by Ivica MARIJACIC
After starting his story about what happened to him on Friday in Zagreb, where he had gone with friends to the protest rally against the arrival of the Yugoslav president Kostunica to the Balkan Summit, Croatian defender Mladen Rogic (36) from Vrana asked his three-years-old son: "Lovre, where was daddy?"
"In custody," said the boy.
"The reds, Communists...," responded his three-years-old son who had, obviously, already been trained to recognize lasting political enemies.
"I did not disturb public order and peace, did not provoke anyone, did not shout, and nevertheless they sent 40 policemen on me. I could tell that they were young, that they hadn't seen the war... I did not resist when they said that I had to go with them because I wore a hat with the letter 'U' on my head. However, I regret that I gave them that hat and that I do not have it today. A mother of a slain Croatian defender, a woman from Zadar, had given me that hat. Her son, a student, went to help his friends in the defense of Vukovar and unfortunately died. He wore that hat defending Slavonia, and that is all that his mother had to remind her of him. She had kept that hat in a cupboard and gave it to me at one point. Now that hat has been confiscated by a judge in Zagreb. They did not give it back to me. If I had a communist star on the hat, nothing would have happened. The biggest slaughter of Croats in history was carried out under the Communist star and no one is bothered by that," says Mladen Rogic, who on Saturday morning, in his family home, in which he lives with his wife and two children, still hadn't taken off the black [Ustashe] uniform in which he traveled to the protest rally against the Balkan Summit in Zagreb.
"My neighbor and comrade from the war Ivan Juric and I joined the protesters at King Tomislav Square, met the colleagues, and one of them, from Djakovo went with the two of us to have a drink in a nearby café 'Euroturist' at 1 Grgur Ninski street. We set at a table, had a quiet conversation and sipped our drinks and absolutely did not insult anyone, caused trouble, or even speak too loudly. We spent about twenty minutes there, at about 8am on Friday morning. At one point a group of twenty young policemen approached the table, while about five-six of them were waiting in the entrance hall of the café. They correctly requested to see our documents; we showed them our personal identification cards; they stated that that was a routine control. About twenty of them surrounded our table and I experienced that as a demonstration of force. I thought, 'what sort of routine control is that?'; we were not disturbing peace and they surrounded the table. But, I did not want to make any comments.
"The commander of this group of policemen (it was obvious that he was young and inexperienced) said: 'Sir, you have to come with us, the other two can go!' The two of them did not have hats, such as mine, and I wore my hat on my head. When I got out of the café, I saw another three-four police vehicles. They put me in one of them and drove me to the nearest police station, in Zrinjevac. There they demanded that I give them the hat, which I did.
According to the court, the accused Mladen Rogic committed the violation from article 5, clause 1 of the Criminal Law, against public order and peace because he wore a black hat and on the front of that hat a yellow metal coat of arms with letter "U", one inch long.
In the written sentence judge Mario Mestrovic states that display of the symbol "U" in a public place does not necessarily have to indicate a political message, "but there is no doubt, it does carry a message that can disturb some citizens, because such a symbol-message may violate the values, including moral values, of a certain society. The civilized world is entering the third millennium; the present, and especially the future, can not be built on at least partially mistaken past," concludes the justification of Rogic's sentence.
While he was held at the First Police station and in custody in Djordjiceva street, Mladen was approached by older policemen, who had been through the war. They secretly squeezed his hand and said: "Here, that's the new government...," not hiding the cynicism on its account.
Rogic's punishment is legal because the letter "U" is illegal and banned, although it is rather silly that a police force and a judge in the 21st century have the will and need to check who carries which insignia and coats of arms on hats, and waste time on that.
Does anyone wonder whether, for example, Croats are disturbed by omnipresent red Communist stars under which the biggest massacre of Croats was carried out?
by Josip JOVIC
Unfortunately, the most sincere, loudest, and correct participant was Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica. Even under his leadership, Serbia and Yugoslavia, respectively, will not give up anti-American policy, Serbian integralism, Kosovo myth, the Republic of Srpska and other goals achieved in the war, and they will not even consider the extradition of Milosevic or any other Serb to the Hague Tribunal. Although there are no significant differences between Kostunica and his predecessor, he has already received firm promises regarding financial assistance or several billions of dollars, unlike others that haven't received anything. Serbia will be given more money than Croatia has earned by selling its best companies. That is really fascinating, isn't it!? That is why Kostunica's statement that Yugoslavia is the closest to the integration with the EU should not be understood only as boasting. The Serb arrogance yet again paid off better than the Croatian servility.
The assertion that the west Balkans, the term that at the last moment evaporated in fear of demonstrations, should be organized exactly like the European Union is correct. And that means at first a common market, then a customs and monetary union, then common economic and political bodies, elements of common foreign policy and military cooperation, and the dish is done. That is, it seems, the final goal, and whether that is something horrifying, something that causes suspicion, that depends on our values and ideologies. Some welcome this, while others are mortified.
Of course, no one normal can and should be against the cooperation of and exchanges between all peoples and nations in the world. However, that cooperation is only possible between free individuals and nations, without pressure from abroad and impositions of norms and models for life and coexistence. Europe hasn't done anything to stop the bloody war in the Balkans, it was stopped only by the American military force. And now that very same Europe is showing up as a conciliator when everything has spontaneously headed towards normalization and pacification of circumstances. Too much meddling from abroad can only make things worse, as is currently happening in Bosnia-Hercegovina, where the suspension of democracy, force, propaganda, money, lies, and corruption are used to try to establish an unnatural political model which has no chance of survival. Europe in its heart has many unsolved problems, which are based on the lack of recognition of human rights, conscience and feelings. We have been reading recently that a million Spaniards have been demonstrating against Basque terrorism. And that has been going on, just like in Ireland, for years, decades, centuries. And the matter is so simple. Let them have their own state, free them of your domination and they will love you instead of killing you. Aren't in the present circumstances borders anyway irrelevant, provisory, isn't Europe one and united?