Democracy, Consumption & Bob the Builder

Zagreb  is not the town it was when I left 20 years ago. During the war in 90’s, the population doubled within shortest period, turning the city into a mess. And the only investments done were shopping malls and volleyball stadiums, while the old center was left to fall apart and hospitals haven’t changed since Franz Joseph (who died in 1916). The country is suffering financial crime and corruption. Many wild things have happened on Croatia. Here the latest. Couple of years ago, one of Croatian “moguls” decided to ruin Cvjetni Trg (one of most important squares in the city), tear down old (and actually protected) houses and build a shopping mall incl. residential area (for other moguls, or their children, I’d guess) and a public garage. Everyone who knows old European cities knows that there is no space for cars so the strategy has been to remove cars outside of city centers – Zagrebian (corrupt) politicians allowed this huge garage in the center, turning pedestrian zones (while other European cities fight for more pedestrian areas) into driveways and clogging the already clogged area. Already angry citizens got even angrier and for years, hundreds of thousands of Zagrebians went out on the streets to protest and tried everything to stop this project from happening. It was yet another proof of what an illusion democracy can be. Money decides.

The mall was opened yesterday and Jutarnji List (daily newspaper) has a couple of excellent pictures on their website. Some of which were really interesting.

While intellectuals (in sandals and sweaters) are protesting and getting arrested (why are they all men?), girls with carefully straightened hair and blasé looks patiently wait at H&M. And check out the guys who actually built the whole place but are complete outsiders to what’s going on. What a nice illustration of the world we live in...