In recent weeks, we have witnessed yet again how public broadcaster Croatian Radio-Television, HRT, continues to offer a platform to obscure historical revisionists.
Last week, while presenting the Festival of Patriotic Film dedicated to Goran Lederer, a Croatian journalist killed by the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1991, the organisers of the festival were given time to present highly controversial films on HRT’s widely-viewed morning show ‘Good Morning Croatia’.
Besides the fact that the main organiser of the festival is a war veterans’ association whose president and founder was Croatian war criminal Tomislav Mercep, their selection of films is symbolically even worse.
“There is also the ‘The Jasenovac Myth’ by Roman Leljak. I’m glad you’ve included him too, he’s been investigating a lot about this, so it’s going to be interesting to look at his two films,” host Liljana Vinkovic said excitedly, while holding a printed advert for the film.
“We need to go with the truth, and it is high time that we don’t divide ourselves up into left and right and that we accept the past as it is,” Smiljan Tomasevic, one of the organisers, then said.
Leljak is a Slovenian self-proclaimed researcher of Communist crimes and his documentary film and book ‘The Jasenovac Myth’ both seek to completely distort historical facts and research into the Jasenovac concentration camp, run by the Croatian fascist Ustasa movement between 1941 and 1945.
In his film, using the tactic of flashing cherry-picked documents in the face of viewers, Leljak wants to “deconstruct” what he calls the “myth about Jasenovac”, which he claims was constructed by the Yugoslav Communists. In the film, he alleges that the official, research-based name-by-name list of 83,145 deaths at the concentration camp is massively inflated from the “real” number of 1,500.
Leljak also claims that Jasenovac camp continued working as a camp until 1948, it becoming more brutal under the Communist management. This is a favourite historical fallacy in Croatia’s far-right parallel universe – which looks like Upside Down world in Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ series.
Actually, it is enough to look into Leljak’s personal history and the criminal deeds of which he has been convicted, as well as his contradictory statements, to see how reliable he is.
But all this wasn’t enough for HRT’s hosts, who casually talked about ‘The Jasenovac Myth’ in the context of ‘patriotic films’, although the connection between downplaying Ustasa crimes and patriotism eluded me.
During the same TV show, the hosts presented another controversial documentary, ‘A Hundred Years of Serbian Terror – From Karadjordjevic and Pribicevic to Vucic and Pupovac’, by the king of the ‘alternative facts’ genre, Jakov Sedlar.
In the film, Milorad Pupovac, an MP representing Croatia’s Serb minority, is portrayed alongside the Yugoslav king Aleksandar Karadjordjevic – who suspended parliament and political parties, introducing a dictatorship – and current Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who is known for his inflammatory rants against Bosniaks in the 1990s.
Sedlar’s film continues to make the same argument he has for years -that the Ustasa regime was only a reaction to the brutal Serbian repression of Croats.
He explicitly argues this in his historical quasi-documentary ‘Jasenovac – The Truth’, which caused its own share of outrage when it premiered in Zagreb in 2016.
Amid the numerous misconceptions and factual mistakes in the film, I’ll just mention an attempt to present a Photoshopped cover of state daily newspaper Vjesnik from 1945 as ‘proof’ of the lies told by the Yugoslav regime about Jasenovac.
When it was released, it was also HRT that gave Sedlar a platform to present his fraudulent film.
In May this year, HRT then offered a platform to another self-described researcher, Igor Vukic. His book ‘Labour Camp Jasenovac’ is also in the line with Leljak’s and Sedlar’s theories about the concentration camp.
According to Vukic, Jasenovac was just a mere labour and punishment camp for the enemies of the Croatian state. Like Leljak, he claims the death toll was only around 1,500, and that Jasenovac became a death camp only in the post-war years, under the Communists.
On HRT’s ‘Good Day Croatia’, show Vukic casually went on to explain how Jews were sent there only to be saved from deportations to Nazi camps. The hosts did offer an awkward unpleasant smile, but allowed Vukic to continue – after all, the show must go on.
Amid the shock created by the show, one of the hosts, Marina Medved Pulic, said that she allowed Vukic to speak because he claimed he had talked to witnesses and seen documents.
All this goes to prove that these ‘incidents’ are not exceptions, but the rule – they are part of HRT’s editorial policy.
To be fair though, HRT isn’t the only mainstream media outlet offering a platform to revisionists.
It was daily newspaper Vecernji list’s commentator Milan Ivkosic in August who praised Vukic’s book in a review entitled “Jasenovac cleansed of ideology, bias and communist forgery”, which has drawn negative reactions from Holocaust experts.
In the review, Ivkosic morbidly claimed that “there was fun in the camp”, mentioning football matches and theatre plays that inmates allegedly staged.
