13 Aug 2018

Rock singer promotes Croatia's fascist heritage

"Za dom spremni" ("Ready for the homeland") was a greeting of the Croatian fascist Ustaša movement. Even though its usage is unconstitutional, rock star Marko Perković Thompson is free to chant it at his concerts.

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Rock singer promotes Croatia's fascist heritage - NewsMavens
Marko Perković Thompson, 2011, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The Croatian singer Marko Perković Thompson continues to pile up police reports. Many of those are complaints about his open promotion of Croatia's WWII facist Ustaša regime during his live performances.

This is also why several European countries, such as Slovenia and Austria, have banned his concerts. 

But Croatia has taken the opposite approach -- Thompson's concerts are frequent and well-attended and he and his fans are given the green light from the police to openly celebrate the infamous fascist Ustaša movement.

Until now, at least, police have reported it as a misdemeanor.  A recent court decision even let him off the hook, declaring that Thompson's use of the phrase did not promote hate speech because it was an integral part of the song.

With its decision to declare "Za dom spremni" a form of hate speech from February this year, Croatia only pretended to have washed its hands of its fascist past. If it's the past at all. 

Details from the story:

  • As many of them before, Marko Perković Thompson began his concert in Glina with "Za dom spremni" Ustaša greeting. 
  • The police failed to report the incident, arguing that similar charges were dropped in an earlier court decision regarding Thompson's usage of the greeting. The judge had said that the greeting was an integral part of the song, thus it doesn't violate public order nor does it promote hate speech. 
  • The Croatian center for dealing with the past "Documenta" condemned the decision of the police not to file a report. 
  • Thompson's concert in Glina was part of the celebration of the Day of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving and Day of Croatian Defenders which took place on August 5. It was attended by around 50,000 people, as reported by local media. 
  • Even though it's illegal, the "Za dom spremni" greeting can be used in exceptional cases, although it requires the prior approval of the authorities. 

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