I’m trying to catch up on a few things, so please pardon my tardiness in reporting on the following event.

Croatian singer says mufti’s remarks about his concert to create intolerance
from Croatian news agency HINA

ZAGREB, Sept 20 - The statement by the mufti in Mostar, Seid Smajkic, that the concert by Croatian singer Marko Perkovic Thompson scheduled to be held in Mostar on 27 September “is an act of provocation for Bosniaks”, is an attempt to create religious and national intolerance between the two constituent peoples in Mostar — the Croats and the Bosniaks. Thompson’s label MP-Ton said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Mufti Smajkic was quoted on Thursday by the Sarajevo-based daily Dnevni avaz as saying that all concerts which this controversial pop singer had so far held in in the south of Bosnia-Hercegovina were “marked by promotion of fascist insignia”.

The Islamic dignitary also accused the singer’s fans of flirting with the Ustasha and fascist ideologies.

Hey, thanks to this mufti, the Simon Wiesenthal Center was able to take a day off!

Marko Perkovic’s charity concert that should have taken place in the capital of Sarajevo in May this year was cancelled after the organizers learnt that the concert provoked numerous negative reactions in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Various organizations and the Jewish community in the country had strongly opposed the holding of Thompson’s concert, insisting that the singer promotes the Ustasha ideology in his songs.

Follow-up story after concert:

Pro-Ustasha Croat singer splits Mostar

Thousands of Croats from Herzegovina were on their way to Mostar to see Marko Perković, aka Thompson, in concert.

For everyone else, last night’s concert was a parade of fascism, such as cannot be seen anywhere else in Europe. Fascist insignia, songs glorifying torture and war crimes, hundreds of youths in Ustasha uniforms are all part and parcel of any Thompson concert wherever he goes.

Mostar Serbs, Jews and other citizens launched a protest against last night’s event…Even though it is rare that the town’s religious leaders express their views, a representative of the city’s Muslim community, Mufti Seid Smajkić, summed up the feelings of the local Bosniaks.

However, in his opinion, the problem with this concert is “not just the promotion of fascist ideas,” but also the already long-established habit of audiences at Thompson concerts, exhilarated by battle-cries from the concert, “to go on a spree of chaos and destruction.”

As views on Thompson’s life’s work have been known for a long time, it is truly frightening to hear the opinions of certain Mostar Croat associations who, as they say, do not understand what Bosniaks and Jews have against Thompson singing songs about killing Serbs.

Listening to Perković, one would say that he revels in the controversy. He even goes so far as to say that he believes the Bosniaks have been hypocritical towards him, as his well-known song “Čavoglave” — which includes the line “Listen you gang of Chetniks, Our hand will reach you in Serbia itself” — at the very beginning of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was effectively “adapted and remodeled for the Bosnian public, and was so popular that everyone knew it and sang it, from schoolchildren to old-age pensioners.”

Actually, that’s not going “far” at all. In fact, it’s a hugely important point that the Ustasha just made — and Bosniaks shouldn’t forget it. In the ’90s it was Croats vs. Serbs; Bosniaks vs. Serbs; Slovenes vs. Serbs; Albanians vs. Serbs. (Plus some Bosniak vs. Croat fighting after battling Serbs together.) But the point is: when the destruction of Yugoslavia was the agenda, and all these gangs besieged the Serbs, they were all on the same page. And each side kept its mouth shut about the fallacy of the others’ cases. This quietude continues to the present day, lest history be reexamined. But now the evil that they encouraged, enabled and even financed in one another is coming back to haunt their very selves. They are all each other’s monsters.

So here’s the bright side to any Thompson concert story: Now that Bosnians are complaining about Croatians, and Croatians are complaining about Bosnia, where non-Muslims are increasingly second-class citizens, maybe now the world will start to pay attention. So that one day, perhaps the concerns of the original victims of both Bosnians and Croats — the people who didn’t want to live under an Islamic Bosnia or a democratic Ustashi Croatia — will stop being ignored, dismissed and ridiculed. Those would be the Serbs.

These anti-Serb populations today have begun, unwittingly, to provide their own evidence against one another, in each case backing up what the Serbs were saying about them all from the beginning of hostilities. But don’t expect the world’s established script to change.


02.11.07. - NEW YORK
Croatian Center in Manhattan (upstairs), 502 West 41 Street, New York

04.11.07. - TORONTO
Koolhaus, 132 Queen’s Quay East, Toronto

10.11.07. - CHICAGO
Croatia Cultural Center, 2845 West Devon Avenue, Chicago

16.11.07. - VANCOUVER
Croatian Community Center, 3250 Commercial Dr., Vancouver

18.11.07. - SAN FRANCISCO
ARC at Willowglen dvorana, 680 Minnesota Avenue, San Jose

To my Serbian readers in Canada and America, I recommend that on concert dates, you get some of those neck supports that people wear for whiplash — so it’ll be harder to saw off your head. Also, industrial-strength goggles or even full helmets, so that your eyes don’t end up in a bowl. Don’t wear anything particularly flammable either. Old-fashioned body armor is also recommended in case some especially nostalgic concert patrons bring Grandpa’s old Serb cutter.