Monday, January 12, 2004

Music in Black

These days, the biggest media story in Croatia is a scoop made by on-line news site. Their reporters discovered a song performed by Marko Perković "Thompson" (Marko Perkovic "Thompson"), controversial but immensely popular Croatian turbo folk singer whose concerts in Netherlands had been recently been banned under that country's anti-Nazi legislation. In the song titled "Jasenovac i Gradiška stara" (Jasenovac i Gradiska Stara) "Thompson" openly praises genocide of Serbs commited by Ustashas during WW2. When confronted, "Thompson" at first denied that he had anything with the song. Later he admitted singing that song, claiming that it was protest against "Communist" government of former prime minister Ivica Račan (Ivica Racan).

"Thompson" was never stranger to controversy, including Ustasha insignia and threats made on reporters trying to cover his concerts. However, official Croatia, including its cultural and intellectual establishment, usually ignored all those incidents, partly out of fear of growing multitudes of "Thompson's" fans (especially among Croatian youth), partly because they feared that any reaction towards him would shatter the carefully built image of Croatia as modern, "European" country which is untroubled by its past, unlike its neighbour Serbia. But now the story, amended by the news of on-line petition demanding all-out boycott of "Thompson" and his music, has reached "official" media, prompting newspaper commentators to criticise "Thompson" more explicitly than they had in the past. Denis Latin, host of the popular Latinica talk show, has announced that "Thompson" and the latest controversy would be subject of his next show on Monday.

In the meantime, "Thompson" has been mentioned in the Wikipedia article describing Ustashas.


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