in Croatia sung “God save the Queen” with its lyrics “O Lord, our God, arise, Scatter her enemies, And make them fall, Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks…”!? Or what DW would say had Neuer while holidaying in Croatia sung Deutschlandlied (Song of Germany) with its lyrics “Unity and justice and freedom for the German fatherland!For these let us all strive, brotherly with heart and action! Unity and justice and freedom are the pledge of fortune; flourish in this fortune’s blessing, Flourish, German fatherland”!?

What nationalistic garbage would he be accused of then? Most likely none because these twisted media outlets may give only nations of their political choice the right and privilege to celebrate patriotism and national identity using the sheer beauty of their lands but deny it to others. However, BBC, due to its own evident lack of it, would most likely steer away from hailing patriotism as a positive trait of human existence while DW would most likely silently crawl into a dark corner fearing association with “Germany above all” may wreck their chances of being taken seriously. BBC and DW, and those like them can go and jump in the lake as far as I’m concerned. Ina Vukic

 

 

 

The Glory Of Croatian Patriotism

Patriotism is about loyalty to the principles upon which a nation was founded and today’s Croatia is founded on the Homeland War of 1990’s. We cannot allow the idea of patriotism to render us disillusioned because disillusion sows the seeds for authoritarianism to run riot and ravage the fabrics strung together to form the nation in all its intended glory. That is what is happening to our Croatia where the governments of the past two decades have maintained the hated authoritarianism that made former communist Yugoslavia a hell on earth for the ordinary (non-Communist Party affiliated) Croat. Authoritarianism has been the culprit for inaction in stamping out corruption that plagues the lives of Croatians during and since Yugoslavia. Authoritarianism has been the culprit in attempts (and successes) to silence and quash the great power in the betterment of life for all that the Croatian diaspora possess.

The Croatian diaspora has and shows the threads that make up patriotism in remarkable ways!

Patriotism is love of country, and we should delight in celebrating democracy achieved through the victorious Homeland War, individual freedoms, captivating culture, stunning landscapes and, as the national anthem says, sun-kissed fields.

But patriotism is more than a shoutout for Our Beautiful Homeland (Lijepa naša domovino) or a standing ovation for those who serve and served Croatia in ways that most putting their hands together without having acted for Croatia will never do. Patriotism is also respect for democratic institutions, a desire to make Croatia better and a passion to defend against national threats.

Like democracy, patriotism itself needs regular check-ups, especially now with an ever-widening social chasm that will surely become more pronounced through this election year as Croatia’s economy sinks deeper and deeper into the pit of no return unless both HDZ and SDP incompetent governments are voted out. More and more, it’s evident, less and less attention is paid to citizens’ obligations in a democracy and for that we can only blame the HDZ and SDP governments and their controlled mainstream media; more and more the diaspora-based citizens’ obligations in democracy are undermined and threatened to irrelevance and for that we can blame the same governments.

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” This is one of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s most well remembered quotes, worldwide, because of its gravitas and its universality. As Croatians, legal citizens of Croatia living outside Croatia, we should view patriotism as an avenue for identifying systemic problems related to our rights and plights within our Croatian homeland society and proposing solutions, rather than blindly upholding or passively permitting the existence of oppressive systems and essentially oppressive people in authority, we have been served with in Croatia’s governments since year 2000.  General elections for the Croatian Parliament are imminent – they will be held on 4th and 5th July 2020.

While the bitter fact remains that both HDZ and SDP governments in Croatia have, on the side of apparent malice towards the diaspora, severely cut the number and accessibility to polling booths in the diaspora and denied the diaspora the ease of electronic and postal voting, the other side of the coin shines with the diaspora’s will to participate in the betterment of Croatian society; for ourselves, for our children and grandchildren. That is, in fact, the side of the coin that moved the Croatian diaspora in its exceptional efforts during early 1990’s in helping create the free and independent state of Croatia. Our job is not yet done, though, we must participate in the ongoing battles to rid Croatia of remnants of the communist Yugoslavia oppressive and unfriendly public administration and red tape that frustrate normal living all Croatians deserve.

Each and every one of us in the Croatian diaspora, who holds the citizenship, needs to come out and vote at the coming elections. I am aware that for many that is a logistical difficulty because of the distances to the nearest Croatian Embassy or Consulate. But, remember please: we endured the same, if not worse difficulties when we acted in high spirits and physical hardships during the times of the Homeland War to ensure Croatia achieves independence!

