Croatian neo-nazi swastika vandalism on international football pitch


This 12 June 2015 football video is called Nazi swastika pattern seen on the field during Croatia vs. Italy Euro qualifier.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Croatian president calls for swastika perpetrators to be punished

• Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic: ‘This act has inflicted immeasurable damage’
• Large symbol appeared in the turf before Euro 2016 qualifier with Italy

Saturday 13 June 2015 13.18 BST

The president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, has called for a swift investigation and punishment for the people who imprinted a swastika cross on the pitch in Split, where Croatia drew 1-1 with Italy in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday.

“This act has inflicted immeasurable damage on the reputation of Croatian citizens and their homeland all over the world. Therefore, we must finally put a stop to such things,” Grabar-Kitarovic said in a statement released on Saturday. “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the swastika on the pitch. I demand an urgent investigation and a decisive response from the relevant institutions to find and process the perpetrators.”

Croatia played Italy behind closed doors at Split’s Stadion Poljud having been handed a one-match ban for racist chants by their fans in March’s 5-1 home win against Norway in Zagreb. That followed incidents during a 1-1 draw against Italy in Milan last November when flares were hurled on to the pitch.

The swastika sign impregnated in the grass through a chemical agent days earlier became visible during the match. The incident left Croatia players and the national governing body, the HNS, fearing drastic punishment from the Uefa.

“This is a clear attack on football and we will without a doubt be severely punished,” the HNS’s secretary-general, Damir Vrbanovic, said on Saturday. “We have all been slapped in the face by hooligans and it was not an accident, it was a calculated move. The cameras will identify the perpetrators, but the shame will stay,” he said.

The result against Italy left Croatia top of Group H with 14 points from six games, two ahead of Italy and four clear of Norway.

Singer Bob Dylan, a racist?


This Bob Dylan music video says about itself:

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (Live 1965)

Live Manchester, England, May 1965

By Norman Markovitz in the USA:

Tuesday 10th December 2013

Is Bob Dylan a racist?

NORMAN MARKOWITZ says recent claims by the so-called Council of Croats in France are not what they seem

I recently circulated a petition calling for Fifa to suspend the Croatian football team from upcoming World Cup games in Brazil because of its use of World War II Croat fascist slogans.

There’s another story relating to Croatia’s wartime role which has received greater international attention, however – people claiming to be representative of the Croatian community in France have sued Bob Dylan.

Their accusation is that this great singer, whose songs of social criticism such as Masters of War, Blowin’ In the Wind and The Times They Are A’Changin’ have made him one of the best-known and most admired US artists of the last 50 years, has made offensive and even racist remarks about Croats in Rolling Stone magazine.

Dylan’s attackers share one thing with the defenders of the Croatian football team – a desire to celebrate or deny a barbarous past.

Vlatko Maric, the secretary-general of something called the Council of Croats in France, tells Croatian daily Vecernji List that the council has decided to “file criminal charges against Robert Allen Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan, and the French publisher of Rolling Stone magazine for inciting racism and hatred against Croats and the Croatian people.”

Dylan ruffled feathers in a discourse on US politics, in which he remarked as an aside while commenting on still tense relations between African-Americans and white people: “If you’ve got a slave master or the [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that, just like Jews can sense nazi blood and Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

The comments have seen some radio stations in Croatia such as Radio Split banning Dylan’s songs from their playlists. And Maric says they “without any doubt incite hatred against Croatians.”

But do they?

Dylan’s use of the term “blood” is clearly very inappropriate. All human blood is the same. He would have been wiser too to refer to the Ustasha or Croatian fascists rather than Croatians in general.

But there are reasons to be sceptical about his critics. The reference to “Robert Allen Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan” is reminiscent of nazi, Ku Klux Klan and House Un-American Activities Committee language when dealing with public figures of Jewish background who had changed their names.

The nazis, for example, referred to the prominent Jewish-German writer Emil Ludwig as Emil Ludwig “Cohen.”

Segregationists and racists in the US would traditionally refer to prominent Jewish figures in the arts as “Melvin Hesselberg, aka Melvin Douglas,” “Julius Garfinkle, aka John Garfield” and “David Kaminski, aka Danny Kaye,” as if simply citing a Jewish name was enough to discredit an individual.

And the crimes committed by German fascists and their allies – among whom the Croatian Ustasha was one of the most notorious – became the basis for the anti-racist laws that right-wing Croats are hypocritically seeking to invoke.

Actually similar suits have been launched in a number of countries by “rehabilitated” organisations such as Waffen-SS veteran groups in the Baltic countries against critics including Holocaust survivors.

In Germany nazi symbols, Hitlerite tracts and films such as Jud Suss and The Eternal Jew remain banned.

In the US even right-wing “tea party” Republicans do not celebrate the Klan as it was once celebrated in DW Griffiths’s silent film Birth of a Nation.

