For the last few months, many countries around the world have been participating in soccer matches that could qualify their country for the World Cup in Brazil next summer. With a top ranked soccer team, Croatia is no exception. This week, they played a match against Iceland in Zagreb. To say this game was  very important would be an understatement – a win would  qualify Croatia for the prestigious tournament, so emotions were running high. The Croatian national team celebrated a 2-0 win against Iceland, and landed them a spot at the World Cup 2014.


The FIFA World Cup attracts not only soccer fans but in parallel, promotes nationalism, and the two basically go hand in hand. Since Croatia’s break from Yugolsavia, the World Cup quickly became the foundation of nationalistic appeal and in this setting, soccer was utilized very clearly as a means by which to instill pride and faith into the hearts of the Croatian public. I view soccer as a form of nationalism that forges unity in countries with significant social divides and it is a way for fans to channel pride for their country in a positive setting.


Croatian national team defender, Josip Šimunić, an Australian born and fellow diasporee, has  been scrutinized and fined by Croatian public prosecutors for allegedly chanting ‘racial’ slogans after Croatia’s victory over Iceland. He took the microphone, and saluted: “To the battle! to the battle!” (U boj! U boj!) to which the fans replied: “For our people!” (Za narod svoj!) He then continued: “For the Homeland” (Za Dom) to which 20,000 fans responded back: “Ready!” (Spremni!)  The Australian native is also facing possible suspension and hefty fines from FIFA, which has caused a divide once again with Croats.


“For Homeland: Ready!” (Za Dom Spremni) is a CROATIAN salute that has been used by many people, over the course of a few centuries and it is  a salute used in the latest Homeland War.  Many people, specifically communist folk in Croatia, associate this salute to the Ustashe, WWII, Hitler and Ante Pavelić which is the reason why political officials have condemned  Šimunić and his supposed criminal actions. As if one would be so idiotic to believe that an Australian, born in democracy, who always wears a rosary around his neck would demonstrate such hate toward a group of people at a soccer match!? Having Ustaše in my family (grandfathers and their brothers), I don’t even associate Za dom Spremni as facist. To me ‘Za Dom Spremni’ is patriotic – love for Croatia, not hate for another ethnicity.

Political leaders and the mainstream media are having a field day with this.  Šimunić’s actions come at a perfect time, where they can deflect their own insufficiencies as political leaders. Corruption, unemployment, and a general disapproval of the government have all taken the backburner and all focus has been placed on  Šimunić. What is more laughable is these same people want to lecture ME about democracy. These people who were born in communism, and still live and breathe it today would like to give Šimunić a lesson about democracy and Croatian history. These people, who hated everything Croatian, are suddenly the experts on Croatia’s bloody history.


But yet, when a Croatian flag was burning in the 90th minute of a soccer match between Croatia and Serbia 2 months ago, these same people didn’t condemn these actions.


These same people who at that same match seen a 50 metre Serbian flag with the words BYKOBAP (Vukovar) didn’t speak up. They stood silent, like the nice little communists they are, for fear of rocking the peace boat with Serbia.


What amazes me is these political leaders and their group of small followers claim the salute brings back horrible memories of the nazi’s and killings, but yet – the cyrillic alphabet in Vukovar does not. And then when FIFA banned a banner that says “Remember Vukovar” basically on the anniversary of the fall of Vukovar, they stood silent. Because apparently remembering the victims of the biggest slaughterhouse modern day Europe has seen is a crime.


 Joe Šimunić did not incite hatred and did not give any racial speeches. His salute was love for his homeland, pride for our nation, and a guaranteed spot at the World Cup in Brazil.


63 thoughts on “Za Dom: SPREMNI!

    • Yes, they certainly are. I just don’t understand their logic. They make a mountain out of a mole hill and need to politicize everything. Those elections can’t come soon enough.

  1. The Usatshi salute was “Za dom i poglanvika” wasn’t it? Taking out the “poglavnik” brings the phrase “Z dom – spremni!” back to its original roots, as it very well should be. But you can’t argue with Yugo-communists, can you, when they still believe that even the Croatian coat of arms is an Ustashe invention. Next they’ll probably say the Croatian language is an Ustashe invention. I understand that the legacy the Ustashe movement left behind wasn’t exactly exemplary, but I am also sick of everything Croatian being associated with Pavelic and co.

    Another point to add: the Serbian handball team wore chetnik insignia while being presented with their medals. How is that not getting criticism?

  2. Very well said! Respect.
    Don’t forget, during a friendly match in Melbourne (Australia vs Serbia in 2011) Serb fans displayed a banner that said Free Mladić (Ratko Mladić, a radical Serb general who was committed for war crimes he and his men committed in during the 90s in Bosna & Hercegovina)
    There were also many Serb fans at this match wearing Četnik/Partizan insignia (shirts with communist smybols and shirts with četnik symbols, četnik caps, partizan caps) etc

  3. Well put Didi! And the truth of Simunic’s love stems from his upbringing in Australia, where, as I imagine in the whole of diaspora, children of Croatian origin are raised to love Croatia unconditionally! No politics in that love whatsoever and who else but former and current communists would want to poison that love!? Za Dom! For Home!

  4. WE are in full support of Joesip Simunic salut of za dom spremni he did not attack any one and if someone does not like it should go were they belong, where is democratic Croatia why Croatians need to be called terrorists for their belive,Josipe we are always with you BOG I HRVATI ZA DOM SPREMNI.

