Štefica Galić: Official Zagreb supports the Dodik and Covic pact

Dragan Grozdanić
Autor 1.12.2018. u 10:06

Štefica Galić: Official Zagreb supports the Dodik and Covic pact

foto: Aleksandra Zaytseva

We are talking with editor-in-chief of web portal (Tačno.net, Štefica Galić,) about the final conviction of six Croat military and police officials in the Hague, regarding troubles in Mostar and other regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 Her deceased husband, Nedeljko Galić, in whose memory a documentary film ‘Nedo od Ljubuškog’ was filmed, was in the midst of Croat-Bosniak war in the summer of 1993., as an ethnic Croat saving his fellow Bosniak citizens from war camp ‘Heliodrom’ near Mostar, in a way that he was producing fake permissions which served as a gateway from the war camps. With these permissions prisoners  could escape the war camps and find safety somewhere abroad.

Appeals Chamber of International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia upheld its first-instance verdict sentencing Herceg-Bosna leading officials. It also upheld the existence of a joint criminal enterprise with its main mission being ethnic cleansing in certain parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. How do you comment these verdicts?

 We can finally say that it finished. Afterall, we have all been tortured with that story for years. With the second-instance verdict being declared, the guilt of six Herceg-Bosna leading offcials has been confirmed. This confirms international armed conflict and occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the existance of Croatian joint criminal enterprise with its main mission being ethnic cleansing of certain parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This verdict is of equal importance to both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. For Croatia it means that they have to radically face criminal aspects of the official Tudjman’s political philosophy during the 1990’s, regarding what they were doing during the war in Bosnia and Heregovina and the fact that part of the Croatian population is deliberatley trying to refuse these facts and that these people should accept this and finally start paving a way towards a better future. When it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its so called Herceg-Bosna territoy, this means living with guilt and responsability for the crimes that were commited in this area and the final dissapearance of Herceg-Bosna’s existence, althought it is very illusory to believe that’s going to happen. Herceg-Bosna has existed since the 1990’s, and I am quite sure it will remain in exsistance , but only for those who do not accept neither the facts nor convictions in relation to its existence. The most important thing is that victims of their crimes feel satisfied.

What kind of reactions do you expect throughout the next few days in Mostar?

 Right wing clerical-nationalists will of course deny the crimes committed by the members of Herceg-Bosna, making them out to be future heroes, martyrs and potential saints of its ‘poor and suffering people’. That’s the story that won’t seize to exist, because a very large number of the population, including official politics of Dragan Čović and HDZ-BiH, is blinded and they constantly refuse to face the crimes that Herceg-Bosna’s political philosophy produced and, in that way, they consciously manipulate the people, who accept to carry the burden of joint blame for war crimes. That is tragic, and it can only bring more evil.

Recently, in Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar a group of masked individuals attacked the Delegation of Association of antifascist fighters and SDP, during an ongoing ceremony for Bosnian Statehood Day. On the same day, a few hours later, supporters of Zrinjski (football club) physically attacked students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Representative of antifascists, Sead Djulić said that the attack was the result of political ideology of HDZ-BiH’s president, Dragan Čović, and its political party because they made it possible for fascism and neofascism to thrive in Mostar?

 Djulić is unfortunately right. I would also add Herzegovinian clergy to the group of Čović and HDZ-BiH. The groups output of fascism in Mostar, prevents the Partisans from resting in peace, this has been the case since the 1990’s when the first explosives were thrown at the Partisan Cemetery. These attacks happen every time antifascists want to pay a tribute either for the Liberation Day of Mostar in WW2 or Statehood Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The attackers usually don’t wear masks or anything, they use fascist salutes, or they throw rocks, bottles and flambeaus towards the direction of antifascist movement supporters. It is disgraceful and humiliating that in your own city you must travel by busses more than 500 meters, from Musala to the Partisan Memorial Cemetery. Although the attackers are known to the police, there has never been a single charge filed against them from MUP to the Prosecution Office of Hercegovačko-Neretvanski Kanton. If you ask them what they had done regarding the attacks, they will simply tell you that the investigation is still ongoing. We, the people of Mostar, know very well who the police in Mostar is: they are guard dogs of Dragan Čović and his yes men. Unfortunately, that is the reality of Mostar today, Marko Tomaš once said: City cropped for the ones who accumulated power during the war.

