Of course, publication of every "difficult" magazine is greeted by low blows by the authorities and their sycophants: Slobodna Dalmacija demanded a ban on Feral Tribune under silly pretext that Feral had stolen from Slobodna its name and graphic identity, while the Ministry of Culture decides not to issue, otherwise routine, "opinion" that the paper needs to avoid paying sales taxes. Soon, the first suit prompted by "spiritual pain" caused by the articles published in Feral arrived. Anto Djapic was the plaintiff and demanded damages of 240,000 Croat dinars (about $50,000 at the time).
In November Feral Tribune (the magazine had in the meantime recruited a few distinguished journalists - Marinko Culic, Milan Gavrovic, Drago Hedl...) became a weekly and alarm bells at Pantovcak [official residence of Croatian president, Franjo Tudman at the time] went off. Vainglorious Caesar, insulted by the fact that a photomontage published in Feral dared opine that he may not live forever, but only until the late 90's, and also by the legendary front page, where he was depicted in bed together with his buddy from Belgrade Slobodan Milosevic, and finally by his victory in the first Championshit, demanded that the authorities rain in the magazine. On December 31, 1993, Viktor Ivancic, Feral's editor-in-chief, received mobilization papers...
Tudman resorted to the last action, which additionally reduced the standing of Croatia abroad, after Feral demonstrated to him that it is easier to destroy the ruling party than the only opposition weekly in the country. Naturally, we are referring here to the parliamentary crisis provoked by interviews of Josip Manolic ("Susak must go!") and Stjepan Mesic ("Stalinism returning to Croatia!") published in Feral. That crisis marks the beginning of the slow but certain fall of the HDZ. In 1994 Feral forced the authorities to shut down the collection camp for foreigners in Dugo Selo, whose inmates were kept in humiliating conditions. Our reporters were also the first journalists to enter Stolac [town in Bosnia-Hercegovina] that had been thoroughly burnt down by the HVO forces. Then, we discovered the secret document about the establishment and activities of the Department for Media Planning under the auspices of the Cabinet of the President of Croatia, which included a detailed plan for the Orwellization of Croatia... We launched the book edition Feral Tribune (first books: "Lute and Scars" by Danilo Kis, and "Robi K.'s Notebook," by Viktor Ivancic), published commemorative issue on the occasion of "ten bloody years" of Feral and somehow managed to survive the tax that was supposed to finish us off.
In case we survived the tax, Tomislav Mercep filed a series of suits against Feral seeking $500,000 in damages, and Velimir Bujanec announced on the pages of Globus public burnings of Feral. In Croatia, dinar was replaced by kuna as the national currency. Feral reacted to this new promotion of Ustashe ideology by Tudman's authorities by printing the price of the magazine on the front page in - lipas [one Kuna = 100 lipas].
Feral's articles about Miroslav Kutle's privatization crimes, Sisak dossiers of death, about the rebirth of Jasenovac butcher Dinko Sakic in the patriotic press, about attempts to introduce language police, about state decorations given to child murderers and war criminals... provoked a new outburst of wrath of Croatian powerbrokers, so that the secret police organized and carried out public burning of Feral at Narodni Square in Split, in the middle of the day and close to the end of the twentieth century. At the same time, the independent judiciary ordered Feral to pay 130,000 kunas in damages to Tomislav Mercep for "spiritual pain" suffered because of the article "Killing Fields in Pakracka Poljana". Thus, the campaign for financial destruction of Feral moved from the fiscal arm of the authorities, to their judicial branch.
Thus, we reached the operation "Storm" when the whole Croatia in a triumphant zeal refused to see murders, arson and looting in the liberated territories. Only the Croatian Helsinki Committee and Feral Tribune informed about the events that really took place during the victorious August of 1995. We provoked the wrath of even our most loyal readers, which lasted until they saw their own neighbors bringing from somewhere fridges, TV sets, hens and broken window frames.
A sad autumn followed, in which legendary Miljenko Smoje left us, in which, as Ivo Banac wrote, the Trojan Pact was signed in Dayton, in which Tudman willfully annulled election results by refusing to recognize, one after another, four mayors of Zagreb. Feral conducted the first audit of the Tudman family property, under the headline "Gold and silver of Pantovcak", and we also published that in the independent Croatia only one book by Miroslav Krleza [considered by some to be the greatest Croatian writer of all times] had been published by then, while Franjo Tudman had 13 of his books published, and his wife Ankica two. At that time, we could not even guess that "Gold and silver of Pantovcak" was earned through book royalties, as would become obvious three years later, when "Lepej affair" broke out. And, yes, in 1995 we published the photomontage of Manhattan in flames, the prediction that unfortunately came trough six years later when the world civil war stopped being Feral's joke and became reality, while Ivica Racan gave us an interview under the prophetic headline "I can imagine worse than Tudman!".
Nevenka Tudman assisted her father in his war against Feral Tribune by demanding damages amounting to 3 million kunas. She is represented by Zeljko Olujic, who is representing plaintiffs in suits against Feral Tribune demanding damages of 6 million Kunas!