Proof that this wasn’t an ‘incident’ either is that Vecernji published a special magazine on the history of Jews in Croatia, in which, as well as valid scientifically-grounded articles, it smuggled in an interview with Sedlar. In the interview, Sedlar is shown as a friend of the Jews, due to his professional relations with Israeli Jews – after he claimed that Ustasa were “saving” Jews.
Even Jutarnji list, which some still consider a liberal daily, has ventured into the field of rewriting history.
In its magazine History, Jutarnji published a sensational article on the 1945 battle – more like a massive shootout – between Ustasa forces and the Serbian ultra-nationalist Chetnik movement on Lijevca Field, in northern Bosnia.
The article offered a highly inflated number of killed Chetniks; the mythologised idea of an epic battle is a fairytale nurtured over the decades in both Ustasa and Chetnik emigree circles to create the impression that they were arch enemies.
In the Croatian context, the article was probably intended to serve as ‘proof’ that the Ustasa really did fight the Chetniks – whereas, in reality, there was much more collaboration than fighting between them.
All in all, in Croatia there is a trend towards historical revisionism in society coming from the right, with mainstream media acting as a drummer, giving tempo to the movement by offering it space.
Why do they do it? First of all, historical revisionism as such is a widespread and growing social phenomenon, with the rise of a generation of Google and Wikipedia know-it-alls. Their alleged scepticism however is solely built on ‘alternative facts’, obscure propaganda and over-simplification.
Another reason for media to give space to revisionists is sheer business logic – it’s easy clickbait.
Sensationalist interpretations of history which offer one-dimensional mythologies that conveniently dovetail with the present-day realities of poor relations between Croats and Serbs are far more appealing to an average reader. In the case of Jutarnji, the idea that “the Ustase were fascists but at least they killed Chetniks” fits in perfectly with the dominant social narrative of Croats and Serbs as ancient enemies.
In other words, as media have given up on widening the horizons of their readers, dumbing down has become the only way to go.
Also, media give a platform to revisionists under the pretext that they offer space to “all sides concerned”. Therefore a historian isn’t put in a TV duel with another historian, but with a self-proclaimed researcher without any valid academic background; a geographer with a YouTube vlogger who claims that the Earth is flat, and so on.
Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but this doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion is equally valid. I may have great ideas about treating brain cancer, but I don’t expect to be invited onto a TV show to debate with neurosurgeons and medical scientists.
But why should media give up on historical revisionism if it’s bringing them readers?
I am aware that most media outlets don’t care if victims are killed for a second time when the crime is denied. And while I also know that newspapers don’t want to enlighten their readers, media should think of the very direct consequences of their work.
Not so long ago, media in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro inflamed the masses. Either through fabricated news, fake readers’ letters, historical revisionism or simply by offering a platform “to all sides concerned”, media contributed to the violence of the 1990s.
The media can’t be blamed for starting the war, but it can be blamed for putting fear and hate into readers’ and viewers’ heads.
Newspapers, TV and radio stations never apologised for these crimes, nor did they sanction the journalists and editors involved. Some either ignored the whole thing or even continued to celebrate their wartime reporting.
Today, we don’t need their apologies anymore. We need them to stop before the spiral of hate gets out of hand.
Originally published on 2018-10-29
Sven Milekic is a PhD candidate at Maynooth University, Dublin, funded by the Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Programme.
Source: Balkan Transitional Justice
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
No matter how hard White House officials try, they cannot construct a coherent ‘Trump doctrine’ that would make sense amid the chaos that has afflicted US foreign policy in recent months.
However, this chaos is not entirely the making of President Donald Trump alone.
Since 1945, the United States has vied for total global leadership. The 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent disintegration of the Eastern Bloc, gave it complete global hegemony.
The US became the force that stabilized and destabilized any region in the world, as it saw fit – which always served the interests of the US and ...
In March , the most powerful military force in history attacked tiny Yugoslavia (one fifth the size of Saskatchewan) and after seventy-nine days of flagrantly illegal bombing forced an occupation of Kosovo. Admitting its intention was to break Yugoslavia’s spirit, NATO targeted civilian structures, dropping over 23,000 bombs (500 Canadian) and cruise missiles in a campaign of terror bombing, described recently by Alexander Solzhenitsyn as follows: “I don’t see any difference in the behaviour of NATO and of Hitler. NATO wants to erect its own order in the world and it needs Yugoslavia simply as an example: We’ll punish Yugoslavia ...
Many Croatian schoolchildren know little about crimes committed under the country’s World War II-era fascist regime – but experts claim that the revisionist political environment is more to blame than the education system.The former Jasenovac concentration camp, one of the most important World War II historical sites in the former Yugoslavia, is around 110 kilometres from Croatia’s capital Zagreb - an hour and a half by bus.But no schools in Zagreb sent their pupils on trips to the Jasenovac Memorial Site last year.Out of a total of 909 primary schools in Croatia, only seven of them organised visits for pupils ...
