By: Dr Stane Granda
The celebrations of the annexation of Styria – Maister’s Day, Prekmurje, and Littoral were enthusiastically embraced and preserved by the Slovenes, even though they were accepted by Janša’s government.
The last of these memorial days is particularly interesting, as it completely overshadowed May 5th, which was, in fact, a celebration of the new spiritual and political, undemocratic occupation. The holiday was not only ideological but also a historical hoax, a distortion, and an abuse of history and national sentiments since we did not regain the most valuable part of Littoral: Trieste and Gorizia with Slovenian national territory, Venetian Slovenia, Rezija, and Kanalska dolina, and even the Belopeška jezera. It was done behind the backs of the TIGR members, who sacrificed their lives for their national and democratic beliefs. They paid with their lives at the hands of Ribič’s liquidators. Not all of them. Some of them turned ideologically and even collaborated. They threatened to reclaim this date as soon as the totalitarianism returned to power. They did not. They accepted the international legal argument that internationally recognised borders are determined by international peace conferences after the war is over. The grand forgery of May 5th is also the song “Vstala Primorska”, which is a plagiarism of Bazovica’s unique song. I do not understand those who sing it. It turns my stomach! Let’s go back to the poignant original. Also, for the sake of Istria and Rijeka, mentioned in the original. Above all, for the sake of the Bazovica victims. In essence, the forgery is against the tigers. When did the true Littoral locals give up on them?
The last celebration on September 15th still has a flaw. Not because Kučan spoke at it, the heir of those due to whom we lost Trieste and Gorizia, a large part of Gorizia along with our true Slovenian coast from Trieste to Gradež, but because it omitted the essence of the holiday. September 15th is also a memorial day for those anti-fascists and democrats who were killed by the communists during World War II and after it because they did not accept communism or were allegedly a threat to it. Despite the current tragic state or precisely because of it, we should especially remember them. Slovenia is a democratic state and is therefore obliged to commemorate those compatriots who had to die because of their belief in democracy. They sacrificed their lives for what we achieved in 1990/91. If it is high time for Italians to acknowledge fascist crimes against Slovenes, it is even more important for Slovenia to publicly acknowledge responsibility for the killings of some of the TIGR members and apologise for the post-war treatment of them.
Kučan’s incredibly weak speech, typical of his regular appearances, was a party-style speech that exploited national emotions, anti-fascism, and deep national sentiments. By claiming that the worst peace is better than war, he indirectly not only expressed solidarity with Putin but also indirectly criticised the oldest anti-fascism in Europe. Even then, a bad peace was better than war. Why did the Littoral locals not reach an agreement with the fascist regime and save themselves from suffering and preserve many lives, including the victims of Bazovica? Apparently, for him, only revolution is justified. For it, almost everyone can fall, as long as it wins, and the leadership comes to power! Cui bono? It is impossible to shake off the impression that the organisers of the celebration hired special applauders who interrupted his speech and indirectly criticised their own cause. All that was missing were the cries of Tito-Party. These are, in fact, replaced by the well-known stone inscriptions on the surrounding hills.
Although the choice of dates and the justification for the content of “annexation” holidays have not escaped my attention entirely, I have nothing in common with the phrase “annexation to the motherland”. Even less so. I do not understand it because I do not know what or where the motherland is to which they are annexing. Is it Ljubljana? Is it Carniola? The accusation against Littoral, Prekmurje, and all Slovenian ethnic territory that they are not the motherland is absurd. Just as the Ministry for Slovenians Abroad and Around the World, which is an organisational-administrative hybrid, is not a reflection of Slovenian identity. Are Prekmurje locals, who have always referred to themselves as Slovenians and have been separated from us for 1,000 years, renouncing their motherland? What are the spiritual and political contributions of Matija Majar from Ziljska dolina and Carinthian Slovene Lambert Ehrlich in laying the foundations of what we have or should have today? If there is a motherland for Slovenians, it is at most ancient Carantania and conditionally its successor Carinthia, and nothing else. Instead of annexation, we should celebrate the return or reunification with the majority. Perhaps a better term could be found.
One of the fundamental problems of Slovenian citizens is their poor knowledge of national, i.e., their own history. In the last century, it was heavily subordinated to Yugoslavia, and issues related to the demand for their own state, which has been pursued since the end of World War I, were considered a “taboo”. Its share in the curriculum is among the lowest in Europe. The same applies to the values and advantages of democracy. Even our parents practically did not know these values. After gaining independence, I expected some kind of “Ministry for National Orientation” that would systematically, and above all, through control over primary and secondary schools, address this deficiency. In fact, given the creation of the first Slovenian state in history, the entire education system should be oriented towards respecting it. Recently, we have been hearing from educators about how things were better thirty years ago?! Dr Jože Pučnik was an exceptional person for such a position. I admit that it is easy to be wise in hindsight, but I am genuinely alarmed when I hear about the necessity of the rule of some “enlightened absolutist” who would take care of this issue. The old powers were aware of this and practically did not let go of the education system. This is also why they are against private schools. Prospects for the future are not good. New curriculum programmes are being prepared, and Slavko Gaber and his people have the upper hand in this. Because nothing is eternal, this also applies to the current ruling elite. In preparing for the new, our own, we should certainly consider this question. The fact is that we are losing elections in the post-independence generation. Ignoring this fact is a path to political suicide. “Now it is about Slovenia!” as Pučnik would say.