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 »  Home  »  Bilingual  »  Dr. Ante Cuvalo: Croatia at the crossroads 1990
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Dr. Ante Cuvalo: Croatia at the crossroads 1990
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  03/18/2010 | Bilingual , Politics , History | Unrated
Freedom and democracy are far more than just free elections

Dr. Ante Čuvalo, Croatian historian

 
HRVATSKA NA PREKRETNICI
Dr. Ante Čuvalo

Članak koji slijedi napisan je u lipnju 1990., nakon  prvih slobodnih izbora u Hrvatkoj, a objavljen u tad emigrantskoj Hrvatskoj reviji, br. 3, rujan 1990., str. 601-605.


POVIJESNA je rijetkost da totalitarne idologije i apsolutni vlastodršci samovoljno pristanu na podjelu vlasti s dojučerašnjim političkim protivnicima, koje su smatrali i "neprijateljima naroda i države".  Ali, to se ipak odvija pred našim očima.  To su povijesni događaji koje će rijetko koja generacija doživjeti.  Komunistička idologija i njezini režimi većim dijelom su se raspali.  Raspadaju se ne pod pritiskom nekih vanjskih snaga, već su sami sebe doveli u idološki, gospodarski, društveni i moralni ćorsokak.  Nije se moglo dalje!

Nekomunistički svijet se previše olako bio prilagodio na komunizam i komunističku dominaciju u raznim dijelovima svijeta.  To je čak donekle i godilo nekomunističkim silama, jer u polariziranom svijetu "dobra" i "zla" sve je bilo jednostavnije i jasnije, ne samo u međunarodnoj politici, nego i u političkom raspoznavanju među raznim grupacijama u zemljama s pluralističkim sustavima.  Toga svega nestaje, i morat će se naći druge formacije i formulacije u prikrajanju i balansiranju svjetskog političkog, vojničkog i gospodarskog stroja, pa i unutarnje idološke diferencijacije morat će se prilagoditi novim prilikama.  Sigurno je pak, da će se pronaći novi oblici raspoznavanja, razmicanja i približavanja.  Kao i uvijek u prošlosti, interesi će biti glavni čimbenik u političkim odnosima.  Sreća pojedinih naroda ovisit će o mnogim okolnostima, ali ipak najviše o njihovu radu, pronicavosti, hrabrosti i viziji, i njihovu političkom vodstvu.

RAT JE KONAČNO ZAVRŠIO.  Gledano iz malo šire povijesne perspektive, lako je uočiti da Europa tek sada izlazi iz Drugog svjetskog rata.  Premda su topovi već desetljećima prestali tući, rat se nastavio.  Nastavio se u više oblika.  Najglasniji je bio "hladni rat" između supersila i svih onih, koji su se našli u njihovim taborima, ali ni ostali svijet nije bio pošteđen te ratne "zime".  Nije to bio samo rat živaca, nego je on stajao mnogo patnje, zatvora i progona, kao i mnogo ljudskih žrtava u oružanim sukobima, koji su bili, naime, "lokalne naravi", ali su zapravo bili samo "vruće" erupcije ispod hladno-ratne plohe.

Drugi svjetski rat se posebno nastavio u zemljama koje smo sve do nedavno u političkom smislu nazivali Istočna Europa.  U tom dijelu svijeta nastavilo se ratovti na više načina.  Osim onog blokovskog hladnog rata i pored prisutnosti tuđih vojnih snaga u tim zemljama, domaći staljinistički režimi su nastavili posebni rat protiv "narodnih neprijatelja".  Trebalo je učvrstiti vlast uništenjem ne samo svake postojeće opozicije, nego i one, koja bi mogla i u mislima naroda nastati.  U isto vrijeme trebalo je legitimirati vlast na račun "neprijatelja", ocrnjujući ga ništa manje nego kao utjelovljeno zlo, koje vreba na svakom koraku da zemlji i narodu donese propast i smrt.  A Hrvatima je dobro poznato da se u Jugoslaviji ta formula primjenjivala ne samo na idološke ili klasne „neprijatelje", nego i na cijeli hrvatski narod.  Stoga se s lakoćom može ustvrditi da su zapravo Hrvati, čak i više od drugih naroda, živjeli sve do sada u sjeni Drugog svjetskog rata.  Mrtvi su im ostali neoplakani i nepokopani.  Rane su ostale nezacijeljene.  Podjelom hrvatskog naroda u dva ratna tabora planski ga se držalo "zaraćenim" i ometalo se normalan proces zacjeljivanja ratnih rana.  Tek poslije prvih slobodnih izbora i preuzimanja vlasti od demokratskih snaga u današnjoj Republici Hrvatskoj, možemo reći da se rat u Hrvatskoj skončava.  Tek će sada ratne rane početi zacjeljivati i moći će se početi gledati naprijed.

