“To be or not to be? this is the question !”
This editorial is in response to several comments across threads in GHD and CTIA that have drawn and incredible number of remarks and opinions, as a result it has caused clear lines of delineation to surface questioning the merit of my original editorial ”A thick fog has befallen Zagreb” and the later polls gauging the call to attention regarding possible protests.
I start this editorial off however in remembrance of a tragedy less than a year old, a tragedy which could not be written about, nor pictures shown portraying it, and this tragedy highlighted much of what is wrong with our world today, and how a modern Croatia exists within it.
The tragedy surrounding Slobodan Praljak and his suicide which occurred on the 29th of November 2017, during the pronouncement of the appeal judgment against him. Praljak addressed the judges, stating:
“Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. With disdain, I reject your verdict!”
He then drank what he said was poison, leading presiding judge Carmel Agius to suspend the hearings. ICTY medical staff transported Praljak to nearby HMC Hospital, where he died. The Dutch authorities declared the courtroom a crime scene and launched an investigation. His body was cremated in Zagreb in a private ceremony
I will come back to General Praljak later but keep the title of this editorial in mind as you take a moment to reflect on him prior to reading on.
Across multiple site pages, threads have appeared debating the call to action, valid arguments have been broadcast on both sides, yet some have become personal, some comments have been injected of a personal nature and the threads have been used so as to publicly grind axes over unrelated matters, and some I believe are as misguided and ill-informed gauging the derogatory remarks towards the Australian Croatian Diaspora I have read and responded to.
So, I believe that it is best to explain the reasoning behind this action, the intent, expand on what an action like this would look like in practice, and also, the many messages it would convey.
The comment that most affected me and made me reflect upon everything was this one, and I quote
“Croatians that live in the diaspora and promote ustastvo are the biggest traitors in Croatian history”
This was followed by many more similar remarks, and no I have not taken this remark out of context to what was written overall.
Who wrote it is inconsequential, but the number of people who support it, and those that have also stated that we should not dwell in the past, or diminish the Vatreni’s moment in the sun, or move on and put the everything behind us to do with the Vatreni’s, and Thompsons abuse in Zagreb in days past, raised my blood pressure as equally much to the main statement made.
You all have the right to write a rebuttal to this thread, state your opinions, concerns, ideas, but make sure they are grounded and backed up, indeed I invite you all to do so.
I had predicted with accuracy that as soon as the world cup was decided, the anti-nationalists would raise their ugly heads and spout commentary from their sewer like mouths (Read the editorial titled “Živjela Croatia”…………………….. “a ne ovako!” just after the win over England)many may have thought it Nostradamus like prophesizing, but I believe I was on the money. And the main context of this editorial was to highlight how the leftist remnants and governing figureheads in todays Croatia would see any celebration by Croatians regardless of the Vatreni’s success on the field as the rise of nationalism, a threat they would immediately associate with the NDH, fascist in its intent and something that would need to be quelled. I was right, and the actions of the shadow dwelling leftist offspring of Yugoslavia’s communist past leaders acted against not only the Vatreni and Thompson, but now a growing list of other notary individuals, citizens and as we have seen from one Efrain Zuroff today, Croatian Nationalism.
Any form of non-Government or political party condoned Nationalism will automatically default to a fascist like behavior, we have and constantly see this happening both within the country and internationally by those who would profit by its perpetuation, and so is the case at this very moment within our own boundaries and in the actions of a Zuroff.
To achieve this, the past is their most lethal weapon, a past that has been blown out of all proportion due to the efforts of a defunct and failed totalitarianism such as was communism, a communism that justified its actions and ideology to exponentially promote lies while by the same token turning those lies into reality through their own treachery.
When a lie becomes a concealed truth by those that would have it perceived so by the world, but instigate it in the shadows, then humanity can no longer be mentioned in the same breath as they have revoked that privilege.
Ustastvo ! What was it, what did it achieve, what effect did it have on gaining our independence, and what is its relevance today ?
