Kazimir Mikašek                                          Translated by Dr. Dorothy McClellan



It was a day to remember on the way into the New Year! Radiant faces, sometimes a hidden tear of joy in the eye and a heart full of pride, pride that we are Croats. We have Croatia in Schengen and the Eurozone! We have friends in the two most powerful locomotives of the European Union, whose representatives spoke with chosen words of respect about Croatia, about Croatian men and women as an integral part of a large European family to which we have always historically, politically and culturally belonged. We have friends in all countries of the European Union and a strategic partnership with the USA. Croatia has definitely returned to its home, we are on our own, and the grandiosity of that undertaking can only be fully understood if we are aware of where we were yesterday, where we are today and where we can be tomorrow on the wings of our own Croatian intelligence, diligence and excellence.

May our Croatia, our mother, our beloved goddess, for whom the best husbands and wives among us have fallen throughout history, live forever. Nothing was ever given to Croatia, nothing fell into our lap as a gift from heaven. Croatia was created in a sea of love and blood on the Ways of the Cross, which always fatefully, according to God's justice, ends with the resurrection and realization of the state as the age-old dream of all patriots. The people who dream of a state, freedom, independence and finally prosperity will achieve their dreams! The one who loves the land will experience love, the one who dreams of wealth will already be rich today, and those who raise the sword against our homeland will also perish by the sword.

Bleiburg, that fateful evil pit, in which hundreds of thousands of lovers of the state disappeared, is historically the cornerstone of the Croatian people's desire to be their own, and history will show that the death of Bleiburg is actually a germ of life, which has blossomed in its fullness shines today. Every discussion about the painful history as an imposed burden on the nation’s consciousness begins and ends with the idea of statehood and the strong yearning of the Croatian people for their homeland, and that unwritten heavenly right cannot and will not be taken away from anyone. Two giants of Croatian history, President Franjo Tuđman and Saint Alojzije Stepinac, spoke about this.

The idea of Croatian statehood ended only temporarily in thousands of pits on the roadless Way of the Cross, and living patriots were thrown into chains in the largest Yugoslav prisons under the dictatorial boots of Marshal Tito and Serbian politics. The Way of the Cross and the pogrom against the Croatian people lasted from Bleiburg to the Golgotha of Vukovar, where the resurrection of Croatia once again defeated death. On that historical path without mercy, thousands of veterans and patriots gave their lives on the altar of their homeland, and the living were sentenced to more than a hundred thousand years of imprisonment in Yugoslavia’s Goli Island prison – a camp for brainwashing and erasure of national consciousness. Today, as we celebrate becoming a full partner of the free western democratic world, we must acknowledge our debt to the hundreds of thousands of brave people who gave everything for Croatia! They are emblazoned in the history of heaven for all eternity!

The national enthusiasm of the “Croatian Spring” of 1971 blossomed, as proof that the idea of Croatia and statehood has not died and will never die. What the Croatian Spring heroes dreamed of has been accomplished proof that it pays to dream. We now have a strong currency, our own foreign exchange on the Adriatic, our own wallet in our own pocket and finally we have a Croatian rifle on a Croatian shoulder! We have Croatia! We have a European and global Croatia, the kind that President Tuđman dreamed of in May 1990. Who dared to dream then, when the tanks from the east were revving up before setting off on a bloody campaign against Croatian dreams?

Vukovar! This is the Golgotha on which internationally recognized Croatia was resurrected. It seems fateful, as if the epic defense and death of Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Škabrnja, countless villages, hamlets and Croatian homes razed to the ground were needed, so that from the death and suffering of thousands of defenders, Croatia was born. It is the same arduous journey of Croatia from Bleiburg to Schengen, from Vukovar to international recognition and entry into Schengen and the Eurozone. All of the stations along the way have equal historical strength. In terms of the passage of time, that path is just a blink of an eye in the history of mankind. Finally, we can self-consciously cheer for that victorious epic and the mental strength of our own proud nation.

All prerequisites have been created for a strong step forward towards an even better, more stable and safer Croatia firmly anchored in the international family, with the thought that it will never be so good that it could not be better. When we illuminate and raise awareness of Croatia’s arduous path towards freedom, democracy, and independence, we should observe the suffering people of Ukraine with the same sense of Christian solidarity, because our Way of the Cross is also theirs. Their war for universal freedom and democracy is also our war. The Croatian road from Bleiburg to Schengen is the same path of the Ukrainian people from Holodomor to their ultimate freedom in the embrace of the international democratic family. For those who are not happy about Croatian successes and who have forgotten the suffering of the Croatian people on the Way of the Cross, on the way to freedom, today’ picture of Ukraine can perhaps open their eyes. Those who do not want to see this and thereby knowingly destroy the international reputation of Croatia, have been defeated on January 1, 2023!

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