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Rocking The Boat

Croatian rock star Marko Perkovic, performing in Zagreb, generated protest buzz, but not much action, for his Manhattan performances.
Croatian rock star Marko Perkovic, performing in Zagreb, generated protest buzz, but not much action, for his Manhattan performances. (Associated Press)

The attempted journalist blockade might have raised the expectations bar a little high. No offense, Mr. Corluka, but musically Perkovic and his band are kind of mundane; they sound, at moments, like the Gipsy Kings doing "Dust in the Wind." The charm of songs like "Geni Kameni" is perhaps in the lyrics -- and they don't translate all that well:

Genes, genes made of stone

A fire burns within me

Genes, genes made of stone

That's the way we are born

Take it or leave it.

This, of course, sounds different to Croatian ears. There, Perkovic is considered not just an entertainer but a political phenomenon, says Srdjan Dvornik, executive director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, who spoke yesterday as he was heading home to Zagreb.

"After the war with the Serbs, there was never a real confronting with the past," he said. "Nobody ever admitted that Croatia, as part of a defensive war, committed acts of ethnic cleansing. So the myth of the Croatians as collective victims is still alive. But now it's just left to people like Thompson to express that myth publicly."


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