Thursday, December 01, 2005

Showbusiness Ethnopolitics: Marko Perković Thompson

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 story too.

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!


At 10:51 pm, December 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

of COURSE Thompson sang that song! Not only that, it was at one point on an Ustasa oriented website, so I've heard it.
Thompson has a strong following among American Croats, even the ones who have been citizens a long time and who vote Democrat.
I saw pictures for hte Miss Partizan contest, it was pretty funny as far as I was concerned.
it seems like patriotic displays anywhere are a fairly right wing phenomenom.
I have heard that Valter Brani Sarajevo' is a good film Danis Tanovic isn't the only fan out there, personally haven't had the chance to see it.

At 10:57 pm, June 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mozete ga povuci za Kurac. Nitko mu nista nemoze. Sto vise serete vise ce biti popularniji. Ta vasa propaganda vise ne vazi. To our Jewish friends past is past. Didn't you guys learn anything from it. Stop spreading hate and tell the truth.Don't be like Carla del Ponti. She's the most evil person of this century.

At 9:48 am, October 27, 2007, Anonymous Tommie Black Shirts said...

Yes Thompson sang THAT song as many others did.I play that song at every function i host.Firstly too many lies have been told about the N.D.H. Years as the Komunists Stole History.Bayonetting Babies and Baskets of serbian eyes,please The State was Catholic and wanted a Crime free Country to live in,and as Catholisism and Comunism dont mix-to the victor go the lies-.Mentioning the ELITE Crna Legija as you wrote,hmmm What army or state want a weak force , or to go up against a force you know are just ordinary men.Every state has their Elite Guards some better than orthers.Id rather be in the Black Legion then the White Flowers Brigade , come on ,and the N.D.H. was judged only on its war time service , we had no chance to have Croatia post WW2 it was a war time state and the first for many years ,thats why we love her so much.Snoop Dog and Dr Dre from the States write Songs about shooting up liquor stores and killing their enemies,Drugs and standing Ground!!and they tour the world and are very popular.So we sing songs about watching Cetnik Serbs Floating down stream and a Prison that existed even in TITO's days(and more deaths were numbered during the comunist era)For our War is so close to us and still so fresh..let alone being our direct neighbours who attacked us.Should we sing songs about how England sent 500,000 Croatians to there deaths at Bleiburg.I would but thats me.THEY ARE SONGS what was done to us was reality!!,As a Free Nation we should be alowed to sing what we like.Serbs in Croatia still sing and record anti-Croatian songs and so what,as long as they dont sing them near Full blooded Croatians there shouldnt be any trouble.But if they are going to Protest every time our most popular Artist wants to play live, We shall start to protest too.Is it Free Speach or just Free Speach For The Dumb.Bog i Hrvati Za Dom Spremni U

At 9:56 am, October 27, 2007, Anonymous Tommie Black Shirts said...

And another thing.Anto Dapic's HSP
is gone way off the path and shouldnt have the right to have the Original Name.HSP 1861 and a lot of other Right Parties are proud and would take in Thompson gladly.
Bog i Hrvati Za Dom Spremni U

At 10:38 pm, March 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn this is 100% bullshit.Thompson might have played it and if he did may god have mercy on his soul.he never gave any simpathy to the ustasa assholes. He is only a patriot of croatia and serbs hate him because of the war of independence and they think he killed inocent people in operation storm which won back croatia. What he sings about is the same thing other people sing about. love for thier country.

At 12:29 pm, October 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thompson is a Trojan Horse of the extreme right in Croatia. He was forgotten for a while after first emerging during the war years but has recently been revitalised with powerful backing. His message is seductive to immature youth, why worry about not been able to get a job in todays Croatia when you can scream at a concert, wave a flag and pretend you are something special. You won't find this disgusting song on his albums, he and his backers are too smart to do that, but eveyone knows were to download it from and everyone knows, nudge, nudge, wink wink, who recorded it.

At 10:29 am, December 23, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Croat, I am disappointed by all the angry (and peaceful) objections put forward in defence of Thompson. He offends my morality. Do not tell me that I am not a ‘real’ Croat. Do not try and tell me that Thompson can in no way be associated with those quisling Ustase. I do not need to research Balkan history.
Nationalism isn’t really about spreading the love, it’s about justifying your right to be in and their right to be out.
Ouch, what did artists like Springsteen do to deserve a comparison with Thompson? We may as well compare Bob Dylan to DJ Bobo. If Perkovic is our best export, then we really are laughing stock. Springsteen has no God when it comes to HIV, is anti-war and has no shame in describing his being born down in a dead man’s town. Thompson sounds like a hooligan hammering it out with a sore throat. Glorifying Croatia bluntly when we all know there’s enough hardship to go around in an intricate package. I am aware of his harmless ‘peaceful family following’ image. He seems to strike a chord with some people, but Croatians are actually split over him. But we must take all the facts into consideration, weigh them up and decide. The verdict? Aj me, who are you kidding? Perkovic looks like one of Mussolini’s squadrissimo. What’s all this about a few clowns ruining our reputation? The whole of Split supports Hajduk, aka white boys, white pride. Croatian this, Sahovnica that, not eastern backward but proud westerners who don’t want much to do with liberal democracy but will take capitalism’s quick cash, thank you very much. We even hired a few lexicographers to invent a couple of words after the chaos, just to be extra Croatian. We are always in hot water with FIFA, because a whole stadium of fully grown adults went ape and chanted like monkeys at African players. Have coffee at a sport cafe in Split, listen to how young men conduct themselves. It’s all mass produced prejudice coming out of the factory domovina. It’s chummier to jump on the bandwagon.
If our state cannot fully protect our basic civil rights (which it doesn’t), where is our freedom that we talk about? How do you protect your family? Clear up their land rights? Support your wife by giving her equal pay? Your right to free media? How dare Croatians criticize western journalism when ours is a joke. Croatia state cannot support its own pensioners. It cannot pay to retain young professionals like medical specialists, but we smoke so much we’re gonna need it. There is no such thing as a Balkan war hero, all should have been straight jacketed the day they were born. Tourism keeps business, not Croatians, alive. Perhaps Thompson could take a crack at wheezing about reality for once? That would really strike a chord. Shall we shed a tear for the loss of Croatia’s multiculturalism? Of course, I should be thankful we managed to gain a state free from infidelity. Fewer people and more Catholics means God has an easier time looking out for us, you know? Thompson values freedom of religion and association according to one fan, like the right to be an anti-Christ and communist. Thommy isn’t fond of anti-Christs or communists, he kindly takes the liberty of telling us so. He must also then value the right of Serbian secession and self-determination from Croatia, and political preference for the SDP once reasonable claims such as citizenship have been denied. Serbians were all kicked out of our new constitution well before the mess. No citizenship, no legal existence, no rights. Ho hum to all those Croatian international law experts. You can’t be a kid in a candy store picking and choosing the sweetest rights and then throwing a wobbly because you are told they come in a serious package. Emina Marija.


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