Letter: No tears for Tudjman

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The Independent Culture
Sir: You report on the public mourning for President Franjo Tudjman (13 December). He may have been beloved by many in Croatia, but he was also despised by many. In August I spent a month in Croatia with my mother's family, and the stories they told me weren't about a man they loved.

After the war with Serbia, prices rose and wages fell. Those who were once comfortable are struggling. The average wage is about pounds 300 to pounds 400 a month. Cigarettes and alcohol are cheap, but all other items cost about as much as in wealthy countries.

The government claimed it had no money but they had managed to buy a new private jet for Tudjman, and a whole fleet of luxury cars for themselves.

Social services are non-existent. "If you need medicine and you don't have enough money, nobody cares if you live or die," my cousin said to me.

I asked my family what they thought would happen in the forthcoming elections. "If the government lost would the opposition be competent?" I asked. They shrugged. "We don't trust anybody any more." These are not the words of people who are crying today because the man has gone.


London SW9