| Distributed by CroatianWorld
TheView from the Toronto Tower
by Ljerka Susanna Lukic
RUDITOMIC, The View from the Toronto Tower ofEvents in the Homeland
Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, ZIRAL, 1998, 330 pp.
Without a doubt, no one has been able to come closer to events inBosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia from a distance as has Rudi Tomic in his book The View from the Toronto Tower, published by ZIRAL Press in Mostar.
Using a selection of his writings, published in the Croatian-languagemedia in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and in the diaspora over the past sevenyears, Tomic addresses familiar events in pre-war, wartime and post-warBosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia from an analytical and critical perspective. Askilled and well-known journalist, as well as an analyst, editor, and poet, hemanages to interpret the causes and consequences of the war with greatobjectivity and fairness, while criticizing the main actors (foreign anddomestic) and identifying the Croatian illusions in relation to living togetherwith other nations. He warns of the negative consequences of erroneous politicalpolicies (which, unfortunately came to pass as predicted), and providessuggestions for the functioning of the Muslim/Boanjak-Croatian federation andfor the survival of the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tomic, in his historicaland political commentaries, is also critical of the Croats ownrepresentatives, but, as he notes: My frequently critical evaluations of myown Croats consisted only of commentaries and appraisals of their conduct, andnever of accusations, attacks or insults .
The power of the author s written words is perhaps best felt in hishistorical texts: Half a Century of (Non)Peace in the World, Five Centuries of Croatian Patience, By One You Shall Know Them All,by which he shows that his arguments are not based on superficialjournalistic impressions but, rather, are the product of a methodical study ofproblems, and especially of the exodus of Croats.
Manyof Tomic s ideas were dangerous at first, as well as being farseeing; theywere open and courageous, and were referred to later, when they were publishedin the media at home at the right moment.
Althoughhe has lived in Toronto for forty years, Tomic can take pride in his knowledgeof Croatian linguistics, and he has used a philological approach to deal withthe very thorny problem of the Bosnian language in a penetrating and successfulmanner. He advises the Bosnia-Herzegovina Academic Society (of which he was oneof its founders) that The issue of the Bosnian language is irrelevant underthese conditions when we are struggling for our very physical survival,irrespective of any former existence of such a language. A language mustbe a living one if it is to serve as an expression of national sentiments. For afull three-quarters of a century the Serbian regime promoted a Serbo-Croatian and Yugoslav language. Along with the demise ofYugoslavia, that linguistic monstrosity also disappeared. If someone had reallywanted to bring the Bosnian language into being, one would have had to writebooks and to teach children, even if only in cellars, as our parents taught theCroatian language to us. And, had there been such enthusiasm for Bosniakism asthere was for Yugoslavism, there would never have been a second Yugoslavia.
The author s marked journalistic professionalism, which earned him allof Canada s most coveted awards, is also apparent. As the book s forward, byProfessor Drago Maric, Senior Aide in Bosnia-Herzegovina s Ministry of ForeignAffairs, notes: The texts in this book are arranged chronologically but,given that they jump from subject to subject, they can be read almost by heart.The evident variety of the author s texts makes for easy reading and enhancesthe book s interest. The book contains almost all representative types of thejournalistic genre, including news reports, commentaries, feature articles,mature political essays, complete studies, and even the author s own poetry.However, above all, it is the many years of journalistic experience, formed andhoned over a span of some thirty years with CroatianWay, an extensive knowledge of history, ofthe national artistic tradition, and of the Croatian state-building idea, aswell as a refined sense for what is essential, and an outspokenly well-meaningintent in criticism, that assure for Rudi Tomic the reputation of a competentwriter.
Two groups of texts merit particular attention. In the first, the mostpressing problem in the diaspora - whether to remain abroad or to return home -is the subject. The pamphlet reproduced in this book, There Is No Return to a PeacefulCroatia is the most complete andcoherent analysis yet of the problem of the non-return of our people to thehomeland. The texts How to Stimulate theReturn Home of Emigrants? and Assimilation,It Appears, Is the Solution onlyround out this analysis, leaving all Croats in the diaspora with a great concern is anyone really calling on them to return and does anyone (and why?) reallyneed them there?
In the second group of texts, essays, and studies, The American Lid on the Bosnian Pot - and Peaceful Bosnia!, The Viewfrom the Toronto Tower, After the Celebrationof the Agreement in Belgrade, and ThePolicy of Mutual Concesions, the author comments on the inevitability andtragedy of the historical course of events at the end of the century, thedownfall of the East European socialist dogma, the assimilationist tendencies ofPan-Slavism (in whose name the Croatian identity was taken away and denied and aunitarist ideology imposed in its place, and by which Croatian statehood wasderailed), the Croatian (lack of) accommodation to that, the futility of theshedding of Croatian blood (often on behalf of political causes), the impact anddetrimental effects of foreign interference in our critical junctures andfateful decisions, and the unfulfilled expectations with which the Croats (andespecially those in Bosnia) will enter the twenty-first century.
Tomic is one of the directors of the Toronto Press Club, and an adjunctin the Journalism Department at the University of Mostar. For thirty-five years,he was the editor and owner of the review CroatianWay and the publishing house bearing the same name. The latter publishedtwenty-five books, including works by well-known Croatian writers, as well asthe collective work Croatsin Bosnia and Herzegovina. As such, Tomic is well-placed to be verycritical of failures at home and is a champion of freedom of the press inBosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. As he says, It is difficult to free oneselfof the impression that much of the Croatian media which used to be publishedunder the Yugoslav regime are also published today with the same title! At most,some minor changes in their appearance have been made, but these are notsufficient to do away with ingrained prejudices, especially about the Croatiandiaspora. The majority of Croatian journalists and pundits who commented on events under the pre-war regime as aprofession continue to do so today. It is thus not surprising that somejournalists find it difficult to break out of the mould, out of the uniformityof thought. His study The Croats Media in the Diaspora, covering a span of fifty years,created a sensation back home, as this has been up to now the most originalaccount and evaluation, and was followed immediately by the start of twodoctoral dissertations on the topic, for which Tomic will be the academicmentor.
