Three years ago today l was to experience the most life changing event – surviving Hurricane Sandy. This is my story and recollections of what occurred on that day in 2012.
The water appears suddenly where the walls and floor meet. You look and see about two inches of cold salt water. Then instantly another three feet of water is inside the house.
Everything upend’s and is floating. A thud, followed by a second thud, as the front and rear doors of the house are opened, locks are man’s devices of foolishness, and everything that you own in life is swept from the house as tide and current are now in command of you and the house. It is only the beginning of a ten-hour storm.
My storm, lasted three-and-a half days, and Superstorm Sandy was met by a Nor’Easter. The water turned icy cold. Ten-and-a-half feet above the flood tide mark, about one foot under the roof sofit. You float and try to stand while current pushes you around like a rag doll in a child’s hand vigorously shaking you.
It taught me what torpedoed sailors felt like in the vortex of a dying ship in the cold waters. My tethered boat with survival gear awaiting for my decision to abandon should the roof crack and dislodge, rope safety lines to follow as my upper body strength is great, but my decision was to ride it out, my preparations and words were given to my wife who did very well.
My dog-tags around my neck:
Identification and next of kin written and placed under the insole of my boot. My name and data written on my skin but that too was taken away by the sea. When the storm was in the calm eye, I locate a semi-floating bottle of Cabernet and I grasp two long-stem wine glasses and pour the wine. Looking at the full moon and black ocean around, my wife says that I am crazy, but few enjoy a good glass of wine under such circumstances.
In my family, I am the only one, born during a hurricane, and it remains with me to be my guide and strength. Then the eye closes and the reverse winds are here, along with another rise in tide and current, inside of what is left of my home, a lifetime of work, given to the sea, and I am forged as steel with renewed strength. Weaker hurricanes we have seen, and had my grandsons with us to teach them and toughen them to life on the oceanfront, but the greater storms such as Sandy, was an obligation to something inside of us to ride out, as we who live at the edge of the sea, do not run. It is not in our character.
As a postscript, most people do not have any idea of the impact, nor the fact that we were without natural gas for weeks, and electric service, fortunately, I threw the main circuit breaker early and saved my wiring. Electric crews (from Maryland) restored power the day after Thanksgiving, on November 23, 2012, as our street was one of the last and final streets without power due to the extent of damage caused to overhead electrical cables. Since the event.., locally, many people view me, as a sort of “Robert Shaw – JAWS” type of character.
“Ian, put up another barrel.” 😉
Every four years on the leap year when Feb.is 29 days,the Americans chose the new president. Millions of banners every where representing the democrats and the republicans, thousands of commercials as the presidential candidates verbally attack each other.
The race for the oval office and who will occupy is gets very serious.In 1976 the American elected Jimmy Carter to pay back the republicans for the water gate scandal.In 198 the American elected Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carters weakness.In 1992 the American elected Bill Clinton the democrat to teach the republican a lesson.
In 2000 they elected George W. Bush to revenge the sex scandal of Bill Clinton.In 20008 they elected the worst president in our history to revenge the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.This coming leap year 2016 the American will teach the liberals and the democrats a lesson they will never forget ever.
The American people will elect a republican president. Its revenge time.
For better part of year now I have had exchanges with bloggers that are always going on about the dangers of Islam and Muslims….they see evil intentions behind everything they do……they believe that Sharia Law will become the law of the land or that Muslims all go around chanting “death to America”…..I am sure that they get their info from sites that find one incident that is un-American and extrapolate it into a movement within the Muslim community…..all that seems somehow familiar……
Makes me think of the chaotic and violent days of the 1920-30’s……
You see back in those days times were tough and there was this group that decided all the upheaval was the makings of another ethnic group…..the evil ones compared this other group to a pack of rats and other vermin….they were demonized for….basically being different…..
The evil mastermind, whose name is known by all and will remain anonymous, put his thoughts down in a book on how to treat these other people……and better yet…….. control them……
“Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. (…) The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas.These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward. (…) Every change made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula.”
