Marshal Tito Square in Karlovac Renamed

Total Croatia News

Proponents of the change say the move is not an attack on antifascism.

Thanks to the members from HDZ and their coalition partners, and with the support of Ivan Vilibor Sinčić and some of his party colleagues from Živi Zid, the Karlovac Town Council has changed the name of Josip Broz Tito Square in Karlovac to Square of Croatian Defenders, reports Večernji List on 19 July 2017.

To be precise, what the councillors did is to join Josip Broz Tito Square with Square of Croatian Defends, because until a few years ago the area was officially considered to be just one square. At the time, it was divided into Square of Croatian Defenders, which included a veterans’ monument, and into Josip Broz Tito Square, where the town market and a number of shops are located.

The proposal to change the name of the square was submitted by nine Homeland War associations, whose representatives came to the Town Council to attend the session. The opposition councillors (SDP, Živi Zid and independent councillors led by Davor Petračić) tried to remove the item from the agenda and to postpone the debate, but HDZ-led majority rejected their proposal.

The debate lasted for more than an hour, and the decision was more or less expected: 17 councillors supported the change, three SDP councillors were opposed, while four abstained from the vote, including three independent councillors and one from Živi Zid.

“We have no reason to be embarrassed by this decision. I do not know why we should be ashamed of it. Let us be the first in Croatia to make this decision”, said Mayor of Karlovac Damir Mandić, who believes that his opinion is shared by most citizens of Karlovac.

Dario Janković (SDP) stated that the proposal represented the manipulation with war veterans. Marija Pavičić (HDZ) stated that the defenders deserved a large square with a monument, because it is the only place where they can be honoured, and that Tito, as the greatest dictator and a criminal under whose rule many people of Karlovac were harmed, did not deserve to have a square. She pointed out that about 600 veterans were killed during the Homeland War.

Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (Živi Zid) said he would vote for the change because that apparently means a lot to HDZ and its partners, although Karlovac has much more significant problems. He added that he hoped the ruling coalition would now be in a position to turn towards the future.

The debate even included quotes from books written by first President of Croatia Franjo Tuđman. Dario Janković (SDP) quoted his praise for Tito, while Matija Furač (HDZ) cited Tuđman’s criticism of Tito. “I support the idea that defenders should have their own square. I was part of the Karlovac town government when the idea about the monument was launched. But, now it turns out that anyone who has a different opinion about changing the name is also against the defenders, which is a manipulation and a lie,” added Janković.

Marko Kraljević (Živi Zid) said that the people of Karlovac defended this part of Croatia for centuries, and not just in the Homeland War. “The greatest legacy that Croatian defenders is that they have left us with the freedom of opinion. We should be grateful to the defenders, but Tito also deserves a street in this town,” said Kraljević. Independent councillor Tihomir Ivšić stated that Croatia was prone to a cult of personality and that Karlovac needed to have Street of Croatian Antifascists.

“Antifascism is a matter of personal position, and this decision does not call into question antifascism as a European value. Indeed, those who stood up against the fascism of the regime in 1991 were antifascists. Tito has fought against basic human rights, he could have been a democrat and turned Yugoslavia after 1945 into a state like Austria or Spain, but he did not do it. He did not lead the way to democratic Croatia; that was done by our many defenders. Karlovac will, after this change, be an anti-fascist and defenders’ town. I think that Karlovac needs a square of victims of totalitarian regimes. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but I believe that communism has caused considerable damage to antifascism. We owe this change to those who have died for democratic Croatia, for free expression. After this, I believe there will be no ideological arguing, but just reasoned debates about future projects,” concluded Mayor Mandić.


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