Croatia – Dodgem Car Race Pile-up To Election

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Having disbanded its government in June amidst scandals founded and unfounded, justified and unjustified, Croatia is up for snap general elections on 11 September.
If politics was a dodgem car platform then this time around election time has shaped into one messy pile-up in the so-called people’s corner with parties frantically pumping their accelerators but power is stuck on revving “me, me, me” and not budging anywhere, making the people at large increasingly sick of it all. I have lost count of the number of political parties and coalitions of allsorts, in the country of barely 5.5 million voters – counting those living abroad in the diaspora (living in Croatia probably 3.4 million voters).

"People's" Coalition Zoran Milanotic to the right

“People’s” Coalition
Zoran Milanovic to the right

Social Democrats centre-left party, led by former hopeless PM Zoran Milanovic, frantically screams out about its new deals and unnatural coalitions, such as the one with the HSS/Croatian Peasant Party centre-right, as the people’s saviours; frantic cries for positions of advantage to be filled by dodgy politicians echo everywhere around them. Its leftist partner HNS/Croatian People’s Party screeches foul at anyone and everyone not in that coalition, in order to secure more votes. Calling their coalition “People’s Coalition” (Narodna koalicija) had added a new dimension to the threat of this revving dodgem cars pile-up; a possible onslaught of renewed communist attacks and destruction of what’s left of pride in Croatia and its hard-won independence. Hell, WWII Yugoslav communists fought under the so called “People’s Freedom Battle” banner where they said they fought for freedom of the people, yet all they fought for was for Croatia not to have its freedom/independence but to remain enslaved and oppressed within communist Yugoslavia. Many a person will indeed shudder with horror in Croatia at the name this new, leftist coalition led by SDP has given itself. The name “People’s” belonging to the former League of Communists in Croatia (today’s SDP) does not carry its normal benevolent connotation in this case but rather spells disaster for Croatian freedom.

Then Bozo Petrov, leader of the Bridge/Most coalition of a handful of independent parties, partially responsible for the June collapse of government, keeps crashing his dodgem car against the

Bozo Petrov Most/Bridge

Bozo Petrov
Most/Bridge

crash barrier. He’s pressing the accelerator while in clutch mode, yelling foul against everyone and anyone except himself to finally get stuck in one spot from which he says he can reach the people at grassroots best – enthusiastically setting up a sort of electoral offices in a couple of spots as if he had just invented sliced bread.

Shift coalition Danijel Srb, Ivan Pandza and Mate Knezovic Photo:Pixsell

Shift coalition
Danijel Srb, Ivan Pandza
and Mate Knezovic
Photo:Pixsell

Petrov’s electoral nests of weirdly meshed individuals into a coalition has egged on new dodgem cars piling up on this heap of political chaos. Yes – new dodgem cars of coalitions such as the centre-right one (with Croatian Party of Right) called “Shift” (Pomak). And wouldn’t you know it: not even a “Shift” will budge former President Ivo Josipovic’s red-shaded party “Forward Croatia” dodgem car engaged in phrenetic gasping for attention from the bottom of the pile-up.

From left: Goran Aleksic, Vilibor Sincic, Ivan Lovrinovic

From left: Goran Aleksic,
Vilibor Sincic, Ivan Lovrinovic

Squealing and revving deep inside this chaotic dodgem pile-up is a tragically and awkwardly cobbled together dodgem car that threatens to change everything in Croatia. Everything! This coalition does not have a name yet that I know of but it’s put together by Live Wall (read: people holding hands in attempt to stop evictions of people from repossessed houses) (Vilibor Sincic), Most/Bridge dissidents called “Let’s Change Croatia” led by Ivan Lovrinovic and Franak Association/Goran Aleksic (group of people fighting banks for unfair loans in Swiss Francs). This coalition vows to fight (bare-handed, clenched fist) against banks, bad laws, corruption, bad justice system; you name it – they will tackle it; all for a cushy job as a representative in the Parliament that, given the lingering strong influence of communist past, seems to be choking from fighting opposing ideology demons every time a new sitting is on.

Ah, look in there, look in the pile-up, there’s a thundering dodgem car madly spinning in hot air its glider tyre, accumulating frantic speed, vowing to fix Croatia within eight to ten years in all

Milan Bandic (right)

Milan Bandic (right)

aspects of life – Milan Bandic 365 party (long term Mayor of Zagreb) aims to do this in coalition with Radimir Cacic’s Reformists (a burned, down and out former SDP deputy Prime Minister) and a well known economist Ljubo Jurcic, who has contributed diddy squat to improving Croatia’s drowning economy in the past decades; just rattled on trying to dish out impractical textbook wisdom every so often in the media. Evidently – another dodgy dodgem car on the pile-up.

