Monday, March 28, 2005

Murter Bomb

By macabre set of coincidence, another South Asian tsunami is occurring roughly on the same day when another Croatian WW2 monument got blown up by right-wing extremists.

This time the target was in Murter, small tourist town on the Adriatic Coast. The monument, marking the memory of some 134 townspeople killed during WW2, either as Partisans or civilian victims of Nazis and their domestic cronies, was set in the centre of town. Unlike with Tito’s statue in Kumrovec, perpetrator didn’t have enough explosives to bring the monument down. One leg is missing, but the statue still stands.

However, there were enough explosives to damage few nearby cars and smash many windows.

Just like the bombing of Tito’s monument in Kumrovec, this event could be interpreted as another, much more serious, warning to Sanader’s government. If Sanader increases his efforts to apprehend General Gotovina and turn him to Hague – no matter how theatrical in nature they might be – he might be faced with something much uglier than rabid rants of fringe politicians that could be easily marginalised by Croatian overwhelmingly pro-EU media.

Murter bomb hits where Croatia – and with it, Sanader’s government – is the most sensitive. Coastal towns like Murter are the only visible source of national income and they represent the only visible sign that things in Croatia might get better. If terrorist act of this nature happens in the middle of tourist season, it could produce devastating long-term impact on Croatian economy. And if Croatian economy goes down the drain, so do political stability or hope that Croatia could, in foreseeable future, become something resembling functioning modern democracy.

Croatian security services, plagued by bureaucratic in-fighting, nepotism, corruption, lack of funding and, last but not least, large number of right-wing sympathisers within their ranks, aren’t going to present any credible response to such threat, at least not in the short term.

That leaves Sanader with continuing the present policies – aggressive lobbying for EU to lower its standards, buying foreign support by selling the most lucrative state companies at discount prices and hoping that the problem will somehow go away. In other words, exactly what Račan (Racan) used to do, only with more vigour – which is more product of Sanader’s character than political differences with his predecessor.

Of course, Sanader could risk going into all-out-war with his former allies from the Right, but this will happen only if no other option is left. Because, in the end, most Croatians aren't likely to lift a finger to protect democracy, if such democracy is represented by the likes of Sanader and Račan.


Most of Croatians aren’t likely to lift a finger for Sanader, but at least some are having enough guts to express their opposition to the bombers. Flowers appeared at the bomb site. And locals – which happen to house some 200 foreign tourists – aren’t happy about the whole affair.

Murter Municipal Council on its emergency session called this “a terrorist act” and decided to make repairs. Local 1991-95 war veterans organisation also issued statement against the bombing.


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