Croatia: When Flippant Psychiatry Deals At Helm Of Parliament

 

 

Bozo Petrov Speaker of Croatian Parliament Photo: Damir Sencaar/HINA/POOL/Pixsell

Bozo Petrov
Speaker of Croatian Parliament
Photo: Damir Sencar/HINA/POOL/Pixsell

The need for lustration in Croatia is at a critical stage. The inadequate and ineffective jurisprudential addressing of this absolute and unquestionable need, that serves the purpose of cleansing Croatia of communist mindset and practices, is creating destructive social pressures on an already ideologically divided nation, often stirred into contagions of despair due to aggressive resistance in dealing with and condemning communist crimes in Croatia. Croatia’s MOST/BRIDGE of independent lists leader Bozo Petrov is the current Speaker in the Croatian Parliament and he happens to also be an educationally qualified Psychiatrist, who has 4 February 2017 announced his parliamentary group’s upcoming proposition to parliament for changes to State Archives Act, which proposed changes announce a confrontation with the past by recommending that state archives pertaining to matters (especially the Communist Party) prior to 22 December 1990 be opened to the public. Reportedly the majority coalition partner in government, HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union, has signalled its support for the proposal.

 

When asked by Vecernji List journalist Tea Romic if he was aware that the consequences of that move could include a certain form of lustration, which has been a constant open topic in Croatia for years, he replied:

 

The opening of the archives is only the first precondition for the confrontation with (or facing) the past. It’s exclusively through the correct and complete determination and evaluation of historical facts that their relativisation and the skewing can be prevented. Once everything is arranged in black and white there will be no possibility for some political party manipulating the public through the use of incorrect information, and our children will learn history the way it was and not as the one according to some options.

Our aim is to use transparency to arrive at a better society. Of course there will be individuals for whom the opening of the archives will be disagreeable, however, our citizens have the right to find out the facts about happenings and people who had influenced Croatian history.

The opening of the archives is at the same time the closure of the chapters that serve no other purpose except creating needless antagonisms. I will be the happiest when news are new and not from the last century. At least we’ll be able to move from the 1945 theme to the 1990 one. Given the discussions up to date that will be a quantum leap for the politicians.

 

The alarming problem with MOST’s and Petrov’s announced proposal for changes in the State Archives Act includes according to Roman Leljak, a leading Slovenian researcher into communist crimes, the fact that these proposed changes also include proposed sealing off of certain personal information related to criminal records of crimes post-1945 committed in the name of the people. As these records were/are available to the public it’s clear that Petrov’s plan to open up State Archives hides some sinister intent to protect criminals against the nation and these were – communists. This in effect means Petrov is promoting the burial of the identity of people who committed crimes against Croatians as part of communist purges. Simply – will not do!

 

Furthermore, a major and alarming problem with this proposal is that Petrov evidently believes that facing or confronting the information or records of the evil of communism via opening State Archives will on its own heal the Croatian nation of distress caused by the non-processing of communist crimes and the often paralyzing division it causes in the society!

 

Petrov is either a political and medico-professional fruit loop or a twisted product of the communist echelons needing lustration – quick smart! HDZ is not looking better, either, if it supports this dangerous, half-baked, flippant psychiatric prescription for the healing of the nation of its terrible communist past.

 

Our society,” the Psychiatrist come Speaker of the Parliament Petrov said, “is burdened by the divisions that largely rest upon twisted facts and purposeful divisions for political point scoring. I had hoped that, with time, reconciliation would come without the full opening of that wound. I subscribed to the opinion that forgiveness and reconciliation can happen without such a step although I know through my profession that trauma cannot disappear without it being dealt with…That’s why I finally want to finish with that topic and place everything on the table. I believe that this will bring forth the essential confrontation with the truth that is needed, because reconciliation in the still divided society is a precondition for the building of the future that’s unburdened with unproductive discussions…”
So, now, all of a sudden Croatia’s Psychiatrist Speaker of the Parliament has decided that confrontation with the ugly, vicious and painful truth pertaining to Communist Yugoslavia/Croatia is the way to heal the nation. And that – without making sure that the essential elements of that healing process are actually there – such as, some kind of a law that prescribes and regulates lustration. One simply cannot confront someone with their source of trauma and deny them the avenues to properly deal with the source and sanction it, if required.

