PRCELA: We returned in 1974. The worst moment for Croats in Bosnia was when the then Franciscan provincial head Fr. Andjelko Zvizdovic pledged allegiance to the Sultan. If Jesus pledged allegiance to the devil in the desert, we would not have Christianity today. Starting with that ignominious and servile act Bosnia has become increasingly smaller and thinner, uglier and sadder, for Croats. I am afraid that that prompted many Croats to abandon their faith, which was the beginning of the loss of identity. I am afraid that servile mentality even today is present in many Bosnian Croats. Isn't it true that former provincial heads of Franciscans in Bosnia (Markesic, Andjelkovic) turned out to be true successors of Zvizdovic? Didn't they bow to everyone only to protect, not Bosnia and Croats in Bosnia, but their parishes, convinced that they could live well in Bosnia again, regardless of the "plebs".
While the international community divided Bosnia, while Serbs got their republic, and Muslims the so-called federation, Andjelovic and Markesic kept accusing Tudman and all well-meaning Croats of trying to divide Bosnia. Thus, Bosnia, unfortunately, is slowly ceasing to be either Croat or Franciscan. Do they think that Mesic will save Bosnia for them? Or Perhaps Ivo Komsic, assisted by his Communist colleagues from Croatia?
Please be careful with your criticism. Otherwise, the same Communists could put you in jail again! You've been the prior of the monastery in Split for many years, a member of the provincial council, a parish priest...
I spent three years in prison. It is well known that after WWII Communists imprisoned between 30% and 400f all priests in Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina, that Zagreb archbishop Alojzije Stepinac was sentenced to 16 years in prison, while archbishops and bishops of Sarajevo, Banja Luka, and Ljubljana escaped abroad. Persecution of the priests continued until Rankovic was purged from the Communist leadership (1966). I was imprisoned on January 24, 1983. At that time there were about ten young, capable and enthusiastic priests in Split. We met frequently and almost together prepared for sermons, especially for student and high school level religious education. Any of my colleagues could have been accused and sentenced just like me. The scenario of the trial and verdict would have been the same. Even one of the witnesses said that Marin Barisic, current Split archbishop, who attended the trial, had delivered similar sermons. Namely, one of the points in the indictment was that I delivered sermons in the most frequented Sunday mass in the church of St. Dominik in Split, at 10 o'clock. The saddest thing of all was to observe prosecution witnesses. One of them accused me of first reading the gospel according to the Luke, and then of inciting the faithful to rise against the authorities. Some of them did not even know where the St. Dominik church was. That's why I was among the happiest persons when the Berlin Wall fell, and especially when the Croatian state was being created, defended and was finally successfully defended. Lest you say that I violate the first commandment, let me assure you that I never adorned my room with a picture of Franjo Tudman, although I am deeply convinced that we got our state mostly thanks to his persistence and wisdom. Tudman managed to awaken in a majority of the Croatian population the conviction that the time for independence had come. There is no other nation with such an atrophied national consciousness, anywhere in the world. Living in the state whose name I don't even want to mention, I had the impression that all nations except the Croats have the right to their name and pride, while we did not have it. We were scapegoats for everything. As if it were normal that, in the former state, Slovenian communists were Slovenes, Macedonian communists Macedonians, Albanians communists Albanian, while Croat communists were Yugoslavs.
It is not surprising that even today among Croats there are numerous traitors, more than in other nations. These traitors are prepared to testify against their fellow Croats. Similarly, it is not surprising that we have fallen for the lies of those who wanted to impose on us the complex of genocidal guilt and induce divisions among Croats. They were successful in that so that, as Krleza would say, "a Croat is a Croat to a Croat". Despite everything, Tudman decided to enter the adventure of creation of an independent state with the Croat people, the way they are.
