www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

nettime: Radio 101-HDZ 1:0
Geert Lovink on Mon, 25 Nov 96 08:48 MET


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

nettime: Radio 101-HDZ 1:0


Sender: iskoric {AT} igc.org

We Shall Never Surrender

On November 21, a year to the day after the end of the Bosnian war,
and the day after the Croatian Telecommunications Council tried to shut
down Radio 101, while Croatian president was still recovering from a
cancer treatment in an American military hospital, American Condor
unloaded 45 tanks, 80 armored personnel carriers, 15 utility helicopters,
45000 rifles, ammo, 5000 pieces of communications gear in Croatian
port Ploce.  This shipment would go as scheduled, since Muslim defense
minister of Bosnia (whom Washington accused of ties to Iran) was
removed two days earlier.  And Croatian president would continue to
receive VIP treatment in the U.S. even if Croatian government did not
back-pedal on its decision to revoke Radio 101's broadcasting license,
bowing to the pressure of its own citizenry.  Croatia, after all, is an ally.

     Bolje Rat Nego Pakt (War is better than agreement - an old
     partisan saying)

Received weapons made Bosnian three presidents purr and obediently
sign the agreement in Paris adopting a peace plan.  Which peace plan? 
Don't ask me.  One of many.  With all those weapons it sure wouldn't
last long past the departure of IFOR from Bosnia.  But it is adopted. 
That makes Clinton shine again (after not so much domestically cheered
decision to extend stay of American forces in Bosnia).

     Bolje Grob Nego Rob (It is better to die than to be a slave -
     another old partisan saying)

My friends sent me a note from Zagreb saying that the Museum Mimara
(the largest Croatian art museum) had sent its letter of support to Radio
101, too.  Museum had put a p.s. note at the end of the letter: "We even
forgive you that you stole our vase." Wow, this was long due.  Yet, rare
a listener understood the reference, and just a handful of producers got
the joke from the early glorious days of 101.  Zrinka Vrabec certainly
got it.  After all, she was the one who anchored the show about the
stolen vase in May 1985.  Actually, she anchored it together with
Hloverka Novak, who is today the editor-in-chief of state controlled
Croatian Television (HTV).  Sadly, in those recent days Hloverka was
not heard voicing her support to the radio station that made her, nor
comforting her former colleague (Zrinka) who is now editor-in-chief of
Radio 101 and whose mother works for Hloverka as a producer on
HTV.  I produced that show about the vase.  I stole the vase, too.  Me
and my friend Davor got very bored one afternoon and went to that
museum.  Communists boasted how this was the best secured museum in
whole Yugoslavia at the time.  But we found that it was quite easy to
take a thing or two out, and we did it.  We returned the item back to the
museum the next day and we made a joke for radio out of it, pretty
much what Buzzkill is doing on MTV (only we did it ten years earlier in
a country behind the iron curtain).  Luckily we were not imprisoned
(although police called us for interrogation whenever some bigger
robbery happened).  The weird thing is that whenever this  museum
story' appears somewhere (and it does from time to time in the press or
in Radio 101 anniversaries) people in Zagreb remember me - as if I
didn't do many more important radio shows: like nuclear power plants
or cement factory, or Plomin power plant or Slovenian peace movement
and conscientious objection, or interview with Garry Adams in 1986, or
discussions about Yugoslav military-industrial machine - nope, all I am
remembered as is as  a guy who stole that damned vase'.

     Ja sam mali, pa sam vrijedan I slusam Radio 101 (I am little and
     I am busy and I listen to Radio 101 - one of the oldest Radio 101
     jingles).

