Lobbysts have lost their voice


Večernji List, December 5, 1992, Kultura, p. 56
How the Zagreb feminist circle came to be known in far off Rio


Poets, essayists, writers from every, even the smallest and most secluded part of the world - finally know about them!
Jelena Lovrić, Rada Iveković, Slavenka Drakulić, Vesna Kesić and Dubravka Ugrešić are modern dissident stars. They shout so extremely loud about their lost freedom of speech in every Croatian, European and overseas newspaper that they have already lost their voices. The already jaded feminist circle, which was pampered and closely guarded during the golden years of Yugoslav communism, is now offended and ready for revenge. It was the Croatian state that stood in the way of their path to the top privileges of their dear Yugoslavia. In order to save the jeopardized East it was necessary to turn toward the West.

The results of such persistent feminist lobbying appeared in Rio de Janeiro, where the 58th International P.E.N. Congress is being held these days, and thanks to some New York P.E.N. delegates who tried to put the issue of the mentioned feminists at the centre of discussions. Cases like the abolishing of “Danas”, management problems at “Slobodna Dalmacija” and “Novi list”, and the case of “Feral Tribune” and the named ladies (the reason why they are cases is difficult to grasp) - were presented to well-informed delegates as clear evidence that there is no democracy in Croatia and, consequently, that perhaps the 59th International P.E.N. Congress should perhaps not be held next year in April in Dubrovnik.

And not just because of that, but because the Croatian P.E.N. Centre is, as an American delegate has stated referring to what was written in American newspapers, a “servant” of the Croatian Government. It took Slobodan P. Novak, president of the Croatian P.E.N. Centre, almost an hour, as we found out from the Rio de Janeiro report, to get himself out of the finely spun web so (to quote): “voting was not necessary since the American delegate was left completely alone. He then shamefacedly said that he had stated only the opinion of his management but that he had decided to go to Dubrovnik as a private person.”

The Congress will be held in Dubrovnik in April 1993 thanks to the support of the Slovenian P.E.N. Centre and its president Boris Novak together with the Austrian and French P.E.N, Centres. International writers will come to Croatia, and the Zagreb feminist circle will continue through their private delegates abroad to climb world platforms and shout about being jeopardized in the Croatian state. It would be interesting to hear how come to date, as true feminists, they have not gone so far as to visit the refugee camps to see the raped Croatian and Bosnian women and to tell the world about their being jeopardized.