interview by Ante GUGO
Recently he has drawn attention by his symbolic action of releasing geese in front of the Zagreb hotel "Intercontinental" the site of the Zagreb Summit.
Separovic wanted in that way to remind that the words of Stjepan Radic, that it is not advisable to rush towards Belgrade like geese in fog, still apply to Croats. Dr. Separovic recently spent time in the USA and Mexico, and besides the establishment of studies of victimology it is also interesting that he was present in the election headquarters of the American presidential nominee Bush.
SEPAROVIC: The world was indifferent for a long time, actually heartless. However, exactly the pictures of destroyed Vukovar, massacred victims in Skabrinja, testimony about the bombardment of Dubrovnik, significantly influenced the process of recognition of Croatian independence. Europe understood faster and reacted sooner than the USA and the rest of the world. Without victims there would have been no recognition. We became recognizable by the victims from Vukovar.
Later the suffering in Bosnia overshadowed the suffering in Croatia. Our diplomacy and government did not do enough and did not do it consistently enough to maintain the image of Croatia as a victim. The circles that do not support us consciously worked on reducing our victims.
The most drastic example is that of Boutros Ghali, the former UN secretary general, who demanded form Sharif Bassiouni, the president of the UN Expert Commission for the Examination of Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, to increase the number of crimes committed by Croats and Muslims and reduce the number of crimes committed by Serbs, but Bassiouni refused as an honorable man and stuck to the results of his research indicating that Serbs and Montenegrins committed more than 80 percent of all crimes, and the rest of 20 percent is split between Croats and Muslims. The Hague Tribunal knows that as well but that cannot be seen from the policy of that court. The chief culprits there are Croats.
You visited the USA during the election campaign. We've heard that you've had contacts with the election campaign headquarters of George Bush, the most likely new American president. What are your impressions regarding his attitude with respect to Croatia and the southern-eastern Europe?
I established good relations with Bush as far back as 1992, during my visit to the USA. I had a chance during this presidential election, from direct contacts with one of headquarters of Bush's campaign, to attain detailed insight into his foreign policy views. It should be noted that a large number of Croats in the USA, disappointed by Clinton administration's attitude towards Croatia, supported the campaign of the former Texas governor.
We could in general expect that the new administration will show more respect for national values and sovereignty of small nations, as those values are closer to the Republican party.
What are the American views regarding the regional cooperation of the states of the former Yugoslavia as a precondition for entry into NATO and the European Union?
NATO is an American creation, the true bastion of American foreign policy, created at the time of the cold war, which has crashed the Communist block with its strength and psychological pressure. NATO will keep its powerful function of the central defense organization of the West and above all the USA and Canada from every possible threat that, unfortunately, cannot be excluded in the future.
Even after the fall of Communism, the role of NATO hasn't been questioned by anyone. European integrations and the specific question of regional cooperation of the countries of the former Yugoslavia is a completely different matter. Too strong competition coming from a united and integrated Europe is not in the American interest, whenever it is likely to disturb the implementation of the American national interests. But, they cannot stop that process.
In Europe the French are the leaders. Through Mesic, Chirac organized the Summit about the "Western Balkans", and Germans, after Genscher and Kohl, by recognizing Croatia and Slovenia as independent countries, have committed a true eastern sin, and have been scolded because of the allegedly too early recognition of new countries created after the break up of the former Yugoslavia. Since then Germans have not had a single real and realistic initiative for this part of the world.
Similar to the way in which the English have taken over the Hague Tribunal through Graham Blewitt as the means for the destruction of the Croatian state, by criminalizing the Storm and the Homeland War, France hurried to organize the Zagreb Summit whose purpose is to slow down Croatia in her justified aspirations for entry/return to Europe and tie her to the Balkans, where Serbia will again have a dominant role, under the auspices of a new Versailles.
Yes. It seems we haven't learned anything. We forgot the warnings of Stjepan Radic and Miroslav Krleza's lament about "a drunken November night". And the dentist Pavelic went from Zagreb, urged by Pribicevic, on a crazy journey to Belgrade, to bow to Karadjordjevic and cede Croatia to him.