It is important to note that Radio 101 was the only media in Croatian
part of then Yugoslavia who had the story for about a year (then
Vecernji List published a short note).  However, Belgrade magazine
NIN gave me a centerfold in their Labor Day (which was on May 1st in
Yugoslavia) issue for the story.  Why is that important?  Mimara
Museum was established by a Mimara, a guy who worked with allies
after WW II sorting the artwork that Nazis stole from various homes and
places during the war.  In the process of sorting, Mimara  sorted' out
quite an impressive private collection for himself.  However, he didn't
want Yugo-communists to have the fruits of his hard labor.  Instead, he
kept the collection in Vienna.  When he became old and sick his
tightwad heart kind of opened a little so he said that he'd will his
collection over to the city of Zagreb providing that government
guarantees for safety.  That's how Museum Mimara was built.  The old
grumpy lad was never quite impressed by the security of the museum,
though, and constantly threatened to take his toys back to Austria.  A
fact that something was stolen would mean the end of Museum Mimara,
if he just knew what happened.  But he never learned.  He lived three
more years after the  vase' - and all the time he was surrounded by the
security detail keeping good care that he never be told the truth.  That's
why Croatian media kept hush.  Also, that's why Serbian media put it on
the centerfold.  It was 1985, and the war just started.  Tanks were still
parked in the barracks, but for intelligence services, journalists and
corporate directors it was all out war already.  Whatever would make
Croatian economy suffer, was welcomed in Serbia and vice versa. 
Instead of working together to make the whole country better, Republics
started bitterly putting each other down in a bid for ultimate power
between their inept but power-hungry leadership.  At age of 21 this
sounded so strange and ultimately illogical to me that I chose not to
believe that.  Ten years later I still have troubles understanding this ugly
undertone of human nature: the insatiable ambition among some to be
the One. The wars of the Yugoslav succession - the wars about who
would become the Tito in place of Tito - that started then, are still far
from over.

     Krezubi Trozubac - Spikeless Trident, a weekly political talk
     show in 1986,7,8,9 which featured a link between alternative
     rock stations in Ljubljana, Zagreb and Beograd (Hloverka Novak
     was an anchor, I was one of co-producers)

The fact that so suddenly everybody supports Radio 101 and that a
decision that otherwise wouldn't be taken as political is now understood
as an intentional political attack, means just that Croats, particularly
those 1/4 of Croat population that lives in Zagreb are sick and tired of
Tudjman and his autocratic rule.  Tudjman, who was once a chairman of
the board of the Belgrade soccer club Partisan, when he became Croatian
president he changed the name to Zagreb soccer club from Dinamo to
Croatia, defending the decision as if Dinamo sounds "too communist". 
Nonsense number one.  Since last Fall Zagreb is a city without a mayor
- because citizens in free elections continue to elect opposition candidates
and Tudjman refuses to has his capital run by an opposition mayor. 
Democracy sucks.  Now they will let people to buy their own apartments
(for Deutsche-Marks, of course) or move out, but they'll reimburse
former owners with state bonds.  That's exactly what Communists did
after the WW II (with that distinction that Commies were content with
taking dinars).  Those former owners are now going to be proud holders
of two sets of worthless bonds in return for their real-estate, while the
general population will be more poor, and the window shopping crowd
in Zagreb would substantially increase in numbers.  And on top of that
they want to shut down Radio 101?  The only radio that plays rock
music?  The only radio that give you the uncensored news?  The only
radio that TELLS JOKES?  The only fun left in increasingly bleak
Croatian landscape of disabled war veterans and crazed out refugees who
lost their homes and loved ones in contrast to $15 long drinks in posh
night clubs for half-literate mafia dons who made fortunes by selling
bullets to one, two or all three sides during this war, where alliances
shifted from morning to afternoon, and loyalty was suffering a high
inflation rate.  What would be next?  Banning water?

     No Passaran.

Meanwhile, U.N. mandate in Eastern Slavonia would be extended six
more months from January.  Good?  Bad?  Irrelevant.  Obviously, Croat
refugees are not going to move back in, while their military forces are
not there yet.  And Serb refugees are not going to leave and move back
to their homes in Krajina until they feel safe to do so.  So far, despite
Croatian government guarantees, they are harassed and sometimes beaten
or even killed by locals if they come back.  Until they move out from
Eastern Slavonia, however, Croat refugees can't move back in there
without using force, and therefore the U.N. forces, because Britain and
France do not want to allow another  Oluja', will not leave the area. 
This situation can last nearly indefinitely.  And Serbs got the better deal
since the land in Eastern Slavonia is more valuable than the land in
Krajina.  So, Croatian refugees are kind of fucked, and they are
beginning to realize that, and I don't expect them to like it.  Sometimes
in future maybe some of them organize an agency to escort and protect
Serbs from Eastern Slavonia to their homes in Krajina in return for those
Serbs giving back the houses and land to their Croatian owners. 
Government doesn't seem to be terribly interested, so I guess citizens
would have to do it on their own.  This however does not require
violence - it is a simple land for security swap, and everybody gets what
is his back.  It was enough burning houses, it is time to build some.

