(photo: dr. fil at the Ljubljana zoo)
(photo: dr. fil at the Ljubljana zoo)
Raven (photo by dr. fil)
So, Janez Janša, the man considered most likely to form Slovenia’s next government, took the time to block me on Twitter. Along with more than a dozen other people, some of them journalists. Although I fail to see why he felt this was called for, I suppose I should feel flattered. The party he leads, the SDS, is employing the same policy and is blocking Twitter users as well. Me, for example. If their social media use tips came from the same people as Rick Perry‘s, they would be well advised to ask for an update on good Twitter Policy.
Less than two months to go until the early elections in Slovenia and it shows. This time around, with left-wing voters disappointed with the soon-to-be-former government yet not ready to live through another reign of the coalition which preceded it, and right-wingers feeling victorious before election day, flux is the word of the day.
As is usually the case in this country, any and I do mean any public debate soon turns into a cockfight over who contributed most to Slovenia’s independence and, without fail, whose ancestors fought on which side in WW2. Sad, really. Family ties to famous or infamous people – depending on one’s point of view – are quickly used in lieu of arguments. Remember, this is a nation of two million. Everyone is related or connected in some way if you look hard enough.
Dismissive is the new black
The level of debate is non-existent. I wanted to say appalling, but there really is no debate. Sure, we have lots of people talking, but not to each other. It is far too easy to gain political points by labelling adversaries with insulting abbreviations and nick names, repeating lies until they seem so familiar that they ring true and, surprisingly enough, by showing flagrant disrespect for all institutions, even the Constitutional Court.
The strongest opposition party, the SDS has been campaigning for the last three years, ever since having lost the previous elections. A result which they have been painting as questionable ever since. The party leader is rather slur-happy and his faithful party members and his associates have masted the art of disqualification. The party leader and his supporters, for example, have no problem calling the previous ruling coalition the KGB, an acronym for the first names of the coalition members’ leaders, while crying bloody murder if any similarly distasteful remark is directed at them.
As I mentioned, Janez Janša blocked a number of profiles on Twitter, including mine. While I am sure that it is easier and more heart-warming to read only those questions and comments that flatter the undoubtedly important Slovene politician, a wise man considers critical thought and does not build fences to prevent the thoughts of those who do not march to his drum from coming to his attention.
I hope SDS wins the elections
Now for the twist in this story. I actually hope the SDS led by Janez Janša wins these elections. They have been working hard for three years to have them happen. Which does not mean they are responsible for the dissolution of the coalition, of course. Anyhow, for three years, these people have spared no insult, no insinuation, have not missed any opportunity to question the credibility and even legitimacy of the team that governed Slovenia during the worst period of the world economic crisis. It is time for them to show they can do better.
It is time that SDS took over and showed its expertise not only in talking, but in doing. Structural reforms are difficult to carry out in the best of times, let alone during a long period of hardship. It was greatly due to SDS campaigning that the three structural reforms proposed by the Government and adopted by the Parliament fell at referendums. So much for parliamentary democracy.
It is time they took responsibility, formed structural reforms of their own and convinced the people not to turn down laws that will inevitably make them work for their pensions longer, for example, at a referendum. Good luck there. Unless they change the referendum legislation first. How could they? The will of the people comes first.
I am slightly concerned that the man who hopes to bring Slovenia out of the economic crisis and make it as prosperous as the country and its people deserve, has sufficient time on his hands to invest his energy into choosing the citizens to block on Twitter.
Ah, but I forget. No promises are being made. Voters are promised nothing more than a change in leadership. All the rest will follow gradually and economic recovery is only forecast to become apparent toward the end of the new government’s reign. A time frame that roughly coincides with the estimate of economists for the world’s economic recovery, but surely, this must be sheer coincidence.
I hope that the only Slovene party and the only Slovene politician to my knowledge who have made it a policy to block users, including journalists, on Twitter, will be able to show a tad more openness if they form the next government. A country run by bigots would be no fun to live in.
(all photos in this post were taken in Yellowstone, photo (c) dr. fil)
These two bison were positively posing for us. The bull would trot away toward another male threateningly to show off his power and dominance, then return to this cow. They were inseparable. We think we saw the same pair next morning, always just a bit away from the rest of the herd, always close to the point of leaning on one another even when grazing. I know far too little about bison behaviour to make anything of it, but it sure looked sweet.
More photos from the same session:
We visited the Antelope Island today. Impressive, to say the least. Views of the Salt Lake and mountains in the distance, all the animals large and small. Here are just a few photos taken on the four-hour hike.
Today, Slovene parliamentarians will discuss the possibility of taking in Guantanamo detainees for the first time. I use plural though it is unclear whether the US will request the country to help with one or more of these prisoners. Presenting the case is the twitting Minister Samuel Žbogar.
There is no such thing as an easy, clear-cut position on this issue. Or so it seems. Slovenes are mighty aloof when it comes to looking down on the US for various reasons, most recently including the Iraq war, the weapons of mass destruction buzzword and more. Some like to paint the Americans all-about-the-profit child slayers with others nodding quietly. On the inside, I am sure. Which does not prevent them from crying for help or downright demanding it when freedom and democracy in the areas of their interest are concerned. The evil world cop wannabes can turn incredibly quickly into into the only force strong enough to intervene and therefore carrying a moral duty to do so.
Guantanamo has been and remains one of the low points, black marks in the recent history of the American nation. Some people seem to feel close to orgasmic joy using it to demonstrate the USA’s moral inferiority. Which is why some responses in recent debates honestly surprise me. Ok. It is inconceivable that the US detained people without trial. It is a crime against humanity to keep “prisoner” these people whose guilt cannot be proven in any way that would hold up in court . But once a thought is given to these “never-proven-guilty” people being sent to Slovenia to start living a better life after years of hell, they are “dangerous”, “probably criminals”, “a threat to national security”. My oh my, how a bit of perspective changes the strongest of positions.
So let me get this straight. The Guantanamo detainees that would be sent to Slovenia have never committed a crime as far as it can be proven. They speak a different language, they come from a different culture, they pray to a different God, but have not, as far as it can be substantiated, committed any crime whatsoever. Methinks they are rather lucky not to have been hung on crosses.
True Christians don’t get to cherry-pick. But I guess you know that already, it may just sound strange coming from somebody who’s not a member of your club. To set the record straight, I have great respect for Christianity. Not necessarily so for its Churches. So I can say in all honesty and with no malice that to an outsider it would seen very Christian-like to remind your elected representatives of the spirit of Chistianity. The love for all people, not the love for a certain group of people who fit an unwritten or rather often rewritten bill.
But if after giving all of this a good thought and doing some deep soul searching, you still believe Slovenia should turn these people away, that’s of course absolutely fine. You have every right to your own opinion. Just goes to prove that this is, indeed, a free country. But don’t, I repeat, do not get all morally superior on the rest of us the next time it fits the agenda.