 

Healing through confrontation and/or exposure is a most serious matter in the health discipline and not a matter to address flippantly as Petrov seemingly thinks that just because he holds qualifications as Psychiatrist he can prescribe a path to national divisions healing through confrontation with the truth, without the need to be professional and fair about it. What a disaster. If planned and controlled carefully confrontation/exposure can be quite a potent path to healing in all sorts of mental health, addiction etc. issues but also in healing divisiveness of an ideologically crumbling or restless nation. It is, however, simply professionally and humanly irresponsible to implement confrontation without ensuring the absolutely necessary processes needed to deal properly with discoveries or arising issues during confrontation.

 

Had MOST and Petrov at least mentioned the need to address lustration legislation as part and parcel of their proposal for opening up State Archives from the communist era then one could only say “thumbs up”. This way, Petrov falls into the category of politicians who fall into the group I wrote about in one of my previous posts: “ Engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers … without functional education and jumping cognitively constrictive barriers usually imposed by long-term pursuits in a particular profession have no adequate capacity to manage a State properly…”

 

Let’s keep in mind, Petrov proposes opening the communist era State Archives for the reason of quelling the distress within the society due to matters relating to unprocessed communist crimes and damaging aspects of that totalitarian regime but offers absolutely no proposals for lustration, which would become a natural and expected consequence of pertinent information found in such archives. Without adequate means to deal with the wounds either opened anew or exacerbated by the examination of those State Archives Petrov now seeks to open, the society will not, cannot, move forward as a reconciled society. Reconciliation process always requires, as an essential part of its lasting success, avenues to deal adequately with residual pain and having access to these communist archives has the potential to create much more pain and resentment if lustration laws and related formal processes are not in place. That is simply the historically and psychologically (if you like) corroborated fact on all levels – individual and national. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

EC’s Donald Tusk’s Pep Talk Elates Croatian Parliament

Donald Tusk President of European Council addresses Croatian Parliament 16 January 2017 Photo:Pool/FA/Cropix

Donald Tusk
President of European Council
addresses Croatian Parliament
16 January 2017
Photo:Pool/FA/Cropix

European Council president’s, Donald Tusk’s Monday 16 January speech in the Croatian parliament celebrating 25 years since the international recognition of Croatia’s independence was a well-received congratulatory recitation of Croatia’s accomplishments with a succinct nudge as to future directions awaiting the country. The deepest political thrust of his speech, however, appears in his mention of reconciliation “of feuding nations, although very difficult, is becoming a reality.” This reality, though, this process of reconciliation with the aggressor (Serbia) from the Croatian side, has, during the past decade or so, left Croatian veterans, the victims of Serb aggression as well as the progress away from communist Yugoslavia heritage at a distressing disadvantage; alas that part of Turk’s speech leaves a bitter taste.

While pep talks, such as the one delivered by Tusk on Monday, boost the spirits and generally encourage for future undertakings, I do trust the future undertakings on any reconciliation with the aggressor will not be as if it’s business as usual just because Tusk lavished it with compliments regardless of Croatia’s internal bitter divisions and unrest about it. To be fair and balanced that process of reconciliation will require a turn-around in tactics and content to benefit Croatian issues, the issues of the victim, not Serbia’s or Serb ones.

Delivering his speech in the Croatian language, Tusk went on to say: “…I know how highly you value your independence. You have paid for it a high price. Twenty-five years ago, Europe and the United Nations recognised your independence in the belief that Croatia would become a part of the political community, for whom freedom, peace, respect for others, observance of international rules and order, are genuine priorities.

And you have not let us down. You have used those twenty-five years well. While carrying the baggage of difficult experiences and healing wounds after a cruel war, you were able to protect your nation against hatred, and you started the great work of building a modern European state. Europe highly values your political maturity, patience and consistency. Thanks to your efforts, the whole region is enjoying an increasingly good reputation, while the reconciliation of feuding nations, although very difficult, is becoming a reality. You are a sign of hope for the change of dreadful fate, which has so harshly, for whole centuries, tested this part of Europe.

