1. Section 1994 - 1996
To: Norman Chock <email@example.com>
Subject: Questions sent by Cathia Ludewig, Kimberly Bernardino, and Christine Leonida at Waianae High School, Waianae, Hawaii. CONTINUATION
Date : Tue, January 24, 1995
Q11: What religion are you?
A11: I was baptized in Roman Catholic Church at Osijek 1925.
Q12: When and why did you leave Yugoslavia?
A12: I left Yugoslavia in fall 1961. My family, wife and daughter (7 years old then) followed few months after. There had been many reasons for the DECISION to leave own home and country for good. I got a contract with the Governemnt of the Sudan as Senior Lecturer at the Khartoum Technical Institute. The application for this job was my 13th one after all previous ones failed because of my political past which the Regime didn't like at all. At age of 36 year, I passsed 3 elections terms of 3 years each as Assistant at Faculty of Civil Engineering. My academic career got to an end - no chance for any professional advancement anymore.
Q13: Do you think that this war is unnecessary?
A13: NO WAR IS NECESSARY! However, wars start of manifold of reasons: few are rather stupid ones but most because of political short-sightness and lack of understanding how to compromise, consent and forgive. The later ones get started by an aggressor aiming to destroy opponent's economy or society or annihilating his culture and achivements.
The present conflict in the regions of former Yugoslavia(s) is such a real case of one side's aggression aiming to subjugate, oppress and dominate the other ones.
Q14: There are many events that lead up to the current conflict, what major events do you feel caused the current war?
A14: In fall of 1989, the IRON CURTAIN crumbled unexpectedly and suddenly. This event was probably the most significant in current century too. There followed tremendous changes of political powers which influenced unprecedent social and economic transmutations in Europe. The consequences had to be felt there and worldwide too.
In some European countries, the transition from 'communist' dictatorship evoluated to a, say, more democratic one without major conflicts despite significant economic and social disruptions. Still, there are few countries were conflicts errupted (remember Rumania?) or struggles for power continued by the OLD regime's representatives. They changed the political party's name even joining in with radicals and extremists trying to stay in power at any costs. Some old, anachronistic and anarchistic ideas were revived, schizophrenic demagogy took over. The seduced "masses" blindly follow their leader(s) into disasters often too late to turn back.
The current conflict got to 'day light' known as "balvan revolucija" (= logs revolution) in August 1990. Rebels around Knin (Krajina) placed large logs accross roads molesting locals and tourists. The NRH (National Republic of Croatia of FNR Yugoslavia) police couldn't make any order because the rebels got arms and support from the JNA (Yugoslav National Army). The escalation got an impetus after massacres of Croatian police forces near Plitvice Lakes and Dalj (eastern Slavonia), followed by a brief war in Slovenia in June 1991 and leading to Croatian Home War.
Q15: Do you think that Serbs and Croats will ever be able to trust each other and live together in peace?
A15: WHO KNOWS? Yes, I believe that time will come when peoples in South of Europe and on Balkan would in peace and friendship.Howver, I'm not sure that I'ld see that day to come. It may take two or evev three generations to heal wounds and bridge the many recently created differences.
Since 1991 did I tell many times that the worst end of that collision would fall upon the Serb Peoples. Probably, one would see in the Serb Nation like for the German Nation in the Holocaust. A new generation of Serb politicians and intelectuals will have lead their Peoples in a NEW ERA of friendship and cooperation, consent and mutual understanding of all South Slavic nationalities as well as of all other national minorities and neighbours. This will be the difficult and long lasting task for new generations of Serbs.
Q16: What are your views on Tito's leadership?
A16: He was a dictator who extolled himself and his power. Tito used the idea of socialism, or what ever one would call such regimes, to achieve his personal goals first. There are too many victims - political and social, economical and cultural - who never had any chance to complain or getting to their rights. Many, too many are dead too. Tito was a despot who got support even from the Western Democracies leaders because of their nationan's and Global politic's interests. It's simple to write this but there wasn't or is not chance that one influences or changes anything. That's so bitter, frustrating and very disappointing.