Some tactics never go out of favor….now do they? When I hear words like “pack”and “horde” to describe a people then the thoughts of yesteryear return…..
The discourse over Muslims today resembles the way Jews were vilified around a century ago.
The way this discourse is structured reminds me of that same evil fellow from the past…..he postulated the proper way of dealing with the ethnic group in question…..
“Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (…) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (…) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (…) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.”
All this fear-mongering is nothing new…….
This issue will be debated for years to come…..with no consensus because no matter how cogent an argument is….haters are going to always find someone to hate.
On 8 November 2015, Croats will for the first time ever get a taste of a preferential voting system in their parliamentary elections. Voters will be able to circle the name of their preferred candidate on the List they vote for. Preferential votes will be valid for those candidates who receive at least 10% of the List total vote. Voter turnout hasn’t been great in the past and one wonders whether the newly installed preferential voting together with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s appeal to the nation, particularly to the young and those who have stayed away from casting their vote at past elections, to vote and thus partake in the decision for the country’s future would change for the better the voter turnout on 8 November?
“The fate of our Croatia will be in your hands on that day,” said president Grabar-Kitarovic in her televised announcement of the date for 2015 general elections. “That is the day when the politicians are accountable to you and when democracy takes on its full sense. Having that in mind I invite you to attentively follow what the candidates are offering, what are their programs like and how they will affect your everyday lives for the next four years. I especially wish to invite the youngest voters and those who are voting for the first time. Do not allow others to choose for you. Croatia needs your fresh outlook and your participation in the most important act of democracy … Come out to vote, utilise your right and take ownership of responsibility…”
Although president Grabar-Kitarovic has in the same televised appearance called for the politicians and candidates to steer away from turning the election campaigns into “carnival of democracy”, to behave with political correctness, leave the “ashes of the past” behind and look at ways of creating a better future with joint efforts, the fact remains that all candidates, all political parties are in the race to win seats in parliament, to carry significant clout in a future government.
The president has also asked the media to use its potent influence on shaping attitudes responsibly and contribute ethically to the strengthening of social responsibility.
The way the political pre-election platforms have ignited in Croatia during the past months tells us that Croatia has failed to produce a strong third political option and Croatian government contenders are firmly standing at two camps, and the smaller political satellites if they have not already entered into a coalition with a bigger party will just fit in with whoever wins.
Croatia is nowhere near hammering nails into the coffin of the two party politics and helping new coalitions, alliances and horse-trading bloom even if there are a few emerging forces (Orah, the Reformists, Milan Bandic 365, the Bridge…) that could possibly steal notable thunder from the ruling Social Democrats/SDP (centre left) and the largest opposition Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ (Conservative/ centre right). To hammer nails into the coffin of the two party politics Croatian voters will need to develop into what President Grabar-Kitarovic recommends: look at what candidates are offering you; look at their programs. Sadly, the Croatian votes are still driven by “being against” rather than “being for” when casting their vote. Being for or against what communist Yugoslavia was and being for or against what Franjo Tudjman led (independence) still seem to sit at the back of the voter minds with SDP backers being those who are fighting against coming clean with communist crimes of the past even though they are increasingly thumping their chests with gestures of Croatian patriotism. These ashes from the past are difficult to sweep away and feed the fire of two party politics; feed the “against” vote as opposed the “for” one. It still seems easier for Croatian voters to say “I’m against him, them…” than “I’m for this and that…(program)”.
Croatian voters will decide on 8 November whether the current Social Democrat led government will enter a second mandate or whether Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ – led coalition will get a mandate and a chance to demonstrate that its slogan “Growth-Development-Employment” is actually different from similar striving other political parties are promising at elections and will bring positive results as opposed to empty promises that stem from a seemingly economic impasse.
