INVECTIONS, CORRECTIONS (II)
PROLOGUE ON MUSICALITY
(for many things)
Once the world was less noisy and so clear voices and congruous harmonies delighted both the ear and the eye. Today there is so much noise everywhere, that man cannot even give a listen to himself. Of course, there is very little he remembers of gentle sound and clear harmony. Even the houses that were once dedicated to melodiousness are now most frequently overrun by “noise-on-purpose”.
And yet it was once nice. It was generally known what it means to have a musical ear. It was developed by some and in others, tended to, sharpened and here was recognition of the magical within it. People knew that everyone possesses it – but that it was neglected in some while others paid more attention to it. But always within the crowd, there were great individuals with an especially developed sense for music, an exceptional gift that enabled them to clearly distinguish all contained in the world of sounds. They were able to recognize and enumerate with complete precision – even though they did not see the pianist – even a cluster of twenty different tones he played. And less gifted may be tempted to envy the sovereignty and pleasures enjoyed by these incredibly gifted men. But no. “The common”, the average musical ear that blurs those minute secrets of sound lends more pleasure. The music, or better put its execution, puts less of a strain on the listener. He perceives less mistakes and trash and receives more delight. The poor man, who is gifted with perfect pitch, as this gift is called, can only rarely purely enjoys listening. He hears too much of everything that does not belong, the tuning of entire orchestras can be slightly off, not to mention unturned individual instruments or performers on an off day. But as we said, there had always been a mere few of these poor people inhabiting the planet at any one time.
But there are other situations that demand musicality, at least an average one, if perfect pitch is too painful and causes difficulty. It is therefore more comfortable to remain average.
The problems tied to our southern border and the recently signed Arbitration Agreement are ongoing matters that divulge (judging by the wording published so far) that in this area at least those who speak publicly on these topics, have no ear for ‘stately matters’: this is what we must dub the matters at hand. A mere average ear (let alone perfect pitch) suffices to understand that the issue of a border between countries does not concern ethnic territories but statehood. Stately matters demand an ear for stately matters. Concerning international borders historical facts, sovereignty, power, lands, territories, boundaries, guards, customs officers, international treaties, smugglers etc. are what must be taken into account – and not create the cacophony using terms such as ‘socialist republics’, ethnicities, folklore, emotions, story-telling – or even ‘dying of a country’.
If we possess even an ounce of an ear for the country and international law then we can clearly make out the only fact that meets the requirements of the notorious Article 4 of the Arbitration Agreement, the respect for which may bring the desired harmony of respect for law and human rights to these surroundings. This is the international border that has forever divided Slovenian speaking lands that were once part of Austro-Hungary, and after its dissolution in my opinion became Countries from the province within the Kingdom of Hungary today the republic of Croatia. No noise will overshout the truth that clearly resounds, which is that from the Rijeka harbour at the westernmost point of the mentioned border, over the river Drava to Zavrch and the conflux of Mura and Drava under the town of Kotoriba at the far east never before 1991 any Croatian country nor a territory akin to a country ever possessed any stately powers. These territories have always formed a part of the territory of Slovenian lands, the sovereignty of which has been recognized even by a noted and acclaimed historian in his recent interview.
A man must truly be deaf (not merely with no pitch) to stately matters, if he does not notice that the southern neighbour needs not worry in the least bit that anyone would steal even a foot of its “soil”. Not until it returns a few hundred million stolen feet of foreign territory.
(22. 11. 2009)
I saw Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhbogar on tv – well done! I especially peeled my ears, because the undertone was clear – as I always say: WE ARE IN NO HURRY! ZAGREB IS PRESSURING US! And: WHATEVER IS AGGREED MUST BE ACCEPTED BY THE PUBLIC (meaning – the people).
What especially inspires hope is his fervent addition that he will tell his Croatian counterpart that it is not good for Croatia to use Slovenia and the border issue as an excuse for its issues concerning accession to the EU. This is truly appropriate. Of course, the task ahead will be incredibly hard for him since Rupel demolished everything.
But I write especially because of the opinion of the representative of the Italian minority Robert Battelli. He stated something that entirely coincides with my hypothesis that the vantage point must be the relevant historical facts. He pointed out that it is entirely wrong to base the border almost exclusively on the basis of ETHNICITY.
