Declaration of the Croatian National Liberation Forces
(translation from the original Croatian)
National self-determination is a universal and fundamental human right, recognized by all members of the United Nations, a right which may not be denied or withheld any nation, regardless of its size or population. Only the inhabitants of a historically determined territory can objectively and competently prescribe its future and fate. Any force imposing itself against the desires of a nation can be termed nothing but occupation and, as widely recognized, occupation is maintained exclusively by brutal force.
This universal, natural, and human right is denied many nations, even by the United Nations, or, more accurately, the United Countries, which are obligated by their signatures to support and honor the principle of national self-determination. Croatia is one of those nations refused the right of self-determination.
In today’s geopolitical terminology, the name Croatia evokes strange, even disquieting images. Victimized by myths, fears, lies, and misunderstandings from the past, this name has either been forced into intentional oblivion or forcefully denied. Consequently, in spite of its until recently uninterrupted thirteen-century existence and legitimate continuity as a state, Croatia seems more a legend, a fiction, or a fantasy. Parallel to the world’s ignorance or silence, new peoples have appeared on the stage of contemporary history and new states have been established. From faraway places about whose strange, wild tribes the journalists and scientists have written, new nations have arisen, native cultures have sprouted from virtually nothing. The independence of these newly created nations was extorted by force and established through liberation struggles. The awakening of national consciousness has nowadays become a deep spiritual process and the battle for freedom, which is a natural continuation of this process, has its basis in a fundamental moral principle and foundation.
Small nations know they are small, but rise up nonetheless against injustice, the disregard of their significance, the force applied to dictate their fates. Small nations affirm their national independence through struggles for freedom, including even abductions, bombs, and murder. The necessity for freedom is stronger and more just than the legality powerful nations preach in support of their arguments for the use of ruthless force and deadly weapons.
The desire for national liberation, especially after World War Two, has continually expressed itself through actions on all sides. The Croatian nation, one of the oldest in Europe, cannot nor desires to further suppress its existence or shirk its responsibility in the contemporary world merely to preserve a vague imperialistic “peace.” Thus, conscious of the fact that no value is more sacred than freedom and faith in one’s country, the Croatian nation is launching once again its struggle for freedom, emphasizing the following reasons for the resumption of action:
- After a full thirteen centuries of continuity as a legitimate state, Croatian state sovereignty was abolished. By the creation of the artificial Yugoslav state, the Croatian nation has been subjected to the fascist-monarchy dictatorship of the Serbian kings. After the end of the Second World War, unparalleled and unprecedented genocide was perpetrated upon the Croatian nation, under the auspices of “brotherhood and unity”, and in the name of Yugoslav integrationalism and internationalism of the Hitler-Stalinist type. The terror of the Serbian occupation subsided in 1966, only to be renewed in 1971 in an even more brutal form.
- Croatians are oppressed, humiliated, and degraded in matters of pride and national dignity. In their homes, as well as in their homeland, they have no rights whatsoever, only difficult and intolerable obligations. Croatian moral and material resources are disposed of in whatever way Belgrade deems appropriate. Through taxes and agricultural resources, Croatians support the very system for which they are being sacrificed.
- In addition to moral and historical obligations, not a single country abides by the United Nations General Committee recommendation to set aside 0.5% of its national income for the support of underdeveloped countries; however, from 1945 on, 8% of the Croatian national income is extracted. According to UN evaluations, a nation stripped of even 4% of its national income is placing in danger its biological as well as cultural development.
- Through sheer forced applied inside Yugoslav borders, and with the aid of material, military, and intelligence support by the Great Powers of the East and West, disparate nations are forced into an unnatural union in which mentalities, cultures, and systems are hostile to one another. These nations, having lived for centuries inside totally dissimilar states and cultural units, have formulated their own, specific conceptions of the world. Though they may utilize the same dictionary, the origin and basis of their intellectual expression renders mutual understanding and common existence untenable.
- The entire command staff of the Yugoslav military serving inside Croatian national territory is composed of members of the Serbian nation. Serbians constitute the wide majority of the police forces in Croatia. Serbs likewise hold key positions in the judiciary, administration, Communist Party, and economy. Croatians serving in these bodies are generally tokens without power, potency, or influence. This unnatural and inhuman situation is maintained by force and cloaked in the motto: “People’s Unity.” This motto, continually repeated, is held in respect neither by the occupiers nor the few quislings, regardless of how low they have sunk.
- Croatians are excluded from every decision-making process. Decisions are simply relayed to them “after the fact.”
- Today, when dialects of recently primitive tribes are being developed into new, modern languages, the Croatian grammar and orthography, preserved on stone tablets from the year 1100 in Croatian letters and language, are prohibited. A frantic attack, unparalleled anywhere, is being waged against the Croatian language, because language is the center of moral instruction and symbol of freedom and dignity, a force that resists attempts to manipulate one’s destiny and achievements.