Voting from the diaspora in the elections for the Croatian Parliament is one of the leading qualities of one’s patriotism for the Homeland. In the country with the freedom achieved through the Homeland War and with the mighty resources we have in the diaspora, we must not permit our metaphorical house plants of peers (those who live in Croatia and love Croatia as much as we in the diaspora do) just wilt, and blame the oppressive and unfriendly governments for the decline in standards of living in Croatia. After all, Croats from the diaspora fought “tooth and nail” during the Homeland War so that Croats in Croatia could have a good life and a prosperous life like most in the diaspora do, so that many of us could return to the Homeland and feel at home. Certainly most of us did not feel at home before emigrating or fleeing from communist Yugoslavia.

The Croatian diaspora can’t keep neglecting our Croatian people in Croatia that are struggling as we do by not voting in general elections, hence giving room to those who do not love democracy and Croatia as much as we do to get into government.

Like we did during 1990’s, we must call on our legislators and influencers to bring sunshine back into the lives of many Croatians struggling to live in Croatia. We can only do that by having a greater say in the outcome of general elections for the Croatian Parliament.

We must mobilise again and vote at the coming general elections in early July.

We can’t keep dwelling in negativity that criticisms of the governments bring.

We must try our hardest to reel in, with our votes, a new government that will bring about real changes in Croatia for Croats living abroad and in Croatia.

Please vote on 4th or 5th July 2020. Croatian citizens with residence in the Croatian diaspora and Bosnia and Herzegovina can register to vote ahead of the general elections by filling in the appropriate Form for that and providing a copy of Croatian citizenship ID such as passport or Domovnica/ photo ID by 24th June. Citizens of Croatia living abroad can also register to vote at the polling booth on polling the above days in July.

For your convenience please click this link for a copy of the Registration to Vote Form, print it, fill it in, email or fax or take it to you nearest Croatian Embassy or Consulate BY 24 JUNE and contribute positively to the outcome of general elections. Without your contribution Croatia’s progress into a society that is fair for all, without corruption, simply will not happen in the foreseeable future. Ina Vukic

Donald Trump Vibrations In Croatia

croatia-and-america-flags

The people who put Donald Trump into the Office of the President of the United States want security and solidarity, not creative destruction as the one liberalism is widely credited with; they want four solid walls of abode and a roof over their heads. If anything, in these American presidential elections, a convincing majority of voters have demonstrated that they want deeper solidarity with their own country and a greater order in their country than what liberals, Democrats, have been serving them so far.

 

At this juncture of this article I reflect on Joseph II, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790 (relevant to Croatian historical “belonging”). He is often called a historical liberal hero; he strove to make the traditional society he ruled more liberal through a from-top-to-down revolution. “Everything for the people, nothing by the people” was his motto. Leaders of today’s liberal worlds seem to have similar motto through actions promoting their beliefs that common people should gain their life’s conventions through the trickle-down effect. In America, Trump’s call to people engagement to join in into “making America great again” shows that the “Josephinism” plan has now been rejected, and America’s liberal leaders are reeling with ugly non-acceptance of the American people’s majority vote, almost dismissing anyone who dared defy them as not knowing “diddly- squat” about anything in life.

 

Way back on 9 November 2016, in her concession speech, Hillary Clinton said one of her goals had been “breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams”. This, of course, is a dream of liberalism, which seeks freedom from any social or economic constraint and produces political elites and leaders who appear confident that they can navigate a deregulated society on all major issues. The results so far for the liberal track records across the world has in many ways contributed to widespread unrest of the ordinary citizen and his/her profound struggle to survive, to meet daily expenses and requirements of a decent living.

 

As the world witnessed in November 2016, an overwhelming part of America was simply not confident in the dreams and facets of life Hillary Clinton/Democrats pursued religiously. They voted convincingly for what Donald Trump/Republicans are offering and much of America as well as of the world appear in a state of suspended acceptance of the vote the American people had given.

