Consequently, I would rather not discuss moral depravity of Carla Del Ponte, nor the bullish English minister with hardly any credibility. After all, they implement their policies, and they without doubt know why their policies are the way they are. The real question for us is why our policies are the way they are and whether we realize where such policies are taking us. Allegedly to the partnership with the rest of the world, with all the institutions of the international community. But, if we have already, as is customary to state, become their partners, would not it make sense if the state leadership, Mesic and Racan, rather than Sanader, very clearly and loudly, just like true partners, reacted to such statements? Instead, only priest Zivko Kustic expressed his outrage at Carla Del Ponte's statement in the limited space of his newspaper column. The state leadership should not have expressed a conditional condemnation but openly stated the following: "If Carla Del Ponte has no conscience and courage to resign, those who appointed her should dismiss her!" Such an act, of course followed by a protest note to the British ambassador in Zagreb because of Cook, would be partner-like. This way, without a reaction, the actions of our state leadership are servile, humiliating for the Croat nation. How to achieve self-confidence with such a leadership?
But what are you talking about? - a careful reader of some of our newspapers may say. Did not Jutarnji List (which, surprisingly, publishes Zivko Kustic's columns) immediately after hearing about the new insolence from the Hague ordered and published (on full two pages, which is unprecedented in the daily newspapers) three morbid stories by M. Jergovic, J. Pavlicic, and A. Tomic, "about Tudman facing the possibility of arrest". Isn't it true that in a forged opinion poll (Question for today) the said newspaper came up with results that no one intelligent believes in (80 percent of poll participants believe that Tudman should be tried in the Hague if he were alive).
But what are you talking about? - another, whose passion is to follow the public appearances of the current Croatian president, may interject. Didn't vengeful Mesic start the whole madness? Isn't it true that precisely he is the planted player of the international community whose task is to prove that Tudman and Milosevic are equally guilty? I could not totally agree with that because I keep on my bookshelf the book "How they attacked Tudman" by Zdravko Gavran, written before Mesic's split with Tudman, before the founding of Jutarnji List, published in 1992. When that book connected the attacks on Tudman with the destruction of his project of the creation and establishment of the independent Croatian state, those assertions could have been questioned. When, however, today, Del Ponte or Cook mention Tudman in connection with a Hague indictment, this is total nonsense if the goal is not more tangible. Even if our authorities do not care about Tudman they should not be so blinded by their hatred to fail to recognize that goal. Or, they should not be so cowardly to pretend that they do not care about allegations that the Croatian state was based on crime. If they accept that, the partnership about which they perhaps dream for now (while they actually do not deserve it) will never be accomplished.
The city of Zagreb permitted the collection of signatures with an official document until March 20, 2001, at specified locations. There were too few such locations for the city of Zagreb's size, but the Zagreb headquarters did not have the right to set up stalls at other locations. I spent three weeks, according to the schedule, every day a few hours on Ban Josip Jelacic square, at the stall in front of Harmica...
(...) Spending those three weeks at the stall for the collection of signatures in support of the petition, I felt, let me paraphrase saintly Stepinec, the pulse of our nation. Citizens kept coming, signed, they were very serious. One could read from their faces that they were doing their duty with respect to the homeland. Almost everyone asked us, concerned, whether enough signatures would be collected. According to the law, 10 percent of registered voters must sign a petition and that is far less than the achieved results.
A woman from Zagreb came. She signed her name with tears in eyes and then, revealing a horrendous wound on her soul, she told us that her only son died defending Vukovar. Elderly people came, parents and members of families of those who for more than ten years do not know the fates of their loved ones. I watched them and saw relief in their eyes, because they felt they were doing something for their loved ones, with whom they have been spending night and day for ten years already. At times we felt like confessors. People opened their hearts to us, told us about their wounds, and suffering, because in this country they do not get a chance to talk about that in "the democratic media", neither in the press nor on TV or radio.
They came in big numbers, even those who were spared by the war. They did not suffer, they did not lose their loved ones, but with their soul and heart they support our defenders and it is their duty, they told us, to defend at least in this manner the dignity of the Croatian Army, the dignity of the nation that is unscrupulously slandered. The revulsion because of the humiliation can be felt even among those who merely approach the stall, without asking or saying anything, and simply sign the petition.
A tall man, about sixty-years-old, came. He caressed Norac's photo with tears in his eyes. He said that he had been Norac's driver for three years. He told us: "He never paid attention to his own needs, he only cared about his soldiers. I was with him when he was wounded, blood was gushing out of his body; he thought that the enemy could capture us and calmly asked me to kill him." They saved him, he made it to a hospital but, according to the driver, he left too early, against the recommendation of the physicians, and returned to the front.
A gentleman came and asked: "Can I sign against Norac?" We politely directed him to the city hall, to request permission to collect such signatures. He left, angry, because he failed to start a fight. People living near and far from Zagreb came, because the headquarters did not get a chance to set up stands in all the towns of the Zagreb county and organize collection of signatures. Norac's posters in the general's uniform, and on a horse dressed as an Alka Vojvoda disappeared as soon as we brought them to the stand. We were really encouraged that many youths came to the stand, those who were little boys and girls ten years ago. They approached us bright and happy and proudly signed the petition. One young man, a 20-years-old, told me: "When he defended Gospic, Mirko was only 2-3 years older then me. If necessary, I would do the same". Those meetings with the youth, who came in large numbers, made us cry with happiness. Because that is the future of Croatia and they are sensible enough, aware of the situation, and do not want to tolerate humiliation and slander of our holiest traditions, nor slander of those to whom, as they said, they owe everything.
