In Memoriam: ‘Because you loved Slovenia, the Slovenian government sentenced you to death! How could anyone understand this?’

Ljubo Sirc (foto: sta).

Dr Ljubo Sirc, a great patriot and democrat, has found his last resting place at the Kranj cemetery. Fortune did not favour him throughout his life. There were obstacles waiting on his path which tried to make him bow down and break. But he accepted them as a challenge, growing and turning them into advantages. He was an upright man, an advocate of justice, of being true to one’s word, and a person of high morality. He had the highest regard for the values of freedom and human dignity.

With the greatness of a courageous Slovenian, European, and cosmopolitan, Dr Ljubo Sirc shaped schools of thought that will leave their mark on the history of mankind. During his life he had achieved the highest levels as a professor, renowned international economic expert, researcher, and scientist. And now this great patriot and democrat has returned to where he had spent his earliest years – to Kranj.

The funeral speech was delivered by Dr France Cukjati, who said that the time in which Dr Ljubo Sirc had lived had been strange. ‘Because you loved Slovenia, the Slovenian government sentenced you to death! How could anyone understand this?’ Cukjati said and added: ‘The death sentence was later changed to 20 years of forced labour. You then spent seven years and a half in prison, two of them in solitary confinement. Because the doors to any employment were barred to you in the ‘free’ Slovenia and the whole of Yugoslavia, you escaped to Great Britain in 1955. You got a doctorate in economy and in 1983 established the Centre for Research into Communist Economies (CRCE) in London. For having helped spread democratic ideas in Eastern Europe, the Queen of England conferred upon you the honour of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001.

It pained him that communism had lead Slovenian economy into a blind alley
Cukjati asked why Ljubo Sirc had abandoned law and passionately commenced the study of communist economy. ‘What reason could there be other than that it pained you that communism had lead Slovenian economy into a blind alley! You knew that a socialist society without freedom and justice has no future. You spoke to the world, hoping to be heard in your homeland as well. But other regimes in Eastern Europe did not want to listen and believe you either. It was not until the fall of the Berlin Wall that your predictions were finally confirmed.’

‘Dr Ljubo Sirc was mischievous. His humour was a combination of British and Gorenjska humour. I had never seen him embittered. I asked him why he was such an optimist, and he answered that they had sentenced him to death and failed. “Is there anything worse that can happen to me?” Thus, it is important to be positive and optimistic. In this last conversation, I reminded him of his optimism in 1988, when he had said that communism was finished. He was one of the few who had predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as well as the fall of the Berlin Wall before it actually happened. He said that he was surprised by the resilience of these remnants in Slovenia. “It will take time. Communism has not survived as an organism; the remnants have survived as parasites. The remnants have attached to something healthy and are drawing their life essence from it.” He also said that he was 90 years old and that his decision to join the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) had been well thought-out because today he was not naive any longer and did not view the Slovenian political landscape in the same way as 20 or 25 years ago,’ revealed Janez Janša.