Croatia: President’s Somewhat Misguided Address To Nation

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Addresses the Nation 9 May 2016 Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Addresses the Nation 9 May 2016
Photo: Screenshot HRT TV news

 

Monday 9 May marked Victory Day – World War II victory against Fascism in Europe. In Croatia, just like for example in Russia, those that celebrated V-Day were descendants of or supporters of murderous communists who, unlike the defeated Fascists, systematically built trails of despair, destruction, oppression and slaughter of innocent people for decades to come after WWII.
Monday 9 May 2016 was the day when Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic decided to address the nation from her Office in Zagreb via a televised special event, which caught many Croats by surprise and which left a great deal of mixed feelings; probably unease, bitterness, defiance and approval in equal doses spread across the nation.

Not unexpectedly, the international press that is more often than not anti-Croatia interpreted her address as an “appeal for reconciliation between right and left wing supporters for the sake of the future,” and not missing the opportunity to say to the world that in the same appeal Kitarovic said Croatia faces “an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and glorification of destroyed criminal regimes,” “referring to both the Nazis and Communists.”

There has never been a Nazi regime in government in Croatia but, hey, for much of the twisted world media that does not matter – truth is cheap.

She said the current divisions “destroy the foundations of the state.” Also, her address gave the international press yet another opportunity to vilify Croatia’s new government as “right-wing government has been accused of turning a blind eye to the surge of the far right and contributing to a surge of fascist sentiment in Croatia.”

Of course, Grabar-Kitarovic is no clairvoyant nor can she (as far as I know) look into a crystal ball and predict the future, but she could have easily predicted that her address to the nation of this magnitude and content would pour more oil onto the fires that maliciously paint Croatia as a country with a fascist renewal.

In recent times we have witnessed an escalation of intolerance, hate speech and the glorification of failed criminal regimes…

 

Once again, loud and clear, I will say the Ustasha regime, with its ties to fascism and Nazism, maiming parts of Croatian territory and with criminal acts of mass expulsions and killings had in the worst way abused and severely tarnished the then legitimate desire of the Croatian people for their own state.

 

Likewise, we must strictly separate anti-fascism, as a value of modern Europe and modern Croatia, recorded in our Constitution, from the criminal Yugoslav communist regime under which tens of thousands of different nationalities and ideas were brutally executed as enemies of the people without trial or any human rights.

 

The modern Croatian state rests upon the reconciliation between the children of the Ustasha and the Partisans. If we were so divided in 1991 as we are today, we would certainly have not, under the Croatian President Dr Franjo Tudjman’s leadership, realised our dream of free Croatian state…

 

I ask a question to the Croatian government and all state institutions: Are you aware that busloads of our young people are leaving the country on a daily basis, not only because of lack of work, but also because of the unbearable pollution with hatred and intolerance of the atmosphere of the public space. Snap out of it! Stop quarreling and get to work! …
Otherwise, this spiral of competition to justify regimes that do not deserve justification, will escalate into the streets, the tram, the stadiums, and then there will be no more chance for corrections…”

 

Well, it is true: ideological divisions between the “left” and the “right” are rife in Croatia but aren’t they everywhere else! One only needs to look at the US Presdential Elections or the British general elections coming up, or the French or … to see the gaping divisions filled with hate and intolerance and lies. That is the political fight that’s seizing the world like a plague.

 

In Croatia, though, this division is not as “simple” as just ideological, as president Grabar-Kitarovic calls it – it has much to do with unfulfilled justice for the victims of communist crimes and it bothers me very much when this fact is put in the same basket as “ideological differences”. The roots of divisions are amply in the fact that Croatia has not dealt properly with the communist Yugoslavia past, it itself calls criminal. The Ustashe regime has been criminalised through banning of its symbols etc but the communist has not! So, I am once again most disappointed in President Grabar-Kitarovic’s address as it stands for rhetoric and a kind of parental reprimand, which never goes down well among the adult population. She, one can see, has not made a move it seems to urge the Croatian government to legislate for the banning of communist symbols etc.

 

Regretfully, she has not in her address to the nation given any concrete guidance as to what may be done to improve the things of ideological quarrels and divisions that alarm her; she does not for instance say: I will lobby and urge the government and the parliament to pass legislation that will make the communist Yugoslavia regime a criminal regime by law not only by hearsay.

