By far the most prominent figure on the Croatian far right these days is a musician, Marko Perković Thompson. This suits the scandal-loving Croatian press, but isn't so ideal if you're Anto Đapić, the leader of the Croatian Party of Right (HSP).
Đapić, these days, is set on taking the (relatively) more respectable
Jorg Haider/Gianfranco Fini approach to politics, rather than his party's mid-90s strategy of wearing as much black as possible, giving Za Dom spremni
salutes, and glorifying the Ustašas' Independent State of Croatia (NDH), the collaborationist last taste of Croatian 'statehood' before 1991. The voters of Osijek, at least, clearly approve, and recently elected him their mayor.
Đapić apart, the most prominent member of HSP used to be none other than Thompson, who recorded their party anthem Lijepo li je Hrvat biti
(If it's beautiful to be a Croat
Almost two years ago, Thompson was accused of having sung the Ustaša-era song Jasenovac i Gradiška Stara
, which glorified the NDH concentration camps and its elite Black Legion, and of adding a new verse insulting the Croatian president and PM, both left-wing politicians. (Indeed, the showbusiness scandal of 2004 was recently revived
by two male contestants in the Big Brother house
.) At the time, Đapić stated on the talk show Kontraplan
that, despite Thompson's popularity with the HSP membership, he would be thrown out of the party if he were proved to have sung the song.
Thompson has now confirmed he's no longer a member of the party, although spun it to Jutarnji list
as omitting to renew his membership rather than the result of a showdown with Đapić. The online magazine Index
was first into 'print'
with this one, although has a vested interest in all things Thompson since it broke the JGS
Indeed, what bothers Index most
is that Thompson now says that he has never performed Jasenovac i Gradiška Stara
despite admitting in 2004 that: 'I am not the author of those songs but I did sing them, as we all know
, justifying his use of the songs 'together with hundreds of thousands of Croats at the time of the Homeland War
' to strike fear into the opposing side, and after a left-wing government came to power in 2000 to show the 'vampired Communists
' that he was not afraid of their challenge to his values. So, yeah but, no but.
Đapić, for his part, is possibly in need of some positive press after his recent visit to Israel - in his capacity of mayor of Osijek - was cancelled on account of his capacity as something else
. He went on the quiet anyway
, as things turned out.
Croatian showbusiness being what it is, expect several more posts with the same title as this over the coming months. There should have been some already, if the arrival of Thompson's first album form three years hadn't been delayed by the arrival
of something higher-pitched but just as patriotically-named.Thanks Eric!