Jože Biščak, former editor of Demokracija magazine, addressed the participants of the meeting of supporters of Demokracija magazine and Nova24TV. Here is his speech on freedom of speech.
Normally, at some other time and in some other place, I would greet you with: “Dear ladies and gentlemen.” I will not this time. Not here. And not now. I will say: “Dear friends.” I am not a good speaker, not a rhetorician, like my fellow TV presenters Boris and Aleksander are, nevertheless I will try to say something. And you, good people, will not blame me for some speech impediment or looking at this piece of paper, where I have written some thought, some quote.
Therefore, dear friends, it is a joy to see you. You have come from near and far. Above all, there are many of us. There are not a few of us! There are not a few of us. There are definitely more of us than some naysayers would like. Those scoundrels who want to destroy and erase Nova24TV and the magazine Demokracija from the Slovenian media space. Those naysayers who want to silence you too, who support us. But when I see this crowd, I know they will break their teeth. And there will not be a doctor or dentist in this world who can then fix their jaw.
Dear friends, dark, stormy clouds have been gathering over Slovenia, my homeland, yours, and ours for a long time. The first-rate, high-flying, and elite parasites do not just want to take away our livelihood, they attack us because we do not nod to their imaginary and invented, shall I say, postmodernist and transhumanist values. We saw what these values are in the case of Fotopub. They even deny us our national identity. There is still a person walking on Slovenian soil for whom independent Slovenia was never an intimate option, a person who said that we Slovenians do not deserve our country because we are not a nation at all. Can you imagine? He denies our existence as a nation. But we have been here a long time.
Look at this beautiful Poljanska dolina. Beyond these hills is another valley. Behind these two valleys, long ago, our great-great-grandfathers and great-great-grandmothers went a little further north, towards the high Alps, where they tempered and forged the best steel in the Roman Empire at the time. We have been back since then and much further back. A small group of people who gather every year in another beautiful Slovenian valley, the Soča valley, discovers and reveals this. But some, who flaunt titles, academics, doctors, and historians, deny it. Think about it, they deny the origin of their nation. We wrote about it, especially last year in the section Slovenians and Sloveninness, but they attacked us, threatened us, and wanted to silence us. Not just because of that.
I tell you; we must not resort to the sounds of silence. That is exactly what they are counting on – that we will shut up. We must have the courage to speak our minds. Similarly, they persecute freedom of speech throughout Europe, especially in the west of the old continent. And this in countries that we once considered the ideal of democracy and freedom. The day before yesterday, this Thursday, my French colleagues sent me a letter. They told how the president there, Macron, and his troupe persecute dissenters. This is what they wrote, I will just read it: “What dies under these repeated blows is freedom of expression. And if you and all those who recognise the urgent need to defend it do not act today, it will inexorably disappear.” I could not agree more.
But I say this again. As long as one of us, as long as the last of us stands tall, we will all stand! And there will always be one of us standing tall. There have always been people in history who persecuted dissenters and wanted to silence them, but time and time again in history there have also been people who resisted this and defended freedom of speech. It is also because of these people that we are here today. We have a historical duty to preserve their tradition, to defend and preserve freedom of speech. I am not sure; I am really not sure that our generation will enjoy the fruits of this struggle. As it now appears, the fight not only for freedom of speech, but also for personal and economic freedom, may be a long one. But at least we will be proud of the fact that we did not bow down listlessly and start living in their imaginary world, in their parallel world that they draw for us.
Most of you have probably seen the movie The Matrix. You will remember the scene when Morpheus offered the movie hero Neo two pills. In his left hand he held a pill that signified life in lies, ignorance and in a parallel world, in his right hand he held a pill that signified truth and life in reality. Neo chose the truth and the fight for it. I chose that too. That is why the villains are prosecuting and condemning me in the courts today, the prosecutor’s office is chasing me, the police are interrogating me, and I am being slandered in the media. It cost me a lot of health. But I do not regret it, because I know I did the right thing, and I am doing the right thing. It is the same with everyone who works at Nova24TV and the magazine Demokracija. And no doubt that you too have chosen truth and justice. Otherwise, you would not be here today. Thank you.
The fight for free speech will be the pinnacle of our generation. Because of this, everything that has happened to us, what is happening to us and what will happen to us has meaning. This must be the end of some past and the beginning of the future. Therefore, the dark, stormy clouds must be chased away. Maybe, just maybe, we needed all of this to wake up. I am telling you. Those hoping to silence us will be disappointed. And when we have done this work, we will retreat into the lee of time and the shadow of space. We will be aware that we have justified the trust of our ancestors. We will hand over not only freedom of speech, personal freedom, and economic freedom, but also our tradition, our culture, our language and our religion to our children and grandchildren. And they on to generations to come.
I do not know what else to tell you. Dear friends, God bless you! God lives in Slovenia! Thanks again everyone, thanks for coming. Thank you. I am moved.