POVIJESNI TRENUTAK.  Pogledamo li danas prilike u Hrvatskoj, i u istočno-centralnoj Europi općenito, možemo uočiti, da se hrvatski narod nalazi na jednoj od važnijih povijesnih prekretnica.  Po važnosti, ova nova prekretnica nije ništa neznačajnija ili manje sudbonosna za Hrvatsku i Hrvate nego ona iz 1102., 1527., 1815., 1848., 1868., 1918. ili iz Drugog svjetskog rata.  Samo što je ova prekretnica puno sretnija (i nadamo se, da je nitko ne će pretvoriti u tragediju).  Ovogodišnja zbivanja u Hrvatskoj nisu na površini tako dramatična i burna (Nek nas Bog sačuva od "burne: budućnosti, kad nas nije sačuvalo od "burne" prošlosti!) kao ona iz ratnih doba, ali ne znači da su manje značajna.  Dapače, slobodnim izborima u Hrvatskj, pobjedom opzicije, dostojanstvenim i mirnim izlaskom naroda masovno na izbore, izborom stranke koja je bila najjasnija u svom hrvatskom programu (HDZ-a), veličanstvenim i mirnim prenošenjem vlasti na demokratski izabrani Sabor, ukazuju da je hrvatski narod naučio političku lekciju iz svojih vlastitih iskustava i da je čvrsto odlučio preuzeti sudbinu u svoje ruke.  To je mirna revolucija, koja nije još dovršena ni u samoj današnjoj Republici Hrvatskoj, a u drugim hrvatskim krajevima tek je na početku, ali smo na pravom putu prema potpunoj slobodi i samostalnosti.  Jedino kad se u skoroj budućnosti ostvari cjelovita državnost, potpuna samostalnost, ova godina će uistinu biti povijesna prekretnica za Hrvatsku.

Sve do travanjskih, pa i onih svibanjskih izbora sijači straha, unutar i izvan Hrvatske nastojali su obeshrabriti Hrvate.  One snage koje, s jedne strane, govore o demokraciji, slobodnim izborima, volji naroda i drugim lijepim frazama, a na drugoj strani su već unaprijed za taj isti narod napravili odluku da jugoslavenski državni okvir mora ostati na životu, plašili su svijet i hrvatski narod, navješćujući strah i građanski rat, da bi zaustavili zahtjev i nastojanja hrvatskog naroda za istinskom slobodom.  Ali to sve skupa pokazalo se bez učinka.  Dr. Tuđman i HDZ su pokazali da su spremni i sposobi stati na čelo domkratskih gibanja, a hrvatski narod je dokazao da ima političkog sluha i da demokratska tradicija u njemu nije umrla.  Možda ponegdje ima i razočaranja, jer je hrvatski narod dostojanstveno potvrdio svoju političku zrelost!

MORALNA REVOLUCIJA.  Hrvatski narod i svi građani dobre volje u Hrvatskoj danas žive u radosnom uzbuđenju.  Veseli su jer vjeruju da su postavljeni novi temelji za potpuno oslobođenje hrvatskog naroda od svih tlačitelja i da će konačno biti kovači svoje sreće.  Ali u isto vrijeme Hrvatska i njezina nova vlada su suočeni s mnogobrojnim problemima, koje treba rješavati najbrže mogućim putem.  Osim onih očitih znakova opće krize - visoke cijene, nezaposlenost, stanovi, prometna mreža, natalitet, propadanje hrvatskih kulturnih i povijesnih spomenika, školstvo, pa sve do lokava na cestama - postoje još korjenitiji problemi s kojima se moraju suočiti i riješiti ih ili, bolje reći, liječiti ih.  To su društveni i moralni problemi koje će biti teže liječiti od onih materijalnih.  Spomenimo samo neke od tih.

STRAH.  Jedan od "darova" koje su nam donijeli razni tuđinski režimi i ideologije, je strah.  Društvo u svim totalitarnim zemljama, a izgleda mi posebno u Hrvatskoj, živjelo je (donekle i još živi) u strahu.  Strah od izdaje, strah od onih u uniformi, strah od onih u civilu, srah od suda i zatvora, strah u kući i na ulici, strah na poslu, strah za putovnicu, strah na radu u tuđem svijetu, strah na granici i kad se odlazi i dolazi; strahuje se za druge, strahuju za nas, strah od Moskve, strah od Beograda, strah od bolesti, strah od dugova i zajmova, strah od života i smrti…  Strah vlastodržaca od naroda, a naroda od vlastodržaca.  U strahu se rađalo i umiralo.  A to nije normalan život.  To je život potlačenih!  To je život zatvora.  Zato Hrvati općenito, a mladež posebice, trebaju zdravog samopouzdanja, vjere u sebe i druge, vjere u svoje političko vodstvo i svoju državu, vjere u bolju budućnost koju su sposobni i spremni graditi kao slobodni ljudi u svojoj slobodnoj domovini.

KORUPCIJA.  Premda je čovjek po naravi sebičan i grabežljiv, poznata korupcijonaška "umjetnost" proširila se iz srpskih čaršijskih krugova kao pošast u hrvatske zemlje već za vrijeme prve Jugoslavije.  U novoj tvorevini ta korupcija je promijenila ideološku boju ali ne ćud.  Ona je prisutna u svim porama društvenog života.  Kao rezultat zelenaštva stvorena je i cijela podzemna privreda.  Mnogi su se obogatili na račun države (drugih), dižući zajmove, primajući nezarađene plaće, osnivajući vlasitite, samo po imenu, „tvrtke" na Zapadu, koje su služile samo za samoobogaćenje, i tko zna na sve kakve druge načine.

Tehnika korupcije je vjerojatno napredovala više od ičega drugoga u toj državi!  Cilj je bio ne tko će više raditi i zaraditi, nego tko će više ugrabiti.  Neki su bili spremni izdati ili, još više, krivo optužiti prijatelja, susjeda pa i najbližu rodbinu, da bi od režima bili „nagrađeni“ za sluganstvo.  Kupuju se zdravstvene usluge, kupuju se školske ocjene, kupuje se pravda....  Sve je na prodaju!  Korupcija je najraširenija među onima koji su držali vlast i onima pri vlasti.  Ali su oni također dozvolili da se cijelo društvo zarazi s tom bolešću jer tako im se nije moglo prigovarati.  Kad svi kradu, nitko nije kriv!  A oni na vrhu u mutnome su najviše ulovili.