To answer this, we need to go back in time.
As did many before and after, the majority of today’s Diasporan Croatian’s are now the children of those that left the homeland or were exiled due to their political and cultural beliefs, beliefs that were unfavorable and contradictory to doctrines of cultural genocide for the supposed betterment of the many and the creation of a political and sociological communist singularity.
In a field just outside Klagenfurt Austria in 1953, father Cecelja sat with a dozen couples all in their early twenties and quietly spoke of their duty, once they left the Austrian detention center nearby and immigrated to lands around the world, to preserve the Christian faith, preserve our culture, protect the truths of our history, raise their children with all these beliefs and continue the struggle to free the homeland of the communist cancer which would year upon year to come corrupt it, it was 1953.
Our forefathers stayed true to this commitment and spread across the world like seeds upon the winds that blew, and which had been collected from across the devastation of a forest wildfire to eventually settle upon these new lands and spring life and hope eternal again.
But to start, perhaps the observations of recent dignitaries to our Diasporan shores from the homeland might best describe us, it was conveyed that “You are all true Croatians, in you all is the good and truth that escaped the Krizni Put, in you all lives something that the country even today has lost, in you all the fight goes on”
Never have words such as these been spoken by any elected official or President who had visited us, they were spoken by a veteran of the Domovinski rat, and his travelling brother in arms, they went on to add publicly before the masses that we in the Diaspora fought on 3 fronts while they fought on one.
That our battles across the decades meant that when the time came for the fledgling Croatian Republic to be recognised, that our adopted Diasporan Governments did not hesitate to do so due to our continued efforts over the many decades of exile, that we fought to preserve all the aspects spoken on that field outside Klagenfurt, and that without our help the fight for the Republic and our freedoms may have ended in Vukovar. Thank you both Damir Markus and Damir Plavcic for recognising what we had hoped to hear but our elected officials never seemed to.
The seeds of Croatian culture were dispersed across the world, each Diasporan settlement faced similar hardships both of a personal and cultural nature, and in Australia it came about that to call oneself a Croat in the mid 1970’s was met with a threat by the government of the day to expel anyone who would dare declare themselves so back to communist Yugoslavia, our reaction and that of a Croat we will write about in the near future, Mario Despoja, was to raise a thumb to the nose and open the world’s first unofficial Croatian Embassy in among other nations missions in the Australian capital Canberra.
What the Australian Croatian Diaspora faced however was much harder than our sister settlements worldwide, we were land locked with thousands of miles of ocean all around us and one could not just jump in a car and drive across a few hundred kilometers of land or fly a few hours to come close to or back to our homeland, we faced 24 hour plus flights across time zones and 16,000 kilometers of ocean. Today it is estimated that the 200,000 of us here constitute one in every 120 Australians.
And because of this, we were paid special attention to by the likes of UDBA because when you are this far away the reality of an uprising being formulated or attempted as was the case with operation Feniks becomes a threat that cannot be ignored.
For us it meant a focus on our purity, like some lost Amazonian tribe we preserved what had been before communism attacked and took hold, we are referred to in many ways because of our nationalist beliefs, some meant to be negative but which we take no offense to, these attacks are not unlike those of the former communists wanting to tarnish the Croatian name, we survived them, and we will survive these.
Glas Hrvatske Dijaspore was founded on the premise that we will continue to fight for the rights of our people, our people be they standing on home soil or that of another land, our people who have the right to question for betterment, our people who have inalienable cultural and political rights no elected official can ignore nor manipulate, but most importantly to build the bridges that will once again join patriots within the homeland and in the Diaspora so to ensure we are never taken advantage of again.
This can be called Ustastvo, the act of rising above adversity and injustice to preserve and raise awareness, and this is what the NDH represented. We will never be able to rehabilitate Ante Pavelić, Jure Francetić, nor Rafael Boban, but we have a duty to rehabilitate the average NDH solider who lays in some 1,700 mass graves along with 500,000 other Croatian military, civilians and clergy in the former Yugoslav republics.