What a coincidence that that happened exactly on November 24, 1918. Or perhaps that was not a coincidence. The date does not matter, but the time does. The new authorities are bringing Western Europe to Zagreb in order to take us to the Western Balkans. Perhaps these are only fears that were sensed by those who have created this modern Croatian state, the volunteers.
When the full criminalization of the Homeland War seemed imminent, they gathered, wrote the protest texts, came to Zagreb and from the balcony of the Croatian State Assembly (as it was still called at the time) they carefully watched who was doing what and did not leave until the declaration, which says that the Homeland War was a defensive war against the Greater Serbian aggression, was adopted. It turned out that the volunteers were the conscience of this people.
For us the primary danger comes from what was described by wise Milan Sufflay, just before he was killed in Zagreb in Dalmatinska Street by the [Serb] gendarmes, as: "The whole Croat nation was pushed into the Balkan hell. It was pushed there by lepers, a race of the damned, Trumbics and the dentist Pavelic and... Most of Croat intellectuals have slavish mentality, and are pulling their own people into that slavery."
At first glance it seems that this was a success of the Croatian diplomacy. Europe came to Zagreb. The gathering was renamed, for domestic consumption, as the Zagreb Summit. The process of association with the European Community has started. There is talk about possible loans. But all of that is mostly crap. The final document hasn't been modified at all, and the original name and purpose of the summit was to organize relations in the western Balkans.
The project of Carl Bildt, a worn out Swedish statesman and Serb son-in-law, who found a job as a UN prefect for the Balkans, envisages Serbia in the center of the new Balkania and Croatia that would lose her attributes of statehood and full sovereignty in some new Balkans with Albania, without Slovenia. No wonder that his projects were financed by well known evil businessman and ambitious and powerful speculator George Soros.
Therefore, regional cooperation in the most important fields, in economy, judiciary and internal affairs. They also envisage a new instrument named CARDS. Christopher Patten, the EU foreign policy commissioner, made sure we do not keep any illusions by stating in Zagreb that "Croatia cannot enter the EU without cooperation with her neighbors".
The declaration does not at all mention the dismal aggressive Greater Serbian policy and its consequences, ignores arrogant behavior of Vojislav Kostunica, who not only did not apologize for crimes but behaved in Zagreb based on the Chetnik [derogatory term for Serbs] model: he met with the rebel against the Croatian state Veljko Dzakula and other representatives of "the Serb national council", thus defying the protesters and the whole Croatia.
What is your assessment of the protests? What did you want to achieve with the geese?
The Croatian people, still in the spirit of what happened to us early this year, ignores the national values and allows to be taken to the Balkan fogs, as the great Croatian leader Stjepan Radic warned 82 years ago.
Six geese for the six leading political parties, we brought to the edge of the iron curtain that they set up as a wall in front of Mimara Museum and "Intercontinental". The protests were not a failure because our voices were heard. We managed to hold an anti-summit with a warning to the world and our current authorities that we want Europe but do not want the Balkans.
An international discussion under title "The Hague Tribunal, responsibility, expectations and doubts" was held in Denver, Colorado. Instead of David Schaffer, Clinton's ambassador for human rights, as was written in the program, the USA was represented by William Spencer from the State Department. He praised the work of the Tribunal, but did agree that its work was influenced by politics. I asserted that the Hague Tribunal is impermissibly biased, highly political, unfair towards Croats, too slow and too expensive, and the true solution is in the permanent International Criminal Tribunal, established in Rome in 1998, rather than in such an ad hoc tribunal. The new Croatian authorities are impermissibly accommodating regarding the demands of the Tribunal and do not take care of the sovereignty and dignity of the country.
I emphasized that we need the American model for the relations with that Tribunal. First, it must be established in the country whether there are elements of crime and criminal responsibility in a certain act, and only then our citizens can be extradited to the Tribunal.
An Englishman responded that it is impossible to take care of a balance between the number of crimes and number of indicted individuals from a certain ethnic group, adding that president Tudman, if he were alive, would have been indicted. Naturally, I protested such an impermissible attitude towards a dead person and the man who lead the movement that created the modern Croatian state.