Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Poor Little Nazis

Yesterday, after Croatia's victory over Iceland qualified them for the 2014 Soccer World Cup, one player led the home crowd in a victorious chant. AP (via HuffPost) has a video of it, noting that it caused a bit of furor on account of being, well, Nazi. 

WW2 Ustasha poster
AP quotes "Joe" Simunic - born in Australia, to Croatian emigre parents - saying, "I did nothing wrong. I'm supporting my Croatia, my homeland," and "some people have to learn some history."

Let's learn some history, then.

Ustasha (усташа, pl. усташе) - is an old Serbian word for "insurgent", appropriated (like everything else) by Croats. Specifically, a violent chauvinist movement sponsored by Fascist Italy after WW1, seeking to establish an independent Croatian state.

They were given the opportunity in 1941, when Axis powers invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. An "Independent State of Croatia" was proclaimed on April 10. Mass murder of Serbs, Jews and Roma (in that order) began within days.

Ustasha Croatia opened an extermination camp in Jasenovac (with adjacent camps for women and children - the only such facility in Nazi Europe) almost a year before Germany's Nazi leadership decided to seek the "final solution to the Jewish problem" through mass murder. Their atrocities were so visceral, even the SS were appalled. But Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church had their back, so the genocide continued.

Ironically, it was the Italians who managed to rein in the Ustasha and provide some sanctuary to Serbs and Jews in their occupation zone - at least until Italy's surrender to the Allies in September 1943. From then onward, to the end of the war, Croats and Germans were able to murder with impunity.

The Communist Partisans, who later claimed to have liberated Yugoslavia single-handedly, did absolutely nothing to stop the slaughter. Oh no - after the war they resurrected Croatia as a "republic" within the Yugoslav "federation" reanimated from the kingdom's corpse, and rewarded it with territories ethnically cleansed of Italians, Germans and Hungarians. All in the name of "social justice", of course, because everything before and during WW2 had really been the fault of the "Greater Serbian bourgeois imperialism." No joke.

When a Holocaust-denying Ustasha fan became the first "democratic" president of that Croatia in 1990, his revival of Ustasha language, symbols and values was cheered in the West as "anti-Communist" (and again, got the Roman Catholic Church's blessing). Thousands of Ustasha Croats returned from exile in the U.S., Canada, Australia (Simunic, for example). Meanwhile, Serbs living in Croatia were first disenfranchised, then subjected to state abuse, property destruction and outright murder. But when they took up arms in self-defense, that was dubbed "aggression."

So obviously, in this twisted world, the Ustasha Croatians are "good guys" and their victims - the Serbs - are evil incarnate. And "Joe" Simunic is just a misunderstood patriot.

Sure, technically his words were innocent. All he said was, "For the home," and the crowd howled back, "Ready!" And it's not like they haven't done so before. So,  should we mind if, say, Germans give a salute to victory?

Oh wait.


bearspaw said...

And now FIFA will 'investigate' this incident involving Simunic and decide if any action is necessary. Of course FIFA did not see fit to toss Simunic from the tournament for his vicious tackle on Sulejmani, so he was around to give us all a glimpse of Croatian culture.

kapetan Mile said...

"some people have to learn some history."

Obviously colective denial among croatians runs very deep. It's not the first time i hear one of them say something of that kind. In fact, for some of them, serbs are the one who did the mass murder during WW2. but they do like talking about the last balkan wars and blame Serbs.

kapetan Mile said... add insult to injury[galerija]/1/