Stipe u raljama života

Follow Index and Neretva River for the developing brouhaha over stupid remarks Stipe Mesić may or may not have made in 1991, and a set of responses ranging from the inadequate to the self-incriminating, none of which makes any of the people involved look too good at all.

Update: All the same, Catherine has found grounds for pomirenje. Between Mesić and the ubiquitous Mr Thompson.


Anonymous said...

Yet another Croat slips on NDH!!!
Alas, must admit am not surspised!

Eric Gordy said...

I don't know, I am not taking much pleasure in Mesic's misery, as much as the damage is self-inflicted. I suppose it is possible that this could provoke a serious and much-needed public discussion, but it sure doesn't look like anybody intends to do that.

observer said...

It looks like everyone that should be calling for a serious debate is simply closing ranks around Stipe under the mantra 'we all dabbled in Ustasism in the early 1990s' or 'there is no need to discuss the past in today's Croatia' with Vesna Pusic among the former and Ivo Sanader leading the latter. Even the European Commission's rep. in Zagreb came to Mesic's defense.

Only Zarko Puhovski and a few others want answers and an apology.

This is very sad for all involved.

Anonymous said...

I think it is worth bearing in mind that in the original NDH era most of the Croats did not support ustasa or NDH.

I do suspect that the wide accusations that the Croats were reviving something of that terrible era did not help prevent people from looking again at that past a different way.

Sometimes people decide to be hung for a sheep instead of just a lamb. Fascism in one form or another was something all sides accused each other of, still accuse each other of, whether in fact it is so,the Croats are not the only group with a fascist past to discuss seriously and openly. Nor is Croatian leadership the only leadership to be accused or to accuse.

It's a huge can of worms and I think a lot of people are afraid of discussing this sad past.

And to think the hardliners over the years have been all over Mesic!
I even heard rumors he was secretly in league with Izetbegovic, since they were in fact on fairly good terms, and a lot of more hard line Croats didn't like that.

Since all sides had a fascist element in WWII, it's very hard for any side, to be claim to be 'pure'.

Then too, a lot of fairly decent people have said regretable things at some point in their life. Alchol a warm room and the wrong company leads to that sort of thing.

One has to look at deeds as well as words. This is not to say that Mesic didn't do badly to say what he said, just to point out that Mesic is by no means the worst leader in the region. He's done a lot to combat fascistic tendancies in his country, as much as any leader and a lot more than others.

In all political scandals you have to look at who benefits. I feel bad for Mesic because there is a sense that he 'could do no right' over the years. He was despised by the crowd that liked the war criminal element, because he has been pretty cooperative with the ICTY.

Eric Gordy said...

Absolutely, Katja. For my part, I quite like Mesic. But this only makes the whole business worse.

Bg anon said...

For those who follow these things closely it is no surprise at all.

Remember the context - he was addressing the Croatian diaspora (Australia or Austria frankly who cares, although Mesic scores low points for accusing the media of not knowing which, Mesic btw also scores low points for defending himself by using an easy target 'greater Serbian aggression' to excuse his sins) in a key period.

Clearly the Tudjman government needed to raise as much cash as possible and clearly many members of the Croatian diaspora were of a right wing persuasion.

This doesnt at all excuse Mesic but it provides context. Mesic is a politician - he tells people what he believes they want to hear.
Liberal supporters of Mesic should bear this in mind as they should also bear in mind that Mesic is a nationalist. But as nationalists go he is pretty benevolent (now why is that word familiar!).

What is more worrying and something I wish people would consider more (both balkan watchers, Mesic's friends and enemies) is the sacking of the Croatian state television team TODAY.

In other words one should not forget what happened back in the day (90's) but above all we should focus on whats going on at the moment. I find it very worrying the way that the Balkan (it goes on elsewhere of course but not to the same extent) countries continue to try to control particularly the state media.