2/2008 – The ANVGD and the Federation of the Associations on the Croatian protest

The ANVGD and the Federation of the Associations on the Croatian protest
Toth: «the right to remember, with a postage stamp,
a history of independence and ties to Italy»
Codarin: «reactions completely out of place»

By now the Croatian government has reached reactions of ridiculous proportions. Without a thought for its own image, it has renewed its polemic towards Italy by speaking out on the new Fiume postage stamp, giving it free publicity that has even appeared in the prestigious French daily “Le Monde”.  
On December 12, two days after the stamp’s official presentation in Milan and Trieste, Zagreb, through the State Department and the Department of European Integrations, has delivered a hard note of protest to the Italian Government, asking nothing less that “corresponding measures with the purpose of avoiding the further diffusion of the postage stamp, which would constitute a gesture, on Italy’s part, contrary to the spirit of friendship and being good neighbors”. In short, either history is all Croatian, from its origins to modern times, or it is not, and whoever allows the world to remember the non-Croatian version of events is an enemy of Croatia. A typical and banal example of cultural subjection syndrome.
While President Mesic proclaims the Croatian origins of the Eastern Adriatic in an assembly of self-styled historians that, evidently know nothing about historical methodology, Zagreb’s diplomacy (if indeed it can be called that) persists with blind and deaf stubbornness to advance in outlandish demands that no world diplomat would ever dream of conceiving. This level of political and democratic immaturity, expressed with the insistence of a child on the verge of a tantrum, is really worrisome for a country that inspires (or inspired?) to enter the European Union. Many signals, also of daily occurrence, give rise to the fear that the same Croatian civil society not only is not evolved in democratic and liberal sense, but is dangerously receding.
Naturally the ANVGD and the Federation of the Associations have intervened, with their respective presidents, to comment on the Croatian protest. "That Fiume was an Italian city in terms of language and predominantly Italian culture, as was the whole Quarnero area, from the Middle Ages up to 1945,” observes the president of the ANVGD, Lucio Toth, “it is a historical fact, proven by the memory of its children and by the ample documentation which survived Tito’s militia and its devastation of files and libraries. Fiume belonged twice to the Italian State, from 1805 to 1808 and from 1924 to 1947: it is a legally incontestable fact, unless we want to put into discussion the principles of international law. The Italian Post Office and the Exiled Fiumanis” added Toth “which were called to leave their city with only a suitcase if they wanted to stay Italian, and 45,000 out of of 50,000 did so, abandoning houses, factories, shops, ships that were the fruit of their centuries-old labor, have the complete right to honor and remember, with a postage stamp, a history of independence and belonging to Italy of which they are fiercely proud. Croatia should not revert, while it is inspiring to enter the European Union, to dangerous shows of  Balkan infantilism”, concludes Toth.

And Renzo Codarin, president of the Federation of the Exiles, has said besides: “these reactions are anachronistic, completely out of place. We cannot, of course, pretend that decades of controversies can be cancelled with a dab of  a sponge. I consider the attitudes of certain portions of Croatian public opinion as only the tail end of misunderstandings that have created diplomatic break-downs, but which today Europe is trying to recover to make way for a new and higher level of relationships. I keep on believing in Europe”. 
 A comment also from Guido Brazzoduro, mayor of the Free City of Fiume in Exile: “Frankly I was sure that the forty days of delay of the issue of the postage stamp devoted to Fiume would have been enough to clarify positions. Evidently this was not the case. I believe that the meaning of the event has manifold interpretations, all positive ones that don't leave doubts concerning our desire to testify, also through these events, regarding the wealth of a city that, proud of its own past, founds a good part of its modern role in Croatian and international society”.
p.c. h.

(traduzioni di Lorie Ballarin)