- The bearing of the Croatian coat-of-arms, which was preserved on a Croatian stone monument dating from the ninth century, is equated with evil.
- The singing of traditional, patriotic and even sentimental Croatian songs is considered a conspiratorial, terrorist act directed against the Yugoslav brotherhood of nations.
- In a contrived manner, the natural growth of the Croatian population is being systematically reduced. At the same time, the most vital part of the Croatian population is compelled to emigrate as a result of economic exploitation, political pressure, and police terror. By means of this new form of genocide, a sustained and intentional extermination of the Croatian nation is being committed.
- In all Yugoslav schools, the textbooks present themselves as the epitome of Serbian achievement and historical record, the highest expression of the Serbian spirit (characterized, for example, by the cantos of Petar Petrovic Njegos, who celebrates the genocide perpetrated on the Muslim people, who have always been an integral part of the Croatian nation).
- In the name of brotherhood, unity, and socialism, a whip is being cracked over the head of suffering Croatia. Sustained colonialization is enforced through time-tested Fascist-Stalinist methods. According to Amnesty International, the celebrated human rights organization, there are more political prisoners in Yugoslavia, or, more accurately, Croatia and Albanian Kosmet, than in any other East European country, excluding the Soviet Union, whose population is 250 million. This statistic was openly confirmed in a TV interview by the Yugoslav dictator, Josip Broz Tito, on the occasion of his state visit to Sweden this year. Sentences of hard labor extend to twenty years and are often changed later to death sentences. Sophisticated, diverse, and bloody forms of torture are the common means by which prisoners are terrorized and “confessions” extracted. When necessary, the arrested are simply killed.
- The reduction of freedom in the name of professed “social aims” is an everyday occurrence and reality. Disagreement, criticism…these rare privileges the occupying powers retain exclusively for themselves. This unnatural state of affairs is maintained and continued through the use of court verdicts, self-criticism, and liquidations, all too often with the military and political assistance of western democratic countries.
- It should also be pointed out that since the 1918 creation of imperialistic Yugoslavia in Versailles, Croatians were, and remain, an undesirable element in Yugoslav diplomacy. As an illustration, let us consider the national composition of the Yugoslav Embassy in Washington, D.C., where the largest Yugoslav delegation in the world is stationed:
Of twelve accredited diplomatic Yugoslav ambassadors in Washington from the year 1970 on, eight are of Serbian nationality, two are Slovenian, one is Jewish, and one a Montenegrin. Not one is Croatian. Of nineteen employees at the Washington Embassy in 1970, fifteen are Serbian, one is a Montenegrin, one lists no nationality, and two are Croatian. (Ivan Peric and Mira Blazevic, the chambermaid of one of the ambassadors’ wives. Selecting Croatians as chambermaids to the wives is not coincidental).
It is our duty to accomplish as much as we can, to persevere in our struggle for freedom and independence, to appeal to the United Nations! The world cannot be at peace if the Croatian nation is denied the rights acknowledged by all people and all nations. Croatia is indispensable to the world today, while Yugoslavia, as a state, has no right to exist for the following reasons:
- All large empires and multinational states have ultimately disintegrated, regardless of their national ideologies or world views, simply because they were unable to offer a cultural or any other type of basis for the evolution of the nations they occupied or maintained by force of arms. To the present time, there is no historical example of a multinational state successfully resolving the critical historical issue: the independence and sovereignty of all its nations.
- The historical moral of all multinational empires up to the present day is: despotism is doomed to fail, and it never reforms itself. No democratic changes are possible inside Yugoslavia, nor could these changes be maintained. Yugoslavia can only continue to exist as a police state, established under Serbian domination and Fascist-Stalinist force.
- Yugoslavia cannot be defended on the basis of any generally recognized legal or socio-philosophical standard. And in addition to the sustained genocidal polities being perpetrated upon the Croatian nation, the Albanian nation is likewise biologically threatened. Belgrade holds under its occupation a large portion of Albanian national territory, upon which almost half the Albanian population is settled. The Belgrade occupation forces also command a part of Bulgarian and Hungarian national territories.
- Relative to its population, the educational and technological capabilities of the Serbian nation are insufficient to justify the subordination of other nations within Yugosalvia. The Serbian nation is also becoming increasingly dissatisfied with and opposed to the imperialistic policies of its ruling clique. Serving as policemen in a foreign country is no honor. The majority of the Serbian nation is aware that those who fail to honor the rights of others ultimately lose their own entitled rights, for there can be no freedom for those who deprive others. Therefore, the Croatian nation is not opposed to the Serbian nation or Serbian freedom, but to the totalitarian, imperialistic brutality of the policy of “Great Serbianism” which, cloaked in the language of “freedom” and deceptive imperialism, denies Croatia her right to freedom and independent existence.
