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A Major Natural Disaster And Current Slovenian Politics

Natural disasters affect not only nature but, at least as much or even more so, the people too. Their reactions are manifold; the consequences of surviving a disaster are long-lasting. As well as the material sphere, they also affect the psyche and social consciousness.

The natural disaster that recently struck Slovenia is considered by many to be the biggest in our history. But, although we do not have a systematic study of them, it would be difficult to subscribe to this belief. Normally, a disaster is defined by the number of dead; life is unrepeatable, not material damage. Let us remember the year 1348, when an earthquake in the Zilja valley caused part of Dobrač to collapse and hit many villages, and the years when nature and people were attacked by locusts and killed by the plague. Let us remember the earthquake of 1511, which was particularly bad in the western part of Slovenia; let us remember how often the Upper Posočje region experiences earthquakes. The changing course of the Sava River tells a story of terrible floods. Since ancient times, we have known about the catastrophic consequences of the Savinja River flooding every few years. In the middle of the 19th century, the thermal spring in Laško was so heavily flooded that it was not found for some time. Let us be honest and, on the basis of some examples, such as the redevelopment of the Železniki area, let us admit that the damage caused by the current floods would have been much less severe if we had systematically looked after the torrents, the dykes, if we had built the dry retention basins that had been planned hundreds of times, if we had carefully stacked the logs, if we had cleaned the deposits behind the dams … It is too late to complain after all of this after the damage was already done. And finding the culprit is even less sensible! Will we learn from this? Will anyone compare the fate of the old and the new parts of the settlements?

The first political reactions to the storm that turned Slovenia black and returned it – after a long time – to some European media that had almost forgotten about our country, revealed the misery of those civil society movements that established the current government. They have fallen silent. Screaming about climate change, which is just imitating foreign models and does not come from the Slovenian reality, cannot provide any concrete help. Milan Kučan, who knows that his people are only after selfish power interests – the elections clearly show that people do not fall for the left’s platitudes to hide its sole aim, which is the usurpation and abuse of power – was frightened by this and warned that a “state of solidarity, cooperation, inclusion and mutual assistance” must become our reality. Although he attributed the neglect of this to the opposition, he was, in fact, issuing a warning to his own party, which was beginning to lose public support. We are, of course, referring to the new faces in power, who have, on the one hand, publicly acknowledged the impotence of the totalitarian left, which cannot directly ascend to power, and, on the other, are abusing democracy and the principles highlighted by Kučan. He has admitted the old truth that politics is first and foremost about solving social ills and problems, not about the struggle for power, which is the only thing he and his people know.

The solidarity, the overwhelming emotions and the active evidence of co-responsibility and interdependence, of mutual help, shown by Slovenian citizens is something incredible. Even foreigners do not hide their admiration and enthusiasm for them. Yet, despite all that we are going through, there is something healthy in our people. Let’s admit it. This is in stark contrast to the accusations that the national elections, especially the last one, prove their immaturity, if not something worse. If they showed the same thing in 1990 and 1991, and not least this time, it seems that it is actually in politics, not in citizens, that we should look for powerlessness to attract noble people! We Slovenians became independent to live in accordance with our democratic tradition and in a way comparable to Europe. Therefore, the resulting policy has natural allies in the “benefactors” – it just has to appeal to them.

The spiritual climate is increasingly empty

The breakthrough that Slovenians experienced during the Slovenian Spring is a great, profound and far-reaching thing. We expected spontaneous democratic development and social progress. This has happened, but in the eyes of the people, it was more because of the general situation than because of the post-independence situation. Their values and benefits are being systematically nullified by the creators of the new faces in politics. They have brought a special secretary into the present government with this task. There is no civic education in our schools. National consciousness is being systematically demolished, starting with the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) and continuing from there. In many respects, after 30 years of the Slovenian state, the situation is worse than before. Not because of us being tired of our own history and the depth of change, which is also accelerated by the all-around global developments to which we are exposed as a democratic community, but because nobody cares about the social and political education of citizens. The school system has remained completely in the hands of the old ideological forces. It cleverly disguises this by responding to technological developments and foreign language skills. The spiritual climate, which includes national and civic consciousness, is increasingly desolate and empty. Worse! They impose problems of coexistence with minority and bizarre views, which, although they have always existed, are not central and dominant. The majority must tolerate them, because they are human like us, but that is not why our majority views are something to be rejected, or something shameful and intolerant. We have thrown Lenin out with civilised Europe, let us leave Trump to the Americans. Let us go back to the time appropriate for following the footsteps of Krek, Gosar and also the fathers of the United Europe of which we are an ideological and genetic part.

Remedying the crises caused by nature must make society more responsible precisely in order to prevent them from recurring in a few years’ time. The opposition has a tremendous opportunity to prove itself and to permanently nullify the possibility of “new face” governments.

Dr Stane Granda

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