The image of Srebrenica tells us more about the reality of the majority of the media and of course the “Muslim victim card” is being used in order to cleanse the Bosniak Muslims. After all, from enslaving Orthodox Christians during their brotherly love with the Turkish slave masters of the Ottoman Empire to having Muslim SS units who supported Adolf Hitler; then “victimhood” is needed in order to justify their history and culture.
Of course the wishy-washy brigade will tell us that the Ottoman period was enlightened and that the system of taking the eldest Christian boy (devshirme system) in the ...
Magic, and tragic years, tend to fill the calendar of commemoration for central European patriots. There are religious intercessions; guiding symbols; omens. Then there are the calamities, the crushing battles that empty entire classes and countries.
For Hungary, a country ever dreamy and mournful about such events, there are two notable disasters of rollicking value. There is Mohács 1526, where a good deal of the country’s aristocratic elite fell before the relentless Ottoman advance. The event effectively gave the Hapsburgs the ascendency to the west, assuming the role of defender against the Turkish advance into Europe.
Then there is 1956, where the invaders ...
The U.S. Has Only Been At Peace For 21 Years Total Since Its Birth
In 2011, Danios wrote:
Below, I have reproduced a year-by-year timeline of America’s wars, which reveals something quite interesting: since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars.
To put this in perspective:
* Pick any year since 1776 and there is about a 91% chance that America was involved in some war during that calendar year.
* No U.S. president truly qualifies as a ...
After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers. No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret.Pashtun tribesmen in the Taliban alliance and their allies are fighting to oust all foreign troops from Afghanistan and evict the western-imposed and backed puppet regime in Kabul that pretends to be the nation’s ...
Abstract: This article investigates the Russian foreign politics at the region of the Balkan Peninsula after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the time of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) World Order in relation to the Pan-Slavic ideals of intra-Slavic solidarity, reciprocity and brotherhood. The particular stresses are put on four main research topics: 1. The Pan-Slavism and Russia; 2. Relations between pro-Western and pro-Orthodox approaches of the Russian national interests on Russia’s domestic political scene; 3. Different attitudes towards the Balkans in Russia; and 4. Historical ties and future perspectives between Russia and the Serbs. A research ...
The Kosovo Question recently once again became an important issue of global politics and international relations for two reasons: 1) The Albanian “government” of the “Republic of Kosovo” announced to officially proclaim the existence of the Kosovo Army (that is a violation of the 1244 UN Resolution in 1999), and 2) The “president” of the “Republic of Kosovo”, a war criminal Hashim Tachi, participated on November 11th (2018) in Paris to the world leaders’ celebration of a centenary anniversary of the end of the WWI (the signed armistice with Germany) as the official representative of an “independent” Kosovo. He was ...
In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 facists marched through the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kiev last weekend under the silent gaze of the western media. Other than Russian state media RT and Sputnik News facists throwing Nazi salutes and parading in their tens of thousands in a European capital didn’t concern any of the major western news outlet. Nothing on BBC, France24, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian…the silence of the media lambs when it comes to a growing facists movement in Ukraine is deafening.
The Ukrainian Nazis were honoring their ...
After Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo is a second ISIS in Europe today. From June 1999, when NATO troops occupied Kosovo and brought to power militant Muslim Albanian Jihad fighters, systematic destruction of (Serbian Orthodox) Christianity is visible on every corner.
The most disappointed fact in post-war Kosovo reality is an ethnic and cultural cleansing of all non-Albanians and not-Albanian cultural heritage. The proofs are evident and visible on every corner of Kosovo territory. For instance, on the arrival of KFOR (international but in fact NATO „Kosovo Forces“) and UNMIK („United Nations Mission in Kosovo“) to Kosovo in 1999, all the names of the ...
The following research is a review around the theme of Southeastern European organized crime, mainly in the period 1995-2007, highlighting the emergence of powerful regional “Mafias” with an actual global presence. The main focus is the Albanian criminal syndicates centered on Kosovo. The research is composed by previous material of the writer, some of which was presented in international workshops. Moreover the issue of radical Islam is being overviewed in a second part,for the same period, along with information regarding the state of affairs of the Muslim communities in the region.Narcotics and the emergence of crime syndicates in the BalkansThe ...
With criminal corporate monopoly media masking the US created prosecutable genocide ongoing in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing attention on Russia, fantasized as a dangerous enemy needing military confrontation, it might be a good time to review past US planned, facilitated and at times perpetrated genocidal crimes in Russia. History in context kind of puts to rest all the hype about evil Russia seeking to expand when it already is the largest country in the world spanning nine time zones with only half the population of the US to fill it.In 1900, Russia and America ...