- Albanians, regardless of their individual political beliefs, desire and support unification with their homeland, Albania. In Yugoslavia, they are not only politically but also biologically threatened. In multinational Yugoslavia, the Albanians are numerically the fourth, and due to their high natality rate, will soon become the third largest nation in terms of population.
- In the event of foreign aggression against Yugoslavia, it would be difficult to find a hundred Croatians willing to fight and die voluntarily for Yugoslavia.
- As Yugoslav history to the present day indicates, as well as the number of political prisoners in hard labor camps, Yugoslavia is materially and spiritually a major source of terrorism in Europe.
- In contrast to its predatory neighbors in the East and West, the Croatian nation has never expressed imperialistic tendencies, not even at the beginning of the 10th century, when the Croatian state population and military strength equaled that of England. Even in times of greatest difficulty, Croatia has always managed to be a cultural presence. Croatians made a significant contribution to the formation of contemporary civilization. Already in the eighteenth century, three Croatians were named as members of the French Academy: Anselmo Banduri, byzantologist, antiquary, and numismatologist; Lujo Nikolic, astronomer; and Rudjer Boskovic, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. From the mid-fifteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, ten Croatian Muslims held the most respected positions in the Turkish state government, military, and foreign service, thus having considerable influence on the formation of Islamic civilization. Croatia is the only nation in Europe with a large number of Islamic believers among its citizens and serves therefore as a natural link between the Eastern Byzantine world and the non-Islamic European states.
- In spite of countless battles with foreign occupiers, as well as the propaganda of genocidal Yugoslavia, the Croatian nation has succeeded in keeping 80% of its population within its historical territory; upon the return of millions of Croatian emigrants, this percentage will increase considerably. The Croatian nation is not large, but has earned on the basis of its contributions to contemporary civilization, population, and strategic geographical location, a meaningful place among the other free, sovereign, and united nations of the world. Of a total of 33 European states, 16 have smaller populations than Croatia, and 18 are smaller in area. In Asia, 22 states have smaller populations, in Africa 35, in South America 7, in Central America 11, in North America 2, and even in Oceania, 2.
- There is only one Croatia but Croatians number in the millions. Dispersed throughout all continents, living in virtually every state and country, Croatian emigrants – regardless of societal position or place of residence – cannot be an integral part of the country that has given them refuge until Croatia is free and sovereign. And as a result, against their will, they often bring unrest to the entire world. The necessity to fight for Croatia arises from an obligation and duty toward the world and a responsibility toward one’s homeland. The Croatian nation is opposed to forced internationalism and state terror, but supports international human rights, freedom, and responsibilities.
- The sustained and radical colonialization of Croatian national territory cannot transpire without injurious consequences to economic development, freedom, spiritual life, and the creativity of other nations within Yugoslavia, a fact even the power-holding Serbian intellectuals comprehend and affirm:
“ The spiritual life of the Yugoslav nations is manipulated by use of banal issues of power, and the national product is used up as soon as it is produced. The historical reality of this land cannot be characterized by anything other than an accumulation of crises which benefit those in power but present a danger to the culture, without which we cannot survive. We have a backward agriculture, an uncompetitive industry, low productivity which is decreasing daily, a poor, disorganized standard of hygiene, a 19th century educational system, massive illiteracy, unemployment, export of working force and import of capital, sudden enrichment of a small number of individuals, and widespread poverty of the national masses hyperproduction of capital, delinquency, prostitution, and corruption…the lie as a means of communication, a falsified system of information. This is not capitalism, this is not socialism, this is deceptive vegetation harvested from the dregs of a half-barbaric form of European civilization, an holds the propensity for the most savage repercussions.”
We have expressed here the principal reasons for our opposition to this imposed state entity and loss of freedom, and now we will continue with our struggle, persevering to our last breath and ultimate victory, sharing the hopes and fears of the world, and accepting our part and responsibility in its destiny.
We fight for a united, national, Croatian state in which Croatian sovereignty is indivisible, inalienable, and eternal. The national minorities living in union with the Croatian nation and having the same homeland will be governed by the fact of Croatian sovereignty and all that implies in historical, constitutional, and legal terms; at the same time, the rights and equality for these minorities will be guaranteed and respected, regardless of race, nationality, religion, or political beliefs.
We present the Croatian issue as an issue of freedom, a new form of cooperation. Croatia, in our conception, is a state of free people, a just society, outside all ideological, political, economic, and military blocs, a meeting place of the East and West. Croatia is not up for bids on an international auction block, but must play an integral role in the destiny of the world. Consequently, we fight for a Croatia which will be, for all people, either a welcome presence or a beloved homeland.
Caption: The Declaration, translated into English and French, was printed in its entirety in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the International Herald Tribune. Leaflets of the Declaration were thrown from an escort plane over New York, Chicago, Montreal, London, and Paris in the time period between September 10 and September 11, 1976.
Revised translation from the Croatian original. Please refer to Croatian page for original complete text, entitled "Poziv na dostojanstvo i slobodu"