The European Grassroots Antiracist Movement, in collaboration with Croatian artists and intellectuals, drafted a call to denounce the presence of Mr Hasanbegovic in the Croatian government as the Minister of Culture. The call already collected 183 signatures from 35 countries, including Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, Judith Butler, Annette Wieviorka or Ursa Raukar and some of the main European newspapers (Libération in France, Neues Deutschland in Germany or The Guardian) have responded to the call.
A decade after applying for the European Union membership, Croatia became the 28th member state in 2013. This was supposed to be a landmark in the country’s process of transition after a turbulent history the country had in the 20th century.
Croatia has been expected to respect and promote the core values of democracy, such as equality and social inclusion, which have been key in guaranteeing stability and peace in Europe.
However, the new Croatian Government is evidently failing its obligations and responsibilities to these very basic values. The Croatian Prime Minister Mr. Tihomir Orešković named Mr. Zlatko Hasanbegović to the post of Minister of Culture. Mr. Hasanbegović is a historian well known for his controversial, revisionist views of the recent Croatian history throughout his 20 years of public work. He recently publicly claimed that the defeat of Ustasha in 1945 was the greatest national tragedy and has also publicly glorified and advocated rehabilitation of Husein ef. Đozo, who served in the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar. It has been recently discovered that he was an external contributor to the magazine “Independent State of Croatia“ (a Quisling regime run by the Ustaša), praising Nazi values and heroes. In 1996, Hasanbegović wrote at least two articles for the monthly which propagated the work and the political ideas of Ante Pavelić and systematically denied the crimes committed by the fascist Independent State of Croatia. Last year, Hasanbegović labelled anti-Fascism as an empty phrase.
It is tremendously important to remember the victims of Ustasha regime. According to the most reliable estimates and analysis, a minimum of over 83,000 people were brutally killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp. These are the people whose names we know, thanks to the research efforts conducted. Indisputably, there were many more we still do not know about. The Croatian Fascists – Ustasha targeted, captured, tortured and killed Serbs, Jews and Roma on racial, ethnic and religious basis, as well as Muslims and Croats on political basis. Even though the horrors of the Jasenovac camp are unmatched in the collaborationist Independent State of Croatia in terms of its immensity, it is only a piece of the puzzle of atrocities and mass crimes committed by the Ustasha on the basis of racial laws, repression and persecution. The Ustasha were, like the Nazis and Fascists elsewhere, insatiable in their hatred and their cruelty. This speaks volumes of the evil that was in the very core of their ideology and their doctrine.
Mr. Hasanbegović uses the evidence of crimes committed after the World War II as a point of identifying anti-Fascism as Communism, which is inadmissible.
In his public speeches and writing, Mr. Hasanbegović misuses and manipulates the freedom of speech as one of the fundamental values of our political union. He uses the liberty guaranteed to all of our citizens for promotion of positions linked to an ideology that, when applied, not only limits the freedom of speech, but violently and brutally persecutes all those who are different or think differently.
However, it is one thing to allow freedom of speech even to those who believe in exclusive ideologies, but it is something completely different to include them in the Government and thus give them all the means to mainstream such ideologies and stances, and all the authority to instill fear and distress on an entire society.
And this is actually where the greatest threat is. Mr. Hasanbegović has no experience in the field of culture nor significant links to it. This means that his role in the current Croatian Government is one of an ideologue. He, a promoter of an exclusive and violent ideology and a historical revisionist is named to a position where he has deep and defining influence on the policies and practice relating to the nation’s cultural identity.
His first steps as a Minister of Culture clearly prove that this ideology will govern the Ministry. He dismissed the Committee for non-profit media, instructed changes in the Croatian National Television against critical journalists and editors and has put significant pressure on the members of the Agency for Electronic Media. The OSCE already expressed their concern about these events, but the pressure continued.
This has to be recognized as a threshold of unreservedly unacceptable in our union based on democracy, equality, liberty and peace. Understanding Europe as a community of values, an intertwined and codependent society, we must recognize that the formal, state-sponsored promotion of exclusive, revisionist, corrosive and violent ideologies threatens us all. This is undoubtedly happening in Croatia today, therefore we must act strongly, in order not only to stop it now in Croatia, but also to reverse the violent trend which is currently spreading in various countries, especially in Central and Easter Europe.