 

She should not go about leaving the impression that she is unperturbed with living a double-standard that the lack of such legislation points to and expect the people throw blind eyes at it! It’s not a good look for a president otherwise well loved and respected.

 

Furthermore, it is not entirely true that Croats were not divided ideologically in 1991, as she said – it’s an established fact that when Croatian Parliament went to vote for secession from communist Yugoslavia the League of Communists/today’s Social Democrats walked out of the Parliament as they did not want an independent Croatia. They wanted Yugoslavia then and they want it now! The alternative for them is to accept and bear at least an unwanted ideological burden of the criminal heritage they carry from being tied to the communist regime!

 

The only ones who need to “Snap out of it! Stop quarreling and get to work” are indeed the government and the public institutions dealing with legislature. Pass the law outlawing communist Yugoslav regime and its expressions and the future will turn for the best. Stop living double-standards, stop spewing rhetoric that reminds of former president Stjepan Mesic who would prostitute himself politically to anyone who pays but never really do much in actually disarming the residue of communist Yugoslavia activists within independent Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Victory Remembers The Children

Within 72 hours Croatian, the swift and freedom loving military operation Storm had by 5 August 1995 liberated Croatian territory (about 25% of Croatia’s total territory), territory occupied by rebel Croatian Serbs with the help of Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia for four years.

This year is the 18th anniversary of Operation Storm, of Croatia’s victory in the name of freedom and democracy.

Casualties of Croatia’s Homeland War – a snapshot:

Croats Killed: 15,970 (including 402 children/6,605 civilians) (source: Ivo Pilar Institute)

Croats Missing: 2,251 (currently the number in excess of 1,700 due to discoveries of mass graves in recent couple of years)

Croat Wounded and permanently disabled: 32, 249 (969 children/90 severely permanently disabled as result of wounds). Total number of wounded: 48,677

Croat Veteran suicides after the war: 2,283

Croat casualties from landmines left from war:  509 people killed and 1,466 injured

Orphaned Croat children through war (lost either both or one parent): 10,000

While Croatia celebrates today the glory of victory over evil thoughts of gratitude go to all those who lost their lives for this noble cause.

Let a special light shine upon memories of the innocent children who lost their lives in this brutal war of aggression and upon those who suffered trauma that will haunt them throughout their lives.  Let’s trust that all those individuals who perpetrated these horrible crimes will meet their deserved justice – soon.

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Croats expelled from Vukovar Nov 1991

Croats expelled from Vukovar Nov 1991

10 000 children lost their parent/s in Croatia's Homeland War

10 000 children lost their parent/s in
Croatia’s Homeland War

Croat child refugee 1991 Photo: wikimedia

Croat child refugee 1991
Photo: wikimedia

Croatia December 1992

Croatia December 1992

Vukovar 1991

Vukovar 1991

Croatia Ilok near Vukovar Oct 1991

Croatia Ilok near Vukovar Oct 1991

Croatia Slavonski Brod May 1992 28 Croat children were killed in this town

Croatia Slavonski Brod May 1992
28 Croat children were killed in this town

Croatia Slavonski Brod 1992 funeral of killed children photo: Udruga Travnik

Croatia Slavonski Brod 1992 funeral of
killed children photo: Udruga Travnik

Croatia 1992 - amidst the devastation

Croatia 1992 – amidst the devastation

Croatia Slkavonski Brod - 1992 Yugoslav Army planes' indiscriminate bombing

Croatia Slkavonski Brod – 1992 Yugoslav Army planes’
indiscriminate bombing

Croatia 1995 - we remember! Photo: Moslavina Museum Kutina

Croatia 1995 – we remember!
Photo: Moslavina Museum Kutina

Croatia Skabrnje massacre victims - late 1991

Croatia Skabrnje massacre victims – late 1991

Croatia Slavonski Brod 1992 Children were killed brutally

Croatia Slavonski Brod 1992
Children were killed brutally

Croatia 1992 - wounded child  Photo: Tomas Samogyi

Croatia 1992 – wounded child
Photo: Tomas Samogyi

Croatia Slavonski Brod Tribute to fallen children

Croatia Slavonski Brod
Tribute to fallen children

Croatia Vukovar Nov 1991  Croats expelled from their homes by Serbs

Croatia Vukovar Nov 1991
Croats expelled from their homes by Serbs

Croatia Vukovar 1991 - at burial of murdered father Photo: Ron Haviv

Croatia Vukovar 1991 – at burial of murdered father
Photo: Ron Haviv

Croatia Vukovar 1991 - amidst death and destruction Photo: Christopher Morris

Croatia Vukovar 1991 – amidst death and destruction
Photo: Christopher Morris

Croatia Zagreb Dec 1991 - A Croat child farewells soldier father Photo: Jadran Mimica

