|(E) FORUM OF CROATIAN UNITY
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) FORUM OF CROATIAN UNITY
For Dialogue, Tolerance and Togetherness
The Forum of Croatian Unity (Forum Hrvatske Sloge), an Association of
Citizens for Dialogue, Tolerance, and Togetherness, was founded in Zagreb on
October 26, 2001, and was registered on November 13, 2001. It held its
Business Convention in the European Hall in Zagreb, on December 19. 2001. The
first National Convention will be held at 6 P.M. on February 14, 2002 in the
Lisinski Hall in Zagreb
The Association brings together an impressive number of political heavyw
eights and outstanding figures from all walks (and parties) of Croatian
public life, including former prime ministers, ministers, ambassadors,
current and former Sabor deputies, university professors, museum directors,
and professionals. To name just a few: Davorin Rudolf, Zdravko Tomac, Franjo
Greguric, Josip Juras, Ante Klaric, Vesna Skare-Ozbolt, Ante Lauc, Osman
Muftic, Vladimir Malekovic...
As stated by Dr Davorin Rudolf, the President of the Association, "the Forum
is not a political party. It is not based on any leftist or rightist
ideology, but on a program of peaceful, stable, progressive, democratic, and
European Croatia. Our goal is to contribute, among other things, to a
consensus concerning the key issues of Croatia and her future."
At the Founding Assembly in October, there were about 50 people, including
the Canadian Member of Parliament of Croatian origin, Janko Peric, who
strongly endorsed the idea, and a number of well-known Croatian Americans.
Partnership between Croatian home and abroad is among the planks of the
The Borking Convention presented the Presiding Board of the Association:
Davorin Rudolf (President), Osman Mufti_ (Vice President), Josip Juras
(Secretary), Marina Voki_-_u_ul, Zdravko Tomac, Ante Klari_, Franjo Greguri_,
Mirko Bari_i_ (Members), and Ivana Pezo (Secretary to the Board).
The Convention elected the Governing Board of 77 members (with a proviso of
extending it up to 120 as the Association spreads throughout Croatia and the
world), the Committee of Control, and the Council of the Impartial; it
adopted eight committees (economy, human rights, legal system, Liberation War
issues, national security and internal affair, foreign affairs, health and
social security, and science, education, and culture). The ninth committee,
for relations between homeland and the Croats abroad was proposed, and also
adopted. This may be of a particular interest for the Croatian diaspora as,
in our opinion, partnership between Croats at home and abroad, a creation of
a Global Croatia, is a key to stable and prosperous future of Croatia and
Croatian people, an issue so far either mishandled or neglected by Croatian
The Forum has published a 39 page program booklet which reads as a dream come
true for anyone who supports a sovereign, modern, democratic, tolerant and
prosperous Croatia. It is written in Croatian and I will quote just a few
spots to give you a foretaste of what the Forum proposes to do.
The purpose of the Forum is "to promote and strengthen unity, political and
social dialogue, tolerance and togetherness; democracy, political pluralism,
state of law, economic and social progress. It will support an optimal state
of human rights for everyone, strengthening of international peace and
stability, in particular in Southeastern Europe."
The creation of the modern Croatian state "is an act of historic proportions,
and we are proud of our Liberation War (1991-1996). Croatian defenders are
the glory of the Motherland… We demand a better future. Let us leave history
to historians. We want to live with more satisfaction, and with less worry."
The goals of the Forum will be achieved "by working together in unity and
tolerance… Nobody will help us pull our cart out of quicksand…Our goal is
not power, but efficient functioning of the institutions of the state, and
decision-making which results in the best, most useful, and timely decisions."
"… We will support activities that respect hard work, and fight sloth, ‘gray
economy', and economic irresponsibility…"
On Courts and Law:
"The slowness of Croatian courts is unacceptable… Courts must impose laws,
not serve as political arms of this or that party… We should all be equal in
front of the law…"
On Foreign Affairs:
"Croatian foreign policy must be decided in Zagreb, and not in foreign
centers of power…"
On the Hague Tribunal:
"We insist on the principle of individual guilt. Nobody should be tried twice
for the same cause… The Liberation War was a defensive war, and for Croatia
it was a just war."
On Science and Education:
"We support bringing Croatian science and education system up to the European
standards as quickly as possible…"
"The Forum will systematically promote national cultural achievements…"
On the Media:
"We support free, professional and responsible public media in which there is
no room for dilettantes, hate-mongers, and informers…"
On the Youth:
"The young are the best educated section of the Croatian society. But they
stand no chance… We support jobs for the young, their quick entering into the
political system and the administrative structures; we support development
projects, fresh ideas, and creativity…"
ON CROATS ABROAD:
"The Motherland is the firmest link among the Croats all around the world. By
maintaining the dignity of the Croatian state, through patriotism and
promotion of trust into financial, economic, and political institutions of
the Republic of Croatia, by promoting efficiency of the legal system, and
through an ongoing dialogue, the links between homeland and the Croats abroad
continue to be strengthened.
The Forum will propose eliminating bureaucratic barriers to investing of the
funds of the Croats abroad into the economy of the Republic of Croatia.
We will promote genuine care and political protection for the Croats living
in other states, in particular the constitutional rights and equality of the
Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while fully recognizing
sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of that state."
On December 29, acting as the Chair of the Committee for Relations between
the Homeland and the Croats Abroad I have, additionally, published a position
paper on that topic. Here is a brief summary:
In my opinion, without cooperation between the Croats at home and abroad,
without a Global Croatia, a Croatian world interest group in which we all
work for the benefit of all, there will be no safe and prosperous future for
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Croatian people. Therefore, we
propose to inform and instruct the leadership of the Forum on important
issues in the area of the relations between the Croatian home and abroad, our
main goals being:
1. Strengthening political links between the Homeland and the Croats abroad.
2. Stopping the sale of Croatia to foreigners by promoting investment by the
3. Creating mechanisms for understanding Global Croatian culture, and for
presenting a true picture of Croatian culture to the world.
4. Promoting timely transfer of knowledge and professional experience from
Diaspora to the homeland.
5. Creating a world-wide Croatian lobby to spread truth about Croatia and the
Immediate issue: Representation of the Croats abroad in Croatia in the
light of the new electoral law which is being prepared.
I will have a chance to present, in five minutes, our views at the
Convention on February 15. Your input is most valuable. Please communicate
your ideas and views to firstname.lastname@example.org or at 919-732-7576.
Vladimir P. Goss
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