I know how difficult this process is, how much sacrifice, and what strategic imagination, it requires. I deeply believe that you will succeed in this work, united internally as well as with the whole of Europe. Independence and democracy do not always have a sweet taste, I know something about this. Conflicts and differences are inherent in the logic of history and in our everyday life. That is why it is so important to continuously search for what connects us, over and over again, tirelessly. You also often argue among each other, also in this building, about your future; that is normal. It is essential, however, that you continue in this great effort for the sake of peace and stability in the region and in the whole of Europe. You have every right to be proud of these twenty-five years, and this pride connects all Croats. Europe is also proud of you and your achievements.”

Tusk’s relentless accolades, optimism and praise — suggesting that everything Croatian governing and presidential leadership and their supporters did meant something truly great (and will continue to mean something truly great) — impregnated his speech so much so that the speech itself effectively functioned as an EU recipe as to how Croatia is to move forward.

Donald Tusk (L) Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitaroviv (C) Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (R) Photo: net,hr

Donald Tusk (L)
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitaroviv (C)
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (R)
Photo: net,hr

He accentuated how Croatia plays a key role in South-Eastern Europe for the EU and praised Croatia for “incredible achievements”. Tusk stood in the Croatian parliament as some sort of EU’s reassurer-in-chief, insisting that paths to independence and democracy always come with conflicts and differences, rarely move in a straight line forward, and that is why “we must contiguously search for what connects us”. The fact is, Croats do not need to search for what connects them, Croats true to Croatia know what connects them; it’s the original goal, voted for by 94% of voters in 1991 referendum on independence – it’s the goal of leaving communism behind and burying it. The situation when the search for what connects “them” within Croatia arises is when communists and communist heritage don’t budge from positions of power, exert power over those who fought for and wanted independence in the first place (unlike them) and constantly try coming up with ideas or rhetoric trying to show what connects them to those who fought for independence. The connections, if established, are usually not genuine, though – or truly lasting. But, Turk’s pep talk does come in handy for those with their hands stretched out towards the EU waiting for handouts of EU funds.

Croatia’s geopolitical position, in many ways, guarantees it a prime seat for the way forward as a facilitator of EU’s plans to integrate South-East Europe into the EU. Croatia’s foreign minister Davor Ivo Stier had said before that in 2016 the focus of Croatia’s foreign policy was put on its relations with neighbouring countries and support to their EU and NATO aspirations as well as on the stability of the southeast of Europe. Judging from Tusk’s speech in Croatia’s parliament, from speeches also delivered by Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic it’s clear that in 2017 the focus of Croatia’s foreign policy will stay the same as in 2016. Given the shaky-grounds of current global and neighbouring political circumstances that often suggest possible shifts of alliances and cooperation it will be interesting to see how capable this rather new Croatian government will be in coping. Whether the new US President Donald Trump will actually move towards shattering all or some of the dreams of prosperity dreamed in EU for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and other similar economy boosters, whether Brexit will turn a significant slab of UK trade tides away from the EU and towards the Atlantic is yet to be seen and how that will affect the EU expansion into South-Eastern Europe plans. It’s only natural that the EU will look after itself, or rather Brussels will. When it comes to this key role Croatia is to play in South-Eastern Europe it appears that there are no visible or palpable plans around to orient one with knowledge and make one comfortably satisfied that Croatia will in this role look after its own interests first. But, judging from Donald Turk’s speech and its apparent function it stands to conclusion that all the Croatian government and president need to do, might do, is nod, nod, and nod – in Brussels’s direction. Oh dear – how restrictive for any Croatian interests that may pop up and not be fully in line what EU envisages . Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Unwavering Threat To Croatia From Serbia

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic Photo: Reuters/ Kacper Pempel

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Photo: Reuters/ Kacper Pempel

The first Yugoslavia (1919-1941) was created in Versailles for Serbs and dominated by the Serbs, under a Serbian royal family. The Serb ideology led to centralist government policies and a dictatorship after 1929, which provoked greater resistance from other national groups – Croats, Slovenes, Bosniaks, Macedonians… However, in April 1941, the Axis powers bombed Belgrade and invaded Yugoslavia. The Germans proceeded to dismantle the Versailles division of territory by returning much of Vojvodina to Hungary and Macedonia to Bulgaria, while attaching Bosnia and Herzegovina to a newly proclaimed “Independent State of Croatia,” known as the NDH after its Croatian name: Nezavisna Dražava Hrvatska under the control of a Croatian nationalist party, the Ustashe and their leader Ante Pavelic. Despite Croatia’s claim to be independent, Germany and Italy divided Croatia into zones of influence, in which each stationed troops. The Germans occupied Serbia and the nationalist Serbian government headed by Milan Nedic administered the Nazi policies and politics.