Dojučerašnja previligirana klasa i njezini štićenici ili, bolje reći, oni koji su „znali“ iskoristiti svoje položaje, imaju ogromne prednosti u ovom prelaznom vremenu nad onima koji su kruh zarađivali "u znoju lica svoga".  Mnogi će od njih postati novi kapitalisti jer su za sebe već osigurali početni kapital.  Poduzeća, iz kojih su do sada "višak rada" odlijevali na svoje švicarske račune, mnogi od njih će sada biti u stanju prigrabiti sebi, postati vlasnici ili suvlasnici tih istih poduzeća.  Oni su stekli poslovno iskustvo, školovali se, naučili strani jezik, školovali svoju djecu na boljim svjetskim školama, i slično.  Mnogi od tih postat će i novokovani "rodoljubi" i "ljubitelji" demokracije.  Onaj tko je teško radio, radit će i nadalje.  Oni, koji su bili glavni oslonac nacionalnih stremljenja i podnijeli velike žrtve radi toga, u mnogo slučajeva bit će zasjenjeni "rodoljubima" dojučerašnjih pristaša propala režima.  Stvorit će se osjećaj da se nepravda nastavlja, pa i nagrađuje, umjesto da bude kažnjena.  To će mnoge revoltirati i odbijati od političkog procesa.  Ali radi boljih vremena, koja su na pomolu, mnoge će se nepravde morati "progutati" i krenuti dalje.

Političko patronaštvo prisutno je u svim zemljama i svim sustavima, i bit će s nama do konca svijeta.  Ali u komunističkim zemljama, gdje je partija držala apsolutnu vlast pa nije mogla postojati kompeticija za politički autoritet, korupcionaštvo vladajuće klike nikakva vanpartijska struktura nije mogla staviti pod povećalo.  Ali u ovim novim vremenima i novim okolnostima, kad ulazimo u jedno novo doba, premda je očito da ima "laktanja" i "prešaltavanja", i novokovanih "rodoljuba" i "političara"; ako Hrvatska i Hrvati žele zakoračiti u bolje sutra, treba korjenito, počevši od vrha, liječiti korupcionaške navike favoritizma, mita i sličnih bolesti, koje su u Hrvatskoj prožele nekoliko generacija.  To će biti jedan od težih zadataka nove vlade i cijelog naroda, što će na dulji rok biti možda jedan od glavnih ispita društvene zrelosti.

NEMA BOLJEG RADA OD NERADA!  Titova Jugoslavija je bila, a službeno je i danas, radnička država, ali u njoj ništa nije bilo radničko.  Vladali su neradnici, profesionalni vlastodršci, poluškolovani birokrate, sve u ime radnika.  A i radnik je trošio vrijeme više na sve drugo, nego na svoj reoviti posao.  I on se prilagodio sustavu nerada, što je bilo i normalno u takvim okolnostima.  Znanstvenici su izračunali: kad se zbroji vrijeme utrošeno na sve sastanke, bolovanja i druge smicalice, radnik u Jugoslaviji radi prosječno oko četiri sata na dan.  Osim onih profesionalnih neradnika, koji su živjeli na račun naroda, (ne)radne navike i produktivnost su općenito nisko pali.

Imao sam prigode susresti lijep broj osoba koje su zadnjih godina dolazile u USA i Canadu posjetiti svoju rodbinu.  Kod većine, posebno kod mladjih, lako je zamijetiti da su jako "okretni" i "snalažljivi".  Ali, na drugoj strani, očito je da dobrom broju njih nije cilj zagrnuti rukave i raditi, nego se na brzinu "snaći", na brzinu "stući" novac.  Oni vjeruju da je to moguće, ali treba samo pronaći prave "kanale" i iskoristiti prave prilike.  Taj osjećaj snalažljivosti, čini mi se, u mnogo slučajeva, uvjerio ih je također da sve znaju i nije im ni potrebno učiti od drugih.  Nije bilo privatnog vlasništva i rad nije bio nagrađen, nego su nagrađivani "veze" i nerad.  Ali u novim pluralističkim okolnostima i s uvođenjem kapitalističkog modela gospodarstva težina mora biti na ozbiljnom radu i na dobrim radnim navikama; na produktivnosti, na solidnoj naobrazbi i stručnosti, a ne na privilegijama, vezama i nekoj istinktivnoj snalažljivosti.

NACIONALI PONOS.  Hrvati, a posebno novije hrvatske generacije, odgajali su se u nenormalnim državnim, idološkim, policijskim, školskim i inim okolnostima, i radi toga postoji neuravnoteženost, ako ne i kompleksi, u pogledu zdravog nacionalnog identiteta, zdravog ponosa na prošlost svog naroda i njegovu kulturnu baštinu.

Hrvatima, kao i mnogim drugim narodima koji imaju sličnu prošlost, često se prigovara da su zaljubljeni u svoju povijest i da u njoj žive.  Oni imaju nekakav čarobni kutić u kojem traže mir, iz kojeg crpe novu snagu; tu se nadahnjuju novim nadama.  Čini mi se da bi se taj češći hod u povijest mogao usporediti sa šetnjom starim grobljem, gdje čitamo natpise i razne mudre izreke, gledamo spomenike i imena pa, iako je to nekako sve skupa žalosno, tu nalazimo neku utjehu jer u našim povijesnim poveljama, natpisima, grobljima i ruševinama pronalazimo sami sebe i time dobivamo novu snagu za nesigurnu budućnost.  K prošlosti smo se okretali jer je jedino ona bila sigurna, a budućnost nam je, stoljećima, bila maglovita. 

