Croatia’s May 9 Confusion Symbolises Europe’s Fragmenting Memory
It wasn't that long ago that May 9 was an uncomplicated date in the political calendar in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. State leaders processed to the main World War II memorial, made speeches about the heroic struggle against Nazism and Fascism and laid wreaths.
But, as the muddle in Croatia this year showed, since the call of Communism, May 9 has become a lot more complicated in some countries - and more of a headache than a showcase of national unity.
While the Croatian government issued a statement paying tribute to the victims of Fascism, the President was out of the country, paying tribute to the victims of the victims.
Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic was Bleiburg, Austria, where a long column of Croats [and others] fleeing the fall of Croatia's wartime Fascist government was turned back by Allied troops in 1945 and massacred by the victorious Communist-led Yugoslav Partisan army. It was "the biggest mass crime after the Second World War, for which there can be no justification," she said in a forthright statement.
Croatia's dilemma over whether to please the left, by commemorating the victors of 1945, please the right by commemorating those who suffered at the hands of those victors - or both - is replicated in other countries.
Some deal with the issue by no longer marking the Soviet aspect of it at all, and celebrating May 9 as Europe Day - in honour of Robert Schuman's historic appeal for European unity in 1950, which laid the path for the creation of the European Union.
Romania marks May 9 as Europe Day and as the anniversary of its own independence in 1870s.
Serbia, on the other hand, with its strong Russian ties, has no problem about celebrating May 9 in the old style, complete with Russian-style Immortal Regimental...