Center for Civil Courage: A Little War Diary by Stjepan Tomaš should be banned from Croatian schools

The author writes this novel as a diary from the perspective of a twelve years old girl living during the Croatian War of Independence. Exploiting the narrative of a war diary the author pushes his nationalistic, religious and bigoted agenda.

The Vice President of the Center for Civil Courage, journalist Željko Peratović as a parent sent a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children demanding that book “Mali ratni dnevnik” (A Little war diary) by Stjepan Tomaš should be banned from Croatian schools. Center for Civil Courage supports this complaint, considering that this book promotes xenophobia, hate speech, ethnic and religious intolerance, violence and neo-fascism.

 

The book „A Little war diary” by Stjepan Tomaš (final expanded edition dates from 1995) has been an obligatory reading in Croatian primary schools for twenty years. The author writes this novel as a diary from the perspective of a twelve years old girl living during the Croatian War of Independence. Exploiting the narrative of a war diary the author pushes his nationalistic, religious and bigoted agenda. The book is divided into three parts; first part describes the beginning of the war in the Croatian town of Osijek in 1991, the second part describes the girl’s hundred days in an Austrian exile and the third part deals with the girl’s return to her hometown and family. The entries in the dairy are very naively written using the innocent language of a child thus giving the impression that everything written is authentic and true and – what is the worst primary school children can conclude from this book – everything (especially coming from the Croatian side) is just and righteous, then and even now. Reading this so-called diary we find out that in wartime even irreligious people begin to pray, that a Serbian mother abandoned her child and fled from Croatia, we find out that boys like to shout Croatian Nazi-like paroles.

And even if there were nationalistic outcries and exaggerations in those war days, concerned parents are nowadays questioning if such a book sends the right message to their children since nationalistic and extreme right-winged views are rising again everywhere in Europe.

[box]Prof. dr. sc. Berislav Majhut,
Faculty of Teacher Education of the University of Zagreb

CROATIAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE ON THE VERGE OF A NEW PERIOD

…Along with the expected war related topics such as refugee experiences (Stjepan Tomaš: A Little War Diary), some taboo themes, such as addiction, death, the loss of a loved one, began to be addressed in, for example, the extraordinary…[/box]

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