Croatia: ‘ With Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic “Berlin Wall” To Finally Tumble Down ‘

In one week, on January 11, Croatian presidential candidates Ivo Josipovic and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic face their final battle for the Office of the President. One of the more significant platforms pursued by Grabar-Kitarovic in her election campaign isthe return to where Franjo Tudjman stopped.
He (Tudjman) is a man who gathered us all around the idea of freedom and independent Croatia and, led by him, the Croatian people and all the citizens who fought for Croatia, our state was created and it’s now our duty to complete the work he started and take Croatia into prosperity,” she said in December 2014 at the 15th anniversary of Tudjman’s death.

January 4, 2015

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Candidate for President of Croatia

When Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991 the communist Yugoslav Secret Police (KOS, UDBA) controlled a great deal and Croatia was faced with a brutal war of Serb/Yugoslav People’s Army aggression. This was the time just after the “Berlin Wall” came down, promising freedom and democracy to Eastern European countries that had been suffocated by Soviet-led or Soviet associated communist regime for decades, since WWII.
Franjo Tudjman, announcing paths to freedom from the Yugoslav communist regime and democracy for Croatia started the tearing down of the “Berlin Wall” that had existed within former Yugoslavia since WWII. In the early 1990s Croatians, led by Tudjman, along with Slovenians and eventually Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, turned towards West (while Serbia and Montenegro, along with those organised individuals in the other aforementioned Yugoslav states wanted communism to flourish, dug their vicious pro-communist heels in) and broke their ties with Yugoslavia, which was dominated by the Serbs. Most, but not all, from the Serbian minority in Croatia tried, with the help of the Yugoslav Army, to stop Croatia’s secession from Yugoslavia. After several years of bloody armed struggle, Croatians managed to militarily defeat the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian rebel forces.
But this success of Croatian Homeland War veterans and their leadership was not to see uninterrupted the next phase that would entail putting into place all the necessary political, ideological, administrative and legislative actions within Croatia that would see Tudjman’s path for a truly democratic and prosperous Croatia in action. The viciously ardent communists, led by Stjepan Mesic, staged and aided an all-out war of vilification against Tudjman and Croatian Homeland War Generals, setting their sights on criminalising the war and equating the victim with the aggressor. As the new Croatian state was formed during the Homeland War, the former Yugoslav communist Secret Police was not dissolved, allegedly because the new Croatian leadership could not risk an ‘internal war’ with the remains of the totalitarian regime. At the time Tudjman was to support lustration – removing from higher office those who were operatives of the Yugoslav Secret Police – the chase to vilify him as an ultra-nationalist who participated in joint criminal enterprise against Serbs in Croatia picked up and constantly threw dust into the eyes of those who wanted to work on further and more profound democratic changes in Croatia. (It took 18 years for the International Criminal Tribunal of Former Yugoslavia to peel off this vilifying coat when in 2012 Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were acquitted of crimes they were charge with as Generals of Tudjman’s army…)
By the year 2000 “reformed“ communists came to power in Croatia, both in Government led by Ivica Racan and in Presidency of Stjepan Mesic. Ivica Racan’s former Communist Party changed its name to “Social Democratic Party,” yet everything else remained the same. They kept their close relationships with the Serbian minority in Croatia and the Serbs in former Yugoslavia – with the same old communists in their respective positions of leadership. Stjepan Mesic, having been ousted as parliamentary speaker in 1994 by Tudjman on account of his vicious and vilifying attempts to oust Tudjman from power, had meandered through creating new political parties to acting as independent to stay in power and continue his work on burying the democracy Tudjman had set as Croatia’s goal.
Social Democrats and Mesic had pushed on with “drowning” Tudjman and Croatia’s Homeland War and resurrecting communist Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito along with suffocating the efforts to bring communist crimes perpetrated during the times of communist Yugoslavia to justice. Croatia’s current president Ivo Josipovic had picked up where his predecessor Mesic stopped and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic where Racan’s government had stopped. Croatia had become a battleground where values of communist Yugoslavia were elevated above those of Tudjman, Homeland War and democracy and, hence, widespread corruption that has its roots in communist Yugoslavia continued to flourish no matter which political party was in government after year 2000.
Instead of reforming the economy and cutting the government costs, Croatia continues to borrow and sell off national treasures, while increasing taxes. As of today Croatia is the EU member with the GST/VAT at 25%, and with the highest unemployment rate, especially among young professionals who increasingly seek relief from poverty and existential hopelessness abroad.
The Croatian media scene is dominated by the same people who used to glorify former dictator Tito. The current head of the national television, the “HRT,” is Goran Radman, himself the last president of Tito’s communist youth organization. This well-rehearsed team sends to jail or fires someone every week because of “corruption,” in order to distract people’s attention from the real problems. The majority of cases involve political opposition leaders.
The media is served a steady stream of “secret” witness depositions, demonstrating how the country is being robbed. At the same time the attention is drawn away from the real problems, concealing the fact that the fleecing of the country is carried out by the government itself.
Increased taxes, no investments, no encouragement for private investment projects, halting the funds earmarked by the EU – all this seems to be the hallmark of the Josipovic’ regime” writes Dan Rados of The Daily Caller in his thought-provoking article titledIs Serbia controlling Croatia by blackmailing its president”.
All that and much more seems the hallmark of the politics of those who do not want a democratic and prosperous Croatia and they are those who remain loyal to the values of communist former-Yugoslavia. One wonders how much of this pro-communist Yugoslavia outlook has stopped Ivo Josipovic visiting again the protest-camp site outside Veterans’ Affairs ministry building in Zagreb where 100% war-invalids have been rallying for changes and rights since October 2014! I.e., aloof faced, Josipovic has visited the protesting veterans on 24 October and has done not a thing then or since then in attempting to truly listen to the suffering veterans, to create or help create a constructive dialogue and seems unperturbed by and deaf at the veterans’ plights. His excuse for failing to speak to the protesting veterans since late October is that he has invited them to visit him in his office! And this is the man who tries to tell the people that he too holds that independent Croatia of today is based on the values of Croatia’s Homeland War (as well as antifascist)! The communists of today, such as Josipovic, seem brazenly and spitefully determined not to let Croatian Homeland War veterans achieve fully an upper hand they deserve.
Throughout the campaigning for the presidency of Croatia it has been so refreshing to come across a candidate like Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic who, unlike Josipovic, emanates with democratic justice, providing for citizens’ and human rights for everyone based on the law of the country, due process and fairness. She is adamant in unifying the Croatian nation into working towards the goals set by Tudjman and, unlike Josipovic and the Social Democrat led government, appears to place Homeland War veterans above any former communist or antifascist crusader. With her victory on Sunday 11 January Croatia is surely to start breathing fairness and justice once again and the “Berlin Wall” will finally tumble-down for Croatia just as it has many years ago for the other European countries adversely affected in the past by it. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Published on January 04 2015 

