AS A NIGHTMARE
(In Slovenia’s second referendum)
To patriotic Slovenes, V
»Serfs! Born to be serfs, bred to be serfs, created for serfdom!
Masters are changing, but yet the lash stays, and will stay
for ever and ever, because their backs are bent, used to and
eager for lash.«
Ivan Cankar, Serfs, 1910*
They succeeded – they convinced the majority of participants in the referendum to vote for the signing an Arbitration Agreement on determination of the State border between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia. The truth is that they prevailed by a hair’s breadth, but yet… And whose success was it? Who won and who lost in this dirty game of chance which we might call manipulation beyond all measure? In fact, a few years from today, because of our collective amnesia, we will ask ourselves these questions and we will receive various (fuzzy) explanations for such an achievement; so it would be better to find the answers right now, and not for nowadays but for our historical memory. The loser is the Slovene State – the Republic of Slovenia, indirectly the Slovenian nation, and the winner is the State’s leadership. It is a paradox, isn’t it? Even three Slovenian presidents (the fathers of the nation) supported the decision in the referendum FOR the adoption of the Arbitration Agreement – which means supporting the betrayal of their nation: the current President of the Republic of Slovenia Danilo Türk, former President Milan Kuchan, and above all of course Slovenia’s Prime Minister Borut Pahor, as this was his lifetime’s project. However, this would not have been enough for its success, if the Slovenian Archbishop, the president of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference (the father of Slovenian catholics), Anton Stres, had not joined them; and additionally (just in case) Karl Erjavec, the chairman of the Democratic Pensioners’ Party of Slovenia (DeSUS), known as a jester among Slovenian politicians and the ringleader of the most disorderly and relatively numerically important electoral body (of manipulated voters). The referendum will be noted for the reason why the voters decided FOR or AGAINST – in fact they were respectively the Pahor’s followers or Jansha’s followers (we may assume this to be true for the majority of the votes cast), and the other large corpus of abstainers certainly did not know what their options actually were, as without doubt this remained unclear thanks to the medium of power or the mass media in the referendum campaign. This was not a deed of honour, or of democracy, but it is effective – all to serve the authority of the State. Here we might add a small but significant incident, different from others by not being published in detail as the media apparently did not want to bother us unnecessarily. In view of the manipulative methods used, this means that their intention was to hide this event deliberately.
Only once (I assume again it was simple ignored or uncontrolled) was the report of an incident known as the »Croatian Night« or »Twilight in Piran Bay« shown publicly. I am referring to this twilight or, more precisely, the night of torches lined up along the middle of Piran Bay, which was organised for us by a journalist from Croatian television, HTV, Jasna Sheparovich. She gave us a significant explanation when a journalist from Slovenian television, TVS asked her: »Why are you doing this to us?« And she answered (I quote from my memory): »Because we don’t love you! You have forty thousand houses in Croatia!« During the referendum campaign this scene, of course, had to be kept from the view of the public. Presumably, this was done to prevent tempers flaring and needless jealousy on both sides of the border, but actually this was hidden from the public because this event might have opened the eyes of many simple men; the border marked by torches extended through the middle of the whole Piran Bay; and this was also actual or decisive or at least very important information on the reason for selling out Slovenia.
And how joyful the winners were – delighted with their success in the referendum! On the other hand, patriotic Slovenes were ashamed to the depth of their souls. They were not ashamed of their nation, of course, but of their leaders. The contemporary manipulative methods and low-minded motivation came together, resulting in the betrayal of the Slovenian nation for their own goals. In other words: the Slovene Lands have been sold again! To be precise: the Lands are still being sold off, and interested buyers are being invited under the motto »We are here, and belong to you!« All this for their own goals – but this time not only for a handful of people, the cream of society, but also for the goals of bigger and lesser owners, for example the owners of the above-mentioned »forty thousand houses in Croatia«. It should also be mentioned that not long ago, in the former Slovene Lands and, in the nearer past, in the former common mother country, Yugoslavia, this is not an insignificant or negligible number of supporters of »good neighbourliness«. I dear say that these facts undoubtedly indicate who is managing the »autonomous journalists«. The real autonomous journalists would use such 'slips of the pen' made by the other side’s press publicity to present their own, more realistic views.
Moreover, it is almost impossible not to see the indifference (irresolution) of those other leaders who did vote AGAINST, but not so eagerly.
During the campaign, the dispute between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia was not presented as it really is: the immensely important historical and geographical issue relating to the border after the breakup of Yugoslavia, and thus a highly complex issue of international law. With regard to the heart of the matter – the reasons for the border dispute – the media have been as silent as the grave. On this issue, see the previous »letters«1-4 – in particular, the third letter.)
