Vinko Puljic's inappropriate statements
By: Haris LJEVO
In the secular Bosnia and Herzegovina, the politics should be free of any religious influence. However, every day we see interference by religious leaders in political affairs. Unfortunately, the citizens have become so accustomed to it that they rarely react. However, when the line is crossed, reaction (usually) follows.
The Archbishop Cardinal Vinko Puljic shocked BH public by a statement he made last Sunday in Zepce against newly elected presidency member Zeljko Komsic.
- In 1945, the law took away from us our properties and destroyed everything Croat and intelligent. By the same law we were driven out and by the same law Hitler came into power. However, the question is what kind of law deprives one nation of their rights as if they have never lived there... as they want to do with Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Cardinal Puljic at a mass held in Zepce marking the 560th anniversary of that town.
That was Puljic's response to the statements made by some representatives of the international community about Zeljko Komsic being elected according to the law and Constitution of BiH.
Puljic's drawing analogy between Komsic's victory that of Hitler has provoked numerous reactions by the public which holds that Puljic has crossed the line of good taste comparing Komsic with the biggest war criminal of the 20th century.
- Since he has shown such interest in history and the criminal types such as Hitler, I'd like to suggest to him to visit Jasenovac as soon as possible, or so-called 'Topola uzasa' (Ustashas' concentration camp) on BH side, and bow to shadows of the innocent, slaughtered victims of Hitler's war comrade Pavelic and pray for their souls. That's how he could make a historical distance from the ustashas and their crimes, which is expected of him as the cardinal, said Komsic to TV1.
Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo, Ivo Komsic thinks of the cardinal' statement as quite inappropriate.
- I don't wish to comment Puljic's statement as it is quite inappropriate. Hitler did not take power by any lay but by coup d'état. Every educated person should know that. Comparing Komsic with Hitler is unacceptable, said the former mayor of Sarajevo.
This is not the first time that Vinko Puljic is on Zeljko Komsic's case. Not so long ago, Puljic said he was not even sure if Komsic was a Croat in the first place because apparently he (Komsic) did not register as a Croat.
Since he felt the need to mention Hitler and his 'legal' rise to power, Puljic should have also mentioned some historical facts.
For example, the first international agreement that Hitler signed after coming in power was a concordat with the Catholic Church in 1933.
Perhaps Germany is too far away for Puljic so he is not aware of that, but he should know some historical facts from our own courtyard. For instance, the fact that during the World War II, the quisling, ustasha and criminal Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was the closest ally of Hitler when it came to mass killings, the extermination of and genocide over the Jews and the Roma, and that the Ustasha regime enjoyed full support by the Catholic church in Croatia and BiH.
When the ustasha regime was defeated by antifascist partisan forces, numerous criminals escaped justice by running away to Latin America. They were helped by people from the Catholic Church who provided them with passports with fake names. That's how the NDH leader Ante Pavelic escaped to Argentina.
It's been more than 70 years since the criminal creation NDH fell apart but many catholic churches in Croatia and BiH still hold masses for the ustasha leader Pavelic and his comrades. The Catholic Church in BiH led by Puljic has never objected to that. Does silence mean acceptance?
Therefore, interference in political affairs in a secular state by religious leaders, and particularly comparing a person elected in accordance with the law and Constitution with one of the biggest criminals in history of the human kind is inappropriate, to say the least.
Vinko Puljic has truly crossed the line of good taste and the very least one can expect of him is to apologize to Komsic and his voters. Unless it is already too late for that.