A death threat from Mostar, Bosnia:

name = ustasha4ever
comments = fuck you you bitch….burn in hell….no one likes us but we dont care….the poglavnike is the best…if you have something against us…come to craotia and we will kill you…fucking bitch!!!

No, the problem is that no one knows enough about Croatia to dislike the Ustashas. That’s why I’m shining a light on this under-reported phenomenon. Meanwhile, here’s a death threat from Amsterdam:

name = Alqaida
email = alqaida@alqaida.org
comments = We are going to kill you

For some reason the “al Qaida” one came along with all the letters responding to my recent Croatia posts, so I don’t know what to make of it. But my question is: How have I offended the Nazi/Ustashas of Croatia? If they are what they are, then I haven’t given them anything to object to, and they should be proud of my publicizing their activities. There is nothing in my posts to offend a proud Ustasha. But if all the angry letters are coming from the non-Ustashas of Croatia, then Croatia has an even bigger problem than it knows.

I must say, America’s name is dragged through the mud every day, and by people in every country. But it doesn’t elicit death threats from nationalistic Americans.

I did hear from a kind lady named Eva in Ivanic Grad, Croatia, but she was in denial that Thompson harbors Ustasha sympathies, despite his remake of a 1942 Croatian Nazi song glorifying the extermination of Jews and Serbs. “Please, do not present the whole Croatian nation as fascists!” she continued. Regarding the Nazi nostalgists, she added, “That is a disease we are dealing with. If you are, like us, unsatisfied with behavior on this concert, try to help us, not attack us.”

Eva, I am a blogger/opinion writer. The way I help call attention to issues is to shine a light on them, so that there can be greater public scrutiny than there currently is. Countries don’t become healthy if the world remains unaware of what happens there. That is the very reason that Croatia’s Nazi sympathizers are more mainstream than they are in other countries. Recall this letter from Svetlana, describing how Croatian POWs released from Serbia were welcomed to Croatia as “Ustashas” by a leading Croatian official; and recall this criticism of the Jasenovac exhibit. I am helping Croatia, Eva.

And of course I know there are good Croatians; many Croatians were killed as Partisans in the Ustasha camps. And that’s why I was surprised to hear from some of their children and grandchildren after writing my original Baltimore Sun article in January — complaining that I was exposing Croatia instead of emphatically nodding their heads. As Betsy Lalich — president of the Serbian-Jewish Friendship Society of America — wrote me:

If my grandparents had stayed in “Lika”, now part of Croatia, they would have been tortured and murdered like the families and friends they left behind, some in mass graves. All by their “good” Croatian Ustasha neighbors. And yet there WERE some true good folk too.

Meanwhile, let me once again call attention to the storm that is caused when someone points a finger of blame for Balkan troubles at someone other than Serbs. It’s very interesting that this isn’t acceptable, whether we’re talking about Albanians, Croatians or Bosniaks.

I must offer my apologies that I can’t read every letter, much less print and respond to each one (I’ve only read about five out of the 50 or so I received this weekend). However, I do plan to return to the subject of Croatia, especially since people keep asking me to address what happened in Vukovar. The next few weeks will be tied up with Kosovo, however, and I am on deadline for that.