     Cisti Eter (Pure Ether) - a kind of dark talk show which lasted to
     long in night in eighties; the producer ended up being secretary
     of Transnational Radical Party in Croatia

Happenings in Croatia were mirrored in Serbia, where Milosevic (not
unlike Tudjman) did not want to accept opposition victories on local
level - notably in the city of Nis, where tanks were send to quell
demonstration in support of winning opposition candidate.  Yet Serbia is
a bad guy, so we kind of expect such a behavior.  It is however soothing
to see that both Tudjman and Milosevic are slowly loosing their grip on
power.  The only unfortunate detail is that Milosevic may live still long
years to come.  But, as I said - the wars of the Yugoslav succession are
still far from over.

     Parliament Show - listeners ask a question and 101 journalists go
     out to investigate, the following week they have an answer;
     nobody can hide from Parliament Show, Ivic-Paslic better seek
     asylum in the U.S.

Also interesting is that Zagreb Stock Exchange didn't have any
disturbing crashes due to either Tudjman's health, or Radio 101 case -
telling probably that ZSE is not an important indicator of what's going
on in Croatia, not nearly as important as NYSE is for the U.S.

     Interwencija  85 - (intervention  85) the Buzzkill of 101, a
     situationist project which made 101 a household name; of course
     - we had read a Constitution in a streetcar accompanied by
     saxophone and demonstrated with banners with no text (holding
     silent speeches, too).

BTW, I was banned from Radio 101 in February 1986, when 101's chief
editors bowed to the pressure of Party and Police State after my
coverage of student protests on Zagreb campus in January and February
that year.  Regardless of the ban I continued to write and produce shows
for quite some time after that, and my friends would give me credit in
some funny way not mentioning but hinting to my name.  The
Communist Party installed chief editors didn't have much sway over
people - they couldn't even order a doorman not to let me in.  Radio 101
was filled by young people and almost nobody was fully employed.  So,
the job security was never an issue and the fear of loosing a livelihood
never really played a role, and police had less leverage to blackmail
producers. Finally, the last editor-in-chief in communist era (who, most
interestingly, now works on human rights issues and sometimes even
writes for Arkzin) decided to lock himself in his room whenever I came
to the radio, so he can tell his bosses that he didn't see me in case they
asked.  Gradually, however, I stopped contributing, because I couldn't
get paid (a pretty good reason, I believe).

     Gostiona - (A Pub - but also a wordplay gost-I-ona: guest-and-her) a guest and her show; her was Zeljka Ogresta (PS - she
     always wanted to be a star so much).

After HDZ grabbed power from Communists, they also thought they
will run Radio 101 in the same manner and they promptly installed their
man in a position of editor-in-chief (a guy whom I remember telling me
how good would I look if I just dress in suit and tie; he and his protege
were known as a Copo & Glibo duet), but he died of a sudden death -
and he was younger than me (I always tried to tell him that suit and tie
shorten a man's life but he wouldn't listen to a freak).  Before HDZ
managed to install a new man, Radio 101 reorganized and accordingly to
new free market rules assumed control over their work.  HDZ, caught
sleeping, since then tries to regain control over the radio station with a
carrot and stick method: various goons offered to buy station while the
indecision about the license was consistently kept pending over 101's
head.  Since it didn't work, HDZ reasoned to take the license away from
Radio 101 and give it to somebody else, somebody who would more
readily dance to HDZ favorite music.  Besides, Radio 101 is owned 25%
by Zagreb City Council - which is entrenched in a bitter battle with
National HDZ ever since Tudjman's refusal to accept any of the elected
opposition candidates for mayor of Zagreb.  HDZ reasoned that by
shutting down 101, Zagreb City Council would loose an important
outlet.  This is the same reason why HDZ fiercely attacks Novi List in
Istra and Feral Tribune in Split.  HDZ, in a good old tradition of
Communist Party, does not want media - it wants bulletins that would
write down brilliant thoughts of HDZ leaders, like Seks, who gets
particularly enlightened after the fourth Jack Daniels.  