 

It is no different in Croatia, the political and people camps are divided on Trump issues and, perhaps, for a small Country like Croatia, whose liberal governments or large proportion of liberalised members of non-liberal governments during the past decade and half, especially, had kept on that destructive political tradition from former communist Yugoslavia, which nurtured and pursued dependence on external forces and alliances rather reliance on own strengths and forces as primary benchmark in developing the newfound democracy as an independent country taking care of its own interests and people first. For Croatia, therefore, it stands to understanding that times were easier in many ways when the Democrats ruled from Washington; it’s the beast of communism/socialism that favours liberalism as opposed to patriotism and conservatism. The US Democrats want a stronger European Union and have invested a great deal of political steering, professional effort and financial support into such a Europe. Trump’s Republicans are unlikely to follow Democrats’ footsteps over Europe and he has announced as much. Trump talks of America first.

 

Croatia’s governments have and are investing a great deal of political and life-defining actions into relying on the European Union, as opposed to its own people. We cannot forget that a dismal 28% of Croatia’s voters voted Yes to Croatia’s EU membership in January 2012. Croatia has followed the path of US Democrat political waters as well as being a member of NATO. While there is no official statements regarding unconditional support for Trump, or lack of it, from Croatia’s government or the president that I could find, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had said last week that Croatia has and will follow (subscribe to ?) US politics. How this outlook and orientation may change should Trump change the rules and paths of US engagement in Europe is anyone’s guess, however, Croatia’s president did visit the US during the week prior to the 20 January inauguration, reportedly seeking to establish some new ties with Trump’s incoming administration.

 

The uncertainties of Trump’s future moves, the liberal-led fear mongering, when it comes to Europe, do appear at this stage to expose current Croatian political/economic vulnerabilities. It is of no surprise that Croatia is divided on whether Trump is a good or a bad thing the same way every other country depending on previous US international engagement at various levels is. However, on balance, the political sentiments and allegiances as can be detected from the media and more numerous in the “against Trump” camp. That of course is a reflection of the liberalism and communism still pervading throughout Croatian institutions and public administration/customs avenues.
On many fronts Trump has announced a whole new world of possibilities that are in contrast to and on a collision course with liberalism. Without a doubt, while many try to paint him ridiculous and incompetent listening carefully to his inaugural speech one cannot avoid the conclusion that the man knows what he is talking about and is well aware of the rocky road, possibilities and impossibilities of his missions. One must admire his call to the American people to help make “America great again”, after all wanting to join into making a country work is what street rallies and demonstrations on our streets have always been about. And this is where the more conservative and patriotic political camp in Croatia, openly supporting Trump, and just as openly often ridiculed for it in mainstream media, appears to draw a good part of its breath towards the future. While that political force per se may be relatively smaller, the force of the people is much larger than the bigger political players controlling the nations all-inclusive socioeconomic landscape are; knowing how to engage the people seems a way forward not only for America. That part of Croatia which seeks to restore Croatian patriotism and unity that was once in ample supply when independent Croatia was being created, but brutally attacked for it, may have an added bonus to its lease of life because of Trump. For much of the “conservative/patriotic” Croatia Donald Trump’s victory is as legitimate for furthering their cause as Barrack Obama’s was for hindering it.

“…At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice…In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail…” Trump said (Washington Post/annotated Trump’s inaugural speech). Very potent words for those who listen carefully and have the interests of their own nation at heart first, which (arguably?) is a prerequisite to being able to then look after others.

As shocked as much of the world appears regarding Trump’s directions for America, these however are not news if we carefully consider what’s been going on around the world “lately”, especially Europe where Croatia is. We’ve seen countries turning away from liberal beliefs in open borders, open markets and the resistance to national debates over fundamental national questions. We have seen a number of EU countries either building or considering building border fences to ward off unwanted immigrants or refugees, we have seen the British people vote for Brexit; France’s leading presidential candidate is ultra-conservative (patriotic) Marine Le Pen; 2016 presidential elections in Austria saw the anti-immigrant Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer enter run-off stage of elections, losing by a margin that could easily swing in that direction at next elections; In Hungary, Viktor Orban’s clearly displayed affinity for illiberalism has moved the country toward Christian nationalism and an alliance of some concerning sorts with Russia; and so on.

 

Speaking in grim terms about the current state of affairs in America (to which many nations including Croatia can clearly relate), Trump pledged to improve the nation by putting America and its people first. “From this day forward,” he said, “it’s going to be only America first.” Nothing wrong with that in my book. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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