Of course, this book also devotes considerable attention to ourtragedies, especially to the suffering in Vukovar, as the result of Serbian warcrimes. The author puts forward an original proposal: that Vukovar be preservedin its present condition, as eerie as it looks. As he argues, We must leaveVukovar, as it is today, for the future Croatian generations, for history, andfor the world as a memorial symbolizing hate, crimes, genocide, and Balkanism,which our eastern neighbor (Serbia) gave us as a gift after almost a century ofshared (state) life, so that the mistakes of 1918 and 1945 of creating newunions would not be repeated& Vukovar is a city which must be preserved, inthis form and in the condition that is in today, for perpetuity, and to save itfrom being forgotten, and to make it permanent . Unfortunately, this appealwas not welcomed in Croatia. Instead, there is a campaign to rebuild Vukovar,where today there are only a few hundred Croats and more than 13,000 Serbs. TheCroats are being asked to rebuild with their own money the houses which theSerbs destroyed, and to have the Serbs then return to live there, while at thesame time the bodies of Croats from Vukovar are being dug up from mass graves.
TheView from the Toronto Tower is a genuine view of every Croat, even indefeat, and Tomic, with this book, has reaffirmed his talent and hiswell-deserved reputation.
JOURNAL of Croatian Studies, Volume XL, 1999, p. 144-148
AnnualReview of the Croatian Academy of America, INC.
NewYork, NY U S A
Thebook is written in Croatian language. Can be purchased from the author ($20 + $5for mailing):
RudiTomic, 34 Southport Street, P. O. Box 88510, Toronto ON M6S 3N0, Canada
tel./fax:416-604-8161, e-mail: email@example.com
writtenby Ljerka Susan Lukic, B. A., M. A., Ph. D. candidate (Croatian Philology)
900Dufferin Street, P. O. Box 24026, Toronto ON M6H 4A9, Canada
tel./fax:416-534-5442, e-mail: Ljerka-Susan@Rogers.com
Rudi Tomic je rodjen 8.kolovoza 1933. godine u Donjim Radisicima (Ljubuski, Bosna i Hercegovina).Osnovnu je skolu zavrsio u Ljubuskom, gimnaziju na Sirokom Brijegu, preventivnumedicinsku u Mostaru, te vojnu medicinsku u Mariboru.
Od 1959. zivi u Torontu(Kanada), gdje je zavrsio studij grafike, gospodarstvenog, drustvenog iorganizacijskog poslovanja.
Od 1962. do 1990. bio jeglavni i odgovorni urednik politicke revije Hrvatski put. Od 1962. upravitelj je istoimene medjunarodne nakladnekuce u kojoj je dosad objavio dvadeset i osam djela. S pocetkom 1991. bio jeupravitelj i voditelj prvog Bosansko-hercegovackog radioprograma u dijaspori naCHWO 1050 postaji u Kanadi. Dopredsjednik je Saveza Hrvata Bosne i Hercegovine uKanadi.
Napisao je oko tisucu clanaka, eseja, prikaza,studija, pjesama& , sto je objavljivano u dijaspori i domovini. U nakladi Hrvatskogputa objavio je i nekoliko svojih posebnih izdanja: Republikanskiantikomunizam i antijugoslavenstvo 1970., prvu zbirku pjesama Pregrstsuza 1994. (cije je drugo dopunjeno izdanje u tisku), te Nemapovratka u mirnu Hrvatsku 1996. U nakladi mostarskoga ZIRAL-a objavljena je 1998. njegova knjiga Pogled s Torontskog tornja.
Odrzaoje mnoga predavanja iz zurnalizma, te politickih i socioloskih znanosti udijaspori i domovini. Redoviti je gost predavac na sveucilistima.
Dvadeset i jednu godinu je bio upravitelj tiskarei nakladne kuce na Ryerson sveucilistu u Torontu.
Clanje nekoliko profesionalnih udruga, klubova i ustanova medju kojima su: Udrugakanadskih etnickih novinara i pisaca, Udruga kanadskih novinara, Udrugakanadskih pjesnika, PEN Kanada& Direktor je Toronto Press Cluba.
Dobitnikje nekoliko medjunarodnih nagrada i priznanja:
1991. od Kanadske vlade za izvrsnost u zurnalizmu
1991. od Udruge kanadskih novinara i pisaca zaizvrsnost u zurnalizmu
1995. od Ryerson sveucilista za izvanredni doprinos
1996. od Sveucilista u Mostaru za potporu i suradnju
1999. od Napretka u Mostaru za potporu i suradnju&
Uvrstenje u milenijsko izdanje americke publikacije Whois Who (2000.).
Zbogsvog pjesnickog, zurnalistickog, politickog i organizacijskog iskustva cesto jepozivan u savjetodavne odbore prestiznih institucija u Kanadi (Odbor zaOlimpijadu u Torontu 2004., Odbor Royal banke, najvece financijske institucije uKanadi& ).
RudiTomic je jedan od najboljih poznavatelja hrvatske dijaspore. Glashrvatske dijaspore je njegova nova knjiga (posvecena mrtvim i zivimdrzavotvornim Hrvatima u dijaspori), koju ce tiskati ZIRAL u Mostaru. U tisku jetakodjer i druga zbirka Tomicevih pjesama Dodji k meni.