Who is actually responsible for verbal and physical attacks towards opposite-minded people in Mostar?

 It is Čović’s right-wing people who grew up on the streets. They are the ones who do the dirty work for him knowing that they won’t be prosecuted for it. It doesn’t matter whether they name themselves Zrinjski supporters, Hordes of evil or even Škripari. They have been amnestied in advance, whatever they do. The right-wing in Mostar is getting worse, it vents its rage towards everything and everyone that reminds them of antifascism. Awareness needs to be raised, and that is a very long process. To whom do we leave the heritage of the Partisan Memorial Cemetery? If no one knows the real value of Bogdanović’s majestic memorial in honour of antifascists from Mostar who gave their lives for the freedom of this city. In Mostar, there are almost no progressive forces, although there are some ‘dissonant tones’ out there. Citizens of Mostar gave up on it, comparing to Mostar before the war, the only things that’s left is its name.

You have stated that ‘Mostar reflects the overall state of relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the war has never stopped. It is left out by Sarajevo both in war and in peace, where the divisions were agreed among nationalistic leaders during a game of Poker played between Franjo and Alija.’ Are the ethnic divisions the only thing that defines Mostar, or do the usual problems of Bosnian and Herzegovinian society define it as well?

In Mostar, it is both. There is no doubt that Bakir Izetbegović and his political party SDA is the biggest ally to Croatian nationalism. They allowed the collapse of the eastern part of Mostar which is leading to its almost certain disappearance. Mostar is left out by Sarajevo to political trade that comes from Zagreb. In this city, the chances of doing something against the nationalists in the government are next to nothing. Ruling political parties are trading the fear, their positions and public goods. Main nationalisms in Mostar feed each other, they thrive from each other. For them, every incident that happens is a new opportunity to control their voters or to make the overall state among people even more tense. This is the reality in other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina too. Not only did they lead us into the war, destroying everything this country used to have, but as Vedrana Rudan would say political parties who have been in power brought us in situation where even death must be paid in instalments. Crazed with hatred and grief over who is more jeopardised, the citizens have ‘cocooned’ their selves in their own fear and they keep quiet. The only thing that is in power here is hopelessness.

Mayor, Ljubo Bešlić, has recently instructed air company Eurowings to remove a text from their website about Mostar where Mostar is described as city divided between Bosniak and Croatian part…

This is one out of many Bešlić’s farces. He is a member of HDZ-BiH, who is in permanent technical mandate as a mayor of Mostar he is in arrangement with members of SDA about spending tax payer’s money, without being accountable for it because elections in Mostar haven’t been held for 10 years now. This is because they couldn’t agree the new election law, as the old one was opposed by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I suppose, he was angered by the fact that in that text, Bosniaks are cited as major ethnic group in Mostar. When that is mentioned, everyone stands on their back feet. It’s the same when someone mentions The Old Bridge, the bridge they destroyed and until recently were proud of that act, but now they claim to have nothing to do with its destruction. Of course, the city is divided when its leaders need it to be divided, but when they need it to be united it is united. It is all about priorities of current leaders in Mostar, while citizens are not asked for their opinion at all. They would like to live a regular life, but alas…

Were the flags of Herceg-Bosna emphasized this year as well, although along with the crest they were declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of BiH in 1997 and 1998. Last year, on the 25th anniversary of that “so-called” state, you personally submitted a charge against emphasizing those flags on the streets of Mostar, you’ve experienced many unpleasant situations. What do they mean to you?

