“Members of the parliamentary group of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) are appalled by the idea that the Speaker of the National Assembly is attempting to portray an extremely sensitive topic, both for children – the cancer patients – and their parents, through boxing. We are of the opinion that any such portrayal is supposed to convey the message of hope and support,” the Slovenian Democratic Party parliamentary group wrote in a public letter.
The Public Relations Office of the National Assembly has sent an invitation to Members of the National Assembly to make a short fiction film for the children of the Paediatric Clinic. According to the invitation, the MP and former professional boxer Dejan Zavec and the Speaker of the National Assembly Urška Klakočar Zupančič, MSc, are supposed to compete in a boxing match in the hall of the National Assembly. The symbolic boxing fight would then stop and be followed by a handshake and the symbol of the golden ribbon (a symbol of the fight against childhood cancer). The MPs would watch the fight from the benches and would join the MP and Speaker of the National Assembly in the final scene with a message of hope and support – showing or holding the golden ribbons.
SDS MPs replied to the invitation with a letter, which you can read in its entirety below.
“Dear Sir or Madam,
The Slovenian Democratic Party group of deputies has received a letter from the Public Relations Office of the National Assembly inviting its members to participate in a feature film in which the fight between two boxers in the ring, namely, the MP and former boxer Dejan Zavec and the Speaker of the National Assembly Urška Klakočar Zupančič, MSc, would illustrate the struggle of children who are suffering from cancer.
We in the SDS parliamentary group are appalled by the idea that the Speaker of the National Assembly is attempting to portray an extremely sensitive topic, both for children – the cancer patients – and their parents, through boxing. We are of the opinion that any such portrayal is supposed to convey the message of hope and support.
We would also like to add that we in the SDS parliamentary group appreciate all the achievements that our colleague Dejan Zavec has made in boxing, but we are of the opinion that this kind of approach to such a sensitive topic as childhood illness is deeply misguided. We believe that MPs could do much more, both symbolically and otherwise, by making lasting changes to legislation that go towards making life easier for parents with sick children and offer more rights linked to absence from work, and by enforcing these rights for parents who are in the hospital with their children, than by staging a parliamentary boxing duel in the ring.
Let us also remind you that the previous government, under the leadership of Janez Janša, allowed a parent or guardian to stay free of charge in the health facility or rehabilitation centre with a sick child up to and including the age of 14 and with a sick child of up to and including the age of 18 or for as long as the parental right lasts in the case of a serious brain injury requiring training for subsequent medical rehabilitation at home, or in the case of a chronic illness or defect during training for subsequent medical rehabilitation at home, or in the case of treatment for a serious medical condition; regardless of age, with a person with special needs requiring 24-hour care or with a person with a status under the law governing the social integration of the disabled.
We in the SDS parliamentary group, therefore, call on the coalition MPs and the government in general to devote the time that would be spent on making a feature film to ensuring that the conditions in the healthcare system are adequate in order to ensure that sick children receive the best possible medical care. SDS MPs pledge to support all proposals that will make life easier for sick children and their parents.
Given that we consider the initiative to participate in a film in which the boxing ring of MPs would be the main focus to be extremely undignified and, above all, completely insensitive to all sick children and their parents, we in the SDS parliamentary group will not participate in the above-mentioned ‘project,’ and will rather continue to work for changes in legislation that will concretely help both sick children and their parents.”