As the Croatian coast fills up with seasonal workers and those all important tourists, the north-eastern region of Slavonia is emptying rapidly – perhaps permanently. Does anyone have a solution to stop the tragedy of what is happening in this beautiful and historic region? Time is running out. Is it perhaps time to look at what is on the table from a potential economic powerhouse and new next door neighbour – Liberland? And if not, what IS the solution?
This translated article is reproduced in full from Promise.hr, with a Facebook post from the official Liberland to follow. A snapshot of the tragedy of Slavonia 2016.
“Slavonia is Being Emptied of People, And the Anger is Growing
“Fuck you and your Croatia” spreads on the web.
“I will stay and wait for a day which has to dawn, the day when garbage dumpsters will be on fire because there will be nothing edible in them anymore, the day when together with your mayor you will flee the city hall, the city, the country. That day will come because even a cow falls down when it is milked to death, and you do not give it anything to eat. That day has to come, and then I will not be a father who cries and waves to his child in a bus for Stuttgart. I will be the one with the bat, waiting for you outside!”
The most shared and most widely read article on the internet in the last few days is, without a doubt, a raw, realistic, dark, ominous letter from a man signed as Ivo Anić (we are not sure whether the name is name or a pseudonym), which spread through the web . The letter is spreading over social networks because the author uses ordinary words to express his resignation and despair.
And also the anger felt by a growing number of people who have to leave their homes or are saying good bye with tears in their eyes to children going to Germany and other countries. The letter was apparently sent to right-wing politicians and their “uhljebs”, but it could had been sent to leftwing politicians, since the exodus from Slavonia and Croatia gained strength during the government led by Zoran Milanović, and continued during the term of the new, equally ineffective government.
“You know what, I am going to tell you all, fuck you and your Croatia, all of you, journalists, veterans, from top to bottom, from the president to the last asshole who is silent in this country and is looking into dumpsters, fuck you all together, I will not get back to this shithole of a country!”, these were the words of a young man who kissed his tearful parents and entered the bus at the Osijek Bus Station, the last of the four buses which left the station just that one day, with the fifth bus joining them in Slatina.
Four buses just today, bitterly remarked one of the drivers who could not hide his tears. Last week, in one of them was his daughter, who has a university diploma as teacher of Croatian language and literature and is now a waitress in Munich.
Four buses with about two hundred young people just today, four buses on Wednesday, four buses each week and it has been so for six months in a row. About 20,000 young people left Slavonia just in the past half year, not counting the ones who left for the Adriatic coast to work as seasonal tourist workers, to clean other people’s sheets and be servants paid below the minimum. An entire generation has left the richest plains that could feed the whole of Croatia, of course if there was not a man named Todorić and if there was not a man named Tuđman who made it possible for him.
The crying people at the station did not hide their despair. They were all wealthy and rich people from Slavonia who lived off their land on their farms which stretch for miles around. Their sons and daughters travel to Stuttgart and half of them have no idea where they are going and what they will do. They heard from others that it was not difficult to find a job in restaurants or on construction sites, since Germans do not want to do so physically demanding, demeaning and low paid jobs. They claim that not even refugees from Syria accept such jobs, but people with university degrees from Slavonia do. Fuck, they are used to hard work, they have been working all their lives.
These are good children, says one father and cries like a small child. Split is another destination of these children, Split is a city where the youth prefers to have ten kuna given to them by their grandparents than to work ten-hour shifts in cafes. Split is a city where waiters are paid 2,000 to 3,000 kuna and do not have a day off. Split is a city in which at least you can go for a swim after work, and has good-looking girls. I prefer for my child to be in Croatia, and not in Germany, it is easier somehow, it feels different, says one mother whose son graduated from the Faculty of Economics and is now going to Makarska to work at a beach as an extra waiter who will rent beach chairs and bring cocktails to guests. Last year, he sent half of his salary to his parents, because they were literally hungry, without him they could not survive the year
Hugs, tears, curses….
And the scene repeats every Thursday and every Saturday at 3 pm at the Osijek Bus Station. The exodus.