Nadalje, povijest je za Hrvate bila, i još je uvijek, znanost prepletena s moralom.  Ona je slika sadašnjosti.  Takvo proživljavanje povijesti bilo nam je više puta i smetnja.  Ona je također bila mač nad glavom kojim su nam drugi stalno prijetili.  Ona je bila objekt manipulacije.  I danas nam se sudi zbog povijesti.  Mi bismo se, naime, nje trebali odreći.  A to znači odreći se samih sebe.

Jedna od hrvatskih tradicija je i traženje razumjevanja kod drugih, kod moćnijih, za patnje, za tragedije, zasluge, za prošlost i sadašnjost.  Ali razumijevanja je uvijek bilo malo.  Prerijetko se razmišlja o tome da pobjednici, oni jači i silniji, određuju vrijednosti i moral nečije povijesti, nečijih zasluga i tragedija.  "Povijest" ne sudi! Sude moćnici.  Oni optužuju, sude i daju "odrješenja" po volji.

Zato novim naraštajima treba pružiti prigodu da priđu hrvatskoj povijesnoj baštini s čistom ljubavi i bistrim razumom.  Pred njima se ipak otvara sretnija budućnost i bolji život.  Oni ne će trebati, uvjereni smo, biti toliko zagrljeni s prošlošću jer će biti zaposleni gradeći svoju bolju budućnost.  Ali dok budu izgrađivali svoje sretnije sutra ne bi smijeli ostati bez čvrsta temelja, ostati zbunjeni na razkrižju i ne znati tko su i što su.  A da bi to znali, trebaju imati ljubavi za svoju povijesnu baštinu.

Hrvatske novije naraštaje nastojalo se ne samo dekroatizirati, nego i nametnuti im osjećaj povijesne krivnje.  Zato su mnogi i odbacili "breme" prošlosti i "oslobodili" se "uskih" okvira svoje kulturne i povijesne baštine te postali "univerzalniji" i "modereniji", "svjetskiji"!  (Čak i biti Jugoslaven značilo je biti "univerzalan"! Kakva tragikomedija!)  Hrvatskoj mladeži trebalo bi biti jasno da se ne živi od prošlosti, ali nacionalna prošlost je veoma važna u životu naroda i pojedinaca.  Ta, dobro je poznato, Hrvati su pokušavali ići prema slavizmu, jogoslavenstvu i prema univerzalizmu, ali se svatko opet morao vratiti odakle je pošao.  Ništa drugo nije se moglo biti, nego opet Hrvat.  Sve su te struje i idologije skrahirale, samo je ostala ona hrvatska.

Hrvatski narod ne odbacuje uspjehe civilizacije u kojoj živimo. Dapače, on želi biti dio civiliziranog i modernog svijeta gdje je odvajkada pripadao.  Ali mladež često ne uviđa da je civilizacija uglavnom zbroj uspjeha različitih kulturnih baština.  Civilizacija, u kojoj mnogi od nas žive a koja, čini mi se, hrvatsku i druge mladeži u tom dijelu svijeta privlači kao magnet, je varljiva.  Ono čime su mnogi od njih opčarani i žele to postići, duhovno ne obogaćuje nego uravnava, neutralizira kulturna i duhovna bogatstva naroda i pojedinaca.  Zato se mora početi od sebe, od svoje kulture, od svoje baštine.  Jedino oni koji su svjesni sebe i svog kulturnog bogatstva mogu ući u "civilizaciju" i od nje imati koristi, i nju obogatiti.  Stoga u ovom prelaznom vremenu hrvatskoj mladeži, koja je rasla u nenormalnim okolnostima, treba ukazati da bude u svojim pogledia i nazorima i hrvatska i svjetska.  A u bogatstva i ljepote svjetskog mozaika može se ući i obogatiti sebe i druge najuspješnije kroz bogatstvo svoje vlastite kulturne baštine.  I narodi i pojedinci trebaju tražiti svoje mjesto pod Suncem samo kao subjekti.

Zadnjih desetljeća Hrvatska prolazi kroz doba modernizacije.  Tu su brze komunikacije, televizija, rad na Zapadu, podizanje standarda, pismenost, itd.  Ali napredak je donio i mnoge posljedice u moralnim i društvenim sferama.  Među ostlaim, sramota je biti seljak.  (Može se biti poljoprivrednik).  Radnici većim brojem jednom su nogom radnici, a drugom seljaci (poljoprivrednici).  Oni, koji su živjeli toliko godina na Zapadu, a uglavnom su to ljudi sa sela, postali su "klasa" za sebe.  Ta oni su prošli svijet, "govore švapski", nešto su zaradili i više nisu ono što su nekad bili.  Njihova djeca, ona koja su rasla u svijetu ili bez roditelja kod kuće, u posebnim su (ne)prilikama.  Postoji tradicija u tom dijelu svijeta, pa i kod Hrvata, da osoba, čim završi nešto škole, odvaja se od svog sela i svog seljačkog podrijetla.  Kad su s "gospodom", imaju kompleks inferiornosi, jer su došli iz seljačkih opanaka; a kad su u svom selu, imaju kompleks superiornosti, jer su školovani ljudi.  Oni više nisu za posao teži od pera!  Birokaracija, više puta sluganstvo, a ne ozbiljan rad, postaje im "profesija".  Ovakve stvari u hrvasko društvo unose zbunjenost i nestabilnost.