Ina Vukic News 

Ace News Room 

#berlin-wall, #communism, #communist-yugoslavia, #croatia, #croatian-homeland-war, #croatian-presidential-elections-2014, #franjo-tudjman, #ivo-josipovic, #josip-broz-tito, #kolinda-grabar-kitarovic, #stjepan-mesic, #transitioning-from-communism, #udba

‘ Croatian Presidential Elections 2014: For Whom The Bell Tolls ‘

Ever since Stjepan Mesic embarked on his attack (initially covertly then overtly) against Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman from about mid-1993, intending to bring down the significance of Tudjman’s cries for democracy and to criminalise Croatian Homeland War the politics in Croatia have often seemed disjointed and often irrational in recent years. After Tudjman’s death in 1999 the people (or at least the majority of voters) had often voted against the interests of democratic reform announced as essential by Franjo Tudjman in 1990. In the past fifteen years Croats have managed to thoroughly corrupt the democratic system through the intricate network of a permanent political class composed of anti-fascist lobbyists underpinned by the perpetuation of the illusion that Communist Yugoslavia was a success story of multi-ethnic unity and through the controlled media. The mainstream media in Croatia has gradually crumbled into snippets of inflammatory or sensational “fly-by-night- news” bearing without a shred of guiding commentary that would assist in the building of democracy and truth.

Croatian Presidential Elections 2014 Candidates Clockwise: Ivo Josipovic, Milan Kujundzic, Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic and Ivan Vilibor Sincic

Indeed, there was a time – and that time was Tudjman’s time – when idealism for freedom and democracy triumphed over power and many Croatian men and women of good will from all over the world, voluntarily, without expecting any kudos or material reward, entered public activism, lobbyism out of a purer motive of doing something for their country – Croatia. For them Croatia symbolised pure love for freedom and democracy. Freedom (from oppressive communist Yugoslavia) was achieved and democracy although engraved into Croatia’s Constitution suffered frustrating setbacks.

Despite Tudjman’s attempts from 1993 to embark upon ridding the power-wielding institutions of the former highly-positioned communist Yugoslavia operatives, they came out of the woodwork (largely due to Stjepan Mesic’s and his political camp’s resistance to lustration) creating a new mesh of power that would see the corruption that thrived at all levels of government for decades in communist Yugoslavia, which excluded oppressively any other ideology but communist – consolidate its suffocating effects on democratic progress.