Croatia Zagreb Dec 1991 – A Croat child farewells soldier father
Photo: Jadran Mimica

Croatia Vukovar 1991 - a collage of Serb brutality Photo: forum-net.hr

Croatia Vukovar 1991 – a collage of Serb brutality
Photo: forum-net.hr

Croatia Slavonski Brod May 2013 Children remember the children  Photo: soundset.hr

Croatia Slavonski Brod May 2013
Children remember the children Photo: soundset.hr

Croatian Homeland War Timeline Photo: illyria-proboards.com

Croatian Homeland War Timeline
Photo: illyria-proboards.com

In celebrating the victory of Operation Storm  Croatian National Bank issued a commemorative gold coin of featuring the town of Knin - "The Town of Croatian Kings" - all proceeds from the sale of  this coin went to the "Save the Children of Croatia" (Humanitarian Foundation For Children Of Croatia" Headed and founded by president Franjo Tudjman's wife Ankica Tudjman. Ankica Tudjman was the first person in the war of Croatia to dedicate  humanitarian efforts across the globe to aid Croatian war orphaned children.

In celebrating the victory of Operation Storm
Croatian National Bank issued 1995 a commemorative
gold coin of featuring the town of Knin – “The Town
of Croatian Kings” – all proceeds from the sale of
this coin went to the “Save the Children of Croatia”
(Humanitarian Foundation For Children Of Croatia)
Headed and founded by president Franjo Tudjman’s
wife Ankica Tudjman. Ankica Tudjman was the first
person in the war of Croatia to dedicate
humanitarian efforts across the globe to aid
Croatian war orphaned children.

Croatian leftist government’s pathetic attempt to erode the dignity of Victory Day

Banner at Cavoglave Croatia 5 August 2012 People celebrate 17th anniversary of “Victory Day and Homeland Gratitude” and “Day of Croatian Defenders”

Whether the fact that communist party predecessors of the current leftist Croatian government had rejected in 1991 the will of the majority of Croatian people to secede from communist Yugoslavia, (walked out of parliament when declaration of independence was being voted on June 25 1991) had anything to do with the bizarre taste left by the official celebration in Knin last Sunday 5 August is anyone’s guess. But, one cannot help leaning that way and shake one’s head in troubling disbelief.

How did Croatia get here? How did Croatia’s biggest day of celebrations become so controlled and contrived with a plot to dampen joys of victory, of freedom?

Last year the government was criticised far and wide (domestic leftists and selected leftist foreign media) for sending greetings from the Fort of Knin to the ICTY’s prison cells, to Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac – who symbolise the courage for Croatian freedom.

This year, no greetings to the Generals from the official celebration at the Fort of Knin – a lot about Serb victims though, and how they too must be recognised.

Well, last time I checked all victims of the war have been recognised and recorded in Croatia a long time ago. If that were not so then the numerous criminal court proceedings that have been going on in Croatia would not have been going on.

So, who’s pulling whose leg, and why?

The current Croatian leftist government decided that the official celebration at Fort of Knin on 5 August would be humble in numbers but not so humble in references to Serb victims. The unforgivable element of this is that they (government) did not specify which Serb victims need to be recognised: the innocent civilians of Serb ethnicity, the Croatian rebel Serbs (extracted from civilian population)  who reaped horror against Croatians and non-Serbs, or the Serbs from Serbia who came to Croatia to help Croatian rebel Serbs murder and ethnically cleanse as many Croatians and non-Serbs as possible.

Just as well the unjustifiably tortured and vilified as ultra-nationalistic Croatian musician Marko Perkovic Thompson attracted more than 100,000 revelers at the celebrations in Cavoglave of Croatia’s “Victory Day and Homeland Gratitude” and “Day of Croatian Defenders”.

Despite the government’s and the President’s moves to shrink the size of the “official” celebration for free and independent Croatia, besides their inviting to the celebration the, oh so deeply compromised, rebel Serb leader Veljko Dzakula, the people celebrated big time in Cavoglave – away from the government; away from the president.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), largest political party in opposition, led by its president Tomislav Karamarko, also celebrated (in Knin) away from the government, away from the president. They were not invited to the official celebration. Karamarko was also the only politician to question the credibility and suitability of Dzakula as an appropriate Serb guest at the official celebrations. Go Karamarko!

