Croatian Viewpoint
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Peace - What Peace?

When I heard that a medal for peace was accepted by the president of Croatia I was shocked. I wondered what peace they were referring to - is not the logic of this presentation in harmony with the stability and peace only of the superpowers? (note: first pub. Jan 1991)
For many decades Croatian people have never known peace and they certainly don't know what it is today. Serbian hegemony continues as the economy and democracy in Croatia is ruined by the Stalinist tactics of the Serbian government. It is only Serbia 's peace which is now ensured by its policy of aggression which has not let up since the creation of the first Yugoslavia . Is there peace in Australia for people of Croatian origin? Although Mr. Hawke proclaimed on television that he would defend the right of free speech in Australia of Croats this has not occurred. What kind of peace does the Tokic family have today? What happened to Joseph Tokic could have happened to any of us. Recently, in Croatia limestone caves have been exposed containing the remains of tens of thousands of Croatian civilians killed after world war two. What peace is there for their relatives? How can all these above mentioned crimes simply be ignored? When will the right time be for compensation if not now? (note: J. Tokic was shot during a peaceful demonstration in Sydney in front of a Yugoslav Embassy, which was subsequently closed-down)
According to my dictionary, peace is defined as: "freedom from, cessation of war; ratification of treaty of peace between powers previously at war; freedom from civil disorders; peace as secured by law; quiet, tranquility, mental calm; in the state of friendliness or not at strife, prevent or refrain from strife; become reconciled with or bring hostilities to an end."
For Croatian people today, is there an absence of civil disorder, secured by law, tranquility, etc.? Are there any of these things? Apart from glasnost has anything changed? Has the euphoria been equalled with any hope of peace? Or isn't it true that the former peace of the grave has merely been replaced with the short-term peace of humiliation, like between slave and master? Croatian people, in their heart know and have written in their blood, that every compromise with Belgrade over the past eighty years has been double-crossed.
Is it not a fact that the past three or four generations of Croatian people do not understand the concept of 'mental calm'? Constantly however they are being advised to behave peacefully, while their minds are exploding inside. Families are still torn apart by mass emigration, and I hardly know a family which lives together in Croatia unless they do so because they are supported by a relative abroad, who sends them money for essentials and medicine. None of these circumstances have changed. For several generations the finest youth of Croatia have been imprisoned or murdered in the streets. Peace? Will it mean peace to tolerate the change which will now occur under the newly elected communist federalist government in Serbia ? In the streets of Romania , Bulgaria , Albania , and the Soviet republics peoples protest against totalitarian tactics, impatient for reforms which never come. Yes, this protest causes instability - but for whom? The protestors have nothing more to lose. Only the peace of the superpowers is supposed to be important.
Don't the smaller nations of the world deserve some peace and stability also? Only when Croatian people have what they need for subsistence survival will they have peace and what they need is a system which allows them to work and reap some of the benefits. Croatia should have the right to defend travelers and people on their roads and railways; and Croatia should have the right to build roads and railways when and where they are needed.*
*(Note: this refers to the beginning of Serbian aggression, the so-called Serbian "log revolution" on roads through Knin between Zagreb and the coast, in August 1990, which blocks tourists and locals; and secondly, it refers to the cancellation of plans to build a highway from Zagreb to Split under former Yugoslav regime - a tunnel and highway which was undertaken after Croatian independence and completed in 2005, shortening travel time by several hours.)
Acceptance of a peace medal was premature. No change in history ever occurred without a struggle and what that is called is 'fighting for peace' - peace on fair and just terms - not the peace of apartheid, exile, or the grave. The people must act now before they will be subjugated not only under Belgrade but under the European parliament as well. Every small nation except Croatia has gone into the streets for their rights. Therefore Croatian people should believe in themselves and their unity more. Failure to speak out now will result in history repeating itself.
Jean Lunt Marinovic
January, 1991
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