Neither of the two major parties, SDP and HDZ, is expected to win enough seats, the 76 seats out of 151 needed to govern alone. They are teaming up with smaller parties instead and much will depend on which smaller parties have the best chance at local electorate to win power. This formula seems particularly important given that latest opinion polls, according to the Croatian news agency HINA, place Social Democrats and Croatian Democratic Union almost neck and neck – were the elections to be held beginning October the Social Democrats coalition would get 31.9% of the vote while Croatian Democratic Union and coalition would scoop 32.9% of the vote. In attempts to predict the election outcome the situation becomes more complex when one considers that both the leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (Tomislav Karamarko) and the leader of Social Democrats (Zoran Milanovic) are through opinion polls considered as the most negative politicians in Croatia.
The above polls seem to suggest that Croatia is in a de facto multi-party system when it comes to parliamentary elections, although the third option is still in tatters and competing egos. A third vote Conservative, a third vote Left wing, a third vote somebody else. That somebody else in more cases than not is a historical splinter from either HDZ or SDP and suffers from bad cases of inflated political egos which see no unity on the horizon. These opinion polls figures may not be counted on as projecting the general elections results in any certain terms but they do suggest that Croatia is bracing for another tug of war during elections where the number of voters against the other main party will decide who wins. The third option, that somebody else, is far too disjointed in terms of being a more or less homogeneous political body to pose a real threat to either HDZ or SDP, but picking out supporting threads from it will be the stuff that will most likely define the majority seat winner at November elections.
If you are planning to cast your vote for the future of Croatia on 8 November, wherever you are – do not forget to register to vote! I believe registrations close 28 October 2015. Voters living abroad should contact the nearest Croatian consular-diplomatic mission and obtain form or simply information how to register to vote.
The Islamic extremism is silencing the voice of the freedom of expression through the blind and the misguided liberals.They are using the mainstream media to threaten and intimidate whoever expose their falsehood.Liberalism is befriending terrorism and siding with the enemy.
Where is Dr.Nawal El Saadawi ,the Egyptian heroine who exposed the barbarism of Islamic laws to enslave Muslim Women ?
Where is Salman Rushdie ,the British Pakistani author who published his book the Satanic verses ? He exposed the Islamic violence to silence people.
Where is Ayaan Hirsi Ali,the Somalian Muslim woman who opposes the Islamiss who want to kill her for telling the truth about the Islamic Sharia law ?
What happened to the French ? why they are silent ignoring the terrorist attack which killed Charlie Hebdo.”Je-Suis Charlie?
What happened to the Danish Cartoonist who draw few pictures of the founder of Islam.Is he still in hiding?
Where is Pamela Geller who organized the cartoon contest in Texas.What happened to Sios ,the Copenhagen movement.of free speech ?
They are being silenced by the mainstream media which serves the agenda of fear and violence
The duel of the century….. the House of Saud bullies its neighbor all in the name of religion……a silly premise to kill……no matter which religion it is…..
Our story beginswith the Houthi rebels in Yemen attacking and winning skirmishes with the Yemeni military….the Houthis are Shia and the House of Saud decided that a Shia country next to the Holy sites of Islam was unacceptable……so the war began with the Saudis attacking Houthi positions…..after months of constant airstrikes the small country of Yemen looks in worse shape than Syria after 4 years of civil war.
The Yemeni people are hungry and thirsty and the war continues…..a humanitarian crisis is looming even worse than it is today.
The civilian deaths are mounting up and up…..it is so bad that Saudi Arabia has been brought up on charges in front of the UN…..but that went no where…..the Western countries are running cover for the House of Saud……
For those that would like to get more information on this conflict may I suggest the following……..
The following maps aim to illustrate distinct facets of the Yemen conflict, and illuminate some rarely discussed aspects of its ongoing civil war.
In a U-turn at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Western governments dropped plans Wednesday for an international inquiry into human rights violations by all parties in the war in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians in the last six months.
The change of direction came as the Netherlands withdrew the draft of a resolution it had prepared with support from a group of mainly Western countries that instructed the United Nations high commissioner for human rights to send experts to Yemen to investigate the conduct of the war.