There are of course Holocaust deniers throughout the world. But Franjo Tudjman, the anti-communist Thatcher ally who became first president of Croatia when it broke away from Yugoslavia and who was implicated in many of the war crimes against Bosniaks during the ensuing conflict, is one of only two heads of state worldwide who openly joined the Holocaust deniers.

The other was former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose statements were far more widely publicised and condemned.

Bans on Dylan’s music are very much in the tradition of the US House Un-American Activities Committee which highlighted Jews, African-Americans and people born abroad in attacks on cultural figures. The committee played a role in blacklisting Pete Seeger, the Weavers and other artists who inspired Dylan’s early work, though it had lost most of its power by the time Dylan’s career took off.

Dylan doesn’t have much to worry about from this suit, or from the establishment of any Un-Croatian Activities Committee which might go after him as well as former partisans and anti-fascists while celebrating the football team.

It would be nice, though, if those who have brought this suit against him would repudiate the mass murder carried out against Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist resistance fighters at the Jasenovac death camp, run by the Ustasha as a human slaughterhouse during the second world war.

Then perhaps Dylan might clarify his statement. Then it would be easier to separate the wartime fascist regime from modern Croatian nationalism.

Until the Croatian government faces up to this ugly chapter in the country’s history it will continue to be associated with it.

Bob Dylan talked to AARP Magazine for one of his first interviews in years.

European bird migration this spring


This video says about itself:

Swallows dance – Spring Alive

Apr 26, 2013

Swallows dance at Nature Park Lake Vrana, Croatia. Every year, in late March and early April, during their migration toward thes north thousand of swallows and martins use vast reed-beds as stopover sites for feeding and roosting.

From BirdLife:

New Spring Alive record: more than 270,000 bird observations in Europe

Thu, Jul 11, 2013

New Spring Alive record: more than 270,000 bird observations in Europe

From February to June, participants in Spring Alive, a long-term BirdLife educational programme, observed and registered the arrivals of five migratory bird species in Europe and made more than 270,000 observations of migratory birds, the highest number ever!

The people taking part in the programme, mainly children and their families represent countries across Europe, from Portugal and Ireland to Russia and from Finland to Cyprus. The Spring Alive programme increases in popularity every year and it offers a fun way to develop knowledge about migratory birds and raise schoolchildren’s awareness about nature protection. The Spring Alive website had more than 104,000 individual visitors, who recorded their observations.

The record breaking Spring Alive season in Europe ended on the 21st of June. Amongst all Spring Alive species (Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Swift, Cuckoo and European Bee-eater), the Barn Swallow and the Common Swift turned out to be the most frequently observed birds (37% and 32% of observations respectively). The big three participating countries were: Russia, Italy and Ireland.

The success of Spring Alive is very encouraging as it shows that more and more people want to connect with nature. In September the programme is moving to Africa, as birds will leave their breading areas in Europe, where the temperature will start to decrease and head for the warmer African continent. All bird lovers are invited to follow arrivals of “Spring Alive birds” in the African continent on the Spring Alive website.

For more information: please contact Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communication Assistant at BirdLife Europe.

Croatian medieval cat discovery


From Smart News blog:

March 12, 2013 1:51 pm

Centuries Ago, a Cat Walked Across This Medieval Manuscript

Cat paws

Photo: Emir O. Filipović

While pawing through a stack of medieval manuscripts from Dubrovnik, Croatia, University of Sarajevo doctoral student Emir O. Filipović stumbled upon a familiar set of splotches marring the centuries-old pages. Years ago, a mischievous kitty had left her ink-covered prints on the book. Filipović explains the finding:

My story line follows a simple path: I was doing some research in the Dubrovnik State Archives for my PhD, I came across some pages which were stained with cat paw prints, I took a few photos of this (as I do whenever I notice something interesting or unusual on any old book I’m reading), and carried on with my work not paying too much attention to something which at that time could essentially be only a distraction.

Thanks to a frenzy of Twitter and blog coverage, a French historian picked up on the photo and decided to include it in her Interactive Album of Medieval Paleography so that other historians can utilize the unique finding, which gives insight into daily life in 14th century Dubrovnik. Filipović elaborates:

The photo of the cat paw prints represents one such situation which forces the historian to take his eyes from the text for a moment, to pause and to recreate in his mind the incident when a cat, presumably owned by the scribe, pounced first on the ink container and then on the book, branding it for the ensuing centuries. You can almost picture the writer shooing the cat in a panicky fashion while trying to remove it from his desk. Despite his best efforts the damage was already complete and there was nothing else he could have done but turn a new leaf and continue his job. In that way this little episode was ‘archived’ in history.

Filipović hopes the finding may move beyond a simple cat meme and inspire more interest in the medieval Mediterranean.

See also here.