Da ova godina bude uistinu povijesna i revolucionarna za Hrvatsku i hrvatski narod, onda ta revolucija mora biti, u prvom redu, moralna revolucija.  Treba, u prvom redu, povratiti ljudsko dostojanstvo svakoj osobi, osigurati osobne, skupne i nacionalne slobode, slobodu od straha od ikoga i/ili ičega, ali treba doći i do općeg društvenog i nacionalnog preporoda, jer u suprotnom sav politički pluralizam, tehnički i materijalni napredak, prije ili kasnije, urodit će neželjenim političkim i društvenim plodovima koji, svjedoci smo, jako dobro zriju u post-revolucionarnim vremenima u mnogim djelovima svijeta.

ISKUŠENJA TEK DOLAZE.  Demokracija je pobijedila u Hrvatskoj, ali to je samo početak ogromnog posla koji čeka ne samo novoizbrani Sabor, Vladu i predsjednika Tuđmana.  Do novoizabranog političkog vodstva je da osigurava istinsku demokraciju u kojoj će pojedinci i interesne skupine biti stvarni dio političkog procesa, a ne možda samo mobilizirane mase u službi političkih takmaca.  Treba izbjeći procese koji bi mogli dovesti do bilo kakve pseudo-demokracije, a takvih "demokracija" danas ima i previše.  Na drugoj strani, odgovornost je onih "pobijeđenih" da gledaju zajedničke interese i konstruktivno upozoravaju Vladu na njezine propuste i manjkavaosti.  Stranke su jedna vrsta nužnog zla.  One dijele i razdvajaju.  Ali znamo iz iskustva što znači jednopartijski sustav.  Višestranački sustav bi trebao unositi dinamiku u politički život, stvarati nove ideje i učvršćivati slobodu.  Zato u Hrvatskoj treba razviti višepartijski sustav ali ne onakav u kojem se stranke stvaraju iz osobnih interesa i inata i postaju same sebi svrhom.

Demokratski izbori u Hrvatskoj samo su osigurali da otpočne razvoj demokracije.  Jer, sloboda i demokracija su puno više od slobodnih izbora!  Nikome u Hrvatskoj, niti Hrvatima općenito, politika nikad više ne bi trebal postati religija.  Ona mora biti u službi svakom građaninu Hrvatske, u službi slobode, u službi hrvatskog naroda.  A odgovornost je na svim Hrvatima i građanima Hrvatske da svojim radom i odgovornošću pridonesu političkom, društvenom i moralnom preporodu Hrvatske i njezinom materijalnom napretku.



 
CROATIA AT THE CROSSROADS
Dr. Ante Čuvalo

The following is a translation of an article written in June of 1990, after the first free elections in Croatia.  It was published in the then émigré publication, Hrvatska revija, [Croatian Review], No. 3, September, 1990, pp. 601-605.

It is a political rarity that totalitarian ideologies and absolute wielders of power willingly agree to the division of power with their former political opponents whom they regarded as "enemies of the people and of the state."  Nonetheless, that is precisely what is happening before our very own eyes.  These are historical events that few generations will experience.  The communist ideology and its regimes, for the greater part, have collapsed.  They are not falling apart through pressures from the outside; rather, they, themselves, brought on an ideological, economic, societal, and moral blind alley.  The system simply could not go on!

    The non-communist world all too easily became accustomed to communism and communistic domination in various parts of the world.  To some extent, this proved favorable to the non-communist powers since in a polarized world of “good” and “evil” everything seemed simpler and clearer, not only in international politics, but also in the political differentiation among various ideological groupings in lands that had pluralistic political systems.  All of this, however, is disappearing.  New formulations are needed to re-structure and re-balance the world’s political, military and economic orders.  Even the exiting ideological differentiations in various countries will have to adjust to the new world situation.   It is certain, however, that new forms of recognition, moves toward division, and unification among the nations of the world will be found.  As was always the case, one’s interests will be the main factor in political relations.  The fortune of individual peoples will depend on many circumstances; nonetheless, it will mostly depend on their action, astuteness, courage, and vision—and on their political leadership.

FINALLY, THE WAR IS OVER.  Viewed from a somewhat broader historical perspective, it is easy to see that Europe is only now coming out of the throes of the Second World War.  Even though the cannons have, for many decades, been silent, the war, nonetheless, continued.  It continued in various forms.  The most prominent was the so-called "cold war" between the superpowers and all those who found themselves within their camps.  In the meantime, the remainder of the world was not spared of that war’s "cold."  That was not only a war of nerves; rather, it stood on the foundation of much suffering, imprisonments, and much persecution, as well as, many human victims in military encounters which were said to be "of a local nature," but, in fact, were the "hot" eruptions that took place under the mantle of the "cold war."

The Second World War continued, in particular, in the lands that until recently, we referred to as "Eastern Europe."  In that part of the world, hostilities continued in various forms.  Other than the cold-war between the two blocs, along with the presence of foreign military forces in those lands, the local Stalinist regimes continued their special war against the "enemies of the people."  The regimes deemed it necessary to strengthen their power not only against any existing opposition, but even against a thought of it that might surface in the mind of the people.  At the same time, the oppressors had to legitimize their power at the expense of the "enemy," by blackening their real or potential enemies as being nothing less than the incarnation of evil which lurks beneath the steps of everyone so as to bring destruction and death to the "people."  Furthermore, the Croatians are only too aware of the fact that Yugoslav regime applied that formula not only to its ideological and class "enemies," but, in fact, to the entire Croatian people.  Hence, one can easily assert that the Croatians, far more than any other people, continued to live even up to the present in the shadow of the Second World War: their dead remain un-mourned and un-buried!  Their wounds remain un-healed.  The division of the Croatian people into two war-camps kept them, by design, in the state of "war" and prevented any sort of normal healing of its wounds of war.  Only after the very first free elections and the assumption of political power by democratic forces in today's Republic of Croatia, we can say that the war in Croatia is coming to an end.  Only now its wounds of war will begin to heal, and she will be able to look to the future.

