This is going to be a controversial editorial, but it must be read in its specific context, as an analogy of sorts, and how we as a modern society whether from within Croatia or externally in the Diaspora fail to seize the moment when it can be seized and then accept prolonged periods of subservience and shall we call it insurgency.
I am going to use a phrase that I believe was coined by one of our great “Local’ Croatian philosophers.
“No other culture can turn a tragedy into a comedy as we Croatian’s can” – Mark Malic-Mal
As always this immortal one liner pretty much sums up the state of the nation even after one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern European times, and a struggle for independence that saw our divisions played out between a multitude of political and military identities using, once again, 3 lettered abbreviations.
I was thinking about the events of the past many days, the players in the current day global conflict, the similarities to history in terms of religious obsession, global financial domination, economic control, military might, resources, trade control and it dawned on me that every single one of these predicators continues as a theme repeatedly through human history.
It’s obvious and we are all aware of it in one way or another, but it lays in our subconscious and occasionally we might connect or fire off a few neurons in our brains that make is utter the words “ohhhhhhh yeah” same same , history does repeat.
I digress, so then I started to reflect on one specific scenario, a battle for independence, one that occurred in the 1770’s, one that saw a world dominant power in Britain, who controlled half the world, had imposed itself as Overlord to many nations and cultures, who literally along with Spain, Portugal, France and Holland even after conflict between them tried to instill, and actually succeeded for a time to create and instigate a new world order.
Genocide in Southern America, religious persecution, the amalgamation or dissection of cultures and nations, control of resources and seemingly unstoppable.
And in among all this lot was a fledgling colony of farmers, glaziers, tobacco growers, and alcohol producers, no navy, no army, no nothing who were taxed, manipulated, and forced to commit colonial forces to aid in British consolidation and expansionism against the French, Spanish and the Indigenous Indian population.
Sound familiar at all?
So how did all this change and how did the United States come to being? This one small colony in stature rejected colonialism, rejected the subligation of people by a higher command only obsessed with its territorial expansion and parasitic bolstering of its wealth based on the extortion of others.
The fathers of this nation included intellectuals from the fields of science, commerce, media, and a string of other educated and well to do individuals who in many cases had profited from their ventures and dealings with the outside world but who also realised that the freedoms of the common man and the future of this colony was dependent upon their actions.
Into this frey walked in one George Washington, a representative from the colony of Virginia and a subject of and military campaigner for the then King George III of mother England who had fought in numerous campaigns for the British as part of the colonial forces and was a seasoned military colonist, he had already secured his wealth and land holdings for his efforts but as all the others, in addition to the intolerable tax demands upon himself, he too knew that the betterment of all the colonists was dependent on his commitment and leadership.
The newly proclaimed American congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775 and Washington was nominated by John Adams of Massachusetts and then appointed as a full General and Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
To put into perspective the cost of this treason, the British then articulated the peril of Washington and his army; on August 23, 1775 when they issued a Royal proclamation labeling American Patriots as traitors and if they resorted to force, they faced confiscation of their property, and their leaders were subject to execution upon the scaffold.
So poor was the Colonial army that he recognized the desperate shortage of gunpowder and sought new sources with his troops raiding British arsenals, including some in the Caribbean, along with some frugal attempts at manufacturing what they needed.
This was an 8 year campaign that ran between 1775 and 1783, 1776 is remembered as the year that all turned against the British when at almost outright defeat Washington’s military tenacity turned the tide of the war at its largest battle for New York when after a series of defeats on the night of December 25, 1776, he led his army across the Delaware River.
The next morning, the troops launched a surprise attack on a Hessian outpost in Trenton, New Jersey, capturing nearly 1,000 prisoners. Washington followed up his victory at Trenton with another over British regulars at Princeton on January 3. The British retreated to New York City and its environs, which they held until the peace treaty of 1783.
Washington eventually led the Colonial forces to victory and became its first president in 1789 and served in the post until 1797 at which time he retired and returned to his property in Mount Vernon and believe it or not became a moonshiner.
Ok bit of a history lesson, however some of the similarities are fascinating and you all may think well our Franjo was the general and first president of Croatia, I beg to differ, he wasn’t because what Washington created and what we have are 2 totally different things. Granted we will never have a first President again as Franjo was, but we have not had a Washington yet even though we all admired Gotovina there for a long time and will always hold him close as a patriot.
We need a Washington that will stand up for all that was not delivered as a result of our war of independence, we have unfinished business, we may have driven our own version of the royalists out on paper but they are still amongst us and as I said at the beginning, this is not a political nomination or endorsement but I’d like to think we do have a George in our ranks and you have to respect how Željko Glasnović hands out the chocolate shit cake in the sabor for many of those delegates to chew on.
Dubrovnik or The Republic of Ragusa as it was known in 1776 was the first nation (Remember Monaco in France is also a nation still today) to recognise the United States of America in 1776 and sent a merchant fleet to their aid and supply that year.
A small fledgling nation that was recognised by an even smaller Croatian city state and 200 years later a small fledgling nation recognised in return by a super power.
We are small, but example shows us we should not let our size or stature dictate our determination to be independent culturally preserving and self governing without alliances and obligations to others that do not meet out national objectives.