Thus, we fearfully but unwaveringly urge all those in positions of power to do what they can in ensuring Zlatko Hasanbegović and this kind of extreme, revisionist ideology is removed from the post in the Croatian Government. This is not merely a matter of political positions. This is a matter of a minimal responsibility to our common fundamental European values. Read more on the call on EGAM webpage.
Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement – EGAM (Europe), Urša Raukar, Actress (Croatia), Mario Mažić, Director of Programs at Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Croatia), Annette Wieviorka, Historian (France), Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, UNESCO “Honorary Ambassadors and Special Envoys for Education about the Holocaust and the Prevention of Genocide” (Germany & France), Kim Campbell, Former Prime Minister of Canada, President of the World Movement for Democracy (Canada), Dražen Katunarić, Writer, Poet and Publisher (Croatia), Judith Butler, Philosopher, Berkeley University (USA), Dario Fo, Literature Nobel Prize laureate (Italy), Sanja Iveković, Artist (Croatia), Richard Prasquier, Vice-President of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (France), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Spain), Tihomir Milovac, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art (Croatia), Jean de Dieu Mirindi, President of the Association of Pupils and Students Survivors of Genocide (AERG) & Charles Habonimana, President of the Group of Former Pupils and Students Survivors of the Genocide (GAERG) (Rwanda), Danis Tanovic, Filmmaker (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Ivica Buljan, Theatre director (Croatia), Paula Sawicka, President of Open Republic Association against antisemitism and xenophobia (Poland), Anita Mitic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia), Marian Mandache, Executive Director of Romani Criss (Romania)
Oliviero Toscani, Photographer (Italy), Ara Toranian, Co-President of the Coordination Council for the French Armenian Organisations (CCAF), Editor-in-Chief of “Nouvelles d’Arménie“ (France), Caroline Fourest, Writer, documentary director, journalist, radio presenter at France Culture (France), Benjamin Stora, Historian, President of the National City of Immigration (France), Etienne Balibar, Professor emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre, Anniversary Chair in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London (France), Alain Finkielkraut, Philosopher (France), Catherine Coquio, Professor of Comparative Literature at Paris Diderot University, President of the International Association of Research on Crimes against Humanity and Genocides (France), Elie Chouraqui, Film Director (France), Frédéric Encel, Doctor in geopolitics and Professor of International Relations at the Paris School of Business (France), Alice Tajchman, Professor emeritus, General Secretary of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (France), Dr. Vlatko Silobrcic, Former Professor, Member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Croatia), Toni Negri, Philosopher (France), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor at Columbia University (India), Chantal Mouffe, Professor in political theory, University of Westminster (Belgium), Rossana Rossanda, Journalist (Italy), Naoki Sakai, Professor at Cornell University (Japan), Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial visiting Professor at the London School of Economics (Netherlands/USA), Ilma Rakusa, Writer (Switzerland), Nancy Fraser, Loeb Professor of Political and Social Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at the New School University of New York (USA), Igor Štiks, Writer and scholar, University of Edinburgh (Croatia), Srećko Horvat, Philosopher (Croatia), Zoran Pusić, President of the Anti-Fascist League (Croatia), Dunja Vejzović Crnković, Opera singer and Professor of music (Croatia), Rafal Pankowski, Vice-editor of the journal “Nigdy Wiecej” (Never Again), and member of the Never Again Association (Poland), Caroline Mecary, Lawyer (France), Moawia M. Ahmed, President of the Greek Forum of Migrants (Greece), Krasimir Kanev, President of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria), Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme (France), Goran Ferčec, writer (Croatia), Michel Boujenah, Comedian (France), Jacky Mamou, Former President of Doctors of the World, President of Urgence Darfour (France), Michael McEachrane, Writer, Member of Fight Racism Now (Sweden), Levent Sensever, Spokesperson