A HISTORICAL MOMENT.  If we view conditions in Croatia and in East-central Europe, we can say, in general, that the Croatian people find themselves at one of the most important historical turning-points.  As to its importance, this turning-point is neither more, nor less critical or fateful for Croatia or its people than those of 1102; 1527; 1815; 1848; 1868; or 1918, nor, for that matter after the Second World War.  The only difference is that this turning-point in Croatian history is far more fortunate (and one can only hope that no one will transform it into a tragedy).  The events of the present year [1990] seem not to be so dramatic or stormy on the surface (God, spare us of a "stormy" future since you did not deign to spare us of our "stormy" past!), as those of wartime; however, that does not mean that they are any less significant.  In fact, through free elections in Croatia, victory of the democratic opposition, the dignified and peaceful turnout of the people for the election, the choice of the political party that most clearly presented its program, (HDZ) [The Croatian Democratic Party], the magnificent and peaceful transfer of power to the democratically elected Sabor [Parliament], reveals that the Croatian people have learned their political lesson as based on their very own historical experience and that they have firmly resolved to take their destiny into their own hands.  This is a peaceful "revolution" that is, as of yet, unfinished - not only in today's Republic of Croatia, but also in other Croatian regions where it has only begun - a revolution that leads us to the true road of complete freedom and independence.  Only when, in the near future, when Croatia achieves full integrity of its nation and complete independence, will this year be seen as being truly a historical turning-point for Croatia.

Up to the April elections and even into those in May, the disseminators of fear, both in and outside of Croatia, endeavored to dishearten Croatians.  Those forces that on the one side spoke to the Croatian people of democracy, free elections, the will of the people, and such nice phrases, on the other side, the same "democratic" forces, in advance, made the decision for the same people that the Yugoslav national framework must be kept alive.  They were alarming the world and the Croatian people by raising fears and the threat of civil war so as to short-circuit the wishes of the Croatian people for true freedom.  In the end, all of that proved to be ineffective.  Dr. Tuđman and the HDZ proved themselves prepared and capable of standing on democratic principles and movements, and the Croatian people also proved that they are politically mature, and that the democratic tradition that is theirs did not die.  Perhaps, here and there, one will find disillusionment over the fact that the Croatian people confirmed their political maturity with dignity.

MORAL REVOLUTION.  The Croatian people and all citizens of good will within Croatia live in joyful anticipation today.  They are happy in their belief that the foundations have been placed for completely freeing the Croatian people from all their oppressors and that they will finally be the masters of their own fate.  However, at the same time, Croatia and its new government are faced with multiple problems that must be resolved as quickly as possible.  Aside from the obvious signs of general crisis - high prices, unemployment, education, highway systems, birthrate, deterioration of the nation’s cultural heritage and monuments, and even the potholes on the streets - there are far more deeply rooted problems that must be faced and solved, or better said, cured: these problems are societal and moral problems that will prove to be far more difficult to cure than those that are material in nature. I will mention just a few such problems.

    FEAR.  One of the "gifts" given to us by various foreign regimes and ideologies is fear.  Societies in all totalitarian countries - and it would seem, we Croatians in particular - lived (and to some extent continue to do so) in fear: fear from betrayal; fear of those in uniforms; fear of those [agents] in civilian dress; fear of the courts and jail; fear in one's own home; fear on the streets; fear for one's passport; fear of working in a foreign land; fear at the border - coming as well as going; fears for ourselves; fear of Moscow and of Belgrade; fear of sickness; fear of debt and borrowing; fear of life - and death; and, fear of the people by those in power, and fear of those in power by the people: one was born in fear and one died in fear.  This, of course, is not living a normal life.  This, clearly, is a life of the downtrodden!  This is a life of imprisonment.  This is why the Croatians, in general, and the youth in particular, need a healthy dose of self-confidence, faith in one's self and in others, confidence in their political leaders and in their nation, faith in a better future that they themselves can build as free individuals in a free homeland.

CORRUPTION.  Even though man is by nature prone to be selfish and possessive, the long-known "art" of corruption of the Serbian "čaršija" spread as an epidemic throughut the Croatian lands already during the time of the first Yugoslavia.  In the second and again artificially created Yugoslav state, corruption changed its ideological coat, but not its nature: it is present throughout all the pores of society.  As a result of usury, an entire underground economy developed.  Many became rich at the expense of the state (that is, at the expense of others), taking out loans, receiving unearned paychecks, forming their own "companies" - in name only, in the West, whose only "product" was personal enrichment, and who knows what other forms of fraud and bilking took place.

The "technology of corruption" advanced more than anything else in that state!  The goal was not to see who could produce more, or work harder, but to see who could "grab" more.  Some were even prepared to betray - or even worse, falsely accuse, their friends, neighbors, or even worse, their very own close relatives so as to be "rewarded" by the regime for their civic cooperation.  Medical services were "bought," school evaluations were also bought, and even "justice" was bought… everything was for sale!  Corruption was most widespread among those who held the power and those close to the power holders.  In the meantime, the ideologues consciously allowed all of society to be infected by such corruption since they themselves would thereby be spared of criticism in that regard.

