Fear And Loathing In Croatia

Croatia's president Ivo Josipovic Does he think, not only dress as Mao Tse Tung or Kim Il Jong?

Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic
Does he think, not only dress
as Mao Tse Tung or Kim Il Jong?


Politics is a rough game, they say. The current president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, might have a lead as a favourite presidential candidate at coming elections according to surveys, which at best are left-leaning vessels trying to shape public opinion rather than reflecting the real opinion, but just have a peek into a couple of those anti-Croat independence tropes and symbolism he has dished out.

It was February 2012 when, mean-spirited, he began using the word “snake” in talking about World War II Croatian fight for independence, trying to characterize everyone in that movement as Nazi/fascist driven extermination of Jews. Of course, his hatred for the communist camp he supports, if for nothing else then because his own father/family are said to have headed the Goli Otok (Naked Island) torture and false imprisonment camp Yugoslav communists held for decades to shut out innocent people who did not agree with communism, is nowhere to be seen. His reactions to numerous endeavours for the prosecution of Communist crimes have at best been insignificant. He pinned no “nickname” such as a “snake” to communist criminals even though, judging by the numbers exterminated/murdered by the communists, the word “snake” would be too mild to describe communist crimes. Indeed, he went out of his way to try and stop the recent extradition to Germany of two former communist secret police operatives (Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac), who are to be tried next month in relation to murder of Croatian national in early 1980’s.

This kind of hatred that attempts to equate those who fought for Croatian independence goes way beyond ordinary politics and deep into the realm of abnormal psychology. In its full-blown manifestations, it is akin to what an ophidiophobe feels at the sight of a snake: visceral and existential; categorical and absolute. It turns on the gut certainty that your adversaries aren’t looking just to raise your taxes but to destroy your whole way of life: that they are not only wrongheaded, but preternaturally evil. Comparatively few people experience these feelings on a conscious level, but they lie latent in many more of us than we might suspect and the coin turned to pro-communist symbolism, the danger for Croatian democracy is alarming.

Similarly, his often-found symbolic words or gestures leave no doubt that his message is: you defend communism (or at least communist Yugoslavia) or your life will not really amount to much. Ivo Josipovic has for some months been a busy man in his evident associations with attempts to belittle his opponent Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and even though the official presidential election campaigns have not started (it is anticipated that presidential elections will be held either late December 2014 or January 2015) he has been a busy with fear and loathing of anyone who would stand in his path to a second mandate as president of Croatia.

The attire he chose for his latest visit to flood affected Karlovac (Saturday, 13th September) leaves nothing to the imagination – it was a definite statement of loyalty to communist regimes; it was a definite statement: you like communism or else! Why else would he dress in the way that reminds one of Mao Tse Tung or Kim Il Jong! Surely, even a child would see the symbolism in the clothes he wore during this pre-election campaign time, let alone a grown up who has decided on how he will conduct himself during the election campaign months ago!

When we look at the fact that political loyalties secure jobs and other favours within the Croatian society governed by the Social Democrats, political party Josipovic left as active member as he headed for the presidential office, who sprung out of the Communist Party, his attire in Karlovac sends shudders into the thoughts as to what another mandate under his presidency might mean.

Many argue that the values of democracy and independence are being systematically eroded by political elites in Croatia, especially those who have not, even after more than twenty years since the war of independence from communism, found time and efforts to discard the atrocious past of communist indoctrination. Many argue and protest against the palpable pressure to conform to the political elites and fear for their own well being if they dared to speak against those in political power. And so, the hopes lie with presidential candidates such as Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who will know where to place and how to deal with Croatia’s unfortunate political rut and raise true values of democracy where they should be.

No matter how this presidential election turns out, the endgame has already begun: Thanks to those who love the Croatian nation and what it stands for, Croatia is becoming more assertive of its rights to independence from communist regime and its corrupt tentacles. But as every hunter knows, a wounded or cornered quarry is the most dangerous. Even as the communist hegemony declines, its backlash politics become more vicious – Croatia has felt this ugly viciousness especially in the “antifascist” efforts to criminalise the war of independence, to defame and degrade Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman with utter lies. These so-called antifascists may succeed in turning back the clock for some time if Croatian voters do not wake up to the ugly truth Josipovic and his politically soaked suit, attire in Karlovac, stand for! It is not just a suit from an ordinary wardrobe Josipovic wore at an important event on Saturday – it is an item of symbolism, either carefully or recklessly chosen but ominous, reflecting fear and loathing whichever way you turn, nevertheless. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Sell Croatian Diplomatic And Consular Missions? No Deal!

