Return of Antifascist Monument Causes Conflict in Zagreb’s Ruling Coalition

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Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić’s coalition partners are not happy with his decision to return some of the antifascist monuments in the city.

A bust of Ivo Lola Ribar, a prominent member of the antifascist movement during the Second World War, which was removed in the 1990s, was returned on Tuesday at the intersection of Barun Filipović Street and Selska Street in Zagreb. Mayor Milan Bandić said he did not consider this to be a historical event, but just a move which should correct the stupidity which was done earlier. However, his coalition partner Zlatko Hasanbegović does not agree with him, reports Jutarnji List on October 11, 2017.

“This is just a correction of the stupidity which was committed. We should turn to the future now,” said Bandić. He added that any civilised country which did not draw lessons its history would have to relive the history again, which he would not like to do. “We have returned Ivo Lola Ribar, who was one of the greatest heroes of the Second World War and the Croatian antifascism. Without the antifascist struggle, Croatia would not exist today,” said Bandić.

He pointed out that “the intersection of Barun Filipović Street and Selska Street, here in a small park with a small fountain and Ivo Lola Ribar, will be a place where children will play again. And for those who took the head of Ivo Lola Ribar during the war turmoil, I would ask them to return it,” Bandić said, referring to the incident during the Homeland War in the early 1990s when the monument was damaged. At the time, many other antifascist monuments were also removed or destroyed.

Bandić thanked the Historical Museum and all others who helped with the production of the copy of the original bust. He also added that Ksenija Bogdanović, a daughter of sculptor Bogdan Bogdanović, five days before her death in Vienna gave a consent for the reconstruction of the “Stone Flower” monument at the site of the concentration camp in Jasenovac, and announced that the City of Zagreb would finance the reconstruction, together with the government.

“Almost nobody in this country has the guts to speak about the positive side of the antifascist movement and Josip Broz Tito,” he said and asked all those who wished well to Croatia to protect the positive side of the antifascist movement from 1941 to 1945, and condemn later crimes committed under the five-pointed red star in the period from 1945 to 1990.

At a session of the city committee for naming streets and squares, committee chairman Zlatko Hasanbegović, Bandić’s key coalition partner, strongly criticised the decision. City Assembly member Rada Borić (New Left) asked whether the Committee was responsible for putting up busts and monuments. She explained that she was delighted that the statue was returned, adding however that it was not enough for Mayor Bandić to make people forget that he recently renamed Marshal Tito Square.

Explaining that the City Assembly and not the committee was competent in this matter, Hasanbegović said that Bandić’s decision “was a violent and arbitrary move” that will be a subject of legal and political debate in the days to come.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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