 If anything in this world serves as a synonym of evil, persecution of non-Croat population, war camps, then for me that is Herceg-Bosna’s flag. It is proof of failure for humanity. In Mostar, they are always emphasized in the western part of the town and on Croatian institutions (such as MUP or electrical distribution), but for anniversaries there is many more of them. If you ask them to take the responsibility, then they say how those flags are of Croatian people, not Herceg-Bosna and again they start saying how they are the jeopardised ones in this country. The person who is proud of those flags, is the person who is proud of all the crimes made by Herceg-Bosna, of all war camps, persecutions and deaths caused by it.

How do you comment on relationship between Croatian government and Croatian president towards Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and towards Croats in so called Herceg-Bosna?

 Political Philosophy of Croatia towards the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina has always been dualistic, because there have been at least two politics to two sides: one towards Croats in Herceg-Bosna and the second towards Croats living in parts of the Republic of Srpska and bigger cities such as Sarajevo and Tuzla. Croats from Republic of Srpska were convicted on biological extinction, and for Croats from Sarajevo and Tuzla alternative solution of ‘Herzegovina’s karst’ has been found. It is interesting how Dragan Čović, the president of HDZ-BiH and Croatian member of presidency for Bosnia and Herzegovina, hasn’t said anything about Ratko Mladić’s verdict, which in other words means that Mladić obeyed the arrangement between Milošević and Tudjman. According to which, all Corats from the Republic of Srpska should disappear.

There is no doubt that the current officials in Zagreb support a pact between Dodik and Čović as continuation of already agreed politics about division of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its final disappearance. Ever since the nineties, Croatia’s official politics towards Bosnia and Herzegovina have been humiliating, needlessly custodian it has also had interests, in territorial pretensions and avengers’ dreams guided by Tudjman’s and Šušak’s philosophies, to push public support towards realisation of those dreams done by the current Croatian government.

All of this has brought so much misery to our country, but the mostly to the ones whose interests they represent, starting from a Croatian parliament member Željko Glasinović to other nationalists that Herzegovina sent to their ‘capital city’. With the possibility of holding dual citizenship, Croatia today is an asylum for different kinds of criminals, those running away from laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina and vice versa. Croatian president’s relationship towards Bosnia and Herzegovina has been ignorant, superficial, pathetic and hypocritical just like she acts towards anything she says or does. Her full support towards general Praljak and six senior Herceg-Bosna’s officials is officially acceptance of Croatian aggression towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Although Ratko Mladić got a life sentence in prison, what is satisfaction is this to all the victims of his terror? is there a grief present because justice caught up with these executioners in the later stages of their life, thanks to the country and its apparatus which has been helping these people for years to get away from their sentences.

Yes, unfortunately. Serbia extradited Ratko Mladić after it had been helping him hide for many years. The comments and reactions in Serbia upon his verdict are scary, the same can be said for the Republic of Srpska where, apart from expected support coming from nationalistic groups, even liberals stated that ‘everyone committed crimes’. The same was said in Croatia upon arrival of Croatian ‘Hague prisoners’, or upon verdict to six Officials from the Hague. There is no trace of catharsis and no dealing with the crimes committed by Herceg-Bosna’s regime, which has produced and carried out Croatian nationalism. Today it works under the veil of ‘Europeanism’ but it keeps carrying out the same politics, but with this new tactic of destruction its political and ideological opponents. The same situation is unfortunately present within other constitutional groups. Our country was attacked by two aggressors, Croatia and Serbia, which as a reward got attempts at their territories inside Bosnia and Herzegovina-Republic of Srpska and Herceg-Bosna. Isn’t that a general defeat of humanity and justice?

On the recently celebrated Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Statethood Day, a member of the presidency for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegović stated that he guarantees a day will come when the other two members of presidency will be attending Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Statehood Day reception. In this case, the Croatian presidency member Dragan Čović didn’t attend the reception nor did the Serbian member of presidency, Mladen Ivanić. Will it ever happen that all three of them attend this reception?