Boris Miletic, IDS

Boris Miletic, IDS

Boris Miletic, leader of the Istrian IDS party takes the cake of dodgy dodgem cars on the pile-up with his mock-up of an Istrian passport, suggesting Istria wants out of Croatia as protest against those in pursuit of justice for communist (antifascist) crimes. He revs about, in clutch mode, about being tolerant and of worldly and civilised standards yet threatens (he said it was a joke!) to take Istria region out of Croatia because people seek justice for innocent victims of communist crimes.

HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union appears the only one that has jumped the crash barrier and appears as the only dodgem car not revving about frantically trying to convince voters they are it –

Andrej P{lenkovic, HDZ

Andrej Plenkovic, HDZ

God’s given to the people to solve their unbearable life’s problems. HDZ seems to be soberly and calmly tightening its ranks, inviting former political dissidents to return to its fold under the banner of gathering, unity and togetherness and braving a whole new political ambience in Croatia where it wants to go it alone- no coalition with anyone – in any electorate if it can avoid it. Since its new leader Andrej Plenkovic has stepped up to the task HDZ’s agenda in this pre-election time seems to be one of determination to shine for the people once again, to win back the voters it lost throughout vicious campaigns against it from the left wing in particular. Milan Kujundzic and Drago Prgomet are two strong and widely respected former members of HDZ who went away, formed their own parties, but now are back under the HDZ’s banner of “Gathering”. Gathering together is the message here and this has no place in the dodgem car pileup and chaos. It is giving out a message of serenity, professional ambience, humility and determination to succeed and to prove themselves worthy of their voters as well as of those they would like to see return to the conservative, centre-right fold of HDZ. Having said this, I do think Plenkovic has yet to prove himself as a worthy and skilful leader who will realise HDZ’s founding agenda of strengthening the values of Croatian struggle for independence and democracy, severing completely all ties to former communist regime in daily lives and public administration – if he fails, his dodgem car will fall into the pile-up and votes will flicker anywhere and everywhere except to form an outright majority government.

Society changes according to politics. It’s because of politics that life in Croatia stagnates on many important levels especially economic/employment and in pride of achievements. The biggest achievement Croatia has made in a thousand years of its existence is to fight for and win its independence and yet that big achievement is constantly being undermined and cheapened and belittled by politics of the communist nostalgia embedded in left or centre-left political orientation. This must not be permitted; Croatia like all free countries must celebrate its victories for freedom. The left-leaning political wings label all heartfelt patriotism toward independent Croatia as fascism. It is imperative Croatia’s new government passes new laws that will ban and forbid public display or usage of any communist Yugoslavia symbols. That is the last battle to true freedom and democracy Croatia must win, otherwise it will be crushed under the heavy weight of these dodgem car frantic pile-ups.

It is not just the countless political parties and coalitions that contribute to this frantic dodgem pile-up that does nothing except make voters apathetic towards voting. In the past six months in Croatia there have been dozens of civil organisations, professional associations, individuals shooting from the hip, media outlets … almost as if working in a political concert that has the aim of blackening the name of Croatian independence, the Homeland War and what Croatia fought for in 1990’s/ to secede from communist Yugoslavia and develop a democracy. The conservative government, led by HDZ, had been and still is labeled revisionist, nationalist, fascist, xenophobic – any time attempts are made to right the wrongs perpetrated by the former communist Yugoslavia regime.

Distressingly, these vicious political activists serving a communist agenda under the guise of democracy do not seem easily stoppable. A new scandal or aggressive allegations of fascism erupts almost every day, with the only aim to cut down conservative politics and Croatian patriotism no matter what the human cost. While one may shrug at all this and not give it serious thought, the fact is that multitudes suffer and are tired of not having political representation strong enough to deter the aggressive vilification that’s being dished out viciously by vicious protectors of communist crimes and communist past. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


Original Article: https://inavukic.com/2016/08/03/croatia-dodgem-car-race-pile-up-to-election/

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My name is Adam: A reflection with Elias Khoury

I still feel mesmerized by this meeting. This is the first thing that comes to my mind. How blessed I am.

It also feels kind of weird, the whole feeling of being blessed is a bit of not a familiar feeling. So many windows of blossoming blessing have been opening to me lately.

I have spent the last few weeks literally mesmerized by reading the renowned novelist new book “My name is Adam- sons of the Ghetto”. It is one of those books that I am reading with so much passion and eagerness from one side, and somehow I am afraid to finish. A real masterpiece by all definitions.

Sometimes it happens that you fall into such a masterpiece especially after some not very best choices of a sequence of reads, which makes it even more valuable, and you might think this is why it is capturing your attention.

