I knew there was a reason that I respected Bob Dylan. In addition to defending Israel in the song “Neighborhood Bully,” and in addition to not myopically joining the Vietnam protest movement the way every other artist did at the time, he apparently also knows something about the Balkans.

And that’s something Croatia is not used to. Which explains this reaction from Croatia when someone dares to know its past:


Bob Dylan banned from Radio Split
(Croatian Times, Sept. 29, 2012)

Rock legend Bob Dylan has been banned from Croatian radio after comparing Croats to Ku Klux Klan slave masters and Nazis during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

The singer - talking about the roots of racism - had said black people could sense “Klan blood” and Jews could “sense Nazi blood” adding: “And the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

Now the country’s radio station - Radio Split - has removed Dylan’s new single ‘Duquesne Whistle’ from their hit of the week playlist, news website Index reports.

Bob Dylan Angers Croats With Nazi Reference (Balkan Insight, Sept. 29)

Music legend annoys Croats fans in an interview by comparing Serbs and Croats to blacks and whites - and to Jews and Nazis.

The legendary US singer and songwriter has ruffled feathers in Croatia by comparing Croats to American Whites and German Nazis in the course of a discourse on American politics.

Commenting on still tense relations between African Americans and Whites, Dylan said: “If you’ve got a slave master or the [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that … Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood”.

Dylan made the remarks in an interview with the music magazine Rolling Stone.

Speaking on the occasion of the release of his 35th album “Tempest”, ahead of the November presidential elections, Dylan went on to describe America as a country formed on the backs of slaves.

“If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today,” he concluded.

The comment about Croats has caused numerous comments on websites that published the interview, prompting some to accuse the musician of not knowing much about history and politics in the Balkans.

By which they mean not knowing the version he was supposed to have bought along with the rest of the world.

While I commend Dylan on apparently knowing what Croats did to Serbs, in the 40s and the 90s, and drawing apt parallels, I can’t agree that blacks can sense a slave master in someone’s lineage. After all, they couldn’t sense it in Barack Obama, whose white half comes from slaveholders, and whose black half comes from slave traders. (Or perhaps they did sense it and just didn’t care. Obama voter Dylan wasn’t able to sense it either.)

I also can’t agree that Jews can sense Nazi blood, or else they wouldn’t support the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, or the notion that Arabs too want to “all just get along” (when in fact they were tutored by the Nazis). Nor would they defend the king of the New World Order, George Soros (recall how prominent Jews jumped on Glenn Beck when he talked about Soros confiscating Jewish furniture during WWII — something for which Soros has never expressed any public remorse).

As for Serbs sensing Croatian blood, this they have learned to do for the sake of survival. But it was always the Croats who had the finest-tuned sniffer for Serb blood, looking for the slightest whiff of Serbness in someone who might otherwise pass for Croatian. They look for clues in language, place of origin, a life timeline, and so on. And if they do sniff out Serbness, they turn a cold shoulder. At best.

Meanwhile, talk about comic timing! The Vatican will regret its timing of the following, once it hears from its ruffled Croatian flock — whose back the Vatican has had even through their WWII genocide of the Serbs and their 1990s revival of Nazism:

Bob Dylan now Vatican-approved (The Daily Telegraph, Sept. 28)

Bob Dylan — who will be hitting the stage of the Saddledome on Oct. 10 — has the blessing of the Vatican, with a reviewer from its official newspaper comparing the singer’s voice to “the finest pastry.”

ROME — The Vatican’s official newspaper has given a glowing review to Bob Dylan’s new album, in the latest attempt to broaden its appeal beyond the rarefied confines of the Holy See.

Listening to the tracks on Tempest was like “biting into a cake made from the finest pastry,” L’Osservatore Romano said.
The newspaper, which counts cardinals and clerics among its readers, devoted two articles to the album, which was released earlier this month.

It added that Dylan’s voice remains “unmistakable”, despite the fact that his career spans nearly half a century and he turned 71 in May. […]