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NEWS STORY
VIEWS & ANALYSIS
Croat Nazi Rocker to Tour North America
October 21, 2007
SERBIANNA

At $55 per ticket, Croatian popular rock singer Marko Perkovic, known as Thompson, is betting that New Yorkers will flock to the Croatian Center in Manhattan for a night of a Croatian nationalist euphoria that includes a sword-wielding singer, ballads about extermination of Serbs and Jews during the World War Two and massive Seig Heils by the fans.

"My songs talk about love of one's country, God and all values of Croatian people and if that bothers somebody and calls that fascism, then that is another matter," Thompson told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija in September.

Thompson during a concert performance.

In June, Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the Croatian government to counter veneration of Fascist Ustashe past, and "protested to the Croatian government over the open display of WWII-era fascist symbols, banners and uniforms by fans at a recent concert in Zagreb."

Ustashe were native Croatian WWII Nazi government whose volunteer army engaged in one of the most brutal extermination campaigns of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies that even seasoned German Nazi officers found repulsive.

Thompson's popularity among Croats got another boost this summer when the Croatian television network, Channel 2, did broadcast one of his concerts prompting Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Israel, to fire off a protest statement yet again.

"By broadcasting Thompson's concert on state television in prime time the government is in essence expressing its approval for his hateful message," the Wiesenthal Center statement concludes.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff also notes that Thompson's display of Nazi Ustasha symbolism is no coincidence.

"A singer who sings nostalgically about Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic and favorably about Croatia's worst World War II concentration camps Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska, is openly urging his fans to identify with the genocidal Ustasha regime which sought to liquidate Croatia's Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies as well as their Croatian political opponents," says a statement issued by the Wiesenthal Center.

Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska is a Ustasha song whose lyrics celebrate the World War II genocide against the Serbs committed in the Hercegovina region. The song became popular once again when in early 2000s it was aired on a Croatian national television during a popular talk-show Latinica.

Massive fan Seig Heils.

LYRICS
Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska

Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška
That's the house of Maks' butchers.

There was a slaughterhouse in Capljina
Neretva carried away many Serbs.

Hey, Neretva, flow downhill,
Carry Serbs into the blue Adriatic.

I am Ustasha and so was my father,
Father left craft to his son.

In 2004, Dutch authorities banned Thompson from performing in Amsterdam citing Hitler salute at previous concerts. Thompson organizers quickly switched the venue to Rotterdam where he was allowed to hold a concert. After the concert, the fans started public protests against the Dutch ban in Amsterdam defending symbols the band uses and the Ustasha movement.

"My fans are dignified on all my concerts, after which there are no incidents and in fact it is the media that inflames people who accuse me and my fans for something we are not," says Thompson.

This summer, Thompson held a triumphal concert in the Croatian capital Zagreb with over 60,000 fans engaging in a collective Seig Heil salutes with footage abundantly available on YouTube.

Besides New York, Thompson's North American tour will include Toronto, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Vancouver and San Francisco.

Croatian fan during Thompson performance.

"Marko Perkovic will be coming to USA and Canada, i.e. if he's allowed entry. It certainly looks like he will be here unless there is some protesting to authorities by Serbian and Jewish organizations," says Liz Milanovich, an activist.

The issue of which Balkan figure is allowed entry to North America has also been contentious and bloggers such as Svetlana Novko who runs Byzantine Sacred Art Blog points that back in 2005, Canada banned a tour of a Serbian folk singer Svetlana Raznjatovic Ceca who was once married to a notorious Serbian paramilitary boss Arkan.

"The fact she is a widow of a Serbian paramilitary leader Arkan was sufficient for Canadians to deny her the entry into the country," points Novko in her blog and questions why Canadians find Serbian guilt by association appropriate while at the same time do nothing to stop a concert tour of a Croatian Nazi bigot.

"So, feel free to celebrate the Holocaust in Canada to your heart's content," says Novko.

A New York comedian and a columnist for Jewishworldreview.com, Julia Gorin, takes a more sarcastic approach to this double standard. In her "Do’s and Don’ts for Entry into North America" Mrs. Gorin lampoons immigration authorities for allowing "Croatian Nazi rocker and fans", "Albanian jihadists" and "Bosnian killer" to North America but ban a skimpy-dressed Serb folk singer.

"To my Serbian readers in Canada and America, I recommend that on [Thompson's] concert dates, you get some of those neck supports that people wear for whiplash — so it'll be harder to saw off your head," writes Mrs. Gorin in her blog.

On Saturday, Serbian Unity Congress (SUC), an umbrella group of Americans of Serb descent has condemned Thompson's plans for a November tour and is calling "on all branches of the US government to join human rights watchdog organizations in taking necessary action to stop any of their public performances in the US."

"The band, led by one Marko Perkovic-Thompson, has a long an indisputable track record of bigotry, racism and even outright fascism," says SUC and adds that "this act is utterly incompatible with values established in our society, and that positive action by governmental agencies might be needed to redress the matter," writes Serbian Unity Congress in their public statement.

WEB SITES:
http://www.thompson.hr/
http://www.byzantinesacredart.com/blog
http://www.wiesenthal.com
http://www.jewishworldreview.com
http://www.serbianunity.net/
http://www.juliagorin.com/
http://www.ceca-online.com

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