That proposal was a follow-up to recommendations by the commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who detailed in a report this month the heavy civilian loss of life inflicted not only by the relentless airstrikes of the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia but also by the indiscriminate shelling carried out by Houthi rebels.
Of course the US is doing what it always does….protect the Saudis at all costs……a usual suspect for denying the truth is McCain……..when asked about civilian deaths caused by the Saudis…….
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spent the most time discussing the issue with me. But his answers were perplexing.
“They may be bombing civilians, which is actually not true,” McCain said, when asked about civilian casualties in Yemen.
“Civilians aren’t dying?” I asked.
“No, they’re not,” the senator replied. “Oh, I’m sure civilians die in war. Not nearly as many as the Houthis have executed,” McCain continued, referring to the Shiite militia waging an insurgency against the Sunni government in Yemen.
Asked about the recent reports of Saudi forces bombing a wedding party in Yemen, McCain said, “I’m sure in wars terrible things happen and the Houthis however are an extremist group backed by the Iranians who are slaughtering Yemenis.”
The Saudis are killing civilians at an alarming rate…….the most recent deaths were a wedding party…….
The death toll from a missile strike on a wedding party in Yemen has jumped to 131, medics have said, making it one of the deadliest attacks on civilians during the war and drawing strong condemnation from the UN secretary-general.
Residents said that two missiles tore through tents in the Red Sea village of Al-Wahijah, near the port of Al-Mokha. A local man affiliated with the Houthis – the Shia rebel group who are fighting the coalition – was holding his wedding reception.
A source at a hospital in Maqbana, where the casualties were taken, said on Tuesday that the death toll from the attack had risen to 131…….
There is no end in sight…..if things keep up this pace then Yemen will once again be divided into 2 separate states as it was in 1968-1990 when the two unified and became one state…Yemen. (a little history never hurts)……
Shall we count the conflicts in the Middle East……sorry there is not enough time for that……there is NEVER enough time for the right thing in the Middle East.
Must the whole world fear Islam? What gives Muslims this blind boldness to defy logic and the God-given freedom of expression ?
Muslims are furies as usual as always when a brilliant hero exposes Islam’s reality for the last 14 hundred years.
Muslims are demanding unjustly that Dr.Ben Carson should drop out the presidential race as a candidate.Are Muslims the Masters of human destiny ? Because Dr.Ben Carson said.””Muslim should not be president.””
The Muslims believe they are the only Pure race and their Allah call them through Jihadism for the Obliteration of the disbelievers in the world.(The Jew,Yazidis,Buddahs,Hindous,Christians and atheists..) Muslims think firmly that they are right and the rest of humanity are wrong,they are good and the rest of the world is evil according th the Islamic teachings ,that the non-believers are not worthy to live.They must obey , surrender or die.
Muslims are trying to kill Salman Rushdie because he published his book the “”satanic Verses in 1988.He exposed the reality of Islam. Salman is among the Islamic hit list like the Danish Cartoonist,Ayaan Hirsi Ali the heroine from Somalia who exposed the enslavement of women in Islam.Islam defies human rights and freedom of speech.Muslims will kill whoever opposes their destructive ideology..
Muslims want to silence the whole world despite God’s given equality and right to be free.They use terrorism,as a tool to accomplish their agendas.ISIS,Boko Haram,and other thousand extremist groups are beheading innocent people to spread chaos and destruction.Muslims danced in their capitals when September 11,2001 terrorist attack happened.The attach killed 3000 innocent people.
The disbeliever ought then to Sue Muslims and Islam because they are trying to annihilate them. Christians ,Jews,Hindous did not demons chaotically when their brothers , sisters,sons ,daughters and mothers were decapitated by Islamic ideology and thugs.These Islamic thugs are born from Islam they are not Martians .The 18 Saudis terrorists who committed the atrocity of the century in 9/11 they were raised in the capital of the Islamic world,MECCA/Saudi Arabia.They were financed by Arab oil money .,Saudi Arabia used to give Usama Bin Laden 250 million dollars to spread terror in the world.Hijacking planes and kidnapping journalist.Who would forget these acts of hate and aggression?
