Growing up hajduk
About the hero of the Croatian Spring.
One of the symbols of the Croatian Spring, a visionary who dreamed of a free and sovereign Croatian state at the time of the oppression of national identities, Bruno Bušić, was proud of his hajduk origin. He was brought up in a patriarchal family, where at night, by the dim light of the fireplace, he listened to stories about Senj uskos, harambašas and hajduks that marked his childhood, but also directed his life.
He lost his mother early. Shaken by his wife's death, at the age of three, his father handed him over to his grandmother and uncles in Herzegovina. Although they took good care of him there, little Bruno missed his father. When he was only five years old, he tried to escape to his birthplace. At night, while everyone was sleeping, like a true rascal, the boy sneaked out of the house and ran into the forest. That escape, of course, ended unsuccessfully. His grandmother found him and took him to his father a few days later on a donkey.
During his primary school days he was very lively. He wandered in the woods with his peers, caught birds, hunted and roasted hedgehogs... His rebellious spirit was visible even in primary school. He stood up against the teacher's dictatorship with a whip and, together with his friends, smashed the writing boards, burned his beginner's book and, with a supply of bacon and bread in his bag, fled into the forest. Hajduk did not last long again. The children stayed in a cave for a few days, where their parents surprised them one night while they were sleeping. They tied them up and chased them into the village where their fathers beat them with belts. For the rest of his childhood, Bruno seemed to accept himself. He liked to spend time in nature reading famous works of world literature.
The course of his life will be shaped by an event from the second grade of the high school he attended in Imotski. An ostensibly anonymous survey was conducted in the school, which tried to check the ideological beliefs of the students. Some of the questions concerned faith in God and students' opinions about the school program and the existing communist system. Bruno, in accordance with his Christian upbringing, replied that he believed in God because he went to religious education and that he himself realized that the "idea of being" was surely implanted in him by a being who must be more perfect than himself. He believed that every thing must have its Master and that, based on that, this world must also have its Creator. When asked about the quality of the Yugoslav system, Bruno again answered extensively and ambiguously. He stated that both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, but he warned about the lack of media freedom within the new system. By doing so, he showed that his thinking goes beyond the framework of indoctrination at the time, and because of that he became the subject of investigation by government organizations. However, the punishment at that time was only a conversation with the class teacher.
However, already the following year, he falls under a more serious investigation by the UDBA due to his participation in the founding of the Tiho organization, i.e. the Secret Organization of the Croatian Intelligence. This organization of young high school students discussed and reflected on Croatian history and was declared an Ustasha organization. After long monitoring of the organization and their meetings, the young men are arrested and interrogated. Some sources state that the organization was artificially created by the UDBA itself in order to track and guide nationalist-oriented young men for the purpose of directing them to espionage in the future. Bušić is soon excluded from the organization and stops coming to meetings. Not long after that, he was expelled from the gymnasium and was forbidden to enroll in any other school in the territory of SFRY. Together with the other expelled young men, he files an appeal, which is resolved positively only two years after the expulsion. He then continued his education in Split, and after that enrolled in philosophy and French at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. He soon graduated and, at his father's insistence, enrolled in Economics, which he finished on time.