Monday, June 16, 2003

Before I Become A Felon

Sabor is about to pass amendment to Criminal Code. The most important change is re-introduction of life imprisonment, but MSes were up in arms over another novelty – new felony called "idolisation of past fascist states and displaying their insignia". The felony is modelled after German and Austrian anti-Nazi legislation and is motivated with the desire to give image of Croatia as modern "European" country that cherishes anti-fascist values, just like the rest of EU.

Of course, right-wing opposition and parts of governing coalition had very little understanding for the law that would make singing Ustasha songs and wearing Ustashas insignia illegal. They were even more outraged over the fact that the law doesn't apply to Communist states, and that Tito-nostalgics could wear display Hammer and Sickles and former Yugoslav and Communist-era Croatian flags.

If I were MS, I would vote against this law. Perhaps I have somewhat naďve notion of fundamental civil liberties, but for me freedoms of speech and expression include even those ideas I consider abhorrent. Besides, historical experience in this part of the world tells us that any attempt to quash "demons of the past" usually results in most unpleasant forms of backlash.

And there is a strictly personal reason for me to oppose this law. Recently I began playing Hearts of Iron again. In order to enhance the atmosphere of the game and give a period feel, I checked this site and found a lot of pop songs, marches, hymns related to the WW2 period. Needless to say, some of the best tunes are songs celebrating Italian Fascism. I downloaded them and started them using as game's new soundtrack. According to new law, this activity could be interpreted as felony.


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