Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Druže Tito, mi ti se kunemo!

I dedicate this blog post to a man who has long been a legend to so many people across the Former Yugoslavia. A figure of stability, an icon for millions, the life-long leader of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija).

This man was a hero to my parents' generation for two main reasons: one, he was a war hero who liberated the entire territory of the earlier Kingdom of Yugoslavia by ridding it of evil Fascist forces and neutralising other collaborating groups, and he even extended that territory ever so slightly to form the borders of his Yugoslavia and form the internal boundaries of its constituent republics; and two, as one of five founding fathers of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War, he opened doors to the whole world for his people, and was welcomed by so many leaders to their countries all over the world.

During his leadership, modernity was brought to every corner of his former great Balkan state. Villages in mountainous backwater regions that were still living in the nineteenth or eighteenth century finally saw and welcomed in the twentieth century. And unlike other communist countries that were under the "Iron Curtain", Soviet "satellite states" like Poland and Hungary, Communist Yugoslavia was a much freer society that eased restrictions on religious expression and freedom of speech, and even allowed private enterprise to function from the sixties onwards.

He inspired generations of Yugoslavs from the end of the Second World War till his death. And yet, even though that Yugoslavia is now gone thanks to idiots who didn't appreciate his achievements but vainly tried to achieve greater things (!), much of his legacy still lives on and his personality and iconic status continue to remind people of comparatively better times.

This blog post is dedicated to a man who, despite the many disputed methods he used to achieve his goals, and regardless of how meaningful or even valid his equally disputed legacy is today, achieved more success during his lifetime in both war and peace than any of his "successors" have achieved with their petty spoils of his great work and achievements!

And even after so many wars that have destroyed his Yugoslavia, causing so much pain to its people and ruining relations between the various ethnic groups that lived within its borders, his name and persona are still remembered by all these people. And thus, his memory is an unofficial source of inter-ethnic unity!

In terms of his achievements and legacy, this was a man who in one person, in my opinion at least, was the greatest Croat who ever lived; the greatest Slovene who ever drew breath; all in all, the greatest Yugoslav who ever walked the face of this earth!

Of course, this could be none other than Josip Broz Tito, a.k.a. Marshall Tito!


JOSIP BROZ TITO
7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980

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This is a collection of pictures I found on the internet to add to this page in honour of Tito, a great figure in the history of the Balkan peninsula.


Tito on the front cover of Times Magazine, 1944 Tito on the front cover of Times Magazine, 1955
Not everyone can get a picture of their face on the front cover of TIME Magazine! Franjo Tuđman never had his face on it. Slobodan Milošević was on it, but not in a positive light! So what does that tell you? Hmm…

From left to right, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt; Sukarno of Indonesia, and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia

Marshall Tito standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, founded as an alliance of states that sought neutrality from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact on the one hand, and the West and NATO on the other.

These days, following enormous changes in world politics, this same Non-Aligned Movement no longer holds the same global significance it did for over forty years. But the fact that Marshall Tito was part of the establishment of such a grand alliance of worldwide proportions speaks volumes about this revolutionary man, and casts a massive shadow over his "successors", however successful or unsuccessful they really were!

Tito's tomb in Kuća Cveća, or House of Flowers

This is his tomb in the Kuća Cveća, or "House of Flowers" in the Belgrade suburb of Dedinje, which has been visited by an estimated 18,000,000 people over the years since his death nearly 30 years ago!

His funeral was attended by well over a million people lining the streets of Belgrade to bid farewell to their decades-long leader, and by over a hundred heads of states from all over the world, communist and capitalist, kings and princes, premiers and presidents.

Now let's see if the graves of his successors will receive even half as many visitors within 15 years of their deaths!

Ulica Maršal Tito, Marshall Tito Street in SkopjeUlica Maršala Tita, Marshall Tito Street in Sarajevo

16 comments:

Owen said...

Tito was unarguably a great man, but great men are liable to have great flaws. Although his ruthlessness may have enabled an independent Yugoslavia to survive, did it eventually destroy Yugoslavia as well?

Alan Jakšić said...

Owen, that is true that Tito was responsible for many actions that have, in the minds of many people, cast a shadow over his legacy.

However, what I admire about Tito is that he was a successful leader, whose achievements far outweighed the "successes" of his "successors", and whose influence stretched much further and much wider than that of any of his "successors" (notice how I add inverted commas around "successors" with sarcasm in mind!)

To answer your question on whether his "ruthlessness" eventually destroyed Yugoslavia after enabling it to exist following war: I don't think his military actions during the Second World War influenced the way Yugoslavia fell apart fifty years later.

Instead, I am critical of the fact that following his death, they instated a president from each republic to rule the federation for a year, rather than electing a president to run for four or five year term at a time. I wonder whether that could have been a more stable system for Yugoslavia, and whether that would have eventually led the country through a peaceful transition into a more democratic society and a more capitalist economy, instead of bringing secession, violence and causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

But, rather than his actions during the Second World War, I am critical of the fact that Tito's Yugoslavia did not help the people of Yugoslavia, particularly my people the Serbs, properly reconcile themselves with all that had happened during that apocalyptic war.

It's good that Yugoslavia taught "brotherhood & unity" (bratstvo i jedinstvo) to its people - that's a wonderful national motto that any nation can have! But Tito never dealt adequately with the dark memories of atrocities that people from all sides during that war bore in their minds and were unfortunate enough to experience.