I wasn't happy that he took former Communist secret agents and policemen for his closest collaborators. But, was anyone else available for that sort of task? How many individuals were prepared to join him in such a dangerous and risky endeavor? I am certain that he was aware that it was extremely difficult to create a state with people for whom national consciousness was an utterly alien concept. It wouldn't be fair if today we didn't acknowledge that even those individuals put at least a small pebble in the foundations of the Croat state. Whatever the case, they did do much more than Racan and his SDP, although some na´ve and confused persons keep trying to convince us that he also did a lot because he headed the Croat delegation which, together with the Slovene delegation, left the fourteenth session of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav League of Communists. The real truth is that, after the Slovene, the Croatian delegation also left that session, but I am deeply convinced that Racan did that only to save Yugoslavia. We are forgetting that Racan's delegation (1991) also left the Croatian State parliament when it voted on independence. For Racan not only the HDZ, but every patriotic Croat, both in the past and today, was dangerous.
You keep talking about politics.
I deal with people and their fates. My God is a liberating God. Didn't he say to Moses that he had heard the cries of his chosen people in Egypt, that he had seen their suffering, troubles and misery. Didn't he say to Moses: "Go, I send you forth. Take my people from slavery." The Church cannot be kept away from the politics. Otherwise the Church would not be the Church of Christ. Isn't it true that the Church accused itself at the second Vatican council of "doing more to hide than reveal the true face of God"? When during WWII they asked A. Camus what he thought about the Church, he said: "It would have to shout, but its voice is not being heard." The voice of the Church of Christ must be heard. Can't we even today hear the words spoken by Zagreb bishop Alojzije Stepinac during WWII, after the war and during his trial? He was not afraid to speak up, because he was a true shepherd. I congratulated the current Split archbishop when he wrote a letter to the parents of the imprisoned Croat General Mirko Norac. I also congratulate bishop Dr. Milo Bogovic for defending imprisoned and indicted defenders [of Croatia] from Gospic, who were condemned by the Communist dictatorship to defend their innocence while being kept in a dungeon. I frequently say to our bishops, you must speak out. True, the current authorities want to totally exclude, not only us, priests, but also bishops, from all events and developments. A bishop must speak out against everything that is happening to our people, war veterans, the Homeland War and the state. Was Croatian state liberated by criminals or defenders? How can the authorities allow daily blasphemy against the operations "Storm" and "Flash"? Isn't it sad that soon any defender of Croatia could be taken to the Hague? Aren't we the only nation that accuses its heroes of crimes? Today, Americans, who bomb Afghanistan, are heroes who are defending the pride of their homeland, while Croats are criminals because they defended their occupied country.
Tell us something about neo-communism, bickering politicians, promises, blackmail, about negative approach to the resolution of "burning" problems...
Are you referring to the transformation of the Croatian Communist League into the SDP? The party which, after returning to power, in only one night dismissed as many as 38 ambassadors, cannot be democratic in any sense of that word. Today's Communists are not different from those from 1945. They are only more skillful in seeking new methods for persecution of those who disagree with them. I do not see that the current authorities have resolved anything. People lived much better during the Homeland War, and while we assisted Croats in Herceg-Bosna. I really wonder, how long these authorities will force people to the streets and keep blaming someone else? The HDZ managed to feed the population even during the war, while they can't do that in peace, despite favorable inclination and immeasurable love of the international community which, when it installed them in power, promised all sorts of things.
How come that Tudman's close collaborators from the nineties, including the first Prime Minister of the then Croatian government, hate him so much and slander him so badly that they have even come up with the expression "detudmanization"?
The first Prime Minister is today president of Croatia, Stipe Mesic. Precisely he has a chip on the shoulder regarding Dr. Franjo Tudman. Just recall that joke he made about Tudman and Milosevic, immediately after Tudman's death. In his sick imagination Mesic probably hoped that he would earn the support of both the world and the Croats, but just the opposite happened. Mesic takes me to my childhood, when we competed who could spit further. Nothing is sacred to him. Hi spits on everything, including the "reconciliation of the Croat nation".