It was their sacrifices during 1941 -1945 that raised Croatian awareness and nationhood again after centuries of servitude, it was their sacrifices that gave immigrants, Diasporans, a glimpse of what it meant to be free, it is their sacrifice that spurred the memories of those that remembered in the homeland, and those that built churches, social clubs, sporting associations and political activist groups in Australia in this case that kept Croatian nationhood alive over the next many decades.
When the Bugojanci of 1972 under Operation Fenix returned home on what was a suicide mission, their sacrifices silently played upon the population years later when details began to emerge, they were the Diaspora, they were ustastvo in action, they are today remembered in the country as freedom fighters by those who love Croatia and her right to freedom, they were the vanguard of a future HOS, they sent a message that we would not go silently into the night but would always be.
To say that those that believe in Ustastvo are traitors is an ultimate insult, without it between 1945 and 1990, the battle of Vukovar would have been the last, the country would have fallen soon after, because Ustastvo guaranteed that those that did escape could continue their Croatian heritage, preserve it and react when the day finally came for the battle for independence morally, politically and fiscally.
Our detractors, those within the Government who work within narrow corridors of minoritism, anti NDH’ism and perpetuating the lies conceived by the former communists, or externally by the likes of Zuroff who uses the so called Yugoslav Holocaust as a foundation support to the Jewish Holocaust, as I mentioned previously, will attempt by all and any means to kill any patriotic uprising of emotions by means of switching off microphones, attempting to pay off a security guard to stop the likes of a Thompson for instance from taking the stage, or editing transmissions on TV so as to stifle any messages being broadcast.
This is how those in power, worthless in value, intent and capability, guarantee their ongoing influence within the seats of power. If this is the Croatia you want then I say that you have betrayed those that fought for her be it in the 1940’s or 1990’s and the parents who came to this great country to provide you with the right to expression of speech, thought and all other liberties.
I wont go into great detail about what the Vatreni have embarrassingly faced, nor what Thompson has, nor of what other lesser known citizens and patriots have, the world wide web is a wealth of information if you honestly want to know the truth, what I will say however is that if you find that these actions are unjust, then support as much as protest captured for them all to see will lift them in spirit and gratitude.
I mentioned General Praljak’s tragic death last November at the start, he as so many of our greats over the past century faced a difficult decisions, that of to be or not to be, he chose both in the end, to no longer be, but to be true to himself, his country and his people, his act was not cowardice it was a message that injustice could never take away his dignity nor that of his people and that only he had the right to decide his future.
A Diaspora mourned for him, they marched between their social clubs and their churches in memory of him, in honor of him, in protest. Yes, in protest of how a country he served forgot him, had he been a Serb I’m sure all the pomp and ceremony of his funeral would have been one of grandeur, instead the Republic allowed his remains to be buried unceremoniously with no fan fair nor recognition.
If for the unexplainable and most unprobeable, one of our Vatreni fell into depression and took his life because of any of these shenanigans, would it take his death to force you all to do the same?
So on Sunday the 29th of July, on the eve of the 37th anniversary of my father’s passing, whom I miss so much and thank every day for instilling Ustastvo within me, I will put on the red and white Croatian national team players jersey I purchased in Zagreb weeks ago, take with me a small portable CD player with Thompsons greatest hits to sing to, carry the flag I flew from my Balcony on the eve and day after the world cup final, go to the Croatian consulate in South Melbourne, find a small patch of grass across from its entry, plant the flag, play the songs, and lay out 3 placards, one thanking our Vatreni for making us proud, one to Thompson stating we stand by you and who has a problem with it may they suffer with it, and one calling on the Government to apologise to them all and call upon Beljak and company including Zuroff to also retract and apologise.
I don’t ask anyone else reading this to come with me, if I am alone so be it, if a photograph of my sole attendance is filmed, sent home and made a mockery of in the press it will all be worth it because I know somehow one of them will see it and think, someone out there remembers and is grateful, and that’s what matters.