Croatian Viewpoint
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The Fall of the Berlin Wall -- 20th Anniversary

The Croatian peoples' struggle for independence existed long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, but its collapse twenty years ago on 9 November 1989 tipped the bankrupt Yugoslav communist regime over the edge to internal political collapse. In 1989 the Croatian communities around the world were keenly watching the democratic changes ('glasnost') taking place in Eastern Europe with a new found hope for the future.
Twenty years on it's time for many to reflect on the meaning of recognition, independence and freedom. In contrast, twenty years on, not many journalists seem to remember or share the enthusiasm of the Croatian people. Although a week remains until 9th November, some journalists are already analyzing the repercussions caused by the end of the Cold War.
To date not many have mentioned Croatia or the fall of former Yugoslavia especially in the context of the beginning of the Cold War. Because historians prefer to place Communist Yugoslavia in a post-1948 anti-Stalinist context, few point out that in 1946 it was Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech which described the advancing Soviet influence there.
"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere."Churchill, in USA.
A few journalists have briefly mentioned the former Yugoslavia, or Croatia, in their analysis suggesting that, amongst others, the loss of the former Yugoslavia still evokes disappointment. A couple of those who briefly mention the former Yugoslavia are J. Fischer who writes in The Australian that "Yugoslavia disintegrated into war and ethnic cleansing" (2 Nov 2009). And, "Countries such as Serbia, Croatia and Slovakia have become more democratic in recent years..." writes M. Walker of the Wall Street Journal. (Oct. 2009)
In 1988, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, according to 'Freedom House' only 36 per cent of independent countries were 'free', 23 per cent were and 41 per cent were 'not free'. The former Yugoslavia was listed amongst the 'partly free'. Over twenty years ago I made the comment that the only thing that was free there was the freedom to leave the country across open borders without the guarantee of a free and safe return back across the border for some. Indeed, one should not forget the almost 100 successful assassinations of Croatian and other political activists from communist Yugoslavia mostly whilst they were 'free' in Europe.
As we approach the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall it will be interesting to see what the main journals have to say.
Jean Lunt Marinovic
November 2009
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