For two months the legal experts bombarded us through the media, and finally they became fed up and recognised what the manipulators wanted: Let’s resolve this issue once for all! In fact, the basic rule of any manipulation is that the manipulated persons should have no clue as to what they are making their decisions about, between which two alternatives they are taking their pick. It is enough that they have received information to persuade them that they must vote FOR! But, in my lifetime I have never experienced or seen the manipulation of this kind; I really felt aggrieved. In the historical memory of the Nation this event will remain a monument to Slovene serfdom, similar to that plebiscite in Koroshka. There were really many discussions on the rightful solution to the border issue, but they were so modest, as if they were afraid to reveal too much about the unjustified loss of Slovene Lands and consequently the denationalisation of the Slovene Nation. Bit by bit many of the previous Slovene Lands have been irretrievably lost. We Slovenians are dying off so obviously, that one can hardly overlook it. Nobody can tell me that it is right to prevent Slovenians from acquiring knowledge of Slovenian history, particularly that part which relates how others administered justice relating to the determination of our borders throughout our history, and above all after our »liberation« from fascism. We will inform the Arbitration Commission on all these issues in the memorandum attached to the adopted Arbitration Agreement, and we will do this in a tolerant way, above all selectively – taking into consideration our actual interests.
However, in this game of systems, the most important for long-term interests are the external players of Super-systems: sponsors from the USA and the Europe of the future. The above-mentioned protagonists are only the domestic providers of a super-scenario. The true or real game is a game of big and powerful players. This is a geostrategic play of interests – played by major actors on behalf of small ones. However, this game might not always end as it was planned; sometimes history dictates its own pace, and of course the mighty ones do not bother with such exceptions, as they have already prepared the alternative scenarios. For now, the reality is that »Big Croatia« (now and never again) is more important for EU enlargement than its already incorporated Member State, Slovenia. In the same way as it happened to Slovenians, now Croatians now think that they are going into the Promised Land, Europe, but as a matter of fact the EU is going into Croatia. Croatia is geostrategically more important for NATO and the USA, as well as the Vatican, than (always more negligible) Slovenia. Former Slovene Lands (Istria and that part of Piran Bay under dispute) will not even be occupied by Croatia very long, as there are other, more powerful interests. But let us leave these boundary matters to our descendants.
Let us go back again to the referendum decision – let us Slovenians at least be quite clear about who and what we are as a nation: We are the Slovenian minority in our own State! The Slovene State is not a nation (a population) with its own sovereign State!
It would be better to forget about the Slovene State’s dreams (as a matter of fact its citizens’ dreams) about »Slovene Nation«. Of this philosophical concept (ideological construction) the writers of the renowned New Review (Nova revija) No. 57 were particularly proud.
Dear Ivo Urbanchich: Your statement in the past, which aggrieved our fraternal nation (that is how we used to call each other at that time), that the Macedonians are a population which is not powerful enough to become a nation, has now returned to us like a boomerang. However, I am not hurt by what is happening with a State or nation, but I am hurt by what it is doing to its population. »Take the pride and dignity from a population and you wound its soul. Its self-confidence and at the same time its originality and identity will start to crumble. Slovenians! – your descendants will not excuse your mistakes. In the historical memory of our nation this unhappy referendum will remain as one of its most despised deeds, and such deeds have occurred throughout Slovenian history too much, too often.« (To patriotic Slovenes, IV)
Note on the quotation:
We are not all serfs. There are and will be the exceptions, who will never accept voluntary serfdom. Cankar’s words do not apply to individuals, and to patriotic Slovenes, but it applies all the more so to you, who are turning us into serfs!
(in a variation which is like a nightmare dictated to me by our fate):
We, the patriotic Slovenes, have become a minority nation in »our own« country!
After this, for our nation, humiliating, treasonable Arbitration Agreement!
This is not an incentive, but this is just an indication of the death-throes of a certain nation, if it is already inevitable.
WE have no power to change the world; but we do have the power to do something, which should not be underestimated, and that is: not to let the world change us.
In fact, we can always choose not to die cringing or kneeling, but standing up – upright! – As a free nation!
»If a nation is free, its nationality may not be taken away by any other nation; no power, no force, or power of arms, or army, or occupation, or denationalisation may threaten it,
if it defends itself by intensifying its desire for freedom and its own identity.
Thus, the essence of a nation’s freedom is not taking from others, but keeping what belongs to it and what is of essential importance to it!«
Such referendum results should not be recognised by the Slovene population. It was so obviously manipulated that we may only be ashamed of it. And our descendants will be ashamed of us. What ever you say, this remains an ineluctable truth.
The nation (not its State) cannot recognize the dirty bargain – the »sale-off« made by the key people’s representatives (nationalists).
The State cannot admit to its citizens that it has surrendered to Super-systems and allowed continual occupation by its ‘good’ neighbours. Between the first and the second (nation and State) is an immense difference.
1 Rajko Shushtarshich, To patriotic Slovenes, I /Zavednim Slovencem I/, Revija SRP 91/92, June 2009, p. 206
2 Rajko Shushtarshich, On proper neighbourly relations (between nations) and on a nation's sovereignty /To patriotic Slovenes, II/, Livesjournal 1, January 2010, no. 1, p. 115
3 Rajko Shushtarshich, Visionaries don't care about nation /To patriotic Slovenes, III/, Livesjournal 2, July 2010, no. 1, p. 127
4 Rajko Shushtarshich, Referendum for Slovenia – second /To patriotic Slovenes, IV/; Referendum za Slovenijo – drugi; Zavednim Slovencem IV/, Revija SRP 97/98, June 2010, p. 121
* Ivan Cankar (1876–1918, Slovene writer), from his play Serfs, 1910
Translated from Slovenian Tajana Ida Feher