Tuesday, November 25, 2003

"Nothing Against Jews, But…"

Marko Perković-Thompson, controversial folk-pop singer from Croatia who earned a lot of popularity and notoriety with his explicitly political songs, public statements and black wardrobe, was supposed to hold two concerts in Netherlands for Croatian expatriates.

But he didn't hold neither of them. One was cancelled and another featured only Thompson's band. Thompson himself was part of the audience until being escorted out of hall by Dutch police and public prosecutor.

Apparently, hall owners objected to Thompson being branded Nazi and being subjected to Dutch legislation that bans use of Nazi lyrics, uniforms and other insignia.

Vinko Šalov, concert organiser, blamed everything on hall owners being Jewish, while Thompson himself was even more explicit in his statement for Slobodna Dalmacija, blaming Jewish organisation CIDI for smearing his name. He said "I have nothing against Jews, but they crucified Christ and they can do it to a little man like me."

Whether Thompson's statement is explicitly or implicitly anti-Semitic, it would undoubtedly fuel anti-Semitic and anti-Dutch sentiments in Croatia. Apart from UK, Netherlands is only EU country vetoing treaties that should pave the way for eventual Croatian entry into EU. Those statements and whole scandal would also do little service for image of Croatia after the elections.

The most troubling aspect of this all is the huge fan base Thompson has in Croatia, and most of those fans being young people.


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