By: Sara Kovač (Nova24tv.si)
“Slovenian pensioners united under the auspices of ZDUS, the Union of Pensioners’ Associations of Slovenia, are very disappointed that you allowed yourself to live broadcast the one-hour rally from the Republic Square, organised by the People’s Initiative – Voice of the Pensioners and the newly founded October 1st Institute…” the president of ZDUS Janez Sušnik wrote in an open letter, which he addressed to the public broadcaster RTVS on Friday. According to him, it was supposedly a transfer of – almost “the demolition of democratically elected authorities, society and democratically voted laws in the Parliament”, although in accordance with Article 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, the right to peaceful assembly and public meetings is guaranteed. The aforementioned response disappoints many, as the ZDUS is supposed to advocate for the welfare of pensioners and the improvement of the conditions of the elderly, and the aforementioned rally was held precisely with the aim of fighting for a dignified life for pensioners. All in all, it is probably not surprising considering that ZDUS asked in one of its past records: “Will Rupar’s followers become modern-day members of Assault Departments (Sturm Abteilungen) /…?” So, members of a paramilitary organisation that operated under the auspices of Hitler’s party.
Pensions increased by only 5.2 percent, which is significantly insufficient with such high food prices and the amounts of bank deposits. In particular, such an increase is not sufficient for a decent life for pensioners with the lowest pensions, warns the Voice of Pensioners, among other things. At the Association of Pensioners Associations of Slovenia (ZDUS), where they do not hide their disagreement with the operation of the Voice of Pensioners, they state that connecting and cooperating with representatives of the executive and legislative authorities in the pursuit of strategic goals for a better and all-round position of pensioners is its primary task and mission. “We will continue to advocate for the well-being and improvement of the conditions of the elderly and, indirectly, of all citizens of Slovenia in all areas, especially regarding the material situation of the elderly, healthcare, social welfare and living conditions,” can be read on their official website.
For ZDUS, such gatherings are destructive
According to the president of ZDUS, Janez Sušnik, the live broadcast of the rally was a great shame for the Public Institute of RTV Slovenia, because in his words, the protest rally with the speakers interfered with “the deepest feelings of the people who believe the speakers and the organisers of the rally, even though they are not feasible in the stated scope”. Sušnik said that they are disappointed because the public media rarely follows their press conferences. “ZDUS will not participate in such “destructive rallies” in the squares and streets, and we distance ourselves from them, we have repeatedly emphasised in our statements, because if we agreed to the law of the street, we would interfere with the integrity of our members,” he wrote.
Sušnik said that in all 32 years that we have been an independent country, they have managed to agree with each government within the framework of the possibility for a better tomorrow for all pensioners, not just their members. According to Sušnik, there was a blatant deception of senior citizens and the entire Slovenian nation at the pensioners’ rally. “So many uttered false promises, defamation of individuals, even hateful speech, and “brainwashing” about the abnormal increase in pensions, regardless of the contributions paid and length of service, and everything without valid legal acts ZPIZ – 1 and ZPIZ – 2 is simply unheard of and impish! We must all respect the laws as long as they are in force”, he pointed out.
They are requesting a one-hour show on RTVS
Sušnik said that they are aware of the difficult situation of many who have worked all their working years for low wages. Today’s (too) low pension is not the fault of Golob’s, nor Janša’s, nor Šarec’s government, nor many governments before them, he stated and added that it is a systemic anomaly that will be corrected by the amendment to the ZPIZ Act – 3, or new pension reform. In the very conclusion, he made a request that the public institution RTV Slovenia make a one-hour broadcast possible, so that they too “speak our opinion on behalf of all pensioners and present the initiatives that we have already and will continue to invest to improve the material situation of the elderly in the Republic of Slovenia”. “If you do not allow us to do this, we will start the process for changes and additions on the 30th, 31st, 32nd, and Article 33 of the Act on Radio and Television Slovenia”, he also announced.
The ZDUS characterised the supporters of the Voice of Pensioners as modern-day members of the SA paramilitary organisation under the auspices of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, whose founder was Hitler
Over the weekend, Pavel Rupar, the initiator of the civil initiative Voice of the Pensioners, expressed his criticism of the Delo newspaper, because he read there that pensioners had gathered in the square like in the time of Mussolini. “That I had such a performance as Mussolini, and that you were fascists, who were below.” Then he took issue with the writing of the ZDUS, which on February 12th published an article entitled “New pensioners’ coalition?”. He was particularly bothered by the following sentence: “Will Rupar’s followers become modern-day members of the Assault Departments (Sturm Abteilungen), given the demands that even Almighty God cannot fulfil, even if they rely on him a lot?” Rupar added that if one looks up the meaning of Sturm Abteilungen, one can see that they are assault divisions with the abbreviation SA, whose leader was Adolf Hitler. According to him, they were dressed in brown uniforms, which gave them the name brown shirts. “They were reminiscent of Mussolini’s black shirts. The official website of ZDUS condemns you for this. They call us fascists through Delo and other publications because we want to raise pensions. Enough of this slander”, Rupar critically pointed out, who says that he is shocked and shaken by such allegations.
“Sušnik’s hateful comment proves that he is aware that he is only a burden for pensioners and Slovenia, and that more and more Slovenians know this every day. Nevertheless, I am asking the police to deal with the serious insult. I was at the Republic Square at the pensioners’ rally. Sušnik insults me and others with the SA,” commented Mojca Škrinjar in connection with the post on the ZDUS website.
Instead of all stakeholders who say they care about the welfare of pensioners would unite in the fight for their decent life, we witness criticism, accusations, and insults quite unnecessarily. It is especially sad because pensioners are being insulted who are in need and who came to the rally because they want their voices to be heard. The fact is that, at the end of the day, such behaviour does not benefit the pensioners, but only the authorities, who by their manipulation show that they have an underestimating attitude towards people who have worked all their lives.