No one except journalists comes to these sad farewells, no one except the parents, weeping girlfriends and loved ones. Nobody. Veterans have not put up their tent, Bujanec and the new HRT editor in chief have not invited one of the parents to their shows, Ruža Tomašić has better things to do and threaten and eject from the country the few Serbs that have remained in it, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is busy with whistling, while the Prime Minister sends police to search journalists to see whether they are hiding banners or whistles. We have not seen Karamarko who rambled something during the election camping about stopping young people from leaving the country, and in the end we have not seen Zoran Milanović who has gone missing, just like Split Mayor Baldasar who is promptly employing everybody he can. In short, we have not seen at the station none of these great patriots, motherfuckers in checkered jerseys, Ćiro Blažević who promotes sausages, hundreds of thousands of idiots who populate social networks and websites and threaten everybody who hate all that is Croatian.
It seems that those who hate Croatia are really leaving, if we are to believe the last guy entering the bus. You have succeed finally. All you great Croats who live well not doing anything, all of you who inhabit the bureaucracy or undeservedly receive pensions, all of you who spend the whole day spitting on everyone who hates you and your Croatia. You have succeeded, at least as far as Slavonia is concerned. Those who hate it have finally decided to leave.
But what about us? What about those who remain? What about us who hate it so much that we stay living in it and receiving just a third of what we earn so that two-thirds can be given to you who love it so much?
What about those of us who can only dream about going somewhere and saying fuck you to all of you, just like the guy who last entered the bus?
We are the ones that you are counting on. Those over forty who are stuck here and are your slaves. We are the ones who are screwed and we have nothing to do and nowhere to go but to go to a grave when we are 67, when we will no longer be able to work for you idiots. We are stuck. Half of us will in four years again naively vote for one MOST or the other, or some other treacherous fuck, one third will either hang themselves or will have so much debt that their children will need to go to Germany not to lose their apartments.
The one small part, perhaps ten percent of those to which I myself belong, will stay and wait. They will stay and wait for a day which has to dawn, the day when garbage dumpsters will be on fire because there will be nothing edible in them anymore, the day when together with your mayor you will flee the city hall, the city, the country.
That day will come because even a cow falls down when it is milked to death, and you do not give it anything to eat. That day has to come, and then I will not be a father who cries and waves to his child in a bus for Stuttgart.
I will be the one with the bat, waiting for you outside!”, wrote Ivo Anić and sent a message not only for himself, but on behalf of thousands of indebted, desperate, disempowered, frustrated, hopeless, sad, angry, disgruntled people, who shared and liked his post.”
The article was posted on the official Liberland Facebook page on May 18, 2016. The self-declared state, bordering Slavonia and Baranja. While many dismiss Liberland as a joke, the self-declared country is growing in momentum as it seeks statehood on the 7km2 piece of land on the Danube that it claimed through ‘terra nullius’ in April 2015. At the recent Liberland Conference to mark its first anniversary, the tiny nation spelled out how it could be a catalyst of economic development and prosperity in the region, both for itself and its neighbours.
As Slavonia empties of its most promising asset – its youth – is there a better suggestion and solution from the Croatian Government? Here is what Liberland posted:
“According to this article, at least 20,000 people emigrated from the Slavonija region of Croatia over the last 6 months (Slavonija is next to Liberland). Local residents cannot find jobs there and rather moving to western parts of Croatia or even abroad.
This is of course very sad, but Liberland might help this situation if Croatian authorities would be willing to negotiate access to Liberland with our representatives.
How exactly can Liberland help the Croatian economy?
Thanks to our concept of voluntary taxes, low regulations, the Constitution and rule of law, we’ve already attracted many investors from whole world willing to invest tremendous amount of money in Liberland, after the access to Liberland will be free.
That will bring thousands of jobs for Croatian and Serbian people in neighbouring areas so they can stay in their own country and work just a few kilometers from their home – in Liberland. When they’ll earn money in Liberland, they would be able to spend them in their country and that will help to restore the local economy.
If Croatian authorities are worry about tax evasion, they can simply tax their own citizens for jobs they’d do in Liberland and / or apply custom duties for goods imported to Liberland from Croatia.
So, Croatia, we’re ready to negotiate.”