Sunday, August 10, 2003

Battle Avoided

Bačvice (Bacvice), area of Split known for its picturesque cafes, beaches and open-air stages, nearly became battlefield yesterday – battlefield in the war that was supposed to be over right now.

Dino Dvornik, chemistry-loving pop musician and Ivo Sanader's greatest fan, was supposed to hold concert one of Bačvice's stages. The concert was part of Pokrenimo Hrvatsku (Move Croatia), HDZ pre-election campaign designed to present Tudjman's party as "hip" and acceptable for first-time voters.

Problem was in another great perfomer having a concert scheduled only 200 meters away. Momčilo "Bajaga" Bajagić (Momcilo "Bajaga" Bajagic), one of Serbia's best known rock-musicians, was supposed to hold concert in Split for the first time after 14 years.

14 years ago Dvornik and Bajaga were citizens of the same country, played more-or-less the same kind of music and had more-or-less the same fan base. After that Bajaga became non-person in Tudjman's Croatia, but kept relatively huge fan base – partly of nostalgia, and partly because listening to Serb music was part of youth rebellion against Tudjman's ultra-conservatism. Gradually, as Dvornik began more (in)famous for his lifestyle than for his music, fan bases began to separate.

So, the idea of thousands of Bajaga fans being at the same time and same place with thousands of Dvornik fans (many of whom would come as a show of support to HDZ) must have been a nightmare for Split police. Despite the efforts to paint HDZ as born-again "European and tolerant" party, its membership is still made of people who see any Serb on Croatian soil deeply offending. All that combined with heat, alcohol and drugs could have guaranteed violent riots.

In the end, Bajaga folded and decided to hold concert on Monday. Dvornik was allowed to perform alone and his concert proved to be somewhat disappointing. He was one hour late (which would probably create a lot of speculations about his love of "chemistry") and the crowd was small, gradually growing from some 50 die-hard fans to some 1000 people (many of whom appeared from neighbouring bars and cafes to take a brief glimpse at the spectacle).

The last battle of Serb-Croat war was, therefore, avoided.


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