Town cheers as they burn effigy of same-sex couple and baby
Residents of a small Croatian town cheered yesterday as they set fire to the effigy of a same-sex couple and their adopted baby.
The incident happened during the carnival in the town of Imotski, Croatia on Sunday (23 February).
The carnival is a 150-year tradition and often sees people vent their anger at powerful political and social figures. But experts say the decision to attack a minority group like same-sex parents is new.
Moreover, the language and symbolism make it quite clear the burning was a homophobic act.
The effigy of the gay couple were wrapped in a rainbow scarf. Meanwhile the child bore the face of Social Democratic Party MP, Nenad Stazić. The left-wing politician recently called for same-sex couples to be allowed to foster children.
And the announcer told the cheering and dancing crowd: ‘My head is spinning from this culture of death. This year, let’s set this grotesque family with baby Nenad Stazić on fire!’
‘Intolerance and inhumanity are not a Croatian tradition’
Now another Social Democratic Party MP, Arsen Bauk, has announced he will file a criminal complaint against the parade’s organizer.
And Croatia President Zoran Milanović has condemned the ‘shameful event’.
He said: ‘The symbolic burning of same-sex partners with a foster child in Imotski is a sad, inhumane and totally unacceptable act in the guise of the “Bakova povorka” festivities.
‘The organizers who staged this shameful event, in the name of tradition, deserve the strongest public condemnation because of the hatred they have demonstrated toward for others.
‘Intolerance and inhumanity are not and will not be a Croatian tradition. I am seeking their public apology and the appropriate response from the relevant institutions, especially as many children watched this event, thus witnessing the spread of hatred and inciting violence.’
Former Croatia Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor added her voice to the condemnations.
She said: ‘These arsonists in Imotski would set fire to all of us who are different for various reasons. They have no mercy on others because they have neither love nor hearts and do not care what kind of people they are.’
And MP Bojan Glavašević also took to social networks to praise a same-sex couple, Ivo Šegota and Mladen Kožić, who want to adopt children. The effigy apparently represented them.
‘Mladen and Ivo are more patriotic, more courageous, and more of a [positive] example for the future of Croatia than those who burned their characters, and the character of the child they wish to provide a home for.
‘Change is coming. Within it, Mladen and Ivo will find happiness, not the arsonists.’
But the carnival’s organizers defended their actions.
They said: ‘We are a conservative society, and follow tradition. Give a child to a mother, as the saying goes. We think it’s the right thing to do.’
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Author: Tris Reid-Smith