The new October was cruel as well. Feral's journalist and photographer Zeljko Maglajic died in a car accident. Croatia finally joined the Council of Europe, but that solemn act could not pass without Feral Tribune. Activists of the organization Reporters Without Borders in the middle of the signing ceremony threw leaflets with the infamous Feral's front page with Tudman and Milosevic together in bed and text describing repressive measures of Tudman's regime against our magazine on Mate Granic and other dignitaries.
Another award came in 1996. In London hotel "Dorchester" Viktor Ivancic received the Freedom of Press Award from the International Press Directory. The triple crown in the 1996 Championshit came as a consolation for Franjo Tudman: first place in general competition, and first prize by both the readers and the panel of experts. By the way, Feral blew up the sick lie of the state propaganda that in the New York hospital doctors found that Franjo Tudman was suffering from stomach ulcers.
Judicial persecution of Feral continued in Croatia. After the President, the government joined the campaign against Feral in the guise of the government's Information Bureau head, Neven Jurica. After a horrific discovery that the NSB and public libraries were systematically destroying evidence of Tudman's scientific work from his communist phase, president's favorite weekly magazine published a series of these suppressed works. We also saved from oblivion literary works of Miroslav Tudman [Franjo Tudman's son], pupil of the third grade of Belgrade primary school "Aleksa Santic". On April 7, 1956, Tudman published in Vjesnik the following verses: "Mesec je izgubio/ Jednu malu zvezdicu/ A zora vec svice/ I sunce mu vice: // ‘Skloni mi se s puta, / Mesece kralju noci. / Zora vec svice / I petao kukurice'". [written in Serbian (ekavian) version of Serbocroatian language. "The Moon lost / a small star/ and dawn is upon us already / and the Sun yells: // ‘Get out of my way, / Moon, the king of night. / Dawn is upon us already / and the rooster cries'"]
Issue 624 of Feral was remembered by the shocking confession of Miro Bajramovic about torture and executions in Pakracka Poljana. And while the Croatian public was dealing with its shock, Feral and its editors and journalist were struck by an avalanche of death threats directed not only at editors and journalists of the magazine but also at their children. However, Feral was, as always, indomitable and incorruptible: we published a complete dossier about beastly crimes committed in Pakracka Pojlana, and soon afterwards testimonies about crimes committed by noble Croatian knights against civilians in Gospic and Vukovar.
Viktor Ivancic was forced to put on his tuxedo one more time. The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York picked Feral Tribune as the recipient of their International Award for Press Freedom.
At the end of the year, we launched the monthly magazine for urban guerrilla Feral Music and provoked wrath of the Catholic Church in Croatia with posters promoting the first issue of the magazine. At the same time, Feral was the only Croatian magazine that dared publish the whole Christmas homily of the new Zagreb archbishop Josip Bozanic [which mildly criticized the authorities].
Thus, our new readers from all corners of the world could read on the screens of their computer monitors the confession of the fired state prosecutor Krunoslav Olujic who decidedly said that Ivic Pasalic and Hrvoje Sarinic demanded of him to destroy Feral Tribune. They could also follow the progress of state-sponsored/private initiatives of Josip Husar, Tomislav Mercep, Miroslav Kutle, Hrvoje Sarinic, Marica Mestrovic, Antonije Pehar, and other individuals suffering from spiritual pain, whose overall demands for damages against Feral had climbed to 14 million kunas. Raging and blinded regime went so far in its campaign against Feral that it started playing even dirtier than usual and published the medical records of our editor Drago Hedl, while Tudman's advisor Ante Barisic tried to blackmail Feral's journalists to inform on "the enemies of the regime".
Of course, none of that is surprising, as the "Lepej scandal" confirmed that everything that Feral had written about Croatian kleptocracy was true.
The first president of the Republic of Croatia died on the Human Rights Day, November 10, 1999. Those who had predicted that Feral Tribune would follow Tudman to its grave, were wrong. As well as those who predicted that Tudmanism would die with Tudman.
In September 2000, Vladimir Primorac left us forever, failing to live long enough to welcome Croatia for which he also fought on the pages of this magazine.
In June, with assistance of people from Zagreb printworks "Radin" we switched to a new design, and Slobodan Milosevic made sure that we were forced to change the front page of the first redesigned issue at the last moment. At the time when the new issue was ready for printing, the Serb Leader arrived to the Hague, and our front page. Those 30 minutes of feverish search for a new idea for the front page, which was found a pile of sculls and headline "Slobodan [free]? My ass!", are among the experiences that make this job worthwhile. Especially when the whole circulation of the issue sells out...
That autumn, the new authorities in Croatia again demonstrated reluctance to change their format and determination to stick to surreal. Together with colleagues from other media that bore the brunt of state-inspired persecution under Tudman, we were invited to give our contribution to the farce with files that were, after a thorough cleaning and censorship, offered for our inspection, but only under the condition we agreed not to publish anything from them. The authorities also demanded that we agree that the files be destroyed after reading. On the other hand, the authorities did not demand anything from those who had created those ignominious dossiers, while many of them have kept their jobs.
Obstacles in our way continued to be placed by various disturbed individuals, like Ante Kovacevic with his enormous demands for damages, as well as the current authorities that not only did not suspend Tudman's legislation that created condition for persecution of critical word but also...