Prime Minister Janša on Statehood Day: The power of a nation that is united is unstoppable

Predsednik vlade Janez Janša. (Foto: Demokracija)

“The unity of a nation, the courage of those who were armed, the strong political will of the Demos government coalition, which was led by Jože Pučnik, Ph.D., and the self-initiative of a multitude of individual commanders of tactical units of the Territorial Defence and the police, forged a victory in the war for Slovenia. A victory, elevated to the Slovenian Olympus in its finality, a victory, more important than all the battles of our ancestors, which were unfortunately often fought for foreigners, which were fought through all the whirlpools of the ungrateful history of past centuries,” Prime Minister Janez Janša wrote for the celebration of Statehood Day.

On the occasion of Statehood Day, Prime Minister Janez Janša published a post on Facebook, saying that there is a specific time in the history of every country, a nation-building period, that enabled the nation to become sovereign, its own master on its own land. A time like that is marked by a positive attitude of the majority of citizens. A time like that represents the core values of the nation. For us, Slovenians, and citizens of the Republic of Slovenia, that time is the time of gaining our independence.

This year will mark the thirtieth anniversary since the Demos coalition’s meeting on November 9th and 10th, 1990, in Poljče. At the meeting, a historic decision was reached, to call a referendum for an independent Slovenia. Demos’ decision in Poljče was the right one; it was the decisive and the deciding one. But the decision should not be taken for granted. It took a lot of courage to make it. It was adopted at a time when some other form of politics would have hesitated, calculated, and would once again waste a historical opportunity for the Slovenian nation. And the question is when, if ever, such an opportunity would come again. “Therefore, a sincere thank you to all those who put all their doubts and fears aside on that November day, and decided for what was right and what was most needed at the time,” the Slovenian Prime Minister wrote.

We are publishing the Prime Minister’s post in its entirety below:

Slovenia is my Homeland

There comes a definite time in the history of every nation-building nation, that has enabled a country to become sovereign, its own master on its own land. A time like that is marked by a positive attitude of the majority of citizens. A time like that represents the core values of the nation. For us, Slovenians, and citizens of the Republic of Slovenia, that time is the time of gaining our independence.

This year will mark the thirtieth anniversary since the Demos coalition’s meeting on November 9th and 10th, 1990, in Poljče. At the meeting, a historic decision was reached, to call a referendum for an independent Slovenia. Demos’ decision in Poljče was the right one; it was the decisive and the deciding one. But the decision should not be taken for granted. It took a lot of courage to make it. It was adopted at a time when some other form of politics would have hesitated, calculated, and would once again waste a historical opportunity for the Slovenian nation. And the question is when, if ever, such an opportunity would come again. Therefore, a sincere thank you to all those who put all their doubts and fears aside on that November day and decided for what was right and what was most needed at the time.
Later, they upgraded this decision with a political agreement on a unified appearance at the plebiscite for an independent Slovenia.

The day of the plebiscite, December 23rd, 1990, will forever be marked in the history of the nation as a special day. With a turnout of 93.2 percent, 95 percent of the voters opted for an independent Slovenia. The citizens understood the uniqueness of the historical moment and thus proved their maturity, wisdom, and readiness to become a free, sovereign nation. It was the only time in history when the nation truly wrote its own judgement.

Half a year later, on June 25th, 1991, after heated debates and votes on independent laws, among which the most important few were adopted with only the few votes of the small Demos majority, the only law which was accepted with the two-thirds majority was the constitutional law to implement the Basic Constitutional Charter on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Slovenia, with which Slovenia took over the authorities of the previous federation on its own territory. Slovenia had become an independent and sovereign state. There was no way back, and the aggression of the YPA immediately tried to prevent the way forward, to a new life.

At the very beginning, we had to defend the freedom of the nation with weapons. Those were the weeks, days, and hours in June and July of 1991 when everything was at stake. An independent European future for Slovenians, a democratic system, our religion and constitution, prosperity, and our lives. Those were the days when – disarmed in May 1990 – the nation stood up for its rights again, declared an independent Slovenia, and powerfully resisted the aggressions of the Yugoslav People’s Army.

