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Sunday, October 1, 2023

The right to self-defence

By: Dr Matevž Tomšič

The abolition of the National Memorial Day for the Victims of Communist Violence, orchestrated by the current ruling elite, has sparked a significant revolt in the Slovenian public. Politicians and opinion leaders have reacted strongly, evidently unsettling those in power and their media, civil society, and other supporters. Particularly provocative were the remarks of former Prime Minister Janez Janša regarding the incitement of civil war and the call for arming by columnist Tomaž Štih. The Ministry of Justice even reported the latter to the state prosecutor’s office on suspicion of “public incitement to violence, calling for armed resistance, and overthrowing the constitutional order”.

However, this is clearly a case of misleading by the ruling establishment and its propaganda apparatus. Janša was accused of using radical rhetoric, suggesting that he was threatening with civil war. However, in reality, he accused the government of “announcing a new civil war” through the abolition of the Memorial Day. One may have different opinions about this stance. Even if someone considers it misguided or even absurd, it is by no means possible to attribute to him the incitement of civil conflict. Rather, it can be seen as a warning against it. Similarly, the accusations against Štih, claiming that he was inciting violence against those with different opinions, as stated by one of the pro-government editors, are unfounded. In fact, he called on people to arm themselves. However, from the text, it is evident that this was meant for the purpose of self-defence. He wrote: “A small clique of extremists, who are conducting a constitutional coup by no longer seeing anything wrong with crimes against humanity, is crossing the Rubicon. They can only subjugate an unarmed nation.” It is clear from this statement that the call for arming was intended as resistance against potential violence by the current leftist authorities. There is no mention of any aggressive activities against anyone. Regardless of whether we agree with Štih’s assessment or not, we cannot accuse him of inciting violence.

Those in power and their supporters, who express such outrage over Štih’s call, need to be reminded that every person has the right to self-defence, which means the right to defend their life, the lives of their loved ones, and their property. Even with firearms, if necessary. The right to possess and potentially use weapons is something recognised by the oldest modern democracies. It is enshrined in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. It is also dedicated to the famous Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, adopted in 1791. The purpose in these cases is clear: to enable ordinary citizens to protect themselves from violence, especially violence perpetrated by those in power. In this way, the establishment of tyranny is either prevented or, at the very least, significantly hindered.

The social atmosphere in Slovenia is becoming increasingly toxic. There are many who believe that violence is acceptable as long as it is carried out in the name of the “right” ideology. Whenever an article is published discussing communist crimes committed during World War II or in the post-war period, a slew of comments emerges defending these crimes with statements such as “it was necessary” or even “we did not kill enough of them”; they shame the victims, saying “we all know they were traitors”; and they mock their families, saying “what did you suffer, you survived, did you not?” Such twisted individuals can be found not only among anonymous social media users but also among opinion leaders who are favourites of the leftist scene (some of them even being recipients of various awards). And since last year’s “victory of freedom” in the elections, they have practically “broken loose”. Now that they are in power, they imagine they can do whatever they want. In such a state of mind, are calls for people to ensure their own safety by arming themselves really so unreasonable?


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