This started as the case with this novel, I had some bad luck with recent reads, and in order to disconnect from the judgment as a result, I left the book for some time.

I usually of course start my journey of a good read becoming part of the novel, either along side the writer or within the character and become an integral part of the story.

Adam is one story that strikes you as a reader from the very first instant. You start with the writer’s introduction and stop. Eloquence is not the only case here. A writer in the size of Khoury has definitely reached that far. But still, yes, eloquence cannot be just passed by. But then there is this kind of internal dialogue that starts from word one. You feel you entered hand in hand in the book with Khoury accompanying you. Or Khoury the writer himself is part of the story.

The introduction makes you stop and reread. Thinking there is a great secret awaiting you to uncover the very next page? And so it is.

You cannot but ask and keep wondering, who is Adam? Is he real or is he Khoury’s invention. The way events connect from previous work of Khoury Gate of the Sun. It is striking how it puts the reader into those questions. “What the hell is going on” I kept humming to myself each time.

Before entering to the story of Adam himself, the main character. The book takes us to Adam’s fascination or dream of writing a book that was never written. An ancient Umayyad poet whose story was more important than his poems, as he faced a dark end inside a wooden box in the Caliph’s court captures him. The question of: Why didn’t he knock on the box?” takes us intelligently by the writer to Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian legendary novelist in his work “the sons of the sun” and the masterpiece of a closure “ why didn’t they knock on the tank”?

Khoury’s question throughout the novel is somehow else. He will strike us his readers constantly with the question: “ Why didn’t they leave?” relating to the Palestinians who stayed in the Lid Ghetto.

The word Ghetto was absolutely new to me in the terminology of the history of the Nakba. At the first instant I was thinking the writer was making a certain comparison or resemblance between the Nakba and the haulocost, which he assured me he did not. However, tragedies carry the same implications, he emphasized. It does not matter how big the size of the murders. It implies tragedies with pain that is hard or impossible to redeem.

Khoury believes that the haulocost is the worse tragedy that took place and wipes Jews in Europe. Israel as a result was the pay off from Europe to their crimes, whereas, we Palestinians paid the price.

Entering the memories of Adam is by itself an exceptional journey. As I am trying to put together, I feel again this mesmerized feeling of being part of it all…. Discussing this live with Khoury made it all feel so unreal. …And at the same time so uniquely special…. rich…

Adam is a man born to a dead woman under an olive tree on the outskirts of Lid, one of the Palestinian many or probably most cities that were transferred into Ghettos in 1948. The term Ghetto was the term the Israeli army called the seized locked areas upon the occupation of 1948. It is not a resemblance or even an attempt to make the reader see it from a different perspective. But for me as a reader, I could only see this. I could not but see the powerful resemblance. Flashes from the novel keep stopping me infront of moment of Adam who was raised by Manal thinking she was his mother to only know the truth many years later, that she found him under the tree and named him Adam, the first Ghetto child, the son of her martyr husband, Hasan.

Manal… some icon of a woman…slipping throughout this novel. “ I am in love with this woman” Khoury laughs and tell me. She is gorgeous, he insists. “ Her stupid husband leaves her as a sixteen year old and go to fight. And later she marries that bastard of a man. This woman deserved a great life. I wish I have known her.”

We entered together inside the world of the characters. Discussing events and details. Our feelings towards them. At some point things became so mixed up, we both were relating to things as real. They are real… I thought.

Adam…. Who grew up later to decide to integrate in the Israeli society and became Adam the son of the Ghetto. This time the ghetto meant was the Auschwitz ghetto in Poland. When asked where he was from by Israeli colleagues at the college he would say: from the ghetto. He grew up in Lid. Knowing no name for his town but the ghetto. The Israeli on the other end would quickly sympathize with him believing that he meant that e is a son of a ghetto survivor. The fact that Adam carried his name, and blond fair looks made him easily fit in the other ghetto perspective.

There is the journey of Adam and his lover Dalia… who was Israeli. The confrontations there are so humanistic and powerful. Like many stories that go untold. Somehow, Adam’s story with Dalia awakens at some point his own identity of being a Palestinian. She is the woman who holds him out to his inner path of liberation… perhaps.

As the memory of Adam takes us into specific details of those months and years. An extremely powerful scene after a scene is described in such a sense, you would only see yourself in the middle of the setup of all. You will smell the blood of the dead corpses. You will see the rotten bodies lying on the sides of the street. You will be taking the journey of the group of men to the gardens to find water in an attempt to provide the thirsty population with water. The humiliation. The killing. The hunger. The devastation. The persistence to live despite the roaming strikes of death everywhere. And they did not leave….

Images of stolen land. Flashes of a homeland that in an instant becomes to others. Military rule. Coercion… separation … degradation.

