Friday, September 8, 2017

For Home!

In Croatia just now, there is a horrid war of words. Most Croatians aren't really certain about what is going on, so it would be a surprise if many of my American friends had a clue. Perhaps, in my stumbling way, I can help.

The US has recently experienced a spate of monument destruction. These monuments have been in place for decades, and, in some cases, for more than a hundred years. First, plaques with the Ten Commandments were targeted. When the usefulness of that tactic wore thin, the target became statues commemorating anything at all to do with the Confederacy. Mostly, leftist "activists" have been spearheading these actions. Some people have noted that these leftist organizations have been notably absent in the relief efforts for those adversely affected by the recent Hurricane in Texas.

In a similar manner, in Croatia, leftists have been bent on removing plaques honoring defenders who fell during the Homeland War, or the War Against Greater Serbian Aggression, that took place in the nineties.

The howling is ostensibly aimed at words on the bottom left of these plaques. I say ostensibly, because centered on each of these plaques is a Croatian Cross. As in America, a goodly portion of the "left" has little love for the Cross. In staunchly Catholic Croatia, however, a good way to lose an argument is to challenge the Cross, so the target is the phrase "Za Dom Spremni," which the leftists decry as a "Nazi" slogan and, not so oddly, the western press echoes without checking the facts.

The facts are these: In 1866, Franjo Marković and Ivan Zajc wrote a patriotic song, "U boj, u boj" (To the fight! to the fight!). Zajc incorporated the song as an aria in his Opera, "Nikola Šubić Zrinski" in 1876 which honors Zrinski as the defender of Croatia, and thus, of Europe from a Turkish onslaught. In the song are the words:
"Into the fight, to the fight!
For the home, for the home now to the fight!"
For those who were taught that these words were the words of Zrinski himself in 1566 as he addressed the remnants of his troops before their final fatal charge into the Turkish lines where the Sultan was killed and the Turkish army fled the field, these are words fraught with a high degree of patriotic emotion.
"Nas mal, al' hrabar je broj!
Tko, tko će ga strt'?
Smrt vragu, smrt!
Za dom, u boj, za dom u boj
Za domovinu mrijeti kolika slast!"
which is to say:
"We are few, but courageous!
Who, who will bring him down?
Death to the devil, death!
For the home, to the fight, For the home, to the fight
To die for your homeland - such a delight!"

In the 1800s, Ban Josip Jelačić greeted his soldiers with the words "Za dom!" For Home! The troops replied with one voice "Spremni umrijeti!" Ready to die! There were no Nazis around for more than a hundred years so the slogan is certainly not "fascist."

In the Croatian language, "For the home!" is "Za dom!" Za Dom spremni recalls the words of the famous and beloved Ban Jelačić whose statue stands in the square named for him in the center of Zagreb, the capitol. So now you see where the slogan comes from, and surely you see that it arrived in the Croatian consciousness long before the Nazi folk were around. The slogan is ours, not theirs. As it happens, the fascists did use those words, even if wrongfully. Croatia is and always was ours, not theirs.

As it stands now, the HDZ, Croatian Democratic Union, does not have sufficient votes in parliament without the "support" of the HNS "Croatian Peoples Party" who insist that "Za dom spremni" are not words they wish to see, and so the present prime minister, Plenkovic, is hustling ways to remove the plaques. One was removed from a private residence because the owner did not have the proper permits. The howling and furor over the issue is deafening and, as in the United States, the left seems to have a poor knowledge of history, and much like the left in the US, they seem to like it that way.

So that's the story for now. Each day seems to bring a new permit to install the plaques and a new furor to have them removed. Here is a picture of what the complaints are about:

David Byler, aka Canovals

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