Yesterday's privileged class and those who benefited from it, those who "knew" how to exploit their positions, have a huge advantage at this transitional period in Croatian history over those who earned their bread "by the sweat of their brow."  Many of them will become the new capitalists since they had already assured themselves the necessary “start-up” capital.  The companies from which they managed to put aside the “profits” of the firm into their Swiss bank accounts will now be used to grab what they can for themselves and become the owners or co-owners of those very same companies.  They gained the necessary business experience, they educated themselves, and learned the necessary foreign languages; they also educated their children at the world’s best universities, and the like.  Many of these same people will now become newly-minted "Croatian patriots" and "lovers of democracy."  Sadly, those who worked hard to earn a living will continue to work hard.  Those who were the mainstay of Croatian national consciousness and who made many sacrifices for the cause will, in many instances, be seen as shadows of past "patriotism" by yesterday's adherents of a bankrupt regime.  A feeling that the old injustice continues - and, in fact, expands, instead of being punished will begin to arise.  This will revolt many, and turn them away from the political process.  In the meantime, so as to assure better times which are already on the mend, many injustices of the past will have to be "swallowed" and we will have to move forward.

Political patronage is present in all countries and in all systems.  It will most likely be with us until the end of time.  However, in communist countries where the party held absolute power and where competition for political authority simply was not possible, the corruption of the ruling clique was not able to be put under the magnifying glass by its opponents.  However, in these new times and with our new circumstances - at a time when we are entering into a new historical epoch where newly-minted "patriots" and "politicians" abound in excess, Croatia and the Croatians must find a cure for corruption, the habit of favoritism, bribery, and similar diseases which have permeated the Croatian national scene for several generations, if they expect to have a better tomorrow.  This will prove to be one of the more difficult tasks of the new government and of the entire Croatian people.  In the long-term, this will prove to be the real test of our society's maturation.

THERE IS NO BETTER WORK THAN NOT WORKING!  Tito's Yugoslavia officially was, and continues to be, a nation of workers; however, nothing about it was of the working class.  The rulers in his domain were, in fact, non-workers - professional power brokers who were barely-schooled bureaucrats - and all of this was done, of course, "in the name of the workers."  Meanwhile, even a worker spent more time doing everything else except working at his job.  He, too, adjusted his thinking to a system that discouraged true work ethics.  This was seen as being "normal" under the circumstances.  Experts have calculated that when one totals the time that was spent on meetings of the collectives, on sick-leaves, and other fraud, a worker in Yugoslavia, on average, worked only four hours a day.  Besides those professional non-workers who lived at the expense of the people, the (non)working habits and productivity in the country, in general, fell to a minimum.

I had ample opportunity in recent years to meet a fairly big number of persons who came to the United States and Canada to visit their relatives.  In a large measure, especially with those who were quite young, it was easy to see that they were, by and large, quite adroit and resourceful.  Meanwhile, on the other hand, it was equally obvious that most of them were not prepared to roll up their sleeves to do an honest day's work: they wanted to quickly position themselves so as to accumulate a large amount of money as quickly as possible.  They were convinced that this could be done, but one would first have to find the right "conduit" for doing so, and to take advantage of that opportunity.  This attitude of "resourcefulness" (in its negative sense), it seems to me, also convinced them that they knew everything that there was to know, and that no one could possibly teach them anything.  There was no private ownership, by and large, work was not rewarded; rather what was at play was establishing "connections" and rewarding craftiness along with ideological loyalties.  In the meantime, under the new pluralistic circumstances, and with the introduction of a capitalist model of economics, the stress must be on serious work ethic, and good work habits.  It must lead to productivity, to solid education, and professionalism rather than to an unmerited privileged position, connections, and some sort of instinctive "resourcefulness."

NATIONAL PRIDE.  Croatians - especially the newer generation - were raised in abnormal national, ideological, political, educational, and sundry circumstances; hence, there exists an imbalance - if not an unhealthy complex - as regards a healthy national identity, a healthy pride in the past history of our people, and in our cultural heritage.

The Croatians and many other peoples, who have a similar historical past, are often criticized that they are in love with their history and that they tend to live in that past glory.  They are accused of having history as an enchanting corner wherein they seek out peace, and from which they draw new strength; this is where they are inspired to new hope.  It seems to me that this frequent walk through the past can be compared to a walk in an old cemetery where we read various inscriptions with their wise sayings, where we study the monuments and look at the names inscribed on them, and, even though everything seems so sad, we sense some sort of comfort there since in our historical charters, inscriptions, graveyards, and historical ruins, we come to find ourselves and thereby gain new strength for a future that seems unsure.  We looked back and continue to look back to our past since it alone seems to be certain; since our future - for centuries past - seemed murky and fog-bound.

Additionally, history was, and continues to be, a branch of knowledge that was always entwined with a moral sense for us Croatians.  It is the picture of the present.  Experiencing history in such a manner oftentimes served as a hindrance to us.  It also served as the threatening sword hanging over our heads used by foreign forces.  Croatian history was too often the object of manipulation.  Even today, we are judged and accused by history.  We are advised by others that we should really renounce our own history.  But, to do so, would be to renounce ourselves as individuals and as a people.

Another of our Croatian traditions is to seek understanding for our sufferings, our tragedies, our merits, our past, and even our future from those who are powerful.  Meanwhile, there was always a shortage of such understanding towards us.  All too seldom do we contemplate the fact that the victors, those who are more powerful and forceful, determine the value and morals of a people's history, one's merits, as well as one's tragedies.  "History" does not judge!...It is the mighty who judge.  They accuse, judge, and give "absolution" as they please.

Hence, we must extend the possibility to our new generations to come to our Croatian historical past with pure love and a clear intellect.  A far more fortunate future presents itself to them as well as a better life.  They will not have to, I am convinced, be so enthralled by the past because they will be too busy building a better future for all.  However, while building this more fortunate tomorrow, they must not find themselves short of a solid foundation, or be confused at the crossroads that is before them; they must not forget who they are.  And, if they are to know who they are, they must love their historical past and heritage.

