By: Sara Bertoncelj /Nova24tv
Marjan Fekonja is a Slovenian lawyer, expert in defence studies and politician who was the State Secretary of the Republic of Slovenia in the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia from 2007 to 2008. In the show Pogovori z Osamosvojitelji (“Talks with Emancipators), he told, among other things, about the events in Pekre, which were an important milestone in the period of Slovenia’s independence – at that time he was the chief of one of the provincial headquarters of the National Defence Manoeuvring Structure.
“I am a soldier, I give you my personal weapon, but with a barrel forward,” recalled the former head of the Manoeuvring Structure, Marjan Fekonja at the moment when his colleague, an otherwise active YPA officer, demanded a weapon from him. This was during the order on the disarmament of the Territorial Defence of Slovenia. Handing over a weapon is the last thing a soldier does – if he hands it over, it means he has capitulated. But it is, of course, also a matter of military honour. The YPA officer left him a personal weapon, but then it became clear to them that the matter was quite serious. Fekonja called the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Slovenia by phone and asked for instructions on how to proceed – to surrender weapons, to resist the request? He is still waiting for an answer today. In short, then they found a way on their own, but it was tragic that there were already a lot of weapons in the YPA’s premises – they stored them there. Luckily it was not like that everywhere, otherwise they would have been completely naked and barefoot. “That is why at the time we could not forgive our executives for doing this,” Fekonja said.
“Did you know that was the first shot, an introduction to the conflict,” the host of the show Alexander Rant asked regarding the disarmament order. “Absolutely,” Fekonja replied confidently. That is why they also organised themselves in the Manoeuvre Structure of National Defence – to get their weapons back. Within three months, they managed to obtain significant quantities of ammunition, weapons and military equipment from military depots, using encrypted messages for this purpose, so that the Yugoslav Army would not be able to trace them. Fekonja also told an anecdote – they talked about old honey and sugar – which not everyone understood correctly, so that the word was really about ammunition and weapons.
“The events in Pekre are really epic, for us little Slovenes, who are a small nation, it is something special,” Fekonja continued, adding that at that time they had already shown that they were serious about starting to train the young generation, who will be able to defend our homeland. Thus, they established a training center in Pekre and a training center in Ig. The first generation of recruits was called there as they decided not to send them all over Yugoslavia – which, of course, was a red signal for the Yugoslav People’s Army. When the YPA with armoured vehicles, led by Ratko Katalina, surrounded the training center and shouted that they would level everything, the recruits were safe, the training center was in fact defended by members of the permanent structure of the training center.
What some claim that Slobodan Milošević did not care about Slovenia is blatant nonsense, Fekonja pointed out. Also because Slovenia was the most developed Republic at that time. He also emphasised that the last member of the Yugoslav People’s Army did not leave our territory, but was forced out. It is true that they were very cultured in this, but they were nevertheless aware that such a military conflict could be a catastrophe for such a small nation. “Fortunately, we had young leaders at the time,” said Fekonja, who had Janez Janša and Igor Bavčar in mind. They had enough common sense and discernment to dare to do some things at all. “The nation can be very grateful for some of their actions,” Fekonja concluded. You are kindly invited to watch the show.