The return of Primorska to its homeland is a holiday that unites not only the people of Primorska region, but also the entire Slovenian nation. We are celebrating the survival of a nation that has been put to many difficult tests throughout history. Today's holiday is a holiday of love of our homeland, or as the Slovenian writer living in Italy Boris Pahor wrote: "Despite all the ascents of the human mind, despite the acquisitions of the human spirit with which we rise above ethnical boundaries, the national community is still the most noble homeland of the human heart".
With the London Pact of 1915, Primorska was promised and later by the Treaty of Rapallo also granted to Italy. The implementation of the provisions of the London Pact with the Rapallo Treaty resulted in tearing away from Slovenia not only a large territory with about 300,000 inhabitants, but also an extremely nationally conscious and intellectual potential. The Slovenes of the Primorska region found themselves in an unfavourable environment. Slovenian culture and spirit attempted to be suppressed by the abolition of Slovenian societies and prosecution of the Slovenian language. But Slovenian books found their way into Slovenian homes. The Slovenian song and the Slovenian word have not disappeared. The Slovenes of the Primorska region did not give up.
Despite the extraordinary denationalisation that occurred on the dimensions of ethnocide during fascism, you were the first in Europe to start a revolt against fascism, launched by the TIGR organisation. The decades-long struggle of Primorska patriots against national oppression, the armed resistance of the TIGR and Primorska partisans and the military victory within the Allied forces created favourable conditions for the reunification of the entire Slovenian national territory to its homeland. Unfortunately, state policy at the time, blinded by internationalist ideology, was not able to take full advantage of these arguments.
Gratitude for the fact that Primorska remained committed to Slovenia throughout history, goes to many Primorska patriotic organisations and individuals. Their work, effort, sacrifices and struggle for Slovenia contributed greatly to the fact that Primorska was returned to its homeland on 15 September, when the Peace Treaty with Italy came into force in 1947. Thus, the injustice brought to us in 1915 by the London Pact was partly internationally corrected.
Crimes that had taken place against Slovenes from Primorska have left deep traces. But humiliation and suffering did not break the Slovenian spirit. It grew, strengthened and "found its true face in struggles, humiliation, victories and suffering." Thus the Primorska anthem “Vstala Primorska” rang even louder when it announced a new time and a new life for the people of Primorska. Today's holiday is therefore first and foremost an expression of respect and gratitude to the generations of Primorska people for their national pride, perseverance, resistance against cultural colonialisation and fascism and their loyalty to Slovenia.
Just as with perseverance the seed germinates in a new life, the brave Slovenians of Primorska proved how powerful national consciousness can be and how strong and far-reaching its power can be if it is directed towards the right goals. One of these right goals, for which the Slovenian community in Italy has been striving for many years and which has finally come true this year, is the return of the Narodni dom in Trieste. The return of the Narodni dom to the Slovene community and the conciliatory actions of the presidents of the two countries are a laudable step of reconciliation and rapprochement between Slovenes and Italians, a reflection of common European values of solidarity and coexistence and a step towards dismantling the burdens of the past.
The belief that together we can "weather all storms" is a faith that has preserved us as a nation despite difficult trials. It is a faith that gave us the strength to rise and to continue standing strong. It is a source of strength and energy from which Slovenia can still draw today. Our homeland, for which Simon Gregorčič wrote: "My first song was glorified by her, the last will be sung to her, and the last voices will be: God save my homeland!"
Sincere congratulations on the National Holiday of the Return of Primorska to its Homeland.