Monday, April 18, 2016

Croatia: Historian Condemns Minister’s WWII Rhetoric

Via Balkan Insight (h/t glykosymoritis):
Culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic has never expressed any regret for his controversial statements in the 1990s praising Croatian Nazi-allied Ustasa fighters as heroes, Natasa Matausic told BIRN in an interview.

Matausic, who was the acting head of the Croatian History Museum for several months last year, said that it was time for Hasanbegovic to apologise.

“I would like him more, if it’s even possible for me to like him, if he openly admitted everything he was, everything he did and everything he wrote. And apologised for that,” she said.

“Who is he deceiving? Himself? People thinking the same as him? Us?” she asked rhetorically.

Matausic also criticised more recent statements by Hasanbegovic in which he has described a reference to anti-fascism in the Croatian constitution as “an empty phrase” and insisted that Croatia was “tragically defeated in 1945” when the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia, NDH was ousted by the Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito.

Since he was appointed, Hasanbegovic has been criticised by artists, writers and civil rights activists. But he has insisted that his conscience is clear and that his detractors are guilty of the “selective manipulation of facts from the distant past”.

“I have never in any way been an apologist for any criminal regime, regardless of whether it was an Ustasa or communist regime,” he said in February this year.

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