The concern of the state of Croatia for the status of the Croats in the neighboring state should be welcomed. There is nothing objectionable in that as long as the concern is based on generally accepted standards.
Is Croatia principled in its struggle for the rights of nations in states created after the break up of the former state (Yugoslavia)? In other words, does Croatia give the same rights it demands for Croats in BH to other nations living in Croatia? The High Representative for BH, Wolfgang Petritsch, has these days reminded Croatia of that sort of inconsistency. Petritsch's statement that Croatia should give to Serbs in Croatia [15 percent of population in 1991] the same rights it demands for Croats in BH [17 percent of population in 1991], was received with outrage by the political leadership in Croatia. Zdravko Tomac, a member of the SDP, could not hide his outrage. Only the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tonino Picula, managed to keep his diplomatic composure.
Circles that could definitely not be described as extreme right demanded that Petritsch apologize! According to the logic of these European democrats, Petritsch insulted Croats by advocating rights of Serbs who fought against Croats. Is it necessary to remind the readers of Croat policy with respect to Serbs before the outbreak of war in Croatia and the constitutional status of Serbs in the former Republic of Croatia [a constituent nation, equal to Croats, until 1990]? Should Croatia be able to distinguish between Serbs in Croatia and the regime in Belgrade? Should Croatia punish ethnic Serb citizens of Croatia because Serbia fought for their rights in the wrong manner? If for Croat politicians it is an argument that Serbs fought against Croats, isn't it true that Bosnian Croats also fought against Serbs and Bosniaks in BH? If they fought against the Serb aggression (that is yet another frequently spouted argument), why did they fight against Bosniaks? Etc.
Reasonable people and politicians can spot a lot of reasons for moderation. Especially because the rights demanded by the minority nations are not a threat to the state. On the contrary, states that are homelands of minority nations have an opportunity to demonstrate their democratic nature, and statesmen political virtue.
Croatia is knocking on the door of Europe and should have more feeling for the spirit of the European integration and the future that is opening in front of European nations. It will be impossible to advocate human rights and at the same time deny some earned rights, or advocate different standards in protection of those rights.
The legitimate view of Croatia with respect to rights of Croats in BH should serve as an example for Serbia and BH with respect to the rights of Serbs in Croatia. If for no other reason, than because the Balkan region will not be stable until same standards apply to all of its nations. Unfortunately, the Serb official policy, both in Serbia and Srpska, is still more concerned with dead Serbs, mythical past, and Hilandar monastery, than with Serbs in Croatia. If it weren't the case, Kostunica and Sarovic would instead of a committee for the protection of Hilandar set up a committee for the protection of the rights of Serbs in Croatia. And the Serb Orthodox Church would do well to dedicate itself more to the living Serbs rather than religious buildings. And it should not forget that God is in the hearts of the living, not in temples. Unless some new interpretations of its wise men are valid now!