by Marinko CULIC
If only Solana, as a representative of the international community, was also there, but his place by the deceased was not as devoid of symbolic controversy as that of the other two. Since the early nineties we’ve heard so many, at the same time fiery and stupid, speeches about Yugoslavia as an “artificial creation”, created by great powers in 1919 in Versailles. The facts beg to differ. Yugoslavia was created after a long, almost century long, unifying “revolution”, that was initiated in Croatia, then spread to Serbia and further. The Versailles conference only registered the situation in the field.
Furthermore, in Versailles Yugoslavia was recognized only as a country in the first stages of creation, even though it had been created a year earlier, while others, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, received full international recognition. However, no one has denounced these countries, because of their origin, as artificial creations (even though one of them has fallen apart in the meantime). All in all, Solana could in no way personify an international midwife of Yugoslavia during the signing of the agreement Kostunica-Djukanovic. The role of an undertaker was more fitting. That is why political scientist Dr. Dejan Jovic is right when he says (which is probably the reason he cannot get a job at the Zagreb university political science department but has to work abroad, in Scotland) that if there was anything artificial about Yugoslavia, it was its disappearance.
But, if the break up of Yugoslavia, as Jovic says, was heartless, its reconstruction would be, again I quote Jovic, “mindless”. The explanation is simple. Simply, Yugoslavia, although it was neither a dictatorship nor a “prison of nations”, was not a good state. Proof? Could there be a better proof than the fact that after the last good bye in Belgrade its name only exists in the name of the International Tribunal in the Hague. The country that spent the last decade swimming in its own blood because if irreconcilable national passions and hatred, simply cannot be described as happy, and those who did not see that or still do not see it are hopeless fools.
But, an important question remains – who is to blame for that? Political leaders of the new nation states? Perhaps the citizens of the new nation states? The International community? Those questions perhaps do not make any sense any more because, unintentionally, they suggests a desire to bring back something that cannot be brought back and to save something that is not salvageable. However, at least we, who spent more of our life span in Yugoslavia than will spend in the new states owe it to ourselves to ask that question. Therefore, who is to blame? Perhaps the most accurate answer is – all of the above – because, no one is innocent.
But, there is an infallible analytical tweezers that can grab chief culprits by the collar and pull them out of the crowd. The chief culprits are all those nationalist power-brokers who in the late eighties and early nineties loudly announced the forthcoming destruction of Yugoslavia and, as we know, were right. But they were right not because of their incisive political acumen, but because they did their best to make sure their predictions were fulfilled, whatever it took. They succeeded and that was not by chance.
Most of them were communists in disguise, people who knew well the details of the functioning of the country, which should be stressed because of one important fact. They destroyed Yugoslavia because of things that were good, not because of those that were bad. Without doubt, it was good that Yugoslavia had a relatively well-developed, although mostly folksy, system of workers’ self-management. Even better, Yugoslavia had a very developed system of inter-ethnic equality and autonomy (which by far surpassed the Western contribution to the problem, the liberal concept of individual civic rights, as can be seen by recent clumsy attempts to resolve ethnic problems in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo).
Well, that was good and that is why it was destroyed. On the contrary, everything that was bad was carefully protected and preserved. The monopoly of the communist party leadership, which in the revolutionary phase – in absence of an independent judiciary – led to shameful executions in Bleiburg and Stalinist torture on Goli Otok (because of which yours truly has a long time ago pulled on, and he advises others to do the same, the jacket of an individualist leftist), while in the post-revolutionary phase it led to numerous campaigns for fake pluralism in the society that only entrenched national and regional party mandarins, was bad.
New nationalist elites from the nineties, immediately, interestingly, spotted this convenient trick and applied it through fake multi-party democracy, while the same happened with Goli Otok and Bleiburg crimes. True, these crimes were condemned with outrage and even hysteria (it is deliberately forgotten that many of the victims from Bleiburg were responsible for the crimes committed in Jasenovac, while none of the victims in Jasenovac were guilty of crimes in Bleiburg). But, that noise practically merged with executions in concentration camps set up or sponsored by the new nationalist elites, above all those among Serbs and Croats.
That means that Yugo-Communism, which over decades slowly evolved into a system of bloodless and almost non-coercive manipulation, ended up with heirs who did not change anything in that sense. Moreover, concentration camps and mass-graves in the nineties, had, if we stay within the Croatian framework, a morbid logic that can be read in this manner: so many of our men and women were killed in Bleiburg, because in Jasenovac we had not killed enough their men and women.
That is why Josef Tomko, Pope’s envoy to the burial of Franjo Kuharic said a huge nonsense accusing the Communist Yugoslavia of giving birth to wars and bloodletting in the nineties from her “godless” womb. It is true that immediately after the war Communists committed numerous crimes, but then Yugoslavia went through a long period of peaceful development that created all the conditions that that violence does not happen again, and it did not happen until the nineties.
That was done above all by making sure all ethnic groups got something they had not had in the past – Macedonians their own state, Albanians, Bosniaks, and even Slovenians to a certain extent, a confirmation of their separate ethnic identity, Croats a unified state, Serbs an opportunity to live together in a single state… And that is one of more important reasons why the last good bye to Yugoslavia must include a doze of piety, because Yugoslavia did create some universal human values that had not been known in this region before her.
True, some of these values were attained by their heirs (parliamentary democracy), but they also did thoroughly destroy much more than they created.