Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the literary evening concluding the Year of Josip Jurčič in Muljava as a keynote speaker. The literary evening was organised by the Ivančna Gorica Library and Municipality under the “Meet me in the library” European project. The last and most important book on Jurčič that was written as a part of the Year of Josip Jurčič, a literary history monograph by Urška Perenič entitled “Josip Jurčič: The Storyteller of his and our time”, was presented at the event. In addition, young moderators and their mentor, Bernarda Žarn, musicians, Matevž Kavšek and Dominik Kastelic, and the organisers of the Year of Josip Jurčič also participated at the event.
The Prime Minister emphasised the importance and work of writer and journalist Josip Jurčič. He opened by congratulating everyone who organised various events to contribute to the Year of Josip Jurčič.
He continued that there were many big names among Slovenians in the course of the nation’s development that left an important mark in the times in which they lived. “Many of these names were well-known, whereas others were a little more on the fringes.” He added that Jurčič was renowned in the area around his birthplace, but he was not the household name he deserved to be elsewhere in Slovenia. “Josip Jurčič was an exceptional individual. He was also a promoter of national awakening, a newspaperman, an editor, a cosmopolitan, someone who gathered experience from Muljava to Vienna and poured it into practice. The time in which he lived and worked was a special time, a time of national awakening. Jurčič understood that a cultural revival was necessary for a national awakening, and this sentiment is present in all his works. He and his followers made an important contribution to increasing the oeuvre of the printed word in the Slovenian language.” On this occasion, the Prime Minister quoted Jurčič by saying: “Where people read and know what it is all about, there they are unwavering. Where there is a lack of awareness, there is no certainty and there is a safe haven for impostors and strangers.” Prime Minister Janša said that Jurčič was well aware that to raise the nation’s consciousness it was necessary to have a media outlet, that it was necessary to publish a newspaper. “There were a few newspapers being published, but they did not fully satisfy the needs of the younger generations, i.e. the Young Slovenians.” He also presented the life of Josip Jurčič. “He became assistant editor of the Slovenian Nation newspaper, which began to be published in 1868 in Maribor three times a week, which meant a lot of effort and work for an editor. This newspaper emphasised the desire that all Slovenians should be united in one administrative unit, that the Slovenian language should have equal status in public, including in schools and offices. After four years, the newspaper’s offices were relocated to Ljubljana. From 1873, it was published as a daily newspaper, which was hard work in those times. Jurčič edited the newspaper under difficult conditions until his premature death. At that time, Slovenians were at least to some extent competing with the Germans, who back then had a much more developed media network in our region and also dominated cultural and economic life.”
In his speech, the Prime Minister said that, at that time, Jurčič understood that the modernisation of political life was at our doors. It was a time when political movements were evolving into parties in the modern sense of the word, with democracy developing and elections taking place. “He knew that the political doctrine he was advocating, which was based on the freedom of the individual and of the nation, also required strong media support. The Slovenian Nation was the media outlet that, right up to the Second World War, when the newspaper went out of business, provided this media support, which put individual and national freedom at the forefront.” In this context, he also recalled Levstik. “Jurčič, together with Levstik and other associates, is the original founder of the traditional early Slovenian liberalism. At the end of the 19th century, three typical political blocs were thus formed: liberal, Catholic, and social democratic. All of them played an important role in the development of Slovenians as a nation and of traditional Slovenian democracy. If this flow had not been interrupted during the Second World War and later in the party system, Slovenia would today be a much more flourishing democracy, similar to democracies in some parts of Western Europe. Jurčič was not just a writer and he was not someone who believed that merely writing something was enough to have done one’s part.” Prime Minister Janša also quoted one of Jurčič’s thoughts, which, according to him, is still applicable today: “Ideas alone … will not save us, only work can save us …”
In his speech, the Prime Minister also said that Jurčič’s repertoire was very broad and that his political profile was adorned with the principles of freedom and prosperity, something that should be at the centre of the political and national spheres if we want to achieve a normal life and development, as well as ensure fundamental rights and freedoms. He also recalled the brutal war in Ukraine, the escalation of violence against an independent state, and the unbridled trampling upon freedom and peace. “In this context, it is important to recall once again certain words, including those of Josip Jurčič: “… only a nation that is master of its own land can achieve prosperity.” “The Prime Minister concluded his speech by saying that this is a sentence that carries added weight in these times, and that 2021 has seen Jurčič take his rightful place. “He was a pioneer in many fields; he was a promoter of national awakening – a role that was a secret for many years but has now come to light – and it is only right that we be aware of it and further underline it in the Slovenian literature and politics.”
At the end of his speech, Prime Minister Janez Janša thanked the Municipality of Ivančna Gorica and the Ministry of Culture.