This is actually a truly a catastrophic mistake – for several reasons. Here is one:
Whatever our view of the story of our statehood and borders in the 20th century, there can be no doubt that changes generated by our neighbours did in fact take place – and consistently to OUR DETRIMENT – on the basis of chauvinism. The same goes for everyone: the Italian irredentism is a textbook case of chauvinist fury. Austrian counter-Slovenian “germanistication” destroyed a half of Slovenian population in Slovenian Carinthia and Styria. The Croatian near fascist chauvinism in its mimicry and utterly without grounds is but a pathetic creature, but this does not make it any less murderous or vile. Graves are screaming. All three chauvinisms are still the driving force behind the factual politics of all three of Slovenia’s neighbours.
In contrast to all of the above, the Slovenian side – as paradoxical as it may sound – there was not ethnically founded impatience, let alon chauvinism. The occurrences themselves testify to that. All of Slovenian popular and political energy was directed towards giving up statehood with not a thought of territorial expansion. In 1918 the logical consequence of such an attitude (more on this in my article: Slovenci – zhrtve nacifashistichnega ekspanzionizma sosedov, Revija SRP, 79-80/2007) was that Slovenia was for the first time territorially divided in four parts, distributed among four countries instead of receiving affirmation as a territorially whole country of a single people, economically and territorially impoverished to the greatest extent.
So it is a fact that the genesis of current Slovenian state never even for a moment possessed any nationalist, ethnically exclusive characteristics. This fundamentally distinguishes it from the neighbouring countries, especially Croatia where unbridled chauvinist nationalism was the main generator of statehood, and achieved its peak as late as in our times and caused terrifying consequences.
The National Liberation Front of WWII Yugoslavia contributed to a partial writing of a great wrong that was done onto Slovenia and Slovenians in 1919. The state of things in Istria, Reka and the Kvarner Gulf remained more or less stagnant within the realm of Yugoslavia and various international agreements concerning itself and Italy.
All agreements concerning administrative territories of Yugoslavia in relation to Italy were transferred directly to Slovenia in 1991, but at the time no such thing was agreed between Slovenia and Croatia.
Relying on “existing borders between republics” and the conclusions of Badinter’s arbitration has no merit. Firstly, these borders in themselves have no international legal connotations, and secondly, the southern neighbour simply ignored the above conclusions and systematically established a different situation on the ground.
Consequently, and because relying on ETHNICITY is a fundamentally missed approach never present in Slovenian state-forming thought, it is pivotal and unavoidable that the border in question be based – as mentioned several times – on historically relevant political facts, on borders that framed Slovenian (politically Slovenian!) lands – in the matter at hand – the outer borders of Austrian Empire.
Since the historically founded borders between Slovenia in Croatia in best case scenario for Slovenia can only be borders between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austrian Empire, it is evident that Croatia exhibits nothing but chauvinist expansionism. Ever since the dissolution of the Empire and Kingdom Croatia has been systematically occupying territories to which it had no historical claim. In pertaining to Slovenia on the line that connects the river Drava to the Sea. The chauvinist nature of this expansion is proven by Slovenian corpses and decimated percentages of Slovenian population beyond the rivers Kolpa and Sotla, in Reka and Istrian islands. Today Slovenian minorities are not even recognised by the constitution of the Republic of Croatia.
Occurrences in other territories of the Republic of Croatia during the dissolution of Yugoslavia including ethnic cleansing and mass slaughters are more proof to the systematic nature of their expansion.
All of the above points to the fact that relations cannot be built on chauvinism, on conditions which have not been sanctioned by international law and from the position after-the- accomplished-fact. Slovenia must be strongly aware that it was not created on principles of exclusive ethnicity but that its creation and existence are a consequence of a spasmodic fight for survival against unscrupulous snapping of all neighbours coveting Slovenian soil and goods; that casualties and vast territories illegally taken by the southern neighbour, have never been a matter of serious, competent thought based on international law, let alone of negotiations and agreements.
The question of the Slovenian-Croatian border must therefore be viewed with all this in mind. It is especially necessary and unavoidable that the people directly affected be consulted, the inhabitants of those parts of Slovenian lands that have been illegally obtained by Slovenia’s southern neighbour (mostly through the incompetence of Slovenian politics).
(November 8, 2009)
OPEN LETTER (I)
Respected professor! My valuable counterpart in discussions of days past (too)long ago.
