Tidbits from Croatia, Vol. 1 Universal morality
I was born raised and educated in Slovakia. Once my studies came to their successful conclusion I have packed my bags and have left Slovakia for good. I am a migrant or if you like to sugarcoat it I am an expat. Fortunately my reasons for leaving Slovakia were not war, poverty or persecution. My reason was the love of my life. I never hesitated with my decision and I have never even thought about regretting it. I am happy because home is were my partner is.
When it comes to mentality people in Croatia are not too different than people in Slovakia. Both of these nations love to stress their Catholic faith and their heritage. Unfortunately they also like to use their religion against everyone who is even slightly different than them. They would cite the Old testament whenever LGBTQ related issues surface; quickly forgetting about the Jesus’ words of love and acceptance. I used to be Christian and I still consider myself spiritual but Catholicism is a lost cause for me. One thing that stuck to me though is never to judge others and to be kind to people because that’s what the behavior I expect from fellow human beings regardless of their nationality, faith, race, sexuality, gender…
It is quite easy to understand the Croatian political scene; there are two main parties and they are the political manifestation of the idealogical split in Croatia. On the one side you have the left, progressive, liberal political spectrum headlined by SDP and the right, conservative, nationalist spectrum headlined by HDZ. No need to guess I sympathise with the left spectrum. Even though they haven’t done all of what they promised they gave me at least the notion that the matters of human rights and freedoms are progressing in the right direction. After the referendum on the constitutional definition on marriage being only for straight people (referendum law was changed to abolish the 50% threshold because of the EU referendum) SDP passed a law of lifetime partnership for gay people with the same legal rights as straight couples get except for adopting children. It was a compromise but definitely a step in the right direction. It seems that this law hasn’t destroyed every straight marriage in the country as was predicted by the homophobic folk here in Croatia. Surprise, surprise… The discussion that happened before the referendum left me scarred and very angry at people who still think we gay people would chose to live a stigmatised life where the majority would say we are sick and not normal, unnatural. How much fun that is indeed… I am not asking you to give me uberrights, just give me a chance to live my life with all the benefits and rights as straight couples enjoy. Simple as that. The tax office never asked me if I was gay or straight they just collect their taxes and if there is no difference there why should there be a difference when it comes to marriage? Please do not cite religion as a reason as Croatia is a secular country. Believe and manifest what ever you want but do not force me to believe the same thing, to abide by the laws of your holy books when I do not consider them the universal moral code.
Unfortunately after some turbulent general election period HDZ formed the new government and it leaves me anxious about the future. There are extreme conservative people taking over the ministries and I am afraid they just cannot wait to bring us back to the middle ages with many new conservative measures. Side note for conservative folk — making abortion illegal does not eliminate the phenomenon itself it just pushes it to a very dangerous and life threatening position. Also marginalizing minorities doesn’t benefit democracy at all.
It comes as a no surprise then that the first action of the new minister of the veterans’ affairs was to sanctify the premises of the ministry. Perhaps he thought that the previous minister was the devil himself and the ministry needed a spiritual purge. Well another surprise came just a day after that. The minister, a devoted catholic and a law abiding citizen, seems to have a tax related issue or fraud, we will have to wait and see (hint — the courts are not too speedy in Croatia). He formally (even in his CV) claims that his place of residency is literally a shed in a village. Of course that is, tax-wise, much cheaper than living in Zagreb where you have to pay the highest residency tax. What an exemplary catholic! I am sure a confession will make it easier on his soul… We will have to wait and see if he has the moral guts to resign. This is why I have a problem when such people moralise. Wipe your own shed first please!