“The earthly Kingdom is for earthly people, but the heavenly Kingdom is forever” Serbian national epic about the Kosovo Battle against the Ottoman Turks in 1389The American gangsters and the destruction of ex-YugoslaviaSouth-East Europe, and especially the Balkan Peninsula as the main part of it, have traditionally been the object of numerous geopolitical, geostrategic and publicist analyses, as well as the subject of debates among the Balkan, European and global experts in international relations. The new Iron Curtain between western and eastern Europe was not the end of the Balkan’s importance for the US administration and the NATO as well. At ...
Western allies raped hundreds of thousands of German women, writes German historian Miriam Gebhardt in a book published under name “When the soldiers came” (Als die Soldaten kamen) and which received both praise and criticism in Germany.
“At least 860,000 women and girls, but also men and young boys, were raped by ally soldiers after the fall of the Third Reich and in the postwar period. It happened everywhere,” writes Gebhardt, noting that US soldiers were the ones who did it the most.
The book strongly echoed in Germany, where information on such crimes was known before, but was almost exclusively ascribed ...
Serbia’s Prince Miloš’s schemes to solve the „Serbian Question“ were based exclusively on the historical (state) rights of the Serbs. However, during his reign, a new and cardinal dimension on an understanding of Serbian national identity and, therefore, the idea of the creation of the national state of the Serbs was introduced into Serbian political thought by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić (1787–1864) who framed the concept of a linguistic Serbdom.
In his brief essay “Срби сви и свуда” (“Serbs All and Everywhere”), V. S. Karadžić established the linguistic criteria for determining Serbian national self-identity and reformulation of the whole concept ...
Bijeljina, Bosnia in 1992: Serb Volunteer Guard (Arkan's Tigers) led by Željko Ražnjatović Arkan after the action of "cleaning the town from the Muslim jihadists" (official Arkan's explanation). The victims are local Muslim family members. The guard was composed by volunteers of all moral kinds being independent on the front line and in fact waging its own private war. Bosnia is a neighbouring republic to Serbia with 1/3 of Serbian population. Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and (Roman Catholic) Croats committed terrible crimes of genocide against the local (Orthodox) Serb population during the WWII (the so called Magnum Crimen) while during the ...
Albert Einstein’s 1948 letter to the New York Times
If we want to understand the real history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, we can turn to a trustworthy Jewish source: Albert Einstein. Einstein was a humanitarian and peace activist, in addition to being one of the greatest scientists of all time. What did this extremely intelligent, wonderfully wise and warmly humane Jew have to say about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians? In a landmark open letter to the New York Times in 1948, Einstein clearly and candidly explained why Israel’s militant Zionist leaders were not to be trusted and did not deserve money ...
GR Editor’s Note
The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007. The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate.
Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies.
We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”.
Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, ...
One of the biggest and most outlandish US infowar and propaganda whoppers of the 1999 Kosovo conflict was the infamous NPR story of the ethnic Albanian Anne Frank. This seems like a mindless, unethical, immoral, and vicious, racist propaganda hoax today, using propaganda to destroy an entire people, Serbian Orthodox Christians. The Anne Frank infowar campaign was manufactured to support an illegal land grab in Kosovo, in support of a Muslim Albanian separatist and secessionist terrorist war against Serbian Christians. But at the time it was very popular and helped sell the US bombing of Yugoslavia in support of Albanian ...
‘Trumpism’ is Symptom of Decades-Long Imperial Arrogance
Globalism’s First Victim: NATO’s War on Yugoslavia
Croatian Schooling ‘Leaves Pupils Ill-Informed’ About WWII Regime
Srebrenica: Bosnian Muslim Jihad Killings of 3,500 Christian Serbs
Manipulating Uprisings: Hungary 1956
The USA has been at War 93% of the Time (222 out of 239 Years – since 1776 to 2015)
Afghanistan: The War That Shames America
Russia’s Balkan Politics: From the Politics of Pan-Slavic Reciprocity of the Tsarist Russia to the “Realpolitic” of the Republic of Gazprom Russia
The Basic Guidelines Through the Kosovo Question
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
Crucified Kosovo With Photo Albums
Southeastern European Organized Crime & Extremism Review
27 Million Died in Russia because Wall Street Built Up Hitler’s Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union
The Balkans and American Gangsters
Allies Raped Hundreds of Thousands of German Women after WW2
Resolving the “Serbian Question” – One 19th-Century Project (II)
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam
Albert Einstein’s 1948 Letter to the New York Times Comparing Israeli Politicians to Nazis
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade since 1945
Anne Frank of Kosovo Propaganda Hoax