dr Franjo Tudjman's Letter March 1992 (Click image to enlarge)

dr Franjo Tudjman’s Letter March 1992 (Click image to enlarge)

One week – it’s on, one week – it’s off! One week we hear that the Croatian government is planning to close some of Croatia’s consular missions in Australia (and elsewhere) and then one week we hear that this is not the case! Certainly, there has been enough in Croatian media over past decade or so suggesting that plans of closures are indeed afoot, if for no other reason then to save money! Such “rumours” as well as statements from left-wing political camp foreign ministers started with Tonino Picula in 2000, lingered, and seem now amplified by Vesna Pusic. While purposeful moves to distance the diaspora from its homeland do not surprise one, as they originate from those who did not want Croatian independence in the first place, it is up to the diaspora to fight against these destructive moves. Particularly in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South American countries, US – the more distant ones. Since Croatia is a EU member state one can argue that too many diplomatic missions are not necessary across it (?).

Well if the incompetent government wants to save money on operations that are a lifeline to the homeland for its large body of émigrés then, I guess, it has the mandate to do it.

However, the Croatian government must know that most of the properties where the diplomatic and consular missions are established in the “Western” world were actually purchased through dedicated, specific, purposeful charitable fundraising and if the government cannot operate them as intended and promised then it is only reasonable to demand that these properties be handed over to the Croatian communities who donated the funds for their purchase and such properties be utilised for other uses the donor Croatian community needs. I would hate to see the government selling these valuable properties and pocketing the proceeds from the sale to plug holes in the state budget they brought to the brink of bankruptcy through incompetence.

When on Easter Sunday 1991(31 March) the war of Serb aggression against Croatia began, the initial shock that struck hard within Croatian communities across the world (there are were/are as many Croats living outside Croatia as there are in Croatia itself) swiftly turned into actions of solidarity with the Croatian homeland, with the plight of democracy and secession from communist Yugoslavia. Almost overnight, countless new associations of Croatian ex-patriots emerged – everywhere, across all six continents where Croats lived, whose mission was to collect humanitarian aid (goods and money) and send it to assist Croatia. The clubs, churches and associations that had already existed joined the efforts and Croatian diaspora was mobilised in helping. Without the solidarity from its diaspora Croatia would not have emerged as an independent and democratic country in those days when Yugoslav institutions and communist controls still existed from Belgrade (Serbia) with the sole purpose of quashing with extreme brutality of murder, rape, ethnic cleansing, wanton destruction, plunder… the will of the people for democracy in Croatia

Having achieved widespread international recognition as an independent country by February 1992 the time came for Croatia to establish its own diplomatic and consular missions across the world, Serbs took hold of the properties where the embassy and consulates of Yugoslavia had been as if they were their own! So, “penniless” and still defending itself in the war of Serb aggression, Croatia had no adequate financial means to set up its diplomatic and consular missions abroad. In came the initiative from the diaspora to set up special-purpose Funds that would raise charitable funds among émigrés, which would be used for the sole purpose of purchasing properties that would house Croatian embassies and consulates.

As the laws in “Western” countries where Croats fundraised dictate, charitable funds and assets must only be used in furtherance of the purposes the funds were raised. And so, by the end of 1992 to about March 1993 Croats across the world raised enough funds to purchase the needed properties and equip the diplomatic and consular missions with all and necessary equipment and tools needed. In Australia the results were as amazing as everywhere else in the world. Australian Croats had purchased valuable properties in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth for consular offices and in Canberra they commenced building a grand building that would house the Croatian Embassy.

On hearing about the plan Croats living abroad had to raise funds for the purchase and establishment of Croatian diplomatic and consular missions Franjo Tudjman, Croatia’s first president, wrote letters to Croatian communities abroad applauding their efforts and thanking them. In his letter to Australian Croats in March 1992 he wrote:

To the Croats in Australia
With great satisfaction, I have received the information that you wish to collect charitable funds with view to giving Croatia the buildings for diplomatic and consular missions in Australia.
As the president of all Croats, I support and highly respect the intention that the fundraising action for this purpose be all-Croatian and that it gathers together as many of our émigrés as possible, regardless of political or other association.
At the same time, I would like to inform you of my intention and my great wish to, if at all possible, visit Australia for the occasion of the opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Australia.
Signed: Franjo Tudjman, President of the Republic of Croatia, 13 March 1992 Ref. PA12-7/3-92”.

