The British conspiracy against Croatia

Croats love conspiracy theories. Also, they are very touchy when it comes to their beautiful homeland. Therefore, if someone criticizes Croatia it must be that that person has a reason, a hidden motive for doing so. After a critical BBC report about crime and corruption in Croatia, Croatian politicians resorted to stereotype conspiracy theories.
More about that later. First the critique on Croatia. Yesterday I referred to a BBC article, which was actually based on a BBC Radio 4 report. You can listen to it online. The essence is that on the surface Croatia is a fantastic country, but underneath... Corruption, organized crime, murder.
As if that was not enough, the The Economist ran a worrying article on Croatia too. Already the title "A Balkan state in balk" is considered offensive by many Croats, as they believe that Croatia is not a Balkan country. The article mostly concerns the Slovenian blockade of Croatia's EU negotiations.
The sting, however, is in this passage: "Even without the Slovene problem, the Croats have a lot still to do to satisfy Brussels. One big difficulty will be a reform of shipbuilding, which employs as many as 17,000 people, but survives only with huge subsidies. Other profferings of public largesse designed to sweeten voters before the local elections are also causing trouble. Many economists said the government could not afford the public-sector wage rises of 6% it announced in January. Now deteriorating public finances have forced a humiliating reversal of the decision. The IMF has joined critics in arguing that Croatia must shrink its public sector."
I think The Economist is perfectly right. Croats are led to believe that the border dispute with Slovenia is the only thing that keeps Croatia out of the EU. Economic reforms, which are so necessary, are hardly being discussed. A great deal of Croatia's moribund industry and agriculture might be wiped out by European competition once the protective tariffs are eliminated. It is very difficult to find out how high the import tariff (or legalized theft, if you like) for, say, wine is, but a glance at the wine section of a Croatian supermarket tells me it is pretty high. There are not many foreign wines on the shelves, and those available are ridiculously expensive.
How did Croatian politicians respond to these harsh articles? Let me start saying that I can perfectly understand that Croatia is unhappy with these negative reports. Foreign tourists are supposed to save the Croatian economy and tourism is a very vulnerable sector. If some shit happens in Kosovo, people rule out Croatia as a holiday destination. As simple as that.
Instead of taking some criticism to heart, prime minister Sanadar said: "Some regret that we have more and more tourists", suggesting that other countries envy Croatia for its competitive edge in tourism. Other ministers used words like "malicious", "biased" and "vicious". I heard Foreign Minister Gordan Jandroković saying that is it suspicious that this report came right at the beginning of the tourist season... Or take the opening sentence of the HRT website: "It seems that the British media are united in depicting Croatia as a Third World country". Well, we are talking about the state-run national TV here. Self-reflection is not their strongest point.
It reminds me of the Croatian anger over an Australian TV show about the apathetic attitude of Dubrovnik's police when an Austrian girl went missing. Why are they doing this to us? They hate us. They want to harm Croatia. That is the typical childish response.

7 reacties:

Anonymous said...

true, true

Anonymous said...

Unfortunally Croats have this superiority complex, they think they are some kind of superpower of the Balkans, on the other side they consider themselves as historicaly important european country. They are presented in their media that Slovenia is the main and only obstacle in their EU negotiation talks, and nothing is said about other countris that are blocking them as too. As mentioned above, their superiority complex will not allow them to even make some kind of compromise with their neighbour country Slovenia, who they consider inferior to them, dispite the fact that Slovenia has always beem more developed than them. They dont even try to listen to Slovenia, instead they are using agressive populist retoric against "mean" Slovenians, and try to lobby against them in several European coutries they consider to be their allies. Much of Europe dont know much about so called border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, let me just say that it is not the case that Slovenia is trying to steal their land and sea, Slovenia is merely trying to protect their own land and sea, that Crotats have alredy stated to be theirs, even though the border in that area is not determined yet. Even more, Croatia has been for the last 18 years sistematically moving their border checkpoints to the north, deep into the slovenian territory. It is only logical that this has to stop some time, and the time has came.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the purpose of the picture with the gun prohibition label is to represent Croatia as a country with a lot of crime.There is no proof that the picture with the gun prohibition label is photographed in Croatia. You could have put this label on the window of your house and took picture of it.

The fact that we have only a few expensive foreign wines on our shelves proves that we protect our wine producers.

It is totally false that Croatia wants to take the territory from Slovenia unfairly. Croatian government agreed to take this "Border case" on international arbitration.
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said Croatia officially asked Slovenia to accept international arbitration. "If we cannot agree, and it's obvious that we cannot, it's best to call the third side" to solve it. [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-113839661.html]

I cant blame countries who have fear of British conspiracy and cunning. Their fear comes from the historical facts:

Fact 1: Great Britain betrayed Poland in the WW2. GB obliged to help Poland as their allies in case Germany attacks Poland. Insignificant help was sent from GB to help Poland fight the Nazis. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Poland_(1939)]

Fact 2: Harold Macmillan, minister of the Allies headquarters in the May of 1945 surrendered thousands of Croatian war prisoners to Yugoslavian army commanded by Tito. Majority of these prisoners were women, children and old men. All of them were tortured to walk a long road from Austria to Serbia on foot without shoes and in hard climate condition not to mention maltreatment from the partizan soldiers. A perfect example how British government betrays Croatian people and violates the human rights conventions. [http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleibur%C5%A1ki_pokolj - croatian language.]