I followed with contentment your interventions concerning the third disassembly of Slovenia in one single century. I am sure you believe me, for you know well my positions and I am sure you know who “whispers” in the Nobleman’s (i.e. Plemeniti) ear.
On the open matters concerning Croatia I firmly believe that:
– Slovenian independence elevated us from an internal political to an international political and legal entity. The facts in play are therefore no longer local, communal or administrative but stately.
– Slovenia did not separate from Croatia, because at the moment of separation there was no Croatia on the other side of Rechina-Kolpa-Sotla-Drava demaractaion, but Yugoslavia. Croatia did not proclaim its separation until October 8, 1991. The international borders must therefore be taken into account, those border with which Slovenia (Slovenian lands) entered the S. H. S. (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians).
– The demarcation lines between former republics have no international or legal value. In the Slo-Cro matter this is especially true because international borders from 1918 that were never revocated are far more relevant and legitimate as a basis for any type of decision. Since the rash Badinter formulations were based too much on illegitimate reasons, and since it has become all too obvious that they hailed from the fascistoid formation’s expansionism. On top of that the borders between former republics are evidently not set and accepted but persistently remain the source of conflict and are often violated – and hence neither Badinter nor “oral declarations” hold no weight. They are not “on the table”! On the national legal level which is the only noteworthy level after the moment of declared independence, the fundamental premise for any discussion, state are 1918 borders, that is the line Rechina-Kolpa-Zhumberak-Sotla and Drava from Zavrch to the confluence with Mura under Kotoriba.
– Apart from the premise above which presupposes national legal legitimacy and territorial integrity of Slovenian lands – especially Primorska extending from Vrshich to the Kvarner islands – it is also necessary that an inquiry be launched including an eventual criminal charges for crimes against the state during the government of Lojze Peterle and specifically concerning his actions (yielding of Istria Rail and properties to Zagreb) and the work of ministers of defence, foreign affairs and internal affairs for failing to:
– act in accordance with their position and responsibilities
– protect the integrity and territorial totality of those parts of Slovenian lands the status of which was not specifically regulated in 1918 and after by international law.
– The actions of the then defence minister Janez Jansha must also be examined, as he, when during the war for Slovenia general Chad closed off the routes from Zagreb to Reka and Istria, allowed the transport of Croatian armoured vehicles carrying wartime designations, through Unec and Postojna into Istria.
Dear and respected professor! Until the conclusions of Helsinki international borders could be changed by war or international agreements based on the examination of peoples’ will. War is, for the time being at least, ad acta as a means to alter borders. But the imperative remains, that without the examination of the will of the people and suitable international legal procedures border may not be altered. Since the only border that ever divided Slovenian from what is today the Republic of Croatia, has always been and remains an international border, it (in accordance to the Helsinki Accords) cannot be altered. With the attainment of independence it automatically came back into force, for it was never atered as an international border. When the territories of lands were divided by a demarcation line within a single country entity, the border played no role. But with a dissolution of said country this border was reinstated – automatically. This is the only point of departure from which Slovenia can start discussions, if this fact is not to someone’s liking.
In light of the Helsinki principles the overall, arbitrary and ad hoc decisions concerning the border – be it the Badinter arbitration or the “Fundamental Constitutional Charter” – are entirely superfluous. They did not fulfil an important condition: no one asked the affected population. In fact the affected population was never consulted, ever since the scoffing of people and legality began a century ago, about their take on the national border in question. Of course, no such conference took place, which is that much more problematic since there was a war that cannot be ended without a peace conference.
Since no part of the country constructed in 1918 has established borders today (Macedonia did not join!), there is no doubt that a corresponding international (peace) conference is unavoidable and necessary. Not merely because of the fundamental principles of legality and credibility, mostly and especially because it is not possible to allow that foreign soil acquired by means of war and genocide and ethnic cleansing remain in the possession of those who had committed these criminal acts. The first (if not only) entity in question is Zagreb.
It is therefore absolutely necessary, respected professor, to “reign in the horses” and begin with preparations for an international peace conference, otherwise the Jugoslav war is not concluded; as far as our lands are concerned, with the situation at hand they are constantly exposed to the danger that the neighbours with which matters of border demarcation are fully settled, launch utterly disadvantageous action against us in the name of peace and stability.
With kindest regards.