The world is on the verge of religious destructive course .The weak and disoriented world leaders are deaf,mute and speechless.Millions of Muslims are begging to be accepted as refugees in Christian countries while the Arab world and the 57 Muslim countries are refusing to accept one Syrian Muslim refugee.Is this what Islam stands for?
Iraq is a flaming wasteland…..both physically and literally…..and it does not look like it will get much better in the near future…..and then the Kurds.
Who are the Kurds….you ask……
This from Yahoo Answers……The Kurd population, stretching across at least 4 countries, with a diaspora in many more, historically has been hard to quantify. In 1987, estimates suggested that probably numbering close to 16 million kurds, inhabits the wide arc from eastern Turkey and the north-western part of Syria through Azerbaijan and Iraq to the north-west of the Zagros Mountains in Iran, represented the population of what has been referred to as “Kurdistan.” About half of all Kurds worldwide lived in Turkey. Most of the rest lived in adjacent regions of Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
They represent by far the largest non-Arab ethnic minority of Iraq, accounting in 1987 for about 19 percent of the population, or around 3.1 million, and also Turkey’s largest non-Turkish ethnic group. By 2008 Turkey still had the dominant Kurdish population in the region, with an estimated 14 million. Iraq was estimated to have a population of some 4-6 million Kurds, with another 4-5 million in Iran. Kurdish populations that represented less than 10 percent of the total population continued by that time in countries such as Syria and Azerbaijan as well.
The Kurds became famous as a tool to invade Iraq…you see Saddam put down an uprising in the Kurdish region with CWs killing thousands……then when we invaded in 2003 they were our best ally at the time and since have helped the US with its problems in the Middle East…..
When the renegade group ISIS started up it was the Kurds that were first to fight and have fought in Syria and Iraq ever since…..with some successes and some failures.
Along came Turkey, a US ally, they had dragged their feet to get involved in the fight against ISIS even when the group was on their border with Syria……for decades Turkey and the PKK (PKK stands for the Kurdistan Worker’s Party)have been in conflict….The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan or پارتی کار کهرانی کوردستان Parti Karkerani Kurdistan), best known as PKK (Kurdish language:په که که and also called KADEK, Kongra-Gel, and KGK), is a national independence movement militant and human rights organization that is recognized as a terrorist group by the EU, US and Turkey.
What does all this have to do with the situation?
Turkey finally relents and joins the coalition to fight ISIS….the problem is that Turkey is attacking Kurdish positions and not the terrorist group…..they are using the Coalition as cover to rid themselves of the PKK.
The US and NATO have been caught with their pants down yet again…..will they allow Turkey to continue this vendetta against the PKK? Turkey is attacking our allies….at what point will it become a problem?
How many times can the US screw over the Kurds before they also turn their backs on us?
But wait there is more……
With all the problems that the Kurds are having with the Us and ISIS and now Turkey…..Iraq has joined into the war against the PKK and in essence the Kurds, at least in words only……for now….
In comments made at the Arab League,Iraqi central government spokesman Ibrahim al-Jaafari endorsed the Turkish war against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), saying Turkey had every right to “self-defence” against the Kurdish secessionist faction.
How much betrayal will the Kurds tolerate before they take off on their own…..apparently no one is in the mood to help them….and their long-held dream of a homeland maybe just that…..a dream.
Croatia’s Supreme Court has Thursday 1 October overturned the 2014 Zagreb district court nine-year prison sentence and ordered a retrial for former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, who was jailed for corruption, embezzling millions of euros in public funds via a company named Fimi Media. All other defendants joined in this case of corruption charges by the former State Attorney Mladen Bajic, including the Croatian Democratic Union Party/HDZ, were also included in this verdict and freed from guilty verdict delivered against them in 2014. These charges were originally mounted at the time when Croatia was working towards meeting all criteria for EU membership. Fight against corruption was a big part of proving “worthy” of EU membership as state. The Supreme Court in Croatia has ordered a new trial for charges and claims against Sanader and other defendants, however, it stands to speculation as to whether, under the new Crimes act HDZ will need to be dropped from the list of defendants.
