Croatia Myth&Reality: Yugoslavia

THE FINAL MYTH: "YUGOSLAVIA"

Croatians and Serbs lived side-by-side in peace until 1918. Croatia took in thousands of Serbian refugees from the advancing Turks and supported Serbia's bid for independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was only in 1918, when Serbia annexed Croatia as part of its newly expanded Kingdom that the hatred began.

The myth of Yugoslavia was reborn on November 29, 1945 when the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was born as "a community of peoples who had freely expressed their will to remain united within Yugoslavia" despite the fact that no vote was ever taken. In 1990 and 1991 the peoples of Yugoslavia for the first time were allowed to vote for myth or reality. The peoples of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia voted for reality in the form of freedom in a new Europe, an end to Communism and an end to multi-national empires. The peoples of Kosovo and Vojvodina, enslaved in their own homelands, were given no vote.

On April 26, 1992 Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic proudly announced the formation of a new Federation of Yugoslavia consisting of Serbia, Montenegro and the previously autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. Like the two Yugoslavias before it, this "state" was also a myth.

On August 2, 1992 over two and one-half million Croatians, representing seventy-five per cent of the electorate, again went to the polls in elections closely monitored by international observers headed by Lord Finsberg of the Council of Europe. In first-time direct elections for the Presidency, Franjo Tudjman received fifty-seven percent of the vote in a race contested by eight major candidates. The second-place candidate received twenty-two per cent of the vote. The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was returned to power in a Parliament reflecting a half-dozen political parties and all of Croatia's major ethnic groups. Croatia chose democracy.

Serbia chose Communism, expansion, war, and the continued myth of Yugoslavia. The Serbian leadership chose to launch an all- out war of aggression against her neighbors to force them to accept the Myth. When the entire free world finally recognized that Yugoslavia was indeed a myth, Serbia simply recreated it with the stroke of a pen backed by a few thousand tanks.

Some myths do not die an easy death.