Friday, July 06, 2007

Thompson International

Two weeks after Marko Perković's stadium concert, the promised article has appeared in The New York Times (mirrored at the International Herald Tribune) - where the real targets don't seem to be Thompason's music itself so much as the 'insensitivity to Holocaust issues' that could lead Croatia's education minister Dragan Primorac to tell the NYT's reporter that 'You can't see any antisemitism here' and that only four to five people had been giving Ustaša salutes.

Just as shocking, from the NYT's point of view, is the Croatian state broadcaster HTV's decision to endorse Thompson by broadcasting the concert on Sunday night (which did at least spare Croatian viewers from the Concert for Diana) without any sort of editorial comment. (Of the sort, for instance, that always surrounds talk-show clips of Serbian pop/folk music so as to make it clear that the channel isn't actually expecting viewers to enjoy it.)

Večernji list, meanwhile, is standing by Thompson - as well it might, being among the media sponsors of his current tour. Thompson's response to the criticisms from the NYT and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre:

'I've had enough of these unjustified attacks. I'm a musician, not a politician. At my concerts I sing about love, God and the homeland, only about that and nothing else. I and the members and my band didn't see anyone among the 60,000-plus people at Maksimir [stadium] with Ustaša iconography. [...] All well-intentioned people could read the message we sent with this concert and the songs we sang that night, and that is that Croats above all love their country and respect genuine moral values. [...] I can-t stand my concert being called a fascist rally, because whole families come to it. That means that my seven-month-old daughter Diva Marija, who was at the concert, is a fascist, according to the statements of those who are against my concerts. That's really too much. Why has nobody come to the defence of those wonderful people, the entire families who came to my concert?'

The saga continues on the summer coastal concert circuit, including a date in Split at the end of this month; the city's Poljud stadium will host the climax of a forthcoming leg of the tour.

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