ON PROPER NEIGHBOURLY RELATIONS (BETWEEN NATIONS)
AND ON A NATION'S SOVEREIGNTY
TO PATRIOTIC SLOVENES (II) *
I doubt that throughout our history Slovenes have ever heard the phrase “proper neighbourly relations” as frequently as now. It is constantly being tossed around in various contexts and modalities. When this starts to occur no good can come of it for the nation in question. Otherwise, what could possibly be the purpose of such brainwashing? And what does this phrase actually mean – used (and promulgated) in the way it is today? I’m sure we do not all understand it in the same way. None the wiser – the ear adopts it and we start taking the phrase at face value. As time passes we stop paying any mind to it whatsoever – having become convinced – and this is just how the system and its heralds like us.
In the age of visual communication we all see its (the phrase’s) image: it is accompanied by friendly smiles, handshakes, hugs on the part of key national representatives. In short: the show is touching enough to “move us to tears”. Sometimes however, it is entirely different. For example the neighbourly mooning of the Croatian fishermen in the Gulf of Piran is, in a word, grotesque.
It is not at all difficult to discern that this introduction was aimed at proper neighbourly relations between the neighbouring countries Slovenia and Croatia. Well not exclusively. I am less than moved concerning proper relations between the two afore mentioned countries (Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Croatia). I am more interested in proper neighbourly relations between the neighbouring nations (Slovenes and Croatians). But I do not perceive a nation to be what system propaganda designates it – an institutional construct, but rather to me a nation is a free subject. At the risk of repeating myself, like so many times before (though in vain every time)1. There are only two subjects I recognize: the individual and the nation. Both are marked by the same key characteristics: Individuality and Sovereignty and Freedom (free will – self-determination).
Concerning the relations between bordering nations – once stripped of all nonsense the problems should cease, since every nation is (by nature) fundamentally a subject. This can only be if the same nation recognizes the subjective individuality of other nations including neighbouring ones. This is general law! But nations also share the unfortunate characteristic with sheep – which is, they like to be lead without special attention as to who is leading them. This is hardly surprising since the shepherds are constantly changing. The brutal truth is that sheep cannot hold out for very long without a fence.
The same goes for relations among individuals; since each person is a specific individual and recognizes the subjective individuality to others there is no distinguishable issues.
The issues we take with each other sometimes feel insurmountable to us, even though, in reality, they are not. They stem from elsewhere, rooted in un-clarified conceptions, our adopted beliefs. We are taught to feel a sense of belonging to a nation as a construct of ideology, by means of political propaganda. The manner changes from day to day, as the ever changing political elite deems fit, according to “Their” ever mutating interests. The latter are often tied to the elite’s international ties, which are systemic and super-systemic. (Concerning the meaning of the phrase international ties – in truth between countries, it is more specifically supra-systemic).
Surely the fact remains that a nation – even though itself not a construct of a country – continues to require a certain institutional frame i.e. its own country. After this is realized something incomprehensible befalls us. We begin perceiving the country as sacred; the pride of the development of Slovenian statehood has grown so great that we almost do not dare utter a word criticising it. But still we are not allowed to know much about it, that is to say, its (our) history, barring of course that which we are being served by individual official histories, politics, ideologies. This construct has been reduced to such an extent that it is only acceptable to a narrow mind. A person with any shred of historical memory cannot swallow it. (More on this in the text for historical memory: Andrej Lenarchich, Arbitration Agreement).2
Let us now get to the point.
In the case of relations between the Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Croatia it is almost naïve to speak of regard for the principle of equity (be it in the legal sense of the principle ex æquo et bono or equity/justice in the wider sense as humanity’s general value). Any unencumbered connoisseur (but not expert) will immediately comprehend that there is no such thing as justice in the internationally established relations today. The imposed will of the stronger (victorious) super-systems is consistently put into force throughout the planet (as supra-system), as the expansion of stronger over the smaller (weaker) is consistently put in effect. The Republic of Croatia is not a very important world power, but it is currently, or if you want temporarily, in the present balance of power, perceived as the guarantor of peace in the Balkans. No one is to notice the switch of the pieces on the chessboard (a symbol of Croatia, its image in the coat of arms) and the political successors of the NDH (Independent Country of Croatia – Ally to Nazi Germany in WWII). The expansion of the Republic of Croatia, the realization of the dream of “Great Croatia” is internationally acceptable – while the injustice does not bother the world powers in the least bit.
And yet every patriotic Slovene, as many as there are left after centuries, the last century in particular, of ethnic purges (ethnic decimation), will be able to say: NO! You may take it by force with superior force hailing from abroad. But we will never concede to what you want, never give our consent! The issue is more than our miniscule border, the little line that is nobody’s business, especially not other European countries’. The issue is our dignity, dignity of a nation as an individual subject. If we care nothing about this, than we as a nation mean nothing. We are a nation of serfs. (see: O hlashchevstvu naroda (Eng. On the Serfdom of a Nation)3.
But our leaders, who would do everything only for the realization of their own interests, will now play the will of the people through discrediting (and compromising), that is blatant abuse of the referendum. The crowning achievement of their skills and power(lessness) of negotiation is to come “as close to the old Drnovshek-Rachan Agreement as possible”, that is to say at least come close to the treason of 2001. Our successors will not be able to understand how our leaders could have done it, represent us in such a treacherous manner; but this is what repeatedly and in a similar manner occurs throughout Slovenian history. This time, however, the treason is greater than ever before, as we are not threatened by any real (perhaps merely imaginary) force to the extent we were in the time of the World Wars when the Slovenian Nation was facing open anhilation. Not long ago, in the time of Nazi-Fascism the Führer thundered: “Make this land German again for me!”The fascists were drinking champagne while Slovenians were drinking castor oil (even to the death, merely for singing Slovenian songs in taverns). Nevertheless the danger Slovenes are facing today is great because it is insidious and hidden. “We will not yield a single centimetre of our land!” (I. Sanader – Croatian politician) and “Slovenians need to be pressed hard!” (S. Mesich – Croatian politician) are thoughts uttered by our good neighbours’ leaders, knowing full well that this land does not belong to them. Well that does not matter, since they are occupying it.
And we, mislead, convinced, deceived, are to let them? Today we do not even dare use descriptions such as occupied Slovenian stately territories. How are we then to speak of proper neighbourly relations? Our neighbour wants to take the last remaining bay left of an once notable Slovenian maritime land. He would close off our access to international waters, all the while unashamedly prattling on about proper neighbourly relations. Well, let our neighbours prattler on, but it is our leaders who should not remain unashamed in hearing such talk – that is if they cared at all about their responsibility to their nation (not only voters). The first among them (the one with the most power), i.e. prime minister Borut Pahor, should be told: This Arbitration Agreement is no good. It is historical treason against all things Slovenian. The responsibility to the people stays in the nation’s historical memory, it supersedes mere political responsibility. The danger is lurking from within (from our very selves), from our leaders, just as it has always been throughout our history.
(Ljubljana, November 13, 2009)
Translated from Slovenian by Jaka Jarc