Karamarko seems to know well that reconciliation does not depend on the ad hoc whims of politicians but must be built up from the grassroots, from the people who fought and who suffered.

One would think that both the government and the opposition have an absolute right to be present at official state celebrations that celebrate the people of the nation, the victory of the nation. But no, not for the leftist government of Croatia!

The bizarre taste of the “official” celebration of Croatia’s “Victory Day and Homeland Gratitude” and “Croatian Defenders Day” (at the Fort of Knin – the town that rebel Serbs had cleansed of Croatian and non-Serb people and declared it the capital of Republic of Serbian Krajina) associated with the final liberation of Croatian territory from Serb aggression and occupation through Operation Storm has to do with the mix the following unsavoury occurrences:

  • The president of the country (Ivo Josipovic) invites the rebel Serb leader (who took active part in planning the Serb aggression, murder and ethnic cleansing in 1991) Veljko Dzakula to the official celebration, who says Serb victims need to be recognised;
  • The Greater Serbia politics mouthpiece in Croatia, Milorad Pupovac didn’t come to Knin but his attitudes are nowhere near looking into the eye and confronting the brutal Serb aggression, murder and ethnic cleansing (1991 – 1995) which catapulted the Croatian people into the self-preservation, defence mode. Pupovac instead published a statement on the Serbian National Council website enumerating the wrongs, according to him, done to Croatian Serbs – the Serb victims that fell during Croatia’s Homeland War, the flight of more 250,000 Serbs from Croatia, according to him… He did not specify how many of these victims and fleeing Serbs were actually Serbs from Serbia that flooded Croatia in order to help Croatian rebel Serbs murder and ethnically cleanse the Krajina region. He did not mention with a single syllable, let alone with one word, that the whole tragedy would have been avoided had the Serb minority accepted the will of the majority. He did not mention with a single syllable, let alone with one word, that Serbs did not want peace, that Serbs did not want to live in Croatia, that Croatian Serbs wanted the Croatian territory they occupied and ethnically cleansed to be a Serbian state. He did not mention with a single syllable, let alone with a single word, that Croatia had a right to defend its own life from aggression and murder. He did, though, state that Serbs were native people of Croatia. Please, someone, help this man understand that Serbs are not native people in Croatia, Croatian Kingdom existed many centuries before Serbs started settling there to form an ethnic minority.

It is so crystal clear, judging from Pupovac and Dzakula, as Croatian Serb leaders of note, that many Croatian Serbs have not accepted Croatia as the country they belong to simply as citizens like any other. It’s a given that rights under citizenship, including ethnic minority rights, are to be respected and available to all. I hanker for the day when Croatian Serbs will demand compensation for war losses from Serbia – why should Croatia pay for everything, including resettlement costs of those that fled Croatia under instructions from Serbia!

  • Croatia’s defence minister Predrag Matic Fred, otherwise known as Stuffed Bird, made swift changes to the official celebration protocol, removing invitations for parliamentary opposition leader/s, other dignitaries reportedly for lack of space at the celebration site – the Fort of Knin;
  • Croatia’s President Ivo Josipović said at the celebration of the 17th anniversary of the Operation Storm in Knin that Serb victims needed to be recognised. 

He did not specify which Serb victims needed to be recognised: the Croatian Serbs or the Serbian Serbs that pounced upon Croatia 1991 with guns and knives like wild, hungry animals. As far as I’m concerned these are not victims – they are casualties of war (war that they started and persevered with). As for civilian Serb victims then yes they must be recognised and they have been recognised both in written records and in spoken language but Josipovic seems like he has just landed into Croatia from Mars – or from some Belgrade based dungeon that still guards the Yugoslav flag.
  • Croatia’s prime minister, Zoran Milanovic, wasn’t any better than Josipovic when he said: “To win in peace means to extend a hand to our co-citizens of Serbian nationality and recognise their victims and bow to them. The war in Croatia perpetrated big evil, and Croatia was at the brink of destruction…”

Will someone please tell Croatia’s leftist government and president that the Serb victims have been recognised a long time ago and that’s why there are numerous court cases and investigations going on under their very own government departments. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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