Friday, April 11, 2003

Underground Holidays

Croatia is probably the only country that has three holidays that could be called Indpenedence Day. Only one of them is official – October 8th – and it marks the anniversary of Sabor's 1991 decision to end all constitutional links with former Yugoslavia. Sabor had actually proclaimed Croatian independence on June 25th 1991, but under pressure from EU diplomats there was three-month moratorium on all effects of such declaration. October 8th 1991 was therefore the day when Croatia formally became independent, and October 8th makes most sense as Croatian Independence Day. Yet such holiday was introduced only few years ago, to the utmost horror of Croatian right-wingers and neo-Tudjmanists.

Croatian right-wingers tend to celebrate their own Independence Day in the form of May 30th – date which was known as Statehood Day in Tudjman's era. It marked the anniversary of May 30th 1990 – the day when Tudjman formally took power from Communist authorities following first democratic elections. Although Croatia didn't win independence on that day nor became state ( Croatian statehood dates back to 1944, when ZAVNOH, Communist-dominated assembly, proclaimed Federal State of Croatia). Statehood Day was celebrated as public holiday in Tudjman's era only to be replaced by Račan's (Racan's) version. New Statehood Day is June 25th 1991, which marks the anniversary of aforementioned first declaration of independence. However, Croatian right-wingers see this as travesty and many HDZ leaders have vowed to re-establish May 30th after next elections.

Yet, May 30th as Statehood Day is increasingly threatened by another date championed by Croatian right wing. On April 10th 1941, following the entry of German panzers in Zagreb, Independent State of Croatia was proclaimed. For decades under Communist rule many Croatian nationalist adopted their day as their own underground holiday, choosing to ignore fascism, holocaust, genocide, civil war and other unpleasantness associated with that puppet state. Under Tudjman, former Partisan, this day was never publicly celebrated. But collapse of HDZ and radicalisation of Croatian right wing under Račan's (Racan's) government led to renaissance of April 10th as alternative Indepenedence Day.

Last night in Zagreb, according to media reports, some 300 people were seen during very public celebration of April 10th in "Millennium" club. Most of them were very young and that is a bad sign. New generations of Croatian right-wingers don't seem to take Tudjman as their role model and embrace Ante Pavelić (Ante Pavelic) and his Ustasha regime instead.


Post a Comment

<< Home