By: Davorin Kopše
Thirty years have passed since the proclamation of the independent and sovereign Republic of Slovenia on the basis of the people’s will, and thirty years have passed since the attacks of the army of the former state on the vital goals of the then just born state. In some places with a slight lag, and in others in ongoing conflicts, our forces won and within a few days took the initiative throughout the territory. They insulted us with brutal attackers where we are at home, and they were just guests. In Yugoslavia, we pushed the strongly dominant military units into the barracks, and finally we drove them out of our territory. Their policies have fallen silent and the young country has become involved in many international integrations. After three decades, we are experiencing echoes of what was happening at the time. Especially in the last few years, they have started to raise their heads again and try to dominate. The dictators and their successors tried to take the initiative anew, but were forced to go into opposition on the basis of a mature policy based on the will of the people.
Exactly thirty years after the proclamation of the independent and sovereign democratic Republic of Slovenia, which was proclaimed on the Republic Square in Ljubljana, we experienced a great celebration at the same place. This one included points with a look at what was happening thirty years ago, cultural inputs, a European note and a warm audience response. For the first time in thirty years, the event was attended live by representatives of all neighbouring countries, who addressed the Slovenian and wider public from the stage. All of them, in turn, expressed their enthusiasm for Slovenia’s achievements in the period of independence and all the time since independence. Contrary to all the malicious incitements of the Slovene opposition, they showed affection and recognition for the Slovene government and its politicians. They also made no secret of their belief that Slovenia would be successful in this political composition during its six-month presidency of the EU Council.
Slovenia is celebrating, the whole world is with it, the revolutionaries are brawling
Especially on social networks, we were able to follow the huge support of the world, which expressed this support by illuminating its sights in Slovenian colours. What this means was most easily imagined when I saw the CN Tower in Toronto illuminated in this way. It is an observation tower on Lake Ontario, which with its more than 550 meters protrudes into the sky far beyond the height of dozens of high-rise buildings. This is a glorious phenomenon, like a glorious moment in the heart when you see it and know that far across the great puddle there is all this dedicated to the holiday of your country, its people and achievements. A similar thing has happened in many cities around the world. They illuminated the Statue of Christ the Saviour over Rio de Janeiro, illuminated bridges, fountains, skyscrapers and towers from America, Japan, Australia to Rome, London and Zagreb, and elsewhere. Wonderful.
In the same Slovenian city as the national celebration, The Triple Bridge (mentioning Prešeren Square in connection with this is almost perverse) had its event in the form of revolutionary defenders of the disintegrated Yugoslavia and allies of the aggressive KUL opposition, which would like to rose to power again with the help of the protests regardless of victims. In this way, dictators come to power, so it is appropriate to say that dictators are in opposition in Slovenia.
The gathering of anti-Slovenian thinkers on The Triple Bridge was called an alternative celebration. If we look at what was going on there and if we know that an alternative means a situation in which one has to decide between two options one excluding the other, we can see that some parallel event cannot be an alternative. However, they say that they have gathered intellectuals, even poets and writers, in their ranks. So if their show was an alternative to the celebration, they would have to rule out the celebration – it should not be. But it took place, although of course they would like to exclude it or prevent it or at least override it, which we will see below.
Let’s leave the language formalities and focus on the substantive facts. Their rally, like all previous Friday rallies, was unreported and therefore illegal. It began with an incident where the organiser and leader of Friday protests, Jaša Jenull, demanded that police remove a group that wanted to express themselves there with different views. At the request, he even threatened to have this small group of thirteen members removed by the crowd. The police acted as requested by Jenull, which is under the scrutiny of the investigation at the Ljubljana Police Administration, which was requested by the director of the police, Anton Olaj. The police allegedly decided to intervene even before Jenull’s screams and threats, but he only used this for his promotion. The very order of the investigation confirms the suspicion that the police did not carry out everything in full accordance with their jurisdictions and authorisations, so I cannot comment in detail. Anyway, Jenull and his supporters are posting live streams on the Piščalka Facebook page, from where footage of this event was removed for a few days. It is not known whether it was changed in any part until it was republished.
In terms of the way it was performed and the content, Jenull’s event was definitely not a celebration. Both the crowd and the performers kept repeating the well-known demands for a change of government and repeating the senseless accusations they have been repeating every Friday since the current government took office. It was another protest on Friday, at which they had the opportunity to carry out a new way of carrying out primitivism due to the state celebration. At the beginning of the national celebration, some of the protesters marched towards the event space on the Republic Square. In their intention to disrupt the celebration, they were not stopped by any moral restraint, but were stopped only by the police with a fence. Some hung on it as certain animal species hang themselves, and with whistles and shouts showed their primitive character even during a minute of silence in honour and memory of those who fell in the war for Slovenia and while playing the Slovenian national anthem. The whole civilised world stands, stands still and is silent at this time, KUL protesters supported by the political KUL opposition is also a shameful exception in this case.
As for the display of fences, which are a tool to control the movement of groups and crowds, it must be said that these have always been and always will be at all events. As has been said, these are not only intended to prevent violent attacks, but also to guide. Unfortunately, these times they are also necessary to separate savages from others. These fences are the subject of discussion only during the time of right wing or center-right governments. At that time, left wing politicians and the media are criticising them. It is obvious that they are disturbed by them because they prevent riots that critics support and encourage.
The politics and work of the winners
Meanwhile, two politicians, Janez Janša and Borut Pahor, in the highest positions in the country, who are on opposite political sides, are taking part in all important events. They coordinate foreign policy positions, participate in preparations for the presidency of the Council of the EU, often attend joint events and clashes during the War of Independence, where they both speak, and they also found the will and strength to visit war and post-war crimes sites from the middle of the last century from both sides. These are the actions of great politicians who know what is right and what is good both for the country and for all of us who live here. In short, we can say that within the Slovenian political situation they are the winners, although from the worldview they each remain on their side.
In that sense, I wrote posts on Twitter and Facebook, which received a huge positive response. I understand this as a confirmation of the thesis that the nation is not deeply divided and that it wants normalisation. At least on the right political pole it is so, as I have predominantly right wing followers. The direction shown by Presidents Janez Janša and Borut Pahor is therefore more than desirable and therefore right.
The peculiarity of the Slovenian situation
In conclusion, I would like to say that the political situation in Slovenia in particular is in many ways special. A small part of the population is trying to maintain a chaotic state. It began with the introduction of a dictatorship in 1945, when the minority ruled and oppressed the majority. Today, a small part of Ljubljana’s population is brawling around the city on Fridays, reducing the quality of life for other citizens. And the opposition wants to assert its political views in practice while disregarding the majority and the coalition. With all this, they dare to claim that the government is dictatorial.
Nevertheless, we can watch live the development and establishment of Slovenia in the last year and a half. With a confident and therefore strong foreign policy and diplomacy, Slovenia is consolidating and rebuilding the image of a successful country that knows what it wants and is able to see what the interests of others are. By all accounts, with this government, we have every opportunity to implement an exit strategy from the post-epidemic crisis as one of the most successful countries within the EU and beyond. Slovenia is therefore growing and developing, and extreme dictators are in opposition. As they have lost power, so should their aggressive and exclusionary image fade away. After thirty years, Slovenia deserves a decent policy at all levels, regardless of the view of the world – the ruling and the opposition. I see Slovenia when the power will be exchanged equally. By the will of the people, of course.
Davorin Kopše is a veteran of the war for Slovenia, a candidate for the European Parliament and an active citizen.