The first anniversary of the death of president Tudman was the first warning to the new authorities. The gathering was not organized by anyone, but it was magnificent, dignified and well attended. The other warning was the unprecedented mass rally in Split. More than 400,000 thousands of signatures under the petition calling for the holding of a referendum is the third, but not the last warning that they should realize that "the people are not blind", as they sang on December 10, 2000, gathered by the Tudman's grave.
The central headquarters in Split requested to have its representatives received by the Government and to deliver all the carefully checked signatures. We all realize that all sorts of manipulation, dragging of feet and who knows what is to be expected from the ruling, already disunited coalition of six. However, the headquarters have the huge and reliable backing in increasingly aware ordinary Croat men and women, and that is a huge power.
by Marijan KRIZIC
Although defeated in the brilliant actions "Flash" and "Storm", Serbia left the most recent war with significant territorial acquisitions. One half of Bosnia (more precisely 49%) became the Republic of Srpska. Only politically naïve individuals can think and hope that Serbia will return that part of Bosnia-Hercegovina to the cantonal organization. She has no intention of giving up territories conquered by knife and ethnic cleansing. Even if the whole world conspired against them. Let us just recall the NATO bombardment. Serbs would "return" that only if someone defeated them in the battlefield. And Croats were able to do that in the victorious Homeland War. If the world really wanted to force the Serbs to dissolve the Republic of Srpska in the Bosnian melting pot, it would not punish Croats for the liberation actions "Flash" and "Storm". If the world really wanted a united Bosnia-Hercegovina, they would provide conditions for the return of Croats to the parts of the Republic of Srpska from which they were expelled.
Whatever the case, Serbia got a half of Bosnia-Hercegovina, about 25,000 kilometers squared. Ethnically cleansed. Even the population of the Morava valley [Serbian heartland, 99% Serb] does not have so emphatically mononational, Serb structure.
The complicated conflict about Kosovo served as a smokescreen for a very simple political game. How to get rid of almost two million young and vital Albanians with minimal territorial concessions? FR Yugoslavia has about 100,000 kilometers squared. Kosovo covers about 10,000 kilometers squared. Although Albanians were more than 90 percent of population in Kosovo, after the most recent pogrom of Albanians, the NATO bombardment and current de facto drawing of borders, Serbia will probably get a part of Kosovo in the future. And most likely the part of Kosovo where most natural resources are located.
It is unlikely that Vojvodina, and even Montenegro will leave the Serbian embrace. Serbia, which chose Milosevic and saw his tanks off with flowers, was "punished" with the territory of the whole FR Yugoslavia, cleansed of Albanians and a half of Bosnia-Hercegovina, also totally ethnically cleansed. That territory, from Subotica to the Adriatic sea (therefore FR Yugoslavia and the Republic of Srpska together) covers about 125,000 kilometers squared.
We can agree that the state and national question, with the military and political victory, has successfully been resolved. But we would not be telling the full truth if we did not say that that was done under leadership of Dr. Franjo Tudman and the HDZ. But it is also true that now, criminalization of the Homeland War and unconditional cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, unconditional return of Serbs, without reciprocity, criminalization of Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina and their suppression and expulsion from their native lands, are seriously bringing into question the security and possibly also the survival of the Croat state. Unlike in the enlarged and ethnically clean Serbia, Serbs are unidirectionally settling in Croatia, while expelled Croats from Bosnia-Hercegovina are continuing the several centuries long exodus across the ocean. This is the strategically and demographically most sensitive part of Croatia, and the Serb settlement is creating conditions for the relaunch of the plan Z-4, as the first step towards the redesign of Croatia into a state of two sovereign nations: Croats and Serbs. Besides, the suppression and expulsion of Croats from Bosnia-Hercegovina would significantly endanger territorially and ethnically thin line of Croat coast from the Neretva river to Prevlaka. Strengthened and stabilized Serbia would in her half of Bosnia-Hercegovina seek access to the craved for Croat sea. And again gradually. Perhaps following already successfully tested method - genocide and pushing of Bosniak-Muslims to the Croat territories. When skillfully packaged secessionist aspirations and plans of Istran (it would be more consistent and honest to say Istrian) Democratic Assembly are also considered, the Croatian coast would be shorter than after Pavelic's agreement with the fascist Italy.
By removing layers of fundamental Croat national interests, it could happen that the current ruling gang end up in the unprotected space as the last obstacle to the prescribed goals of greater Serbian expansion, the goals that are so obvious that only a blind person cannot see them.
It would be fatal for all of us in Croatia, both the so-called right and the so-called left if such and similar warnings would be threatened by introduction of verbal crimes. And because of fake concern for the responsibility for the public speech. Precisely because of the responsibility and concern other voices should be heard. Today, just like ten years ago, we need unity more than ever.