New Glitz for Croatian Feminists


Globus, February 19, 1993, Culture and non-culture, p. 42


Branimir Donat

In her report on events in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hannelore Messow has, for Berlin’s P&K magazine (No.2, 1993), touched on a subject with which Croatia was punished a year ago. The subject is freedom of press, the case of Slobodna Dalmacija, the extinguished former Danas, the case of Slavenka Drakulić, Rada Iveković, Vesna Kesić and Dubravka Ugrešić (and Jelena Lovrić was incidentally mentioned) as the biggest fire victims of war, as victims of the total loss of journalistic freedoms in – according to their reports – despotic Croatia.
Hannelore Messow also mentions, in this string of beads made of general places, the monstrous role of Globus; that journalistic attempt to make their ‘‘photo robot’’ for the Croatian public which will present an attempt to reveal an incomprehensible, but common to them all, amorality.

I myself am not exactly certain whether I need to, in the latest case of shamelessness, make mention of one of the many open wounds. I might not have done this if I hadn’t seen next to a two-column article which stated ‘‘male phantasms’’ as one of the main causes of the war in and against Croatia, a one-column appeal to international journalist and other circles to send aid to Croatian female writers and journalists!

In the context of Croatian and Bosnian, i.e. Sarajevo events, there is a request for computer and fax paper, floppy discs and even cosmetics!
While reading this little article by Mrs. Hannelore Messow with its characteristic headline Witch hunt, I thought of a sentence that was written by, and what is far more disturbing, published by Friedrich Engels: ‘‘I have enough authority to consider the existence of such small and primitive nations in the heart of Europe obsolete’’. This was written by a man who has, allegedly, outlined the path of future human history.

Even today one can hear the echo of that sentence in areas of civilized Europe: this is about the political campaign launched by a few Croatian female intellectuals who realized their first social affirmation within a feminist circle. This was a small group of ladies who, in the mid 1980s, made it clear to the Croatian public that women’s issues existed and that dissatisfied women from all countries, even from the Socialist Republic of Croatia, had to unite at once because there was nothing nice and especially good for them in the macho-world.
They began their public engagement as publicists who drew attention to general women’s issues in the modern world.

I will not claim that Reich’s dilemmas prevailed in their debates, but those who remember the first public appearances of this group of slightly unhappy, yet certainly frustrated women can consider themselves witnesses to the birth of one of the organizational cores of ‘‘international opposition and slander’’ of the Croatian War of Independence.
The P&K article represents a part of that defrauding campaign led against Croatia in foreign newspapers by the mentioned ladies who have all been, except for Dubravka Ugrešić, as facts show, the ‘‘hard core’’ of Croatian feminism in the mid 1980s.

Basements are really terrible!

Concerned for their peace, comfort and everything that belongs to them as exceptions from the civilized, and especially, in a socialist manner, corrupted state system where leftists received the status of a privileged margin, the conspiratorial foursome has woven a wreath of skillfully devised insinuations about Croatia for those who considered the conformism of civic leftism to be the guarantee that they would live their lives pleasantly in a small and safe reservation suitable for redskins, homosexuals, Mao Tse Tung followers and lesbians.
These disgruntled women have reported to the international public that with its behaviour the new Croatia has brought disorder, savagery and everything that war brings with it under its peaceful roof and as the main proof they have emphasized their very difficult war destinies.

 We should really believe them because: Slavenka Drakulić had to stay in the USA, Rada Iveković gave lectures at one of the faculties in Paris, Dubravka Ugrešić was forced to teach Russian literature in the USA, and somebody told me that Vesna Kesić was awarded German scholarships. Be that it may be, Vesna Kesić, however, lived outside the unbearable Croatian situation and from a life-saving distance, which is the only guarantee for being ‘‘objective’’, observed the war.

They criticized, to them the new unlikable Croatian reality, for all naive or sophisticated enemies of Croatia, from a very suitable position.
They simply decided to write about some segments of Croatian everyday life. They wrote that life in basements is not idyllic, that nobody enjoys the sound of air-raid sirens, that the war situation represents to everybody, except to perverted beings, a burden which we find difficult to bear. There was no need to convince anybody of that. However, they wrote about it as if my, and surprisingly and accidentally their, country was the culprit for this.

Emigration with a scholarship

The starting position might have been acceptable but not the conclusions drawn by, for example, Slavenka Drakulić, where she relativised the causes.
She packed her suitcases and went away when she realized that it was not possible to eat, without disturbance, a plate of pasta or drink a glass of red wine in Zagreb. She did this in order to write reports from Croatia for indifferent and uninformed journalists.

Rada Iveković, Vesna Kesić and, finally, Dubravka Ugrešić emigrated immediately after the war broke out with scholarships, and with paid lectures at various universities and they have persistently fed the world with political fiction from these trenches that are safe and far from the battlefields.

They set out to prove that democracy in Croatia is primarily at risk from within and not from the outside. Since the mentioned advocates of democracy pedantically noted many typically Croatian improprieties, the image of Croatia at war was presented as evidence against their homeland.

In order not to be reproached that I forgot to mention the charity action being run for them in Germany, I am submitting the phone numbers of those women where you can send aid in cosmetics.
You can contact Mrs. Hannelore Messow at the phone number 089/9828045, fax number 089/9810103 or Mrs. Magdalena Koester at the phone numbers 089/236933 and 089/9101892, and at the fax number 089/268480. The dialling code for Germany is 9937.