March 02nd 2007 05:25:15 PM
It appears that my recent experience with the consequences of touching — just touching — on the subject of Croatian history is not uniqe. The pattern for anyone attempting to confront Croatia with its conscience seems to be that they are reflexively accused of “attacking” that nation, and are asked why they “hate” Croatians. Croatians are a western people devoid of rationality. From BBC Monitoring International Reports:
Croatian TV film on war-time camp for Serbs causes storm
Text of report by Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA
Last night, Croatian TV aired a documentary about Serb sufferings in the Lora [war-time] camp, which caused vocal protests by viewers, while the discussion in the Tragovi [Tracks] programme, during which the documentary was aired, was very heated, a SRNA correspondent from Zagreb reports.
Croatian TV received a large number of calls from viewers, who started to phone as soon as the programme “Lora - a Testimony” by [documentary maker] Nenad Puhovski was announced. In the film, some 10 people testify about what they had been subjected to in Lora.
The following took part in the discussion: film author Nenad Puhovski, war-time Premier Zdravko Tomac, Croatian forces war-time commander in Vukovar Mile Dedakovic Jastreb, judge Slavko Lozina, who had issued the not guilty ruling regarding war crimes charges in Lora at the first such trial, film co-author and investigative journalist Pero Jurisin, journalist Josip Jovic, and former camp inmates Milan Tosic and Nenad Filipovic, who were in a studio in Belgrade.
Tomac and Dedakovic criticized the film makers for equating events in Lora with Vukovar and choosing the wrong moment to show the film in view of the developments in The Hague.
According to them, torture perpetrated in that camp was done by individuals, while Puhovski and Jurisin argued the opposite, citing the fact that “a traumatized man from Vukovar” was appointed the camp commander.
War-time Premier Zdravko Tomac blamed the inmates for the sufferings they endured in Lora, asking them “what were you doing in Croatia at that time anyway?” Tosic replied that he had been captured in Bosnia-Hercegovina while he was doing his military service there.
The majority of guests in the Zagreb studio saw the film as an attack on Croatia, which the authors kept denying.
Even the editor of a prominent conservative online magazine, when I stumbled upon him by telephone regarding an unrelated matter last month, was quick to inform me that he had seen my “hit piece on Croatia in the Baltimore Sun.” Caught off-guard by the bizarrely emotional choice of terminology for what, compared to the stark reality, was an innocuous piece, I hurriedly ended the call by saying, “Well you obviously weren’t bothered by 15 years of hit pieces on the Serbs, so that’s pretty typical. Have a nice day.”
Sure enough, I found out that this totally American former national editor of a major east coast newspaper is of Croatian origin — and he still carries Croatia in his bones. That’s how strong the nationalism runs. There’s virtually no such thing as a non-nationalist Croat.
The following opening of one letter I received is not atypical:
Once again you have failed to reply and explain your derogatory slander directed towards the honour and dignity of Croatia…
At least the Germans said, Yes, we were evil, and didn’t complain much about their reputation. But Croats won’t tolerate even a single accusation, and will pull any fact they can find out of a hat to counter it. Are they in denial, or are they still just evil?