Fact 3: During the Boer Wars, British army established concentration camps. The wives and children of Boer guerrillas were sent to these camps with poor hygiene and little food [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boer_Wars]. The British concentration camps were a pattern for Nazi concentration camps in which many Jews were killed [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camps].

There are many more facts that prove British government made crimes during the history, but for the sake of my hand i wont write them.
British government is responsible for a negative image of the Great Britain throughout the world, not Croats.

Boris Levalle said...

@Anonomous #2
1. "the purpose of the picture with the gun prohibition label is to represent Croatia as a country with a lot of crime" I don't have any purpose. As you can read in another post of mineI think Croatia is generally a very safe country.

2. "There is no proof that the picture with the gun prohibition label is photographed in Croatia". Why don't you go to Vukovarska, to the FINA building and pass it on the left, towards Filozofski. Just before you step onto the narrow pedestrian "bridge", look to the doors on your left side. That's the place.

Concerning the facts that you mentioned: they are partially related to the comment made by Anonymous #1, and I myself have no strong opinions about the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute, other than that I regard the blocking of Croatia's EU progress as unfair and counterproductive.

However, that the "majority of these prisoners were women, children and old men" is debatable. I don't think even ustaše would recruit women, children and old men, and many Bleiburg victims were ustaše.

I don't have any illusions about the British though, nor about any other nation... We all have black pages in our history

chepo said...

"I don't have any purpose"

If you don t have any purpose, why did you put this picture on the article?

"After a critical BBC report about crime and corruption in Croatia..."

"First the critique on Croatia. Yesterday I referred to a BBC article, which was actually based on a BBC Radio 4 report. You can listen to it online. The essence is that on the surface Croatia is a fantastic country, but underneath... Corruption, organized crime, murder."

You try to promote Croatia as an unsafe country. Croatia is far more safer than Great Britain.
Many visitors from GB are coming to Croatia and they are all satisfied with Croatia. We have better food, women, climate etc. We also have no neighbourhoods where you cant walk at night. You can't say that for London.


"Why don't you go to Vukovarska, to the FINA building and pass it on the left, towards Filozofski. Just before you step onto the narrow pedestrian "bridge", look to the doors on your left side. That's the place"

You should have put some of that info below the picture if you claim that picture is really there. That way your content would have been more reliable.

"However, that the "majority of these prisoners were women, children and old men" is debatable. I don't think even ustaše would recruit women, children and old men, and many Bleiburg victims were ustaše."

There werent only ustaše on Bleiburg. There were 200-500K victims among which only 116K were soldiers(chetniks,kozaks, ustašas) and the rest were civilians. These 200-500K people surrendered and were slaughtered in pits an on "marches of death". You can read that in the reference i gave under the chapter "Hrvatska stradavanja u brojkama". British authorities bear a part of responsibility for that.

"I don't have any illusions about the British though, nor about any other nation... We all have black pages in our history"

I don't blame you for the "crimes of the past". I blame you for emphasizing flaws of Croatia while history is flooded with crimes of GB. It is simply unfair.

"... othstorer than that I regard the blocking of Croatia's EU progress as unfair and counterproductive"

Then why haven't you disagreed with Anonymous #1 who clearly thinks blocking Croatia isn't unfair. Instead you put much more effort into debating me.

Boris Levalle said...

Hi Chepo,
Anonymous #1 nowhere said he (or she) agreed with Slovenia's obstruction of Croatia's EU negotiations. But I admit that his last sentence shows that he is probably not unhappy with Slovenia's behaviour. Well, I am.

I'm paying more attention to Croatia's flaws because this is, after all, a blog about Croatia, not about the UK. Croatian women are more attractive than British women (that goes without saying), the climate here is better - all true. Many other things are not nicer in Croatia, though. Croatian food might be tastier than British food, but if you don't like British food you can choose from a vast array of alternatives. If you don't like Croatian food, all that's left is Chroatianized Chinese or pizza. I don't think I reveal a secret if I say that Croats a culinary conservatives.

Your statement that Croatian history is flooded with crimes of GB is slightly exaggerated. It weren't the British who sheltered Ante Pavelić in the 1930s and without him there would have been "Bleiburg" in the first place.

You have the full right to blame other nations, but it's usually a substitute for the lack of self-criticism.

Finally, that I'm trying to "to promote Croatia as an unsafe country" is simply not true. I'd rather promote Croatia as a safe destination for a wonderful vacation, as that earns me more Google Adsense clicks.

Anonymous said...

I think the comment by anonymous that the British betrayed Poland in WWII is very insulting. Britain became involved in World War II because of the German attack on Poland. This is unlike the Croat authorities who committed atrocities under their german allies. The fact that Britian handed over Croat war criminal (those that collaborated with Germany - not only Ustashe)to Tito is looked upon with pride in the UK as an act against fascism in Continental Europe.
The comments against the BBC are laughable as they are the only independent TV station in the World that can report without political interference. That is why they are paid for directly by the tax payer without the funds being channeled through the government. Maybe a lesson for the Croatian system.
The reference about British past crimes would be valid if they refer to crimes that occurred within living history. Unfortunately there are no living persons to answer these crimes as they were generally in the 19th century or before. If they were modern like Croatian crimes (1939-1995) we could quite rightly convict our criminals. Unfortunately, Croatia has not awaken to the ways of the modern European world.
The final point I make is that it is ironic that Croatia is excited that it will imminently join the European union whilst Britain is debating its withdrawal from the EU. Though I agree that this is more linked to German and French mismanagement of the EU and their failed Euro project, Croatian membership will require yet more British money to modernise their German leaning or insular mindset.