The Supreme Court had made the decision to overturn the district court verdict in its totality and return the case to that court for a new trial and new judgement. While a detailed decision by the Supreme Court regarding this case has not yet been published the Supreme court delivered its decision citing unspecified violations in the lower court trial of significant breaches in the lower court of criminal procedure, among other things serious breaches of right to just and fair trial – guaranteed under the Constitution and the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedom.
Given that this criminal case was widely publicised and a great deal of Croatia’s reputation in being able to deal with corruption hung on the success of trials brought against individuals for corruption, one does find it perplexing in discovering that apparently there were serious breaches of criminal procedures in this case. One would have thought that nothing untoward when it comes to set procedures could go wrong during the court process! But it seems something went very wrong and, therefore, nothing less than the decision it made could be expected from the Supreme Court.
Indeed, everyone does have a right to a fair trial.
The Croatian Supreme Court decision has, naturally, put a smile to HDZ’s face and while the new trial is yet to occur, the new judgment yet to be delivered some time down the road, one thing does remain possible: HDZ as Political party should never have been joined as a defendant in the case in which Ivo Sanader was brought to court on criminal charges of corruption and fraud whilst HDZ’s President and Croatia’s Prime Minister and it should be dropped! Accusing some 200,000 members of the Party of collective guilt for crimes committed by its leader is just as bad as not having a fair trial.
Indeed, in the new Criminal Act there is no longer the provision under which HDZ (a political party) can be accused of or charged with criminal deeds relating to the Fimi Media case associated with Sanader and this Supreme Court judgment. HDZ was ordered to pay 3.8 million euro fine in 2014 when guilty verdict against Sanader and it was delivered and with this Supreme Court ruling that fine seems to be null and void even though the position the Supreme Court took on HDZ’s appeal is not yet fully known and it will be months before the detailed reasons for the decision are known.
“If that is the case and this new criminal deed is not in continuity with the old legislation then it’s almost certain that the case against HDZ will be stopped and that no guilty verdict will be delivered against it,” said for HRT TV news on 2 October dr Mato Palic, Faculty of Law, Osijek.
During HDZ’s promotion of its election program in Vukovar on Friday 2 October, the President of that largest opposition party in Croatia, Tomislav Karamarko, stated, “because of some individuals HDZ was a target of satanic scenario designed to destroy the party… Our party has gone through its catharsis, there is not a single office-bearer in it with a valid verdict against him/her nor will there ever be one. All who breach the law should leave this party straight away on their own initiative…”
Time is hopefully coming when the Croatian public may have the opportunity of finding out whether “satanic verses”, from the mouth of the former, communist coloured, State Attorney Mladen Bajic, were indeed afoot when original charges that saw a Political Party vilified were laid.
After nearly three years in jail, Sanader can now leave on bail of 12.4 million kuna (1.6 million euro) after the court ruled that procedural errors had affected his right to a fair trial. It’s expected that his friends and family will be able to raise the bail by 7 October.
I am quite concerned that the process of justice, the court process of such magnitude as the ones against Croatia’s former Prime Minister Sanader could have gone so terribly wrong. One cannot avoid asking the question whether such procedural transgressions could have been perpetrated on purpose? For political reasons; for political gains? I find it hard to believe that in all cases against Sanader, in all separate trials, same or similar procedural breaches could have been committed! It almost feels like a conspiracy to make the public think corruption is being seriously dealt with when in fact it was all an act? To err, to breach procedural fairness in one case against an accused is easy to believe but to err in all arouses justifiable doubts in the sincerity of efforts put in place for combating corruption.