There’s little doubt that the greatest danger to the survival of free and democratic Croatia (or any republic for that matter) is corruption, corruption being favouring special or narrow interests over the common good. Croatia is there now and the current presidential election campaigns are increasing the speed with which Croatia may become a totally special interest political system, separated from the common good; the good of the people.

And so, how do uncorrupted political leaders survive in a corrupt environment. We must fear that they cannot unless they possess equal cannon fodder to defend themselves from attacks that have no ingredients for common good but all the ingredients of furthering corruption and distorting the truth, which would if given a chance build on democracy.
And so I come to a freak Croatian media “frenzy” whereby numerous media outlets published a letter written to the Croatian presidential candidate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on a Facebook page by Danica Ramljak, a highly educated individual who has spent more than two decades living and working in the U.S.A. In that letter Ramljak evidently sets out to denigrate Grabar-Kitarovic as a deserving candidate for the President of Croatia by asking Grabar-Kitarovic to provide her answer to the 10 questions she (Ramljak) has asked in the letter.

And I shake my head in despair: what chance of democracy and truth has Croatia got when educated people like Ramljak publicly ask stupid questions that should not have passed a decent Editor’s desk into the “print-room”? What chance does democracy in Croatia have when media outlets download from Facebook pages material that is highly inflammatory and based on an evidently malicious agenda to mislead the public and vilify people without even warning the public that the contents of that material may misrepresent the truth or proper role of a public official?

Only someone who does not want progress in democracy in Croatia can ask and publish such questions. Only someone who wants political corruption to thrive in Croatia can ask and publish such questions.

Ramljak in her questions that to me appear stupid, vilifying and malicious suggests that Grabar-Kitarovic as the Croatian Ambassador to the US was responsible for bringing American investors to Croatia (and failed)! Even a child knows that an Ambassador does not create or control state laws and regulations for foreign investments – and God knows Croatian laws and red tapes have been hopeless and repelled many an investor. Furthermore, investing is the sole prerogative and choice of an investor and Ambassadors are no herders. Ramljak then suggests that Grabar-Kitarovic as Ambassador is to blame for not enough US tourists visiting Croatia because she did not promote Croatian tourism enough as Ambassador – truly, Ramljak needs a few lessons in choice and individual right to choice, in democracy – actually. Even if it were the job of an Ambassador to promote the tourist industry (as opposed to supporting it) – which it is not – one surely cannot attach blame to that Ambassador for a personal choice a tourist makes regarding their holiday destination.

Furthermore, Ramljak claims through a question that Grabar-Kitarovic secured her high position in NATO while working in Washington as Croatian Ambassador to the US and that her employer (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) did not know anything about that. It seems that the democratic right to do whatever one pleases in one’s private time (away from the job or working hours) or to pursue private matters (and seeking a new job is a private matter), does not factor in Ramljak’s idea of democracy and human rights. Certainly, Ramljak offers no evidence of any wrong doing by Grabar-Kitarovic and yet has the nasty gall of strongly implying it.

Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel “For Whom The Bell Tolls” graphically describes the brutality of civil war (Spanish Civil War) and the Spanish Civil War is all about politics: it’s a conflict between the leftist “Republic” and the fascist Nationalists. All of the characters the novel focuses on fight for the Republic, some of them with a zeal which borders on the religious. Yet what the Republic stands for is somewhat up for grabs: it’s a troubled coalition of Communists, anarchists, and those who simply believe in “freedom” or “the people.” The optimism or idealism felt by some characters is sharply contrasted with the reality of Republican politics – constant lying, infighting, and control by foreigners.

Ivo Josipovic and Danica Ramljak

While there are no fascists in Croatia, there are communists like Ivo Josipovic (also presidential candidate and current president) who would like the world to think that there are fascists in Croatia. I do hope that the bell will toll loud and clear at the coming presidential elections in Croatia and rid it of those who engage in such political corruption as Ramljak has shown through her atrocious letter that seems to me has embraced the mud-slinging tactics Josipovic never strays far away from. While the politically corrupt media do, I trust Grabar-Kitarovic will not dignify the questions put by Danica Ramljak in her publicised letter with answers! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

First Published Here:

Ina Vuckic News 

Ace News Room 

#communism, #croatia, #croatian-presidential-elections-2014, #danica-ramljak, #for-whom-the-bell-tolls, #franjo-tudjman, #ivo-josipovic, #kolinda-grabar-kitarovic, #political-corruption, #stjepan-mesic