The Allies won WWII and Yugoslavia’s communists were on that side and Allies utterly ignored the pre-WWII plights for independence from Serb-controlled Kingdom of Yugoslavia by Croats and Slovenes in particular,  thus strengthening the installation of communist Yugoslavia. Communist Yugoslavia set up headquarters in Serbia and was dominated by Serbs in all key positions of political and economic power. The forty-five years of communist Yugoslavia (1945-1991) did not produce the politically desired “brotherhood and unity” between its constituent nationalities/ethnic groups (Serb, Croat, Macedonian, Slovene, Bosnian and Herzegovinian). Instead, amidst blatant discrimination against non-Serb nationalities and oppression, the country gradually fragmented again into increasing pursuits in various states (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) towards independence and secession from communist Yugoslavia. The early 1990’s freedom and secession from communist Yugoslavia pursuits succeeded in all states of Yugoslavia bar Serbia and Montenegro, who united as self-proclaimed the natural heir to Yugoslavia.

Serbia contested and protested the right of the Yugoslav republics to self-determination. To them, the Croats could have their Croatia, but not within its sovereign and internationally recognized borders and, according to Serbs it could not include areas with large numbers of Serbs. Similarly, if the Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, it could not include regions with large numbers of Serbs. Hence, a most murderous and criminal clearing (ethnic cleansing via genocide, mass murder, forced deportations …) of non-Serbs ensued in 1991 in Croatia and 1992 in Bosnia. Military Operation Storm in August 1995 in Croatia liberated most of the Croatian Serb-occupied territory while later in the same year the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 5 August Croatia celebrates its 1995 Operation Storm victory over the Serb aggressor and Serbs, including Serbian leadership have still not accepted anything from that aggression as their responsibility; heck, they keep denying it and keep supporting the evil myth that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forcefully deported from Croatia in 1995 after the Operation Storm when in fact even the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague way back in November 2012 (in the case of Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac) found that there had been no forced deportations of Serbs by Croats or Croatian forces.

Ever since the Croatian court quashed the communist Yugoslavia verdict against the Blessed Alysius (Alojzije) Stepinac on 22 July 2016, Serbia’s government leadership and President (Prime Minster Aleksandar Vucic, Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic and President Tomislav Nikolic) have been escalating their hateful rhetoric against Croatia, alleging that this quashing of the verdict signals that Croatia is rehabilitating the WWII Ustashe regime and fascism! What a load of hateful stuff.

 

Relations between Croatia and Serbia have plunged deep in recent days to the level where one must ask why Croatia even bothers relating at all to its aggressor who has not even acknowledged its murderous ways let alone offered any decent podium for true reconciliation. Inflammatory protest notes and harsh statements have been flung across the border from Serbia that in effect constitute Serbia’s meddling in Croatia’s internal affairs. Impermissible!

 

Tension is expected to escalate even more in coming days as Croatia gears up for the annual anniversary celebration of its victorious 1995 military operation, Oluja, (Storm), on August 5, marking the day when the Croatian military quashed a Serb occupation and power-hold in south-west Krajina region.

 

Some naïve political analysts have said “despite the angry rhetoric from politicians in both countries, the escalation in tensions between Croatia and Serbia is not expected to have long-term consequences for their relations or for regional security. Nor is it expected to be a setback for Serbia’s progress towards EU accession. Overall, this is a re-raising of tensions, which are always present.”  Such a light outlook on such a serious matter is most damaging because the Croatian people continue to suffer vilification and fear a resurgence of Serb aggression within their own country, and which fear had not been removed by the victory of Operation Storm in 1995.