The right to procedural fairness (a term that is often used interchangeably with “natural justice”) is not a concept that is foreign to the Croatian judicial process and professionals that make it even if many do stem from the biased and politically coloured justice system of communist Yugoslavia. Sanader’s legal team says that charges against him were based upon affidavits or statements made to the State agency against corruption by some people who wouldn’t reply to questions put to them by Sanader’s defence team, and that, apart from that, there was no evidence of his wrongdoing.
While I have always maintained that collective guilt such as the one pinned against the Political Party HDZ in this case had no place in natural or any other justice. It’s pure political witch-hunting and it should have never been allowed in the courtroom in the first place. While HDZ says that “the Supreme Court ruling has removed the stigma from the Party and its 200,000 members and that it said from the beginning that the political party was not and could not be held accountable for the acts of corruption charged against it,” I would, though, like to see HDZ, and every political party, fight harder against such injustice as holding a Political Party (or an organisation) guilty for the (secret, personal) acts of some or few members. If they fought harder for such real justice all along, since independence and since the installation of democracy, then judges in Croatia would not have the nerve to allow procedural unfairness pass through their fingers like some insignificant breeze or pronounce sentences such as “the communist system murdered the people, not the accused former communist Josip Boljkovac”.
Papal power is not absolute. The Pope does not have the power to change teaching (or) doctrine. The Pope does not have the power to reverse the Beatification of Croatia’s Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac but, uncomfortably as it may sit with many, the Pope can slow down the process of Canonisation of Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac as Saint in the Catholic Church.
There has been much uneasiness spreading within the 85% Roman Catholic Croatian population about the visit on Friday 11 September 2015 of Serbia’s president Tomislav Nikolic to the Vatican, to meet with Pope Francis and enter into issues relating to the canonisation of Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac – or rather Serbia’s views on it – as one of the talks agenda. Furthermore, President Nikolic and Pope Francis have reportedly discuss the establishment of a joint commission of the Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches that will study “historical facts related to WWII and Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s role in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).”
It is well-known that both the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian state oppose the canonisation of Blessed Stepinac, accusing him unjustly of supporting the Fascist regime in Croatia, which they say was responsible for the deaths of Serbs in Croatia in World War II. The commission would study historical evidence to determine his role, which is and has been widely disputed. Serbia and its political allies say that he supported the Fascist regime aligned with the Nazis while many Croats (guided by factual findings through research of archives, such as that of Dr. Esther Gitman) oppose the communist Yugoslavia picture concocted about Stepinac, still actively promoted by Serbs and some former communists in Croatia. The facts are that Blessed Alojzije Stepinac saved and rescued many lives of Jews, Serbs and Roma.
Does Pope Francis truly understand Europe if Serbia’s president Tomislav Nikolic is one of his advisers on the canonisation of Croatia’s Blessed Alojzije Stepinac – asked journalist D. Likic on Croatia’s news portal Maxportal. In continuance of such a sentiment of doubt, one truly wonders whether Pope Francis understands the past role President of Serbia actually played in the tragic and genocidal war of Serb aggression against Croatia in 1990’s? One truly wonders whether the Pope realises the terrifying significance for Croatian people Tomislav Nikolic’s incitement to hatred and crimes against Croats has and had? One truly wonders whether Pope Francis realises that Serbia’s President is one of the powerful personalities who keep denying and hiding the terrible role WWII Serbia played in the perpetration of the Holocaust – by May 1942, 94% of Serbia’s Jews were exterminated so that Serbia could announce it was one of the first European countries to be free of Jews. Serbia’s powerful keep telling the world that it was the occupying Nazis who exterminated all those Jews in Serbia – wrong! Serbia’s government and people who supported it collaborated with the Nazis, marked the Jews for extermination and brought them to extermination camps.
