četrtek, december 30, 2004

Tito statue destroyed in Croatia...Tito bust unveiled in Slovenia...Tito's Blue Train returns to the rails...Tito hits Hollywood...

On 26 December, unknown vandals blew up the famous statue of Josip Broz Tito in his home village of Kumrovec, in Croatia near the Slovene border. Photos of the fallen statue show that the head was broken off, and the body had fallen off of the pedestal [Reuters / 27.12.04 / Tito's monument in home town blown up].

Croatian officials believe the damage was caused by an explosive device attached to the statue's head [Reuters / 27.12.04 / Tito statue blown up in Croatian hometown].

Shortly after the news broke, the Croatian government publically denounced the vandals and promised to restore the statue. The government also called on the police to uncover the culprit or culprits as quickly as possible. The Croatian Ministry of Culture also denounced the act, calling it “barbaric.”

The statue has already been transported to the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb for restoration, which is expected to take a month's time [Mladina / 30.12.04 / Titov spomenik v Kumrovcu bodo restavrirali].

The statue was unveiled in 1948 and is the work of Antun Augustinčić (1900-1979), a prominent Croatian sculptor and protege of Ivan Mestrović. One of his sculptures, entited “Peace,” stands in front of UN headquarters in New York. A museum dedicated to his life and work is located in Klanjec, Croatia.

In addition to the statue, the house of Tito's birth and several other buildings were also damaged in the explosion. The statue and the buildings are part of the Staro Selo open-air musuem, which shows life in Kumrovec at the time of Tito's birth in 1892.
[Mladina / 27.12.04 / Hrvaška vlada obsodila poškodovanje Titovega spomenika v Kumrovcu].

Meanwhile, another Tito statue was in the news earlier in the week, as the head of Slovenia's National Party, Zmago Jelinčič, unveiled a bust of Tito in his garden. The unveiling was attended by numerous members of the Slovene media, and was timed to coincide with the 14th anniversary of Slovenia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Jelinčič said the public will be free to visit the bust twice each year: on 23 December to mark the vote for independence, and on 25 May to mark Tito's birthday [Gulf Daily News / 24.12.04 / Slovene politician pays tribute to Tito].

In other Tito news, the former Yugoslav dictator's infamous Blue Train is set to hit the rails once again. The exquisitly-appointed train was intended for Tito's personal use, and has been maintained in a depot near Belgrade inaccessible to the public for nearly 25 years. The train carried Tito's casket from Ljubljana, where he died, to Belgrade, where he was buried, in 1980 [Telegraph / 21.12.04 / All aboard Tito's train for a touch of red star luxury].

The train will return into service on New Year's eve, to make a run from Belgrade to Vrnjačka Banja in central Serbia. Though tickets for the train ride cost nearly USD 600, they sold out quckly [BBC / 16.12.04 / Tourists offered ride on Tito's train].

And of course the hot Tito news last week were announcements by both Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro that they intend to portray Tito in upcoming films. The Stallone project is set to begin filming next year in Zagreb, and will be a biography of Tito. The DeNiro project, on the other hand, is about a Cold War-era CIA agent and will feature Tito as one of the lead characters [New Zealand Herald / 13.12.04 / Tito hot in Hollywood].

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