In just over twenty years of Croatian diplomatic and consular missions in operations across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US, South America…there has been very little achieved in that “gathering” of diaspora Croats towards a better, stronger and optimally fruitful and dynamic connection with the homeland. If anything, since the death of Franjo Tudjman in 1999, the close and benevolent connection that existed then, and had the potential of significant contribution towards building a full democracy in Croatia, targeting in particular issues associated with transition from communism, had been systematically eroded. Purposefully perhaps?

And so, having been centrally and significantly involved in the early 1990’s fundraising drives for the establishment of Croatian diplomatic and consular missions in Australia, I sit here and ponder, with an uneasy and heavy heart. Should we allow an incompetent government in Croatia tear apart that which the community secured with charitable funds? Should we keep quiet until it’s too late and the properties we purchased for specific purposes, with charitably donated funds – are sold off by the government? I think not! But if the government sells the properties anyway, then it should be stopped in squandering the money from the proceeds of sale in plugging budgetary holes. The properties or the proceeds of sale should remain in the function for which they were purchased and if that is not possible then their function must remain in the greater use and benefit of the diaspora community, which donated the funds to establish them. Certainly, there are ample records kept of the history of the sources of funding for ‘the bricks and mortar’ and how these diplomatic and consular missions were established.
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” said one of the American founding fathers Thomas Jefferson long ago.


And I resist and rebel against the sale of the properties purchased specifically for Croatian diplomatic and consular missions with charitable donations. If the Croatian government comes to the decision to ‘get rid’ of these properties then I do expect that the Croatian community in the diaspora will know how to protest and stop such madness and unjust actions and assert once again its rights over these properties. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Day Of Reckoning For Communist Crimes Needs A Strong Wake-up Call

Partisan from communist army stands at mass grave of innocent Croat victims after World War II Photo: braniteljski-portal.hr

Partisan from communist army stands
at mass grave of innocent Croat victims
after World War II
Photo: braniteljski-portal.hr

Do you remember the EU Commission resolution number 1481 on condemnation of communist crimes?” writes Mladen Pavkovic, president of Homeland War Veterans Association 91, on the Croatian Veteran’s portal and continues with his eye-opening and sharp summing up of the disturbing situation associated with the current Croatian political leadership in government, which evidently makes it its business to cover-up the widespread communist crimes perpetrated during the times of communist Yugoslavia:
The Resolution was passed by the Assembly of the European parliament on 25th January 2006 in Strasbourg and it condemns the criminal nature of the Communist party from the time of the October revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which the democratic representatives had stamped communism as a totalitarian ideology and in which (Josip Broz) Tito’s Yugoslavia was mentioned as a country in which the communists had perpetrated multitudes of crimes against nations and individuals.  European Council had recommended that lustration be carried out in former communist countries, such as Yugoslavia, of the members and spies of the communist secret police and highly positioned communist party officials who had breached human rights during communist times. Seven years after the Resolution what has happened in relation to this in Croatia? Almost nothing, or very little.

That is, finally the alleged crimes perpetrated by members of the communist police (Zdravko) Mustac and (Josip) Perkovic have surfaced and more than ever there is talk and writing about the former UDBA operatives, but instead of prosecuting, processing and imprisoning them it’s incredulous with what might the Croatian government protects these people, who are exceptionally many in number and who had at the beginning of nineteen-nineties, coming out of the communist UDBA (secret police) simply turned their coats inside-out and began working as if nothing had happened in the Croatian and other secret services.

They’ve pulled along with them hundreds, or thousands of traitors and spies who had committed crimes during Broz’s dictatorship, and so, especially after some interviews with Perkovic one gets the impression that the former UDBA operatives were at the helm of creating the Croatian state, when in fact they utilised blackmail, theft and various other ‘tricks’ to hold in ‘check position’ most of the Croatian greats who were truly on the front lines against the aggression by the Serbs, Montenegrins and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA).  

