It is important for the promotion of the unique beautiful Croatian culture in the West to proceed in a sensitive and diplomaticmanner
Does anti-western rhetoric help the promotion of Croatia?
It is important for the promotion of the unique beautiful Croatian culture in the West to proceed in a sensitive and diplomatic manner.
Many thousands of Croatian people have struggled for decades for the right to independence for Croatian people. I am dumbfounded therefore because of the apparent failure amongst many Croatian people to understand the main features of western democracy. Enemies to justice and democracy malinger in every society, where they abuse the freedom of speech and justice system to work against us all. The abuse of the law includes those who have pushed for the ad hoc court at The Hague through the UN, who now use the issue of Serbian aggression in the Balkans as a show trial against the West. We need to work together to identify and work against undemocratic forces.
To illustrate my point, I will attempt to answer a question recently asked of me in Croatia. "Tell me one thing that America has done for Croatia, and tell me one thing that Russia has ever done against Croatia?" This question struck me dumbfounded for a moment, for just long enough to gather my composure, for the blood to return to my head, but by then no one wanted to hear the answer. Had they lost their memory? I could not believe that the aggression against Croatian people, and ongoing anti-Croatian political persecution has all been attributed to America.
Well, I interjected, America ultimately did support Operation Storm, and the current American government is not a signatory for the establishment of a permanent criminal court at The Hague. And as for Russia, well we should be aware that everything that the West has ever perpetrated against Croatia in the past has been under the pressure of Russian involvement, influence, or threat.
Do Croatian people not understand that America also is threatened, that it must look after its interests, just as Croatia must? Must every American foreign policy maker first check with Croatia to see if its decisions are up to standard? Must the American support of Croatia be total from the beginning of time, and guaranteed for the next millenium, otherwise it is not worth acknowledging? Why, not even Israel can boast such unqualified support from America or England, during its pre-independence struggle, its fledgling birth or throughout its few decades of existence!
It’s as if Croatian people themselves have made no political mistakes whatsoever in their tortuous road to recognition. Please allow me to explain how this looks from a western perspective. Croatia, according to most Croats, has always been in the West, and it has never been in the Balkans. Croats, they say, are pro-Western, anti-Communist, democratic-loving people who only want independence. As a person who understands the American way of thinking, because I was brought up in North America, of British ancestry, there are a few things that need clarification.
If Croatians are western, why is it that the majority of westerners perceive them as Eastern? Pan-slavism is perceived by historians in the west as purely eastern for obvious geographical and historical reasons. The unfortunate truth is that pan-slavism was courted in Zagreb and Slavonia, which perhaps could be renamed Pannonia. Yes, since the existence of modern linguistics there is a slavic branch of languages, and yes history has to acknowledge the existence of pan-slavism, but no trace of a so-called slavic race exists on ancient maps. Honestly, the unique features of Croatian identity need to be better defined in the West!
Croatian people constantly remind anyone who listens that Bosnia & Hercegovina was theirs a thousand years ago. They talk of the Drina today as if it is attainable just for the asking. They correctly say that Croatian people still rightfully live in B&H. But, don’t they realize that B&H is, and was, the center of the so-called Balkans for several hundred years, and even if that is a sweeping generalization, it does not change the fact that it is perceived as Balkan, and Eastern, by westerners.
Croatian people are democratic-loving I am told. Why do Croatian people therefore constantly complain about the western influences of freedom of religion, or of foreigners wanting to invest in Croatia. It sounds as if my American relatives are good enough to provide military support to the struggle for Croatian sovereignty, or they are good enough to spend tourist dollars, but then they should step back and give billions to Croatia for development without leaving any trace of their presence.
Perhaps if independence and democracy are too hard to tolerate, then Croats are better off all going to the East to live and they could hand Croatia over to the Italians, Serbs and Hungarians. That is a cruel, insensitive statement, and I don’t mean it, but, the sooner that Croatian people understand that democracy comes in a package which includes so-called decadent, global capitalism, then the sooner Croatian development can proceed unhindered. The problem is that Croatian people themselves don’t want to get together and invest in their own country, but rather they prefer to get together and invest in My country.
As for Russia, I would have thought it obvious that they have always been Serbia’s ally, in body, mind and spirit, and that the road has always been paved for the creation of all Yugoslavias by Russian pan-slavic propaganda and foreign policy. Pan-slavism was the bedrock of Stalinism, and before that the unfortunate pan-slavic Croatian-Serbian coalition lead to Serbian despotic rule in Croatia, and to Bleiburg. Russia is an ever-present threat to Croatian independence, and not the West, where at least some support for Croatia exists, even if it is not perfect in its motives, entirety or duration.
It is important therefore for the promotion of the unique beautiful Croatian culture in the West to proceed in a sensitive and diplomatic manner.
Jean W. Lunt-Marinovic,
October 20, 2002.