Q17: Do you think that Croatians today may want revenge for things that has happened to them in the past?
A17: Why should they? Both Serbs and Croatians live in these regions for some 13 centuries already. Long time ago, they had each own states but never did war against each other except for few squabbles along borders. However, were are all human with blood under our skins, isn't? Yes, there would possibly be many personal revenges or at least trials for ones. [Note: The notorius "blood revenge" has existed in these regions since too long times!]. Who had been expelled from his home, his family dispersed, parents and relatives slaughtered etc. - and survives so many horrors might go crazzy and seek revenge. Again the TIME only which would be healing these horrible wounds and memories of them. The personal character and experience, civilization and culture one belongs to would matter whether one can push back wishing the revenge.
Q18: Do you have any information or knowledge about Jasenovats?
A18: Yes, I do have. Some father's acquaintances and regime's opponents lost their lifes in JASENOVAC camp. This camp was the worst concentration camp during NDH (Independed State of Croatia 1941-45 of Pavelic's Ustasa fascist regime). I also know about the arguments 'of some 700.000 Serbs liquidated there. Dr. Franjo Tudjman, the elected President of the Republic of Croatia now, had made a study about the number of victims of Jasenovac late in 1970s. At that time, Tudjman was the youngest general in JNA and carried that study on Tito's personal order to investigate the historical facts about Jasenovac camp. [Tudjman Ph.D. is professor in history.]
Tudjman's investigations showed that the number of victims should possibly be much lower (I don't have his figures at hand). However, the victims of Jasenovac were not Serbs only, many were Jews, Gypsies, Croats and other opponents of the Ustasha's regime.
Consider also, that the population of Kingdom of Yugoslavia was of some 12,5 million at WWII start. According to UN census there were about 1,15 million dead in this region during the 4 years of war there. Nobody counted the victims (by Tito's regime) after the May 8th, 1945 when WWII ended though.
Q19: We were able to interview both a Croatian and a Serb that now live in Hawaii, unfortunately they gave us two different answers to one question, we would like to know your views on our question and their answers that they gave us. We asked them about the Ustashi and the Serb made Ustashi sound like it was a very large group of Croatians that killed Serbs. However the Croatian said that Ustashi was a very small group that did kill Serbs, but also killed other Croats that would not fight on their side. What is your opinion on this and how do you feel about this?
A19: Please, read my answer A3. in Part 2. again. Yes, the original group of Ustasas (who came from Italy about April 11, 1941) counted some 250-350 people. Hrvatske seljacka stranka (HSS - Croatian Peasant's Party) lead the government of Banovina Hrvatska (1939-41). The HSS leader was Dr. Vlatko Macek (read MACHEK) who gave up his powers because he wouldn't cooperate with the Germans Nazi Regime. Dr. Macek died in exile and the Ustasas, taking over Starcevic's political ideology, dishonored Croatians' right on self-determination and self-government. However, these were war times!
The Ustasa Movement and its many followers used oppreossive methods and commited crimes against humanity. These offences were made out of racism, religious intolerance and suppression of any opposition to the regime. Anybody could the victim - yes, many, too many Serbs were victims but not only they.
Do you know something about the 9 military offensives against Tito's Partisans, later called NOV (National Liberation Army since 1943)? None of them was carried out in Serbia's proper (it was under German Army occupation). All these severe battles occured in regions of present Bosnia and Hercegovina which were within the boundaries of the NDH state (Croatia 1941-45). What do you think about how many Slovens, Croats, Serbs, Bosnians (Muslims) etc. died fighting the enemy (Fascists) during those horrible times?
Q20: Do you have any personal experiences that you could share with us?
A20: I did share it with you now, isn't?. Read it carrefully and see if I missed something or if you need some more of explanations. Do you homework and let your interviewing partners do their homeworks on history too. See also my former reply under A4 - A.6. There so many personal experiences and I wonder which one would interest you more. Give me some idea, please.