One of the best known books by Franjo Tuđman, Bespuća povijesne zbiljnosti: rasprava o povijesti i filozofiji zlosilja (Horrors of War: Historical Reality and Philosophy) was published in mid-1989, but the manuscript was completed in February 1988. Tuđman unsuccessfully attempted to publish the book in Croatia for a year and a half. Without the approval of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia, it was difficult to find a publisher who would have the courage to publish the book, which dealt with a topic for which Tuđman had been prosecuted by the regime twice. Finally, Marija Peakić-Mikuljan, director of the Matica hrvatska publishing house, took the risk. But even when the book was printed in June 1989, an order from the top of the communist regime in Croatia came not to distribute it. Nevertheless, the unfolding political situation in 1989, in which the political authority of the League of Communists continually declined, opened the way for its distribution.
The focus of the book is the issue of victims of World War II. Tuđman tried to draw attention to the manipulations and forgeries which tended to multiply the numbers of Serbian victims and accuse the whole Croatian nation as genocidal and criminal (Jareb 2011, 305). Tuđman was one of the first historians who encouraged scholarly research into this problem in the mid-1960s. In the book, he also shows how and why his efforts were impeded, and how he was later marginalised and imprisoned. The book represents an outline of his previous research and papers on the issue of victimhood. Tuđman opposed the so-called Jasenovac myth – the one-sided approach and multiplication of the number of casualties, especially of Serbian victims. Tuđman described the origin of the myth which was, in his view, “used (...) as a direct foundation for the theory of the genocidal character of any expression of Croatian identity” (Tuđman 1989, 120). Tuđman exhibited consistency in fighting against unscholarly approaches and exaggeration of the number of victims because he was also critical of the so-called Bleiburg myth. He rejected similar exaggerations of the number of victims killed by the communist authorities in 1945 (the so-called Bleiburg tragedy) that are popular in the Croatian diaspora.
In a diary entry written in prison on his sixtieth birthday (14 May 1982), Tuđman ponders his life and actions. He looks back on the six decades of his life, remembering his arduous childhood, his participation in the Partisan war between 1941 and 1945, his military and academic career after the war, as well as the prison time he endured due to his struggle for a different interpretation of recent Croatian national history and a better status for the Croatian people in the Yugoslav federation. He asks himself how many years of his life remained and expressed a desire to live until his eightieth birthday, because he would have "seen much from our national destiny, from the world ... And then I would know what will happen to my grandchildren ...". In his reminiscences, he encouraged himself by saying that, despite the troubles he had endured, every unselfish sacrifice “pro patria” was never in vain. He stated that he could go abroad "as a professor, writer, analyst at some institute," but that he did not want to do that because he knew that "the destiny of this nation was to be resolved in the homeland" and that he was prepared to suffer for his beliefs. He points out that he followed an uncertain path in seeking for historical truth and writing about its purpose. Tuđman wrote that he "realised that in political life, and even in life in general, we should have the moral courage to oppose blind currents and muddy torrents, but also sober prudence." He wrote that everything he did was to shed light on the obscured Croatian past to "treat the huge wounds of the past" and “prevent them from deepening.” He believed that he was not alone in this endeavour, mentioning a circle of Croatian intellectuals and politicians (such as the writer Miroslav Krleža, or the former mayor of Zagreb, Većeslav Holjevac, and others cited in pseudonyms). In this diary, he also wrote a sentence which shows that he then became aware of the need to politically fight for freedom: "If you really want freedom – either individual or national – it is worth fighting for it with your own efforts."
This document is available for download in a scanned (pdf) format at the website (prior registration required). It is ten pages long. This diary record is also available in published form in Tuđman 2011b, pp. 261-263.
Tuđman’s diary is handwritten, mostly with a fountain pen, on thin memo-size sheets of paper, on 10,180 pages. Tuđman began writing his diary on the day of his first arrest on 11 January 1972, in prison in Zagreb, and that part of the diary which covered his first imprisonment in 1972 was published in 2003 (Tuđman 2003). The rest of it, which covers the period from the beginning of 1973 until the end of 1989, was published in three volumes in 2011. The first volume covers the period from 1973 to 1978 (Tuđman 2011a), the second from 1979 to 1983 (Tuđman 2011b) and the third from 1984 to the end of 1989 (Tuđman 2011c). Tuđman's widow, Ankica Tuđman, edited these three volumes.
Franjo Tuđman's diary has a turbulent history. It was created in under difficult political conditions because, for the Yugoslav communist regime, even reading the foreign press or writing your own private diary could be deemed sufficient evidence of "hostile activities," for which some individuals (potential adversaries) were prosecuted and sanctioned in political trials. Due to the danger that the diary would fall into the hands of the police, Tuđman did not always fully express his political views, and some persons in the diary were mentioned only by their initials or under pseudonyms. Although the author himself wrote why and under what conditions he wrote the diary, it has not yet been publicly revealed who "smuggled" the diary from prison, how and where it was hidden, stored and kept for many years.