at DurDe! (Turkey), Stelios Kouloglou, Journalist, filmmaker (Greece), Boris Raonić, President of Civic Alliance (Montenegro), Edin Koljenović, Coordinator of programs of Civic Alliance (Montenegro), Sari Nusseibeh, Former President of the Al-Quds University (Palestine), Henry Rousso, Historian (France), Teuta Hoxha, Director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) (Kosovo), Léo Cogos, Director of Saut Jeune (France), Miroslav Broz, Leader of Konexe (Czech Republic), Aleš Kranjc Kušlan, Philosopher and Sociologist, Director of Ekvilib Institute (Slovenia), Ina Van Looy, Director of the Centre d’Education à la Citoyenneté (Belgium), Ivana Sajko, Writer (Croatia), Dr. Daša Drndić, Freelance writer, Former Associate Professor University of Rijeka (Croatia), Mirko Ilic, Designer (USA), Zvonimir Jurić, Film Director (Croatia), Naima Balic, Professor at the School of Applied Art in Zagreb (Croatia), Vera Hurčak, Former Art historian (Croatia), Dragica Dragičević, Master of Science in Philosophy (Croatia), Rastko Močnik, Sociologist, Former University Professor (Slovenia), Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Director of the association “Ensemble contre la peine de mort“ (Together Against Death Penalty) (France), Dr. Ines G. Županov, Historian, University of California Berkeley (USA), Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Croatia), Pascal Bruckner, Philosopher and Writer (France), Dubravka Duba Sambolec, Artist & Professor of Fine Art (Slovenia / Norway), Zoran Ferić, Writer (Croatia), Rada Ivekovic, Professor at the Collège International de Philosophie (France), Nenad Popović, Publisher (Croatia), Andreja Der-Hazarijan Vukić, Senior associate in Fine Art Archive at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Croatia), Daša Šašić Šilović, Chair of the International Board of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issues (USA), Dunja Blazevic, Art Historian, Freelance art curator (Serbia), Edo Popović, Writer and journalist (Croatia), Benedetto Zacchiroli, President of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR) (Italy), Yannick Piquet, President of the Brussels Federation of Young Socialists and Brussels Representative of the Young Socialists Movement to the Socialist Party national bureau (Belgium), Jette Moller, President of SOS Mod Racism (Denmark), Laura Slimani, President of the Young Socialists Movement and the Young European Socialists (France), Yves Ternon, Historian (France), Tal Bruttmann, Historian (France), Pap Ndiaye, Historian (France), Géraldine Guilpain, President of the Jeunes Radicaux de Gauche (France), Tsion Grabarz, Member of Hachomer Hatzaïr (France), Suzana Matvejevic, Head of unit of Croatian translation at the Committee of the Regions and European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels (Croatia), Rajko Grlić, Film director and Producer (Croatia), Branko Čegec, Writer, Poet and Publisher (Croatia), Dalibor Martinis, Artist (Croatia), Ana Simeon, Mediator in private practice (Canada), Tena Štivičić, Playwright (Croatia/United Kingdom), Goran Sergej Pristaš, Playwright, Associate professor at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Dr. Milena Dragićević Šešić, University professor, Head of UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management (Serbia), Dr. Boris Buden, Cultural theorist, Visiting professor at the Bauhaus Universität Weimar (Austria), Dr. Sibila Petlevski, University Professor (Croatia), Darko Lesinger, Journalist (Croatia), Joachim Sartorius, Writer (Germany), Đurđa Knežević, Writer and journalist (Croatia), Erica Fischer, Writer (Germany), Srđan Dvornik, Independent researcher, Consultant and Translator, Former Executive Director of the Croatian Helsinki Committee (Croatia), Gábor Csordás, Writer and Literary translator (Hungary), Jean-Marie Laclavetine, Writer and Editor (France), Vasyl Makhno, Writer (Ukraine/USA), Jörn Cambreleng, Translator, Director of ATLAS (France), Marc Dominicy, Linguist, Professor emeritus at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Dr. Mircea Cartarescu, Writer and Professor at the University of Bucharest (Romania), Dr. Vjeran Zuppa, Professor emeritus at the Academy of Dramatic Arts (Croatia), Dr. Hito Steyerl, Filmmaker, Professor at the Universität der Künste (Germany), Douglas Henshall, Actor (United Kingdom), Ivo Štivičić, Writer (Croatia), Emina Bužinkić, Activist and Political scientist (Croatia), Zvonimir Dobrović, Artistic director of Queer Zagreb and Perforations Festivals (Croatia), Boris Bakal, Theatre, Film director and Historian (Croatia), Bora Ćosić, Writer (Germany), Michael Danby, Member of Parliament (Australia), Iannis Roder, History and Geography Teacher, (France), Henriette Asséo, Historian, Professor at the EHESS, Scientific Director of the MigRom project (France), Annette Becker, Historian, Professor at the University Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense (France), Eric Suter, Lawyer (France), Natalie Felzenszwalbe, Lawyer (France), Paul Memmi, Writer and Translator (France), Alban Perrin, Historian, IEP Bordeaux (France), Dervo Sejdic, Vice-President of the NGO Kali Sara Roma Information Center (Bosnia Herzegovina), John Heffernan, Executive Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (USA), Krzysztof Jarymowicz, Chairman of the Foundation for Freedom (Fundacja dla Wolności) (Poland), Dr. Joanna Talewicz – Kwaitkowskia, Director of the Foundation Dialog – Pheniben (Fundacja Dialog – Pheniben) (Poland), Magda Szewciów, Director of the Console Women’s Association (Stowarzyszenie Kobiet Konsola) (Poland), Anna Strzałkowska, Director of the Association for Persons LGBT Tolerado (Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Osób LGBT Tolerado) (Poland), Jakub Kościółek, Director of the Association Interkulturalni.pl (Stowarzyszenie Interkulturalni.pl) (Poland), Philippe de Lara, Philosopher, Professor at the University Panthéon Assas (France), Sophie Coroller, Artist (France), Cécile Germain, Federal Secretary of the Young Ecologists (France), Igor Grubić, Artist (Croatia), Iva Babaja, Designer (Croatia), Dr. Tomislav Pletenac, Professor of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at University in Zagreb (Croatia), Dr. Natasa Govedić, Writer and theatre scholar, Academy of Dramatic Arts (Croatia), Dr. Branka Galić, Professor of Sociology, Vice-dean for Science and International Cooperation, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (Croatia), Siniša Labrović, Artist (Croatia), Biljana Romić, Journalist, Translator and Critic (Croatia), Tajana Gašparović, Playwright, Theatre critic, Editor at the Croatian Radio-Drama Programme (Croatia), Zlatko Burić, Actor (Denmark/Croatia), Damir Bartol Indoš, Performer (Croatia), Tanja Vrvilo, Filmologist and film curator, Performer (Croatia), Dr. Lada Čale Feldman, Professor at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), David Šporer, Assistant Professor at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Aneta Mudronja Pletenac, Architect and urban planned, Phd student, Humanities University of Zadar (Croatia), Dr.Senka Božić, Associate Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology (Croatia), Dr. Mario Vrbančić, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Film (Croatia), Dr.Tanja Bukovčan, Ethnologist and Anthropologist, Assistant professor at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Karla Lebhaft, Teaching assistant in Art History at the University of Zadar (Croatia), Dr. Adrijana Vidić, Assistant professor (Croatia), Atila Lukić, Educator and researcher, PhD student (Croatia), Giga Gračan, Translator and Journalist (Croatia), Dr. Lisa Guenther, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University (USA), Julie Park, Professor emeritus in Anthropology, University of Auckland (New Zealand), Drazen Babich, IT consultant (New Zealand), Johan Fornäs, Professor at the Department of Media and Communication Studies, School of Culture and Education at Södertörn University (Sweden), Dr. Sanja Đurin, Cultural anthropologist (Croatia), Maria Radic, Lecturer (New Zealand), Mihaela Vekarić, Translator (Croatia), Jelena Kupsjak, Teaching assistant in Ethnology and Anthropology, University of Zadar (Croatia), Iva Krtalic Muiesan, Journalist (Germany), Marko Torjanac, Actor and Director (Croatia), Nataša Škaričić, Journalist (Croatia), Dr. Biljana Kašić, Professor, University of Zadar (Croatia), Wong Yi-Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration and Policy, Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Rada Borić, Executive Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies (Croatia), Gordan Maslov, Sociologist and teacher (Croatia), Bosiljko Domazet, Civil servant (Croatia), Ivan Paić, Experimental Film and Video Art Free Lance Curator (Croatia), Jay Wegman, Director of the Abrons Art Center (USA), Guy Gypens, Artistic director of the Kaaitheater (Belgium), Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation (United Kingdom), Rajko Muršič, Anthropologist (Slovenia), Catherine de Wenden, Professor at Sciences Po Paris (France), Pascal Rambert, Writer and Theatre director (France)