Beside crossing over during the night from UDBA into the Croatian secret and other services like chameleons, beside the fact that their personnel are in almost all important leading functions, from banks, economy, judiciary, schools, health, to high-level politics, they have managed to employ as ‘secret agents’ and spies a good proportion of their own family members and, hence, we cannot really be surprised with the fact that there is not even a word let alone an implementation of lustration in Croatia, that the European Council Resolution regarding condemnation of communist crimes remains – a dead letter on paper.   

Often these days, new Broz’s (Tito’s) mass graves are discovered in Slovenia and Croatia, filled with innocent Croats.  Who is investigating these crimes? It’s clear to us now – nobody, because the same people who came over from the criminal UDBA to Tudjman’s side at the beginning of nineteen-nineties would need to investigate them, and those UDBA operatives are among the worst criminals and so it’s impossible to expect that they would process and incarcerate themselves.  That’s why we see that every time a new mass grave from Tito’s era is discovered, earth-moving machinery (bobcats…) move in and dig out the bones of innocent people, then all that is thrown onto a heap and is buried again, as if nothing had happened.

After all, who was it that murdered tens of thousands of Croats after World War II, who killed innocent Croats living abroad, just because they did not agree with Broz’s (Tito’s) politics? The question is now also being put about Goli Otok and Stara Gradiska, the most horrible of death camps.  If you come to Stara Gradiska you will see that nobody maintains it, it’s falling apart on its own. Soon there will be no trace of this camp where various ‘Perkovics’ and ‘Mustacs’ sent tens of thousands of innocent Croats.  Where are those who administered those death camps, in which very large number of innocent Croats were killed and massacred, today, where are those who convicted those innocent Croats to such horrible punishment? Some have died, some still enjoy their villas and weekend houses by the sea, and some continue to work in the secret and other police services, especially in courts and public attorneys’ offices as if the crimes from Broz’s (Tito’s) regime have nothing to do with them.  

Zagreb also has Marshall Tito Square, and streets and squares carrying his name exist all over Croatia. The former UDBA operatives have never been stronger.  Just look at what happens on occasions of marking Tito’s birthday or his death, in Kumrovec (Tito’s birth place).  Every year more and more supporters of this criminal gather there; they wave Yugoslav flags, dance Serb and other reels, spit on Croatia, and continually say that there would be no Croatia without them! After the interview with Perkovic, that has regretfully been shown to be true to a point.  

That is, when Serb aggression started, who had the time to check who was coming from UDBA and who from the criminal Yugoslav People’s Army to avoid asking later – what did you do during the era of Broz’s (Tito’s) dictatorship?  Perkovic even boasted that it was due to his intervention that dr. Franjo Tudjman received his passport back during the times of communism and he considers that as his great success instead of revealing who the people were that took the passports away from Tudjman and thousands of Croats because they did not agree with the politics of the Communist Union and sent them to prison and hard labour camps? One of those was he (Perkovic), as some call him ‘Croatian secret agent No. 1’.  Exceptional attention is paid to him today as if he was ‘chief among chiefs’, but beside him there were hundreds of his colleagues who committed lesser or greater bestialities than he, but no one has publicly revealed who they were. However, that which is most horrible in all of this is the fact that these ‘Perkovics’ are not at all ashamed of their shameful role during the time of Broz’s (Tito’s) government, and so in published memoirs of 99% of these and similar people you will notice one ‘chapter’ is missing – what they did during the time of communist Yugoslavia?

In the European Council Resolution regarding condemnation of communist crimes it’s emphasised, among other things, that the victims of crimes of totalitarian regimes who are still alive or their families, deserve condolences, understanding and recognition for their suffering.

Have you ever heard or read that the innocent Croats victims, from Bleiburg, Stara Gradiska, Lepoglava to Goli Otok, received recognition, compensation or something like that? Today, Croatia is paying compensation to individual Serb survivors who had participated in the Serb aggression but due to lack of evidence it has not been proven that as ‘civilians’ they held rifles, while nobody asks about tens of thousands of innocent Croats who perished or suffered from a Serb bullet or knife, in which lack of asking various ‘Mustacs’ and ‘Perkovics’ play an important part and the whole of the country’s leadership, instead of condemning them, rallies behind them as being some Heroes of the Homeland war and not common criminals, and so, one Germany must show us who those persons are and explain why they must go behind bars, and not to ‘coffee with the president’!
Written by Mladen Pavkovic
Translated in English by Ina Vukic.

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