Reporter.While it was online generally very well received, one of the commentators made a typically nasty remark:
"And now little Australian domobranci will open their traitor traps and tell us what is right and what not? In 1945 they quickly fled 10,000 km away to the Southern hemisphere and now they want to teach us Slovenians lessons? No way!"
Comments under articles in Slovenian papers are usually very biased; this one, however, is so frequently repeated that I feel it is perhaps a good idea to say a few words about it.
Slovenian government has always had an ambiguous relationship with migrants. On one side, it has always supported Slovenian organisations abroad even when they represented only a small minority of the migrant population; provided grants; promoted learning of the Slovenian language, and organised and sponsored many different cultural workshops. On the other hand, there has also always been a hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) tendency to treat migrants as traitors and deserters.
It has always been insinuated that those who left Slovenia in 1945 were cowards and traitors because they ran away. But what were they running away from? Most of those who left Slovenia in 1945 were simply trying to survive! They were forced to flee - and leave most of their belongings behind - to avoid certain death which befell those who stayed or were returned by the British forces to the Yugoslav army. Calling them traitors and cowards is deeply offensive to each and every one of them. Had they had a chance to stay and live peacefully in their homeland hardly anyone would have left.
However, just to set the record straight, Australian Slovenians mostly arrived in their new country in the 50s and 60s, Mr Breznik one of them. Not many among them could qualify as true political migrants who fled their country for fear of being executed. Nevertheless, they mostly could not see themselves living in Yugoslavia for whatever reason. Some were persecuted due to their family background, others felt they had no future financially and there were others who were just adventurers. Whatever their reasons, they were valid and should be respected.
But to return to the intolerant comment above, it is also a reflection of the current situation in Slovenia where everything is painted as black-and-white and nothing in-between.
Worse still, it seems that in Slovenia some people have succeeded in adding another layer to the black-and-white spectrum. These are deeply rotten power brokers who work hard to make black look white and unfortunately they are able to convince general public that black is indeed white.
There is a whole brand of thinking that comes from one specific university centre where future ministers and party leaders are learning how to make undemocratic, totalitarian thinking look democratic. This is not so-called 'massaging the truth' or 'selling the message' - this is a conscious effort to hide the truth and cover it with a believable lie. This is called gaslighting. The Slovenian people have been gaslighted for so long that they completely lost their compass.
Many Slovenian politicians are great masters of this art. They found new parties a month before the elections, get a lot of biased promotion in the media and can reasonably expect to be elected to the new Slovenian parliament. The Slovenian people never question whether such people are capable of running the country.
It is not just politicians who participate in this upside-down world of mirrors and lies. It is also the Slovenian judiciary which feels that sending the leader of the opposition to prison three weeks before the general elections is somehow legally justified.
By moving him to a low security section three days after imprisonment where he is allowed to use his mobile and has access to the internet they also want to show the world that they don't really mean it. Former Slovenian president Kučan has already indicated that the judiciary is 'not infallible'. Which probably means that Janez Janša will soon be released and his sentence repealed!!?
Slovenians, please learn - as fast as you can - how gaslighting works! The good news is that with awareness it can be fixed.