Ljubljana, October 17, 2009
MORE ON THE ARBITRATION AGREEMENT
The text at hand relates to the prime minister’s reply to the parliamentary question from November 16, 2009. The prime minister stated clearly: “For us the date of cut-off is 1991”. The opposition speaks of the date of the creation of a common country which was dissolved. And what is the difference between 1918 and 1991?
In 1918 the border between lands which entered the “SHS” Kingdom, later Yugoslavia, lead by the government of the National Council in Ljubljana and other provinces of the new country was an accurately defined and demarcated international border which was never altered by any act. As long as both sides of this border were defined as socialist republics without international acclaim, the border played no international role. But when the NAZI bloc instated the so called Independent Country of Croatia during WWII, this changed and remained changed until the collapse of this stately construct in 1945. Of course this border resurfaced after the dissolution of the federal country (Yugoslavia) in 1991, for a federal state can only dissolve into parts from which it was constructed. Why no one wanted to notice this fact at the time not to mention take it into account, and why those responsible acted in contradiction to international law is a separate issue. This would be fatal for Slovenia were it not for the recently signed agreement to leave the decision up to a third uninterested party – the arbitration tribunal.
The agreement and its clear diction, definitions and demands indisputably nullify all previous decisions concerning the border. Not a single word (not even the article referred to by the prime minister’s reply by “cut-off date” refers to it) defines where exactly the border between the countries runs at present. Certainly then, no decision adopted until now can hold – neither Badinter’s nor the one form the “Fundamental Constitutional Charter” and especially not the idée-fixes of bureauocrats. If any of these decisions are valid then the Arbitration Agreement cannot be valid as it misleads the arbiters and both parties of the proceedings.
There is no doubt that the Tribunal itself, in keeping with the signed agreement, can decide on its own accord bound with the arguments that correspond with the principles and regulations of international law, on the border both on land and sea. If the border would be in any way decided in advance or if the Tribunal’s decision would be in any way hindered, this would have to have been clearly stated in the agreement. But there is no mention to that avail. The Tribunal must act in accordance with international law and may take into account the principle of equity and good neighbourly relations in pertaining to the aquatory. Where is there any Savudrija Vala or Drnovshek-Rachan chimney?
Te fact of the matter is that the Tribunal can modify decisions, otherwise in keeping with international legal principles and regulations, on the basis of good neighbourly relations and equity. For example: Since the principles and regulations in question leave no doubt that Istria and its islands as a part of integral land of Primorska belong to the Republic of Slovenia, the Tribunal is able to prevent a collapse in Zagreb by moving the border higher towards the north and through some chimney (this time Croatian) allows Zagreb to share a part of the maritime border with Italy.
The Arbitration Agreement can therefore be a historic achievement but only if the government includes the only argument that fulfils the condition of Article 4 – the international border from the time when the S. H. S. Kingdom was created in the memorandum. Other acts and facts of an international nature pertaining to the territories of today’s countries of RS and RC from before 1991 regulated the border between the country of Yugoslavia and the country of Italy. Internal legal acts, administrative decisions have no bearing on the international level. They may be important, if there exists no other document that would fulfil demands of the Agreement. But such a document quite evidently exists and Slovenia has a responsibility to include it in the Memorandum. It may however not include any facts or acts that do not fulfil the condition of the Agreement, for this would on one hand relativise the power of the main and only argument and on the other hand legitimise the arguments of the adverse side, that in no way fulfils the demands of the Agreement.
Last but not least: mister prime minister was right in stating that “for us 1991 is the cut-off date”. That is right! In 1991, when on both sides of the ever existing border of 1918 new subjects of international law were formed, this border became relevant again. In exactly the same way as it did in 1941 when not even the newly formed Nazi formation was allowed to step even an inch over the never-their Slovenian soil – not in Istria territory and islands and even less over the river Drava in Medmurje.
As far as the “cut-off” date there is no discord, as prime minister tried to argue in his reply. No! There is no discord, we all know and understand that the cut-off date is 1991, when the border valid in 1918 and during World War II that keeps to all the criteria and principles of international law would have to be instated.
The signed Arbitration Agreement is therefore an opportunity to finally nullify the catastrophic – even criminal – actions of communist and afterwards Demos rulers and, be it late but nonetheless, for the Republic of Slovenia to enable the Arbitration Tribunal to arbitrate in keeping with international law.
This is why I call for the government to prepare the Memorandum in the way I have explained.
(November 18, 2009)
Translated from Slovenian by Jaka Jarc