A familiar story

International concern over Austria's Jorg Haider evokes a wry smile from this Serb ("Stand by and watch him self-destruct", 7 February). When the Krajina Serbs baulked at the prospect of being railroaded into a secessionist Croatia that was unrepentant about its wartime Ustasha predecessor state, they were accused of unnecessarily dredging up the past.

So much for the Ustasha's butchery in Croatia and Bosnia of hundreds of thousands of civilian Serbs, whose only political ambition in 1941 was to lie low given that Serbia proper was under brutal German rule and whose only crime was their national and religious identity. As for Tudjman's 1989 book, Wastelands of History, a revisionist whitewash of the Ustasha, this was dismissed as an unfortunate slip of the pen. Tudjman's proud boast during Croatia's first free elections that his wife was neither a Serb nor a Jew was treated as a mere indiscretion, and President Tudjman's withdrawal of the Serbs' constitutional status as one of Croatia's two historical nations was deemed a petty detail.

Misha Simic