 

The absolute need for Croatia to block the closing of Chapter 23 in Serbia’s path to EU membership unless Serbia changes, does away with its laws through which it, Serbia, gives itself the right to prosecute people across the territory of former Yugoslavia for crimes committed anywhere on that territory during the 1990’s war of aggression, in which Serbs were the aggressors, must be pursued by Croatian authorities. According to its current law, Serbia has universal jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and can prosecute all crimes, no matter where they took place or who were the perpetrators. This  potentially and actually means that a British, Irish, French, German, US, Canadian, Australian or Middle East national could also be prosecuted by Serbia as individuals from those countries did join the fight for freedom against Serb aggression in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina etc.

 

Trumped up charges are no strangers to Serbia in its quest to clear its name as aggressor using denial and false assertions.

 

Furthermore, that which corroborates the fact that Croats justifiably fear Serb aggression to this day is found a reported Open letter to the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, reportedly written on 25 July 2016 by a bunch of thugs living in Serbia who call themselves “The Government of the Serbian Republic of Krajina (RSK) in Exile” – the thugs and criminal their associates who ethnically cleansed of non-Serbs one third of Croatian territory (Krajina) and occupied it between 1991 and 1995! The letter reportedly includes the following demands:

1. That she express remorse and apology to Serbs who were expelled from the RSK and Croatia. (Now, the facts are that Serbs, after having ethnically cleansed and destroyed much og Krajina fled voluntarily, fearing any possible repercussions to their murderous deeds in Croatia, as Croat forces regained the occupied territory in 1995 and ICTY in the Hague ruled there had been no expulsions/forceful deportations of Serbs in Croatia).

2. Stop the Ustashe events on 5th August in Knin (Operation Storm celebrations). Stop gloating and pour salt over our painful wound of early August, because you have not defeated anyone, except the elderly women and children you killed in their homes. Moral nations are ashamed of such victories. Milosevic’s officers had pulled the Krajina army out, probably fearing threats from your NATO patrons, not your defence forces. (While being a demand of florid lunacy, in here the Serbs admit they pulled their army out of Croatia [who by the way took the Serb civilians with them] and yet in the demand above they say Serbs were expelled.)

3. Return to us Serbs our stolen land Serbian Republic of Krajina (This corroborates the pathetic and dangerous belief that Serbs maintain regarding owning part of Croatia’s sovereign territory. This territory had always been Croatian despite the fact that under the Austro-Hungarian Empire Serbs from Serbia were centuries ago permitted to settle on Croatian land.)

4.Return our to us our property in the same condition as we had left it when we fled and that you had destroyed. You destroyed property, you fix it. (Well now, while Croatia has done a great deal in ensuring housing etc for those Serbs who had returned to live in Croatia after the war, Serbia and Serbs have done absolutely nothing in paying for damages to properties belonging to non-Serbs they had destroyed in Croatia. It’s time Croatia does more on this with view to demanding compensation from Serbs.)

5.Return the Serbs into the Constitution of R. Croatia, as an equal and constitutional people. (Well Croatia has never been populated in such a way that would justify this. Furthermore, majority Serbs in Croatia had never been loyal to Croatia as their hiomeland but always looked to Serbia as their only homeland and wanted to annexe part of Croatia for Serbia.) … etc to 14 demands.

As far as we, the representatives of the people of Krajina, are concerned we are ready for talks and negotiations on all the points of our demands. If anyone considers that we will give up Krajina they are terribly fooled. Throughout the history Serbs have been coming in and out of Krajina but they had always returned to it! We also will return. It’s only a matter of time and worldly circumstances… In Belgrade, 25 July 2016, Rajko Lezaic, president of RSK Assembly.”
Can anyone believe this appalling state of affairs? Croatia’s president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic should ignore this letter if it reaches her office abut she should not discard its implications. It constitutes an important part of the threat that has been incessantly, with increasing force, coming from Serbia into Croatia. It should form a part of firm and resolute policie in dealing with these threats and vilification against the Croatian people for the good of peace and piece of mind. The inflammatory diplomatic notes, the distressing statements and claims Serbia and Serbs are making against Croatia currently may tone down after the 11 September 2016 general elections in Croatia but they will never tone out unless Croatia’s leadership shows some teeth in Serbia’s direction and rejects publicly, so the whole world can hear, all such vilifying rhetoric from Serbia and Serbs against Croatia. In order to prove EU still desirable after Brexit the EU may regretfully show a lighter hand in its requirements for Serbia to become an EU member state, but that does not mean Croatia must accept those lighter standards. No way!  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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