 It certainly won’t happen while all three of them are in power. It will happen when political paradigm in Bosnia and Herzegovina changes, when the narratives from which current nationalistic politics arose finally get defeated. When Biology does its work or when someone from outside imposes ‘voluntary’ changes. When the new generations come and understand that Bosnia has existed and will keep existing and that everything else is a lie. None of the political options created Bosnia, Bosnia was created by the culture of living and the unity of its people throughout the centuries. Today’s politics in Bosnia are racist, evil and extortionate. It only wants to take away the little we have got left. Bosnia has survived through the times with the same kind politics, so we will survive this time as well.

Speaking in one of the recent interviews regarding the topic of after the war period, specifically how the events of the war were changed and how criminals became reputable individuals of society all with the help of Church officials, Fr.Drago Bojić pointed out that our societies are primarily societies of criminals, whose virtues are completely crushed and abandoned. We ask you: How can we expect that new generations don’t become as equal as them, as they live and grow up amongst criminals who seemingly by causing violence to get by in life, far better than the ones not doing so? It seems that this thesis isn’t exaggerated by the slightest?

 It isn’t exaggerated. I completely agree with Fr. Drago Bojić. Drago Bojić is an honourable man. He experienced terrible oppression inside the Church because of his critical stance on clerical nationalism and knows the best about how hypocritical individuals are from within his own community, and from society as a whole. Young people only see criminals who had become a measure for good things nowadays. And not only here. What else can they think when we are surrounded only by evil which somehow always wins? All three ethnic groups in this country raise their youth in that spirit and what have we got today: obedient young people who either run away as far as they can, or they become part of machinery which keeps this situation permanent, by selling their selves and who they are for next to nothing in return.

The education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where students learn three completely different truths in three completely ‘different languages’ is basis for new war. The only way to oppose this system is to create a new one, alternative education, which is something we try through the ‘School of Critical Thought’ and the ‘Centre for Critical Thought Mostar’. We want to encourage young people to think critically about the reality that is surrounding them and to try to change things for the better. Financially, no one has supported the project so far, because it is in the general interest that young people do not think at all, this makes them easy to be manipulated with. The school has already started, we have already had our first lecture, held by Boris Burden. Through work and conversation with the students, I realized that young people feel left out: they are left out lonely on the windward. No one is offering them the second choice. I am very happy that part of our small school are two brilliant girls from Široki Brijeg, moreover young people from Ljubuški, Stolac, Mostar, Metković, Zenica, Konjic, Sarajevo…The school will take place in Tuzla and Banja Luka as well. I hope that this will be a successful project, because our students are hungry for knowledge and do not accept stories that nationalists serve them. They are energetic, literate, educated and not poisoned by trivialities. Isn’t that hope?

We know that you and your web  portal serve as a rare voice of reason and are exposed to continuous threats. What is your motivation for your further fight, and are there days when you want to give up?

 Of course there are, I often ask myself if there is any point in this. But I am angry because I can’t stand imposition, injustice, fascism and nationalism…Web portal is my everyday fight against them, we are active resistance, as Viktor Ivančić described us. We have a huge support from people that follow our work, but we also get threats daily, they come in form of insults and attacks of every kind. I am used to it. I am not afraid of those miserable people and their unjust system that persecutes everyone who thinks differently. I am not bothered with the questions of how long I will live, will they kill me or not, I live the way I feel I should live, within my moral norms, and no one will impose something that clashes with those norms. That is my freedom. Web portal survives because of the mutual idea and good energy which connects all our co-workers and columnists. As long as that lasts, our story will live and our mutual stance on the fact that political dictations imposed by those sons of bitches are not going to be accepted by us.



Dragan Grozdanić
Autor 1.12.2018. u 10:06