An attempt was made to de-Croatize the newer generations of Croatians and, in fact, to impose a sense of historical guilt upon them.  This is why so many of them tossed off the "burden of the past," and "freed themselves" from the "narrow" framework of their cultural and historical heritage.  They became more "universal" and more "modern." - namely, "worldly." (In fact, to be even a "Yugoslav" was to be "universal!" What a tragic comedy!)  It should be made clear to the youth of Croatia that one does not live from the historical past; however, one's national past is, nonetheless, very important for the life of a people, as well as for an individual.  In fact, it is well known that the Croatians attempted to embrace pan-Slavism, Yugoslavism, and even some sorts of universalism; however, everyone, in the end, had to come back to the point from which they started.  Nothing else could they be but what they were, that is, Croats.  All those movements and ideologies were unsuccessful: only the one that was Croatian endured.
 

The Croatian People do not reject the successes of civilization; we are part of it.  In fact, our people wish to be a part of the civilized, modern world - a world we were part of from time immemorial.  Sad to say, many of those who are young fail to see or realize that civilization, in the main, is a totality of the successes of various cultural heritages.  The civilization in which we live, it seems to me, draws to itself as though a magnet, not only our Croatian youth, but others as well.  They fail to see that it is deceiving.  Much of that which entices and enthralls them and that they wish to attain for themselves, does not enrich one spiritually; rather, it tends to neutralize the cultural and spiritual richness of a people as well as individuals.  This, then, is why one must begin with himself, from his own culture and his own heritage.  Only those who are aware of themselves and of their cultural richness can enter into "civilization" and gain benefit from it as well as add to its enrichment.  Hence, in this transitional time, Croatian youth who have allowed themselves to become dissipated in their surroundings, must be shown how to be both Croatian and a part of the world in their outlook and world-view.  They can enter into the richness and beauty of the mosaic that is the world, and thus, enrich themselves and others most successfully if they first do so through the richness of their very own cultural heritage.  Both peoples and individual must seek to find their place under the Sun.

The last decades, Croatia passed through a period of modernization: we have fast communications, TV, work opportunities in the West, a rise in our standard of living, literacy, and the like.  However, such advancement also brought with it many of its consequences as regards the moral and societal spheres.  Among other things, it is now a shame to be a peasant. (Yes, one can euphemistically be a "farmer," but, certainly not a "peasant").  Workers, to a large extent, are "workers" with one foot, while still being tied to the village as peasants (farmers) with the other foot.  Those who lived many years in the West, are, in the main, persons who came from villages.  They have become a "class" unto themselves.  Why, after all, they have seen the world!…they speak "švapski" [German], and have managed to "accumulate" a certain amount of wealth - in other words, they are no longer that which they once were.  Their children, those who grew up in the world without parents at home, find themselves in a peculiar situation.  There is a tradition in that part of the world, as well as among the Croatians, that a person, as soon as he or she finishes some schooling, separates himself from the village and his peasant heritage.  When they find themselves among "Ladies and Gentlemen" they are burdened by a sense of inferiority since they just stepped out of a peasants "opanke" - [their peasant, cow-hide slip-ons].  But, when they are at home in their own village, they assume a complex of "superiority" since, after all, they are educated persons.  They are no longer for any job that requires anything heavier than that of a pen!  Bureaucracy, more often than not, servitude as opposed to real and serious work becomes the "profession" for such people.  These sorts of things serve to introduce confusion and instability into Croatian society.

In order for the year 1990 to be truly historical and revolutionary for Croatia and the Croatian people, that revolution, then, must first of all be a moral revolution.  Before all else, a sense of human dignity in and towards each person must be re-established, personal, collective, and national freedom must be assured, and freedom from fear of anyone or anything must be made possible.  In the meantime, as a people, we must once again make possible a societal and national renaisscence in Croatia.  If we fail to do so, sooner or later, the entire political structure of pluralism, as well as the technical and material advances will bear unfavorable political and social fruits which will, as we ourselves are witness, tend to thrive and ripen in these post-revolutionary times in many parts of the world.

THE CRITICAL TEST IS YET TO COME.  Democracy won in Croatia; however, that is only the beginning of the task that yet awaits the newly-elected Sabor, the government, and President Tuđman.  It will be the task and duty of the newly-elected leadership to guarantee a true democracy wherein individual as well as interest-groups will be a real part of the political process, and not some sort of mobilized force in service of political competitors.  At all costs, they must avoid any sort of process that would lead to a pseudo-democracy since there are too many such "democracies" in existence today.  On the other hand, it is also the duty of those who lost the election to look to the common interests of the nation and to constructively remind the government of its failures and shortcomings.  Political parties are a form of necessary evil.  They tend to separate and divide - but, we know only too well what it means to have a one-party system.  A multi-party political system should introduce a new dynamic in our political life, create new ideas, and strengthen our new-found freedom.  This is why we must develop and foster a multi-party system in Croatia but not one where political parties will come to exist out of personal interests and spite - where they become an end unto themselves.

Democratic elections in Croatia simply assured the start of the democratic process.  Freedom and democracy are far more than just free elections.  Politics must not ever again become a "religion" for Croatia or any Croatian citizen.  It must be in the service of each and every citizen in Croatia, in the service of freedom, and in the service of the Croatian people.  It is also the solemn duty of every Croatian and citizen of Croatia to contribute to the moral and societal renascence as well as to the material advancement of Croatia through their work and sense of responsibility.

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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