  5. I was looking at the website, and realized who actually wrote it haha. Good job Didi!! When you do your next citanje, you should “za Dom spremni” at the end haha… Not sure Ljubo would like that though

  6. That was a really good read. Thanx for enlightening me. American Croatian here and I absolutely love the Cro national team. Great work boys making it to the world cup!

  7. Excellent. Thank you…Neka te dragi Bog blagoslovi! This was Right On. It took the diaspora to free Gotovina i Markac…we will win this with the right PR and never forgetting what our beloved branitelji fought for!

  8. It is incredible how much hatred is actually promoted by ‘Croatian’ newspapers. Following their polls however it is obvious that “za dom spremni ” it’s only wrong for the small group of people within Croatia itself. A lot of those people are (surprise, surprise) children of former JNA military members or Serbian origin. Starting with a dude who works for FARE, agency responsible to report UEFA “hatred of ‘Remember Vukovar’ flag”. Enough said.

  9. He was talking about the game of football and his fellow team mates.

    The football game is the battle, a fight for pride in your jersey that represents the Croatian people. and the players and fans alike will give it everything they’ve got for their homeland when in Brazil.

    All is In the eye of beholder.

  10. It will be good,to sent all those comments to Mr.Blatter in FIFA office,to understand what ZA DOM SPEMNI means to us in diaspora. Thanx to Joe Simunic and all compatriots who support him.

  11. This was a great read. Croatia is going through a culture war, similar to what is happening here in the US. The soccer team was forbidden even to wear their white checkered jerseys when playing against Serbia at home. The political elites will keep pushing to suppress Croatian patriotism as long as it doesn’t look entirely obvious. The political leaders are internationalists and not Croats in the way we would define one. When someone like Simunic stands up against their program and receives popular support, it sets them back a step. They now have to tread carefully.

    • You’re absolutely correct when you say Croatia is going through a culture war. I do believe that patriotism is awakening amongst citizens once again, just like it did prior to the 90’s and it’s quite unfortunate that patriotism is being confused with Nazism. Thanks for you comment, please visit again!

  12. The bitter reaction to Simunic’s patriotic salute “Za Dom – Spremni” is sickening! I can find no kinder words to describe how utterly and thoroughly disappointed I feel that even today, 18 years after the Homeland War, Croatians are still not the masters in their own house. How many more decades will it take for us to “wise up”? Why are we always so afraid of asserting ourselves as a nation and as a proud people? Are we incapable of forming our own paradigm/ standards as to what is socially acceptable behavior? Are we incapable of delving into our own history in search of what is truth and what is fiction? It is the victors who write the history books – but the mere act of writing does not guarantee accuracy or indeed truthfulness. Croatians are still being told what to think and how to act by the same Communists who we supposedly ousted from power in ’91 -when will it be our turn to write our own history – truthfully and objectively? Jadni nas narod! We have conceded and compromised ourselves to such and extent over the last 18 years that we have eroded away our national identity. First, our historic Croatian flag was apparently not palatable so it had to be revised, and then our national anthem and then it is the letter “U” and then Za Dom – Spremni! and now Vukovar-the symbol of our resiliency as a people – is once again a battleground for Croatian human rights and etc. etc… but all the while – former Partisans are getting their pensions as usual, Tito’s square in Zagreb stands proudly as it did before, Dan Antifascisticke Borbe is still being commemorated, our Croatian Constitution encapsulates in totality all Croatian history EXCEPT 1941-1945 and defacto predicates our modern day Croatia on the communist/partisan victory in 1945, therefore, I suppose, we have Tito to thank for today’s Croatia???????? Is it any wonder that things have gotten so out of hand? We were strategically out-manipulated by those who never let go of the reigns of power and never will – until and unless they are forced to.

    • Velebite divna goro nasa ti si kuca Hrvatski Ustasa.We have no shame of what we are and who we are.If it wasn’t for KRVNIK tito our parents would have stayed in Croatia.ZDS

      • Thanks for your reply Paul, and I agree totally. My parent’s generation escaped Yugoslavia and found a new life in Canada – out of sheer necessity! They arrived with very little money, little education, no formal training in a skilled trade, no knowledge of the English language, no relatives or sponsors to depend upon – in short, with nothing but a willingness to work and create a new life for themselves. In spite of or indeed because of all of these obstacles, that generation of Croatian emigres held tight to one another, supported each other and founded key cultural, political and social societies and organizations in a determination to keep their love for Croatia alive for future generations in the diaspora!

  13. The longer that we allow the current extreme left-wing communist hangover Government and its media to propagate misinformation and hysteria like what we saw with the unfortunate Josip Šimunić, the more that we will be subjected to injustices that are taking place in Vukovar, and the more that people like Bob Dylan will say misinformed stupidity in mainstream magazines.

    I believe this image sums up Josip Šimunić’s situation nicely:

  14. Thank you for writing this.
    I personally feel that FIFA are themselves inciting racial hatred with this decision.
    Not only do they punish a small country for what was essentially a patriotic act. But, they turn a blind eye to those who provoke or incite hatred against Croatians.
    It’s time to stop using ‘Nazi’ and WWII as political tools whenever it suits someone. Ironically i think the way that FIFA and governments have devalued and normalised these words (and time in history), for their own political gain and PR opportunities, is actually insulting and patronising to Jewish people.

    Simunic is just a scapegoat – for all the other, worse, times that FIFA failed to act. Unfortunately Croatia is not big or rich enough to pay for a favorable outcome.

    • Yes Deana, I agree with you everything you have said. Whenever a Croat says or does something patriotic, they are automatically labelled a fascist.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  15. Pingback: Croatia 2013: Year in Review | Diaspora Diaries

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