From threats to spits in the face

Davorin Kopše. (Photo: Demokracija archive)

By: Davorin Kopše

Who are we if we move forward calmly, when they are threatening us all the time and spitting in our faces in the street, and we are watching all this calmly? With our passivity and boundless tolerance, can we still invoke democracy and be democrats? That they just have the right to brawl under our windows, when after a busy week we would like to sit quietly in an armchair, hang out with our families, pay attention to our children, maybe read a book or watch a relaxing movie, no longer makes sense. These are no longer explanations that would suffice for someone who would like to live peacefully and enjoy the gains of civilisation.

I condemn! This is what I wrote on Twitter when KUL protesters surrounded Nova Slovenija MP Jožef Horvat and spitted on him. But how does this help me or all of us. They ignore or attack with insults. We have been insulted for too long with fascists and far-rightists who support the dictatorship of Prime Minister Janez Janša. The Prime Minister who gets by far the most votes in every election. They demand that the Prime Minister should leave and that his entire government should leave. This is the government that worked hard throughout the epidemic, and they put a spoke in their wheel and kept their fingers crossed for as many people as possible to die, and then they would blame the government for it.

They spit and vomit

Anyone who followed the Slovenian Prime Minister’s visit to the European Parliament, where he presented the guidelines and priorities of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU and answered questions from MPs, could see that spit can also be verbal. Social Democrat MP and President Tanja Fajon even escalated her spitting to vomiting. She spat and vomited not only on Janez Janša, whom she hates because of his success, but she also spat and vomited on her country Slovenia. Has she also embarrassed the country because of its success guaranteed by the Janša government? Undoubtedly, as we know that Tanja Fajon’s political option encourages poverty so that it can promise a better future. Poverty has already been described by a member of the Communists and its ideologue from the time of Yugoslavia, Moša Pijade, as a situation in which people have no choice but to join the Party, as it at least ensures their survival. It is known that Tanja’s people are proud successors of this policy and they do not deviate from it even by a millimetre.

When they surrounded and insulted MP Horvat not far from the parliament, nothing happened to anyone. On the contrary, the initiator of spitting, Anica Bidar, described this as the least harmful thing that can happen to coalition MPs. Stressing that she was against violence, she stated that they should be hung on poles on which the flags of European Union countries hang in front of the National Assembly during Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU. Given all of her activities, I am even more convinced by her latest notes and statements that she is not a balanced person. This, however, does not justify her actions. Certainly, despite her obvious mental disorders, any psychiatrist would also write in their report that despite her mental state of actions, she is aware, so she is responsible for them.

Prešeren Square base, surroundings of the parliament excursion zone

Friday’s protesters are spreading their unacceptable and long-standing crazy behaviour in every way. Even before the government took office, they demanded its resignation, which they could not justify, given the fact that the government had not yet been confirmed. When the government was formed and started working, they demanded its resignation and before its first decision on anything they claimed it to be revanchist and absolutist. They carried threatening banners, which often contained the word death, and their cries that Janša should be killed spread between the walls of the buildings and penetrated the residences. However, when it was achieved that they no longer gather on the Republic Square, where they do not belong already by the name of the square, they started rallies on Prešeren Square. From the general to the concrete then. Now they are slandering and shaming the giant of Slovene culture, Prešeren, and are sending primitivism into the world, expressing their disagreement in all possible areas. When a law is being drafted, they are against it, when a law is in procedure, they are against it, and when a law is passed in a legitimate state legislature, they are against it.

Without some real content, they became bored on Prešeren Square, so they occasionally go to the streets, occupy a traffic intersection and the like. Last, they blocked the intersection of Celovška street, Tivolska street and Masarykova street, which leads to the Clinical Center. These are the routes along which many working people return from strenuous jobs, where buses run and where there is a junction of rescue routes, as the Ljubljana ambulance station is not far away.

Well, there have been too few Fridays for Friday’s protests. Now they do it during the week as well. They send their smaller cells to various locations, especially in front of and around the National Assembly. These are groups that prey on MPs coming to or leaving the National Assembly. On the street, they demand to be told how they voted on individual topics in decision-making. If their votes are not to their liking, they insult them with traitors and accuse them of voting according to their conscience instead of listening to the street.

We read reports that individual MPs are receiving hockey blows, of being blocked on their path and of being harassed. When Jožef Horvat, a member of parliament and leader of the Nova Slovenija parliamentary group, was returning from work in parliament last Wednesday, he was surrounded by strangers, and it ended with Horvat intercepting a spit with his face from one of their already dirty mouths. Since practically nothing happened, and the event was labelled as a sort of offense and nothing more, this gave wings to continue the primitive practices I described above and much more.

Misdemeanour or something more

It is primitive and unacceptable, it makes MPs uncomfortable and they do not feel safe, it is threatening and scary, it is recurring and more and more common, it is… At the end of the day, MPs are still people, although some simpletons do not think so. People react to this kind of pressure sooner or later one way or another. If we do not feel like someone is going to protect us, we turn on our defence mechanism and start to adapt to the demands over time.

So is pressure on an MP and his work really just a misdemeanour? Is threatening democracy in a democracy really just an offense? If it is, then it should change immediately! It should not be like this and it must not go. Democracy is the highest form of realisation of human rights and freedoms. It was not easy for us and our ancestors when we fought for them. Will we allow them to be taken from us after the acquisitions? We used to be underestimated by different foreign masters, later also revolutionaries, but now the street mob would like to threaten that. So if putting pressure on MPs with attacks and spitting in their faces is just an offense, we need to change that immediately. If the police have too little power to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts, they should be given additional ones immediately. If there is no discipline in the police and it is biased, order must be made there so that the police can maintain order.

Intensifying can lead to the worst

That the street should not decide is an old claim like the old democracy. Moreover, this was not allowed even by hegemons in the time of kingdoms, empires and other forms of government. Democracy is really following the path that the philosopher Socrates, who was born almost five hundred years before Christ, is said to have said: “Democracy will pay because it wants to please everyone. The poor will want the wealth of the rich and democracy will give it to them. Young people will want to be respected as older, women will want to be like men, foreigners will want indigenous rights and democracy will give them that. Thieves, fraudsters and power-hungry criminals will want important state functions, which democracy will allow them to do, and when they democratically take power, a harsher tyranny will be born than it was during any monarchy or oligarchy?”

The intensifying begins with the first action allowed. We talk about rebellion for no reason, then there are threats, concrete actions follow, and in the end there are consequences. It is ignorance and despondency, followed by turning a blind eye and passivity, and in the end we count the dead. Proven a hundred times with experience. So why repeat it again?

Will the young Slovenian democracy be the first to follow this path? We are not yet so far as to believe this, and warnings and reflection are certainly not superfluous. Slovene, do not allow this, get to know yourself, as Socrates also said. By getting to know ourselves, we encourage criticism of our own thinking. If we are consistent in this, we will not nod to the street but to ourselves and our reason. This one will certainly not take us to Prešeren Square on Friday or among those who unreasonably harass and attack passers-by, whoever they are. Today MPs, tomorrow entrepreneurs, and next it is our turn.

Davorin Kopše is a veteran of the war for Slovenia, a candidate for the European Parliament and an active citizen.