» (E) some optimism on the situation for this past year
|(E) some optimism on the situation for this past year
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) some optimism on the situation for this past year
|Since it's the Xmas season, we should, I think, in the spirit of the |
holiday, put some optimism on the situation. Here are some "Top 10"
positives for this past year:
First, apropos of PBS, there was a show that played on WNET, the local
PBS station in NYC, last month called "Croatian Roots" which this
Croatian-American young woman put together concerning her roots on Brac
(her parents were born in South America and moved to the US). It was a
half-hour program which was shown at least twice and was excellent.
Second, the E! Channel featured Croatia on its Wild On show which was
shown in August; in addition to this, the show's host (I can't remember
her name off hand) featured Croatia on her pin-up calendar for 2002 (I
saw this by accident on E! the other night).
Third, I believe the Rick Steven's travel show (also shown on PBS)
featured Croatia this year as well (thanks to Hilda for that!).
Fourth, the recent movie "Behind Enemy Lines" (which I admittedly
haven't seen yet) puts Serbs in an extremely bad light.
Fifth, Croatia was on the cover of Newsweek's European edition this
Sixth, the NY Times ran two excellent articles concerning Croatia this
year. The first appeared in early September and concerned the
exhibition of Trogir art treasures in Venice. The second appeared this
past Sunday - a full page (no ads!) concerning the current art scene in
Croatia. A third article concerning Istria appeared in the Travel
Section in the spring.
Seventh, concerning the International Hamptons Film Festival - some good
news here. Because of our vigilance in responding to the calumnies on
their web site we succeded in having it changed (similarly, it appears a
correction will be made in next month's Harper's Magazine re the
"600,000" Serbs supposedly expelled - Hilda's fine work came through
again) - this, by the way, s a credit to CroWorldNet, Brian, Tony and
other people who have these e-mail links and were able to get the word
out quickly and effectively.
Eighth, the CAA successfully organized a Congressional hearing on
Capitol Hill concerning the status of Croats in BH. AMAC organized a
seminar on Vukovar at Georgetown whose speakers included Jean
Ninth, Goran won Wimbledon and was on Late Night With David Letterman
(where he made a pretty good showing).
Tenth, Janica won the world championship in the women's downhill and
came in 3rd or 4th in a recent BBC (I believe) poll for woman athlete of
This is obviously all terrific and I think all of us should be proud of
being descended from a country that can produce such talent.
Now, to "rain on our parade" a bit. All of the things I listed above
came about as a result of individual efforts. The article in this past
Sunday's NY Times, for instance, was written by a woman who went to
Zagreb for an international art critics conference - it otherwise would
not have been written. Hilda lobbied Stevens to do his Croatia show.
The woman who did the show "Croatian Roots" certainly got no help from
the Croatian government to do her work. The story of Janica Kostelic is
typical - she and her dad had to often sleep in their car when they went
to compete because they had no money. The successes of people like
Ivanisevic and Visnjic in a sense came about despite the fact that they
were from Croatia! How much more could be done if Croatia finally hired
a PR firm? Or established cultural centers abroad? Or engaged in
lobbying efforts? With all due respect to Mr. Maglica and any other
Cro-Am tycoons, these are things the govt should be doing but, after 12
years, it continues to fail to understand that it has these
responsibilities (and I am criticizing here both the HDZ govt and the
current govt on these points) (and I emphasize it is a responsibility
that a country promote itself abroad as a meand to acheive its foreign
policy objectives - its not for nothing that the US, UK, France, etc.
have cultural centers in Zagreb; its not for nothing that countries hire
PR/lobbyists in Washington).
Concerning things we can do, as much as a hunk of cash from a rich
fellow is most welcome, if many Croatians contribute reasonable amounts
of money, we can be (and have in the past been) effective. My sense is
that in the past 3-5 years the pool of contributors has slackened off
greatly. However, I also beleive, from personal experience over the
past several months, that our community is begining to turn a corner.
It is normal that there be an ebb and flow in a community's activities.
After 1995, for instance, many people became "deactivated" (I noticed a
similar deactivation after Jan. 15, 1992 which lasted until the war
broke out in BH later that year). However, I sense there is an upsurge.
Here in NYC, I put together a dinner for people that I knew had been
active in the past. I was pleasently surprised that we got over 20
people to come together to discuss things we should do on a local basis.
Two of the woman at that meeting (Dinka Kalinic and Visnja Brdar)
subsequently organized a social get together for Cro-Am professionals
which took place last Friday. Though a call for the gathering only went
out within about 2 weeks prior to the event and it was all done by
e-mail and word of mouth, over 50 people showed up.
Concerning things everyone can do, let me remind everyone, as the end of
the tax year approaches, that donations made to the NFCA Cultural
Foundation, 1329 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036) are tax
I will, by the by, put together a list over this weekend of tax-exempt
Croatian American organizations that I am aware of which I will
circulate next week and to whom I urge everyone to make contributions.
Just to add a few more positive notes regarding Croatian accomplishments in
the year 2001, this time with a Canadian perspective:
1. The Croatian Embassy project in Ottawa wins a prestigious award from City
Council in the 'Heritage Building - Adaptive Use Category" (and I am very
proud to say that my father, Josip Milcic, University of Zagreb alumni, was
the Design Architect). The old historic building (built in 1875 and in awful
shape) was purchased and repaired with donations of funds and labour by the
Croatian-Canadian community, and is a sign of just how much we CAN
accomplish when we set our minds and hearts on a goal and work together;
2. The premier hockey player in the NHL today, Joe Sakic of Burnaby, British
Columbia, Canada, identifies himself in a newspaper interview as of
'Croatian origin'. An interview with his parents discusses Croatia in more
3. Pete Mahovlich, former NHL great and current member of the Canadian
Senate, publicly 'discovers' his Croatian roots;
4. Janko Peric, member of the Liberal Party of Canada, is re-elected to the
Canadian Federal Parliament representing his riding of Kitchener (Ontario);
5. The Croatian pavilion at the Carassauga Multicultural Festival in
Mississauga, Ontario, is highly visited; guests included Mississauga Mayor
Hazel McCallion (always a great friend of the Croatian community). This is
the same lady that, at a Serbian picnic she was invited to, started her
speech with (I quote) "Dragi moji Hrvati". :-) Needless to say, she has
never been invited to a Serbian event again, but has had countless
invitations to the "Father Kamber" Croatian picnic grounds since :-)
6. My good friend Sandra Priselac was published in the University of Toronto
science journal (psychology department); a high honour indeed.
There are more achievements, but, unfortunately, it's time for work :-)
Kind regards to all contributors,
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