Tuđman's daily notes testify to his personal life, intellectual and moral dilemmas, motives, ambitions and goals. The diary testifies to his understanding of the philosophy of history that contrasted from the reigning Marxist doctrine of "the withering away of the nation" and the postmodern philosophy of "the end of history." Tuđman believed that historical scholarship was inseparable from the achievement of the ideals of human freedom. He felt that the increasing globalisation and integration of the world led to the broader individualisation of nations. For this reason, the primary goal of his activity was a free and sovereign Croatian nation in a community of European states and peoples, with full recognition of human rights. That is why he set forth from the universal values of individual and national freedom as the principles upon which a future Europe could be built.
Besides information on Tuđman's private life, the diary is full of information on events in the last two decades of communist Yugoslavia, and on developments on the global political scene. Particularly interesting is his interpretation of the events around the Croatian Spring as well as the relationships among its participants. After serving his prison sentences, he began to privately associate with other intellectuals who had also suffered consequences after the quelling of the Croatian Spring, primarily with members of Matica hrvatska and the leaders of the defeated liberal wing of the League of Communists of Croatia – Miko Tripalo and Savka Dabčević Kučar. As they usually met on Fridays, in his diary Tuđman referred to these meetings as "Friday banquets." However, according to Tuđman, most of them, primarily Savka Dabčević Kučar and Miko Tripalo, were not prepared for some more decisive action. In response to an offer to Croatian dissidents from an American publisher to write essays on historical, political and economic circumstances and the condition of Croatia, only Tuđman agreed to collaborate. Tuđman wrote in his diary that he "begged" them to accept the offer to write, and, disappointed by their refusal, asked himself "where will this self-satisfaction with the role of the royal opposition lead?" (Tuđman 2011a, 1 October 1975).
The twelfth issue of the “Sci-fi magazine” was published in Teplice in 1983 and was the last to be published by the sci-fi club in Teplice. In this issue, a religious story was published that caused the founder to prohibit further publishing of the magazine, which in the short term led to the club being closed. It was probably due to the story of Eva Novakova, which she called "How It Was with the Whale" and refers to the Old Testament story of Jonah and the Whale. This event did not slow the activity of others, rather the fanzines grew throughout the country.
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Gojko Đogo was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for publishing a collection of poems entitled Vunena vremena [Woollen Times] in which he “metaphorically alluded to Tito’s rule as one of tyranny, indolence and ignorance” (Dragović-Soso 2002, 54). It was the first time that “poetry was being tried” and thus support for Đogo was considered to be a principled defence of the freedom of literary and artistic creation and brought together intellectuals from across the political spectrum (nationalists, the “New Left”, and liberals).
The Đogo case was significant in that it led to the first institutional base of intellectual activism since the crackdowns of the early 1970s. This is reflected in the formation of the Committee for the Protection of Artistic Freedom at the Association of Serbian Writers in May 1982.In the first two years of its work, the Committee raised its voice against Đogo’s persecution and imprisonment, the ban of the book Slučaj Đogo – dokumenti [The Case of Đogo - Documents] by Dragan Antić, the ban of the play Golubnjača in Novi Sad, the broadcast Beograde, dobro jutro [Belgrade, Good Morning] by Dušan Radović, the ban of Ljubomir Simović’s collection of poems Istočnice, the sentencing to seven months’ imprisonment of the Dubrovnik poet Milan Milišić, the closure of the Zapis publishing house, the ban on the regular publication of the newspaper Književne novine, the ban of Nebojša Popov’s book Društveni sukobi – izazov sociologiji [Social Conflicts: A Challenge to Sociology], the illegal detention of the writer Borislav Pekić in Belgrade, the ban of Aleksandar Popović’s play Mrešćenje šarana [The Spawn of the Carp] in Pirot, and the ban of Živojin Pavlović’s book Ispljuvak pun krvi [Spit Full of Blood], among others (Kljakić 2015).
In their smuggling operations, the Smoloskyp couriers used various ways to obtain and to transport samizdat and other materials of the Ukrainian cultural opposition from Soviet Ukraine. Manuscripts were usually copied as microfilms, hidden in luggages or parcels (in souvenir dolls, busts of Lenin or Shevchenko, etc.). In order to smuggle materials, Smoloskyp agents sometimes used official Canadian Communist delegations that visited Ukraine, as their luggage was checked less thoroughly on the border. Unbeknown to them, Smoloskyp agents attached microfilms to their luggage or talked them into carrying some souvenirs (with microfilms hidden inside).
Nowadays, two doll-containers are displayed on the Smoloskyp permanent exhibition in Kyiv as a symbol of the creative agency of both Ukrainian cultural opposition and Ukrainian diaspora in building hidden communication channels and making the case of the Ukrainian oppositional movement internationally known.
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