If the Pope realises all that, then perhaps the commission formed between the Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Church has and will discuss all the historical facts of WWII, including those relating to the role of the Serbian Orthodox Church and this role meant peril and death to Jews, Croats and others. Including the fact that, judging from its past behaviour and statements, the Serbian Orthodox Church has no intention or morality to accept the true facts about the Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac and his deeds of rescue and saving of persecuted people. So, why would one want someone who has proven himself to be so biased and hateful against Croats in advance on a commission or committee deciding on facts in WWII Croatia?
Truly baffling! Truly disquieting!
According to Serbia’s news agency Tanjug, following the meeting with Pope Francis, Nikolic told Tanjug that he had a very open discussion with the Pope about Cardinal Stepinac during which he had told the Pope that Cardinal Stepinac had played a very bad role in World War II.
“He (Stepinac) should at least not have remained silent when someone is killing … citizens just because they are not of (Roman) Catholic faith,” Nikolic said.
The problem with this statement from Nikolic and all Serbia’s political and church leaders is that they choose, with evident intentional malice, to ignore the facts discovered (e.g. by research conducted by Dr. Esther Gitman) after government archives were opened in late 1990’s/early 2000’s when communist Yugoslavia finally fell. These facts irrefutable point to the absolute truth that Cardinal Stepinac, organising rescue missions and actions that would save lives also protested in writing against any killings done under the WWII regime, he became aware of, but his protests fell on deaf ears just as they are falling on deaf ears of Serbia today! Serbia’s Nikolic would like us to think, it seems, that an Archbishop (Stepinac) in WWII was more powerful that the country’s governmental leadership! Why else would he ignore Stepinac’s protests of which he is well aware?
Serbia’s president Nikolic boasted that the Pope had told him at one point that he was in no rush to declare the cardinal a saint. If that is true, it is sad and pathetic.
“I think that I have come across a man who knows a great deal and who understands everything and who has accepted almost every statement and suggestion I put to him. This was a meeting between people who understood each other straight away,” Nikolic boasted further to the Serbian media.
God forbid! God forbid if Papal belief should be so easily filled!
Perhaps in the context of this commission established between the Catholic and the Serbian Orthodox Churches, and in the context that Serbia’s leaders and its Orthodox Church have been and still maliciously insist that Blessed Alojzije Stepinac is guilty of WWII crimes he had no part in committing or power to prevent, Pope Frances will find a way to point a revealing light on actual WWII facts for Serbia and wipe once and for all the foul drivel flowing out of Serbian political and religious leaders’ mouths for decades.
Pope Francis’ path so far has shown him as a kind of revolutionary man; a man who only last week broadened the power of priests to forgive women who commit what Catholic teachings call the “mortal sin” of abortion during his newly declared “year of mercy” starting in December. On last Sunday, 6 September, he called for “every” Catholic parish in Europe to offer shelter to one refugee family from the thousands of asylum-seekers risking all to escape war-torn Syria and other pockets of conflict and poverty. He repeatedly has denounced unrestrained capitalism. His attacks on “compulsive consumerism” and industrial damage to the world’s ecology came to a head during a fiery July speech in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He said poor nations shouldn’t be mere sources of raw materials and cheap labor, and called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil”:
“Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system,” he said, “it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”
Many of the 265 popes before Francis championed serious causes. Most recently, John Paul II crusaded against communism and beatified Croatia’s Cardinal Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, and Benedict XVI decried moral drift that devalued human lives. Now comes Pope Francis’ determination to help people by the hundreds of millions escape destitution. Excellent. Perhaps during his visit to the United States this coming week he’ll discuss how market economies already have let other hundreds of millions prosper, and bless capitalism for its saving grace. Give credit where credit is due for in this day and age, without capital or money, there can be no welfare and no humanitarian aid. Perhaps, at some point he will publicly reflect on the meeting with Serbia’s Tomislav Nikolic and loudly pronounce that Nikolic’s malicious fodder cannot and will not stain the blessed and saintly soul and deeds of Cardinal Stepinac. That would match the courage and the leadership the Pope has shown in many instances so far. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb);B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)