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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Gays Rescuing Sanader?

February seems to be very bad month for Ivo Sanader.

Last year, his government launched tens millions of taxpayer’s kunas worth of PR campaign which was supposed to make those very taxpayers more aware of the ways they can contact with the government. In practicality this awareness was achieved through posters and ads describing all kinds of wonderful things that happened since Sanader coming to power. The highlights described Croatia securing its path to EU and stopping the increase of foreign debts.

Of course, the start of that PR campaign just happened to coincide with the start of presidential elections.

Few days ago it was revealed that Croatian foreign debt rose to unbelievable 30 billion US$. Quarter of century ago similar revelation - 20 billion US$ of foreign debts – served as catalyst for disintegration of former Yugoslavia. Even with inflation taken into account, this seems a lot, especially considering that Croatia has approximately one fifth of former Yugoslav population.

And Croatia’s path to EU seems everything but secure. EU ministers were very clear – unless Ante Gotovina appears in Hague (and, baring some last-minute, nobody expects he will) accession negotiations, scheduled for March 17th, are going to be postponed until October. All prospects about Croatia becoming part of EU before Turkey are going to be dashed.

Sanader, therefore, failed miserably as Croatian prime minister, but at least people gave him credit for being much more democratic than its former boss Tudjman. But it doesn’t take much for Tudjman’s party, including its leader, to return to their old ways. Denis Latin, host of Latinica talk show at HRT, state-rumn television station, learned that yesterday when he saw his latest episode censored. The show, which had origins of individual wealth as its topic, was supposed to include report about Ivo Sanader being involved in some questionable activities in 1990s – business deals with most notorious of Tudjman’s cronies and violent evictions of old ladies. However, when the show aired, the report was cut. Later it was revealed that the order came from the top of HRT after few visits by the top officials of Sanader’s government. Latin announced that he would quit his job and called this practice “media terrorism”.

But few people in Croatia are going to talk about those subjects, because apparently phantom list of Croatian gays has reigns supreme over Croatian public curiosity. Iskorak, gay rights NGO, which had used the whole brouhaha as another example of homophobia is downplaying the whole affair after setting up special hotline to give information to people who were scared of being on the list. Today the list’s author – 31-year old man, who is, allegedly, prominent gay activist and member of Iskorak – gave statement to police and claimed by that the list was stolen and later put to Internet by a friend. Iskorak, in the meantime, revised the number of the people from the list from some 800 to 350, with “only 91 being listed under full names”.

Unlike L'Affaire Severina, which became an actual ground-breaking event, this list is most likely to become Croatian urban legend. There are already conspiracy theories that the list never existed and that the whole affair was a clever ploy to give extra publicity to Iskorak. Others point to Sanader who apparently also benefited from the affair. In this day and age most intimate details of someone’s personal life are more likely to get public attention than the more mundane things like decaying economy, major foreign policy fiasco or curbing media and other constitutional freedoms.

1 Comments:

Blogger Seesaw said...

I could sign every single word you wrote here.
(I am also asking myself how come old Yugoslavia had only 20 billion dolars debt, and Croatia has already 30!!! After only 15 years of existence as independent state, not even 15!)

10:17 PM  

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