Friday, August 08, 2003

Going Postal, Croatian Style

In gun-loving ultra-violent America disgruntled employees, while invading their employers' offices, use handguns. Here, in this part of civilised continent of Europe, they use hand grenades and cans of patrol.

Ivo Žaja (Ivo Zaja), 42-year old employee of "Salonit", one of many struggling Split's business firms, didn't like his employment prospects and that, together with intense heat, led him to attack firm's headquarters and use some of the skills he had learned during Patriotic War. In doing so, he wasn't that successful – only two of his co-workers were hospitalised. But his attempt to torch the building was caught by cameras of Slobodna Dalmacija and was used in today's front page.

Use of such disturbing images at front page in the middle of tourist season is something you couldn't have expected in previous years. Being under government control, Slobodna Dalmacija usually didn't put much emphasis on any story that could scare foreign tourists. In the old days they could have put the story at the front page, but without disturbing photos – most of the tourists couldn't understand headlines about stuff like man-eating sharks being spotted in Adriatic, so it didn't matter.

Use of such photos in today's edition shows that the heat didn't affect only poor Mr. Žaja. Some of editorial (self)control was also lost yesterday.


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