In the 21st century, one would not expect dictators to be celebrated.  But Tito, Yugoslavia's president for almost half a century, is the kind of strongman many wish still ruled the now divided country.

For many however, Tito was almost a father figure, a dictator who kept his country away from the even tighter clutches of Russian expansionism and more importantly kept peace in a place that historically tended to fall apart at the first sign of unrest.  And indeed, when he died, Jugoslavia fell into the bloody civil war that ended with its dissolution.

But many people today, do not remember Tito.  Some think of him as some appendage to the Kremlin, which he was not.  But he was also ruthless and many considered him a war criminal. 

According to some reports, he was responsible for the death of 100,000 people, who Tito killed as 'collaborators' of the Nazi regime, right after the fall of Berlin, but many were civilians who were executed just for trying to escape his new dictatorship right after the war.  

The new exhibit in Slovenia tries to separate the man from the myth.  While he was a capable politician, he was also someone who should not be idolized.  Many however, do not want to let go of the man as protector of Jugoslavia. 

Tito in fact, lived the life of a celebrity, but did manage to keep the Kremlin's talons away from his country, so that people there lived a much freer life than say East Germany or other Iron Curtain countries.  

His biographies however, sell well.  People seem to want to know more about this man, who fought the Nazis and kept Russia at bay.  It was his larger than life image, which fascinated many, and made them forget who he truly was.  

The exhibition then, is a chance to reflect on Tito's life and for a new generation to draw its own conclusions.

Source : France 24/  12.6.13


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