In those days, a small share of Slovenians, who, with the mass support of the nation, took every available weapon and, together with the civil defence, opposed the 5th technically strongest army in Europe, achieved the impossible with their courage and wrote the final act of Slovenia’s transition to being a nation. The whole world admired the courage of Slovenians back then. Representatives of the most powerful countries in the world, who claimed that they would never recognize our independence a few days before, changed their minds because of our courage. Despite parts of the left-wing politics’ opposition to becoming independent, the nation was united. Unified like never before and very brave.

The unity of a nation, the courage of those who were armed, the strong political will of the Demos government coalition, which was led by Jože Pučnik, Ph.D., and the self-initiative of a multitude of individual commanders of tactical units of the Territorial Defence and the police, forged a victory in the war for Slovenia. A victory, elevated to the Slovenian Olympus in its finality, a victory, more important than all the battles of our ancestors, which were unfortunately often fought for foreigners, which were fought through all the whirlpools of the ungrateful history of past centuries.

Every day, the war for Slovenia showed us that there were thousands of heroes among the Slovenian nation. Boys and men who overcame fear, out of love for their homeland. They took up arms to defend their home, their faith, and their laws. Slovenia. And they did great.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s famous statement after the battle for England, we can say that never before in the history of the Slovenian nation, have so many people owed so much gratitude to a handful of their compatriots.

After the victory, they returned to their homes. The state has forgotten about them many times; the homeland never will. Because those were the holy hours, that was the song of songs of the Slovenian nation. We stood up because of their courage.

Unfortunately, there were victims in this war as well. We are grateful to all those who, in order to make the dreams of the nation come true, gave everything they had – their lives. We cherish the memory of them with gratitude.

When looking back on the path we have walked, on everything we have achieved as a nation in these twenty-nine years, which is a really short time for a country, we can be proud. We have achieved a lot, but we have also missed many opportunities. Part of the reason for it is that we allowed the old resentments, hatred, cynical distance, and division, to regain their power. Because what is good in every one of us, was kept silent when the bad started its march again and halted our creative enthusiasm.

However, the trials that life imposes on us teach us time and time again that we can only be strong when we are connected and united. They teach us that we can only progress as a nation and society when we are united, and then, we can overcome even the hardest of ordeals. The recent experience in the war with the coronavirus has confirmed this. Although our politics were divided, just as they were at the time of gaining independence, we won the first battle with the virus because we were united as a nation, and we understood that health is important and equally valuable to us all. I believe that together we can overcome all subsequent outbreaks of infection by acting responsibly. I extend my sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to all the families and friends of those who died due to the coronavirus.

When I look back on the path we have walked so far, I want us to remember more often, how great of an honour and privilege it is, that we have been able to realize the dreams, give meaning to the sacrifices, efforts, work and prayers of many generations of Slovenians who came before us, with our decision for an independent state.

I want us to see the fact that we live in an independent country as a great gift and opportunity for all of us, and to take it as our own, to take care of it, and try our best to make it better. Just like we care and try hard for someone we carry in our hearts.

Since our joint decision on the plebiscite resulted in an independent, sovereign state, I wish that we would never again say that nothing can be done. That nothing can be changed. The power of a nation that is united is unstoppable. If it is united because of a noble goal, every part of the creation will help it on its path to realization.

I wish it would be precisely because of these glorious days at the end of 1990 and in the first half of 1991, which are incomparable to anything in our history so far, that we would never give up. I wish we would be able to keep in touch with this time, which, with the force that overcame all obstacles of that time, brought the birth of an independent and sovereign state. These are the core values of the Slovenian nation, in which the creative, spiritual, and material forces of the nation have been united since its very beginnings.

I wish we could always draw our strength and creativity from these core values; I wish we could find refuge from the storms and rest after trials there. To stay one with the values and one with each other.

I wish that on our biggest holiday, Slovenian flags would proudly fly from every home, in homage to our beloved homeland. I wish we would once again discover its hidden beauties and realize how magical it is, in the summer days ahead. Born with the sounds of bells, given by God. Created for us. Happy birthday, Slovenia!

Heartfelt congratulations on Statehood Day!