Then again, what am I talking about? Tito's Yugolsavia was not a post-industrial and post-modern society that dealt with difficult issues from the past in the open like British society does!

Rather, those issues should have been dealt with sensitively and carefully by sensible and responsible people during the eighties, nineties and this decade openly and honestly and without fear and pressure in peacetime.

If only that had been the case…

Anonymous said...

He was the bad man in world" he was just like Hitler. No'one liked him, he spoiled Yougoslavia.

Same as Slobodan Milosevic

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

Alan, where are you man? I miss you.

Breaking News: Two Serb war criminals received Life Sentence and 30 years imprisonment for burning Bosniak women and children alive. Unfortunately, the Prosecution made mistake and failed to include rape charges against them.

Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic are from Rujiste village, located near the border with Srebrenica municipality.

Please write a word or two about these monsters on your blog. Thank you!

Alan Jakšić said...

Here I am Dan! Nice of you to ask for me.

I've heard of the crimes Milan Lukić is responsible for in Višegrad, absolutely gruesome and shameful. Therefore, it's good to hear that he has finally been convicted along with Sredoje. (Unfortunately, the Serbian satellite channel that we usually watch at home here has changed frequency and for some technical reason I couldn't retrieve it, so I've only just heard this news tonight.)

As for a future article on my blog: considering how so many war crimes were committed during the wars by a variety of criminals and remembering the subsequent accusations thereof and even counter-accusations of other war crimes, what concerns me a lot is how this atmosphere has affected people's sense of responsibility. I hope you can see where I'm going with this, Dan.

So the next time I get to write something about the wars and their legacy in people's lives, I'll see how I could add some facts about such nasty individuals regarding their crimes into such a future blog post.

As you can see, I'm not posting an article a week as I could do. Recently, I've been back home to Lika. Other than that, I have other responsibilities in the real world! But also, I'm trying to spend less time in front of the computer for the sake of my eyes, as I used to spend a lot of hours in front of it over many years.

I hope all is well in your life across the Atlantic, Daniel.

Pozdrav iz Engleske!

owen said...

Alan, I visited to say that your presence and voice of reason is missed elsewhere and then I found that Daniel had beaten me to it. Unfortunately decent, honest Serbs always seem to be busy with their own things so we end up having fatuous circular arguments with the bigots and fascists instead.

Alan Jakšić said...

Owen, it's endearing to hear that my words are missed elsewhere (I wonder where else, though)! Sorry to hear about the "circular arguments" you have with some fellow Serbs. But don't worry, I have an article that I will post within a week; it's coming soon! ;-)

enci said...

hey i really enjoyed this post, keep up the good work. titos legacy lives on all over the balkans..maybe one day we'll have another tito? haha maybe wishfull thinking. but remember one thing..kad smo bili drugovi, zivili smo ko gospoda :)

Anonymous said...

Very impressive page on Tito..
Job well done..!

Živijo Tito i njegova Jugoslavija.

Mrki said...

Tito was a tyrant and what happened to Yugoslavian society is his legacy.

Blackbird said...

Oh, I see...
Now it's all clear why you have such mixed up views. How can you honor Patriarch Pavle on the one hand, dislike Milosevic on the other, and, yet, HONOR Tito? Whatever happened to any sense of logic? Tito is the reason that Yugoslavia is where is today -- nowhere.

Alan Jakšić said...

I beg to differ Blackbird. The reason why there is no Yugoslavia today is not at all because of Tito, who fought so valiantly against fascist scum who divided it up between themselves, and who re-established that country and made it infintely better than its previous incarnation (i.e. the Kingdom).

You ask me where's the "logic" here? But this isn't about logic, Blackbird, it's about historical facts. And if you think these facts seem "illogical", then try to bear in mind that history by itself can be very contradictory. For instance, during WW2, we Serbs had been victims of an appalling genocide committed by the Ustaše (some of the fascist scum Tito fought against and defeated), including many of my own relatives massacred in their own village. But during that same war, some of our fellow Serbs had also committed atrocities against others, including the massacre at Foča in 1943.

I never made any of this up, Blackbird. This is real, horrible history; these are things that should never have happened, yet they did. That's why it's up to us to make sure that wars like the recent ones don't happen again, even though those wars could've been prevented, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

what I was looking for, thanks

Anonymous said...

i think what ended egalitarianism building in yuga mid-80s, appear two closely-knit phenomena; still extant during tito's life and after: persono- and national-supremacism.

national supremacism subsumes, cultural, linguistic, constitutional, and cultic ['religious'] supremacism.

with such banes around and strong adherence to meritocracy, unequality, espousal of deceiving-lying-incivility-over greed, as normal behavior, etc., by, say, 99% of yugoslavs, yuga had nowhere to go, but to hell.

and it'l get even worse; because 99% of yugoslavs [here i am denoting a region and not a political entity] had not changed in basics an iota.
but not to pick only on balkanians, it is like that almost everywhere.

we just cannot face the fact that 99.% of world pop is extremely uncivilized. if that remains, we can expect much more and more severe brutalities!
guaranteed! tnx bozhidar

Anonymous said...

Tito vill live for ever in our Harts. Smrt fasizmu sloboda narodu.

Bernar said...

Bravo, no one says Tito was perfect but no country in the history of the world had been able to apply so well the principle of brotherhood and unity and when it can be achieved then you're already doing well in comparison with the world. Let us live forever in the Yugoslavia of the mind svaka cast drugovi drugarice