And amid all flashes of happiness or lets say life passes by. Elia and his bride. That scene of the young woman dancing crazy with her starving infant in the yard, and later the dance of this woman as a bride, brings in an amazing reflection of how pain can be redeemed sometimes with instances of happiness…. Persistence to life.

“The Nakba is an ongoing tragedy.” Khoury emphasizes. “The Palestinians have made a crucial mistake in identifying the Nakba. The Palestinian Nakba didn’t take place in 1948. It started in 1948 and is still on going.”

As we occasionally stepped out of the pages of Adam, with me resorting to the fact that it is no longer important if Adam was his creation or he was real… Adam became Elia Khoury’s companion, and will remain for some time in his next book as well. “I think I will die before him.” He says with a sweet laughter. “ This Adam is exceptional.”

As I am putting this down in words, I cannot but be thankful for this great opportunity to have this chance of a discussion with Elias Khoury.

We spent around three hours with a discussion that was mixed with very strong emotions on the Arab reality. The pain. The very deep pain of Syria. His anger from dictatorships that define our lives as populations. Whether Ba’th or Da’esh he does not find any difference. Systems that are no based on democracy cannot be the solution. The only advice he has is that of “Younis” from the “Gate of the Sun”: “ We need to start over from the very beginning to proceed”. We need to be a nation who believes in the future not in the past. All the Arab systems are based on the past. The “Ba’th” means resurrection. There is no difference in the message. It is no wonder that the militants in Saddam Hussein’s army lead efficiently daesh and others. Because the mentality is the same. It is based on dictatorship and non-existence of people. It is about obedience and fellowship to the leader. The one and only.

Adam remains the hope that somehow, Elias Khoury holds… or so I analyze… or allow myself to analyze after this journey.

Adam is a journey inside each of us, his fears. His confusion. His redemption and his very deep pain …

Adam. Is a novel that will definitely be legendary … a novel that is stronger than any history book? Any narrative… a story of human race….

Adam….A real Masterpiece

Original Article: http://nadiaharhash.com/2016/08/03/my-name-is-adam-a-reflection-with-elias-khoury/

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ISIS Militants Have Seized US Military Equipment and ID Cards After Recent Combat Encounter

US Military Hardware Lost in Afghanistan , Forund with ISIS. (Photo: Public Domain)

US Military Hardware Lost in Afghanistan , Found with ISIS. (Photo: Public Domain)

August 8, 2016

By Lorra B.

Photos of American military equipment, identification cards and weapons appear to have been seized by ISIS militants in Afghanistan, though how they attained these items remains unclear.

Saturday, photos were released on social media after recent combat engagements which depict not only images of ammunition, a rocket launcher and communication equipment but a close up shot of U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Jay Larson’s ID as well.

#ISIS ‘Amaq posted photos of documents and gear of #American soldiers allegedly taken by ISIS fighters in #Nangarhar pic.twitter.com/UDat7qOFvX

— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) August 6, 2016

Larson was not captured by ISIS.

“Obviously, SPC Larson is not captured – he is accounted for and with his unit despite having lost his ID card and possibly some of his equipment during recent operations,” Brigadier General Charlie Cleveland told Fox News. “Beyond that, there is a lot of equipment in those pictures.

“At this point, we don’t know if all of the equipment in the pictures was lost during recent operations or at some other time in the past.”

Defense Department spokesperson, Henrietta Levin, stated that they have no idea when the photos were taken or how they came into the equipment but assured Americans that no military personnel have been captured, according to Military Times.

“We are aware of erroneous reports that U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Jay Larson was captured by ISIL in Afghanistan,” Levin said, referring to one the Islamic State group’s other monikers. “These reports are false. He has been accounted for and remains in a duty status within his unit. We are looking into how he lost possession of his ID but can confirm he has been accounted for with his unit. ‎”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed that was the same location were almost 150 “heroic” Army Rangers were in heavy combat and took out “hundreds” of ISIS fighters.

Some of the equipment may have been left behind during this operation. Cleveland stated, however, that the lost equipment was not due to a “hasty” extraction.

How the items were left behind or lost is still being worked out by officials.

By Lorra B.

Video: What Is Going On? IS Militants Claim to Have Captured Advanced US Weapons

Original Article: http://silentsoldier.us/2016/08/08/isis-militants-have-seized-us-military-equipment-and-id-cards-after-recent-combat-encounter/

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Editors Notes:

I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.

News & Views welcome always published as long as NO bad language or is not related to subject matter.

To keep online information secure, experts recommend keeping your social media accounts private, changing your passwords often, and never answering unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for your personal information. Need help and guidance visit https://acepchelp.wordpress.com and leave a comment or send a private message on Telegram @Aceone31

Ace News Services Site Links Listed Here:

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