     Aktualni 101 - Actual 101 - NEWS - but not just any news:
     sound bites interrupted with music and jingles: news for a
     generation with no attention span (MTV should be sent there for
     a seminar). 

Contrary to sometimes successful propaganda, Croatia didn't change that
much.  For example, one of those policemen whom I'd always seen
around (when they seized my passport, when they searched my
apartment without a search warrant, when they interrogated me for more
than 8 hours, when they kept me detained without an explanation, when
they took away my typewriter...)  is now Tudjman's chief of military
police.  I have to give him some credit - he did seem to be a degree
smarter than the rest of them.  Also, he smoked a pipe and dressed in
plaid suits to look like Sherlock (I always had to suppress laughter when
I saw him). When police arrested my roommate at his friends house in
Rovinj (Istria) on January 1, 1985, I was interrogated by detective
Lausic: my roommate, Goran,  was apparently arrested in some case
which combined drugs and nationalism - police found some hashish and
a Croatian flag on the wall.  In those times a Croatian flag on the wall
carried a longer sentence than a gram of hashish: my roommate served
just a year for hashish, while his friend was kept for three years in the
notorious Goli Otok (Naked Island) prison of Croatian coast for the
fucking flag.  I managed to convince detective Lausic that my roommate
was not into  checkerboards' (police jargon for Croatian coat of arms
which looks like a checkerboard).  I even said that I thought Goran was
a Serb.  Sherlock Holmes nodded in approval putting his pipe back in his
mouth.

     Frigidna Uticnica (Frigid Plug) - one of the earliest shows, which
     was aired in the experimental period early in 1984, featuring such
     cultural varieties like an out-of-the-closet gay co-producer/co-anchor; the first such show ever behind the iron curtain (no
     wonder that Tudjman doesn't like 101, Jesse Helms wouldn't like
     it either).

After being treated two weeks for indigestion in a top U.S. military
hospital, Franjo Tudjman, returned to Croatia, where he was greeted by
about half a dozen citizens (including defense and interior ministers)
gathered in front of Zagreb airport.  "We don't want democracy.  We
want Croatia," one of their banners said.  Tudjman, reportedly,
promised to deliver.  As I earlier said - the wars of the Yugoslav
succession are still far from over.  Only, now everybody will have more
weapons.  So, it would be more fun to watch.

     Mirko!  Pazi, metak!... ssssswiss ...Hvala, Slavko. - another
     early jingle: "Mirko!  Watch for a bullet! [bullet passes]
     ...Thanks, Slavko." - Mirko and Slavko were comic book
     characters depicting imaginary teenage Partisan heroes, they were
     able to avoid Nazi bullets pretty much like Luke Skywalker and
     Han Solo were able to avoid Dark Empire's lasers.  Ah, but
     however, a bullet has here a lot of different meanings.  Keep
     guessing.

With sincere sympathies, cordially yours,
Ivica Skoric

PS
So far it is 1:0 for 101 in a 101 vs. HDZ fight, and 101 won by TKO in
first round after just two days, but a rematch is expected, so keep tuned -
go to http://www.peacenet.org/balkans/indie.html#101 (the same page
with the latest updates is available on
http://www.wideopen.igc.org/balkans/indie.html#101) and link from
there to Radio 101 support pages around the world. 

--
*  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
*  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
*  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
*  more info: majordomo {AT} is.in-berlin.de and "info nettime" in the msg body
*  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner {AT} is.in-berlin.de