The Diaspora (This Is How Wars Start)

This is going to be an extremely short post, but I’d like to show you how wars start in my part of the world. One of the main reasons for wars and correspondingly low capacity of a given society to survive social and economic transition is the urge to right the ancient wrongs. Put less politicaly correct, we are talking about the people who fled (or were fled, so to speak) the post-WWII socialism and now feel it’s payback time.

A rally by the Australian Slovenian Conference. Why are there so many Croatian flags?

Popularly called The Diaspora, they are usualy people who left the country (in this case Slovenia) decades ago, usually for political, but also for economic reasons. Especially those among them, who are politically active, tend to gravitate to the right of political centre (I’ve yet to find me a politically active left-wing Slovenian ex-pat). This is especially the case in the Land Down Under, which was a post-war destination of choice for many Slovenes, Croats, Serbs and so on. These people left their motherland some fourty-odd (or even more) years ago and obviously have a rather distorted – or at the very least severely outdated – perception of their county of origin.

And so it happens that I read in today’s Dnevnik, amond Letters to the Editor (always an exciting read, revealing the deep shallowness of Slovenian soul) a letter by the Australian Slovenian Conference addressed to Prime Minister Janez Janša, urging him to stop “carelessly and irresponsibly ceding Slovenian land to foreigners. We are certain that history will judge you harshly if you do not change your approach to the matter at hand and do not stand up for Slovene citizens and Slovene land” and goes on to add that “ex-Yugoslavia has ceded a large piece of Slovene land to Italy in exchange for a large piece of Croatian land, which Croatia claimed as its own after the breakup of Yugoslavia. How will Croatia compensate Slovenia for this loss?

You see, people of Slovenia and Croatia lived in peace throughout history. We may say bad things about each other, but in the end Slovenes like Croatian seaside and music and Croats like Slovene mountains and shops. And both hate each other’s roads. It’s only when people who are stuck in 1945 and have a 19th century mindset (i.e. land is power) start stirring the pot, that all hell breaks loose.

Australian Slovenian Conference did shit to get Slovenia where it is now (except maybe partly fund Janša’s party) and for that precise reason it should keep quiet, sit in the back of the class, listen to old records and do those silly little dances they think are the essence of being Slovenian. But PUH-LEASE don’t do politics. It is difficult enough without warmongers of the 19th centuty claiming land that was never our own.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

15 thoughts on “The Diaspora (This Is How Wars Start)”

  1. Do you remember this one, they like cultural politics too:
    Tajnica ASK Jožica Gerden: “Mnogi avstralski Slovenci in ostali Slovenci po svetu, posebno pa naša mlajša v Avstraliji rojena generacija smo razočarani, ker večina modernih slovenskih filmov obravnava le balkansko življenje ali druge absurdne teme. (…) Slovenske popevkarje bo vzelo dolgo let, da bodo popravili v svetu svoj ‘image’, ki so ga Slovencem nalepile dobro prepoznavne ‘Sestre’.” Mladina

  2. If we neglect the pre-war Slovene they use (which is, afterall, understandable), their Blut und Boden approach is weird to the point of being scarry. Especially when and if it starts to penetrate politics back home. I mean – this is the 21st century..

  3. hehe. Good point, but I can’t stop thinking about this guy I know who returned to Slovenia to access the European film festival market. His father left in 53, and after having been loocked up in Trst he jumped on the first ship to America. Or so he thought… haha, I love the image of this guy walking to frikkin Trst and when he fianlly gets out, he gets on the wrong boat…

    Though, I was under the impression tha the politicaly worst ex-pats are the Argentinian ones. Supposedly they all kept really isolated and refused to become part of the Argentine society.

  4. I really have no problem with ex-pats trying to maintain the link with their homeland. Even those from Argentina (although, as I understand, they came back in swarms in 2001/02, during the collapse of economy there).

    What I do have a problem with, is ex-pats meddling in politics they’ve no daily relation to. Perhaps Croatia in 1990 is even better a case than my today’s post.

  5. Well, I suppose if you flee and lock yourself up painting an image of the country you fleed from as zion, instead of blending in where you live, you are gonna come out of it with some extreme ideas about the old country. Then again. What do I know. There is diference between maintaining a link and isolatin yourself, that’s all.

    But Slovenes are far from unique in this aspect. Just look at the Irish lobby (or any other, similar lobby) in the States.

  6. There is diference between maintaining a link and isolation yourself, that’s all.

    Very vell put!

    But Slovenes are far from unique in this aspect

    That’s what I was getting at in the first place. It’s just that this particular letter irked me to the point of writing it up 🙂

  7. When not in Slovenia, I live in a part of the world full of Croatian ex-pats. A large percentage of those being uber right wing, anti-Communist and some just shy of straight up fascist leanings. Need some money for armaments to use against Serbs or Bosnians? Pretty sure I could still rustle some up. As you alluded, it wouldn’t be the first time in recent history.

    Just as I was leaving in the fall, there was a scandal going on because the Croatian Cultural Centre had invited Thompson to perform. Nobody there saw a problem until the Jewish community questioned why a singer who used to perform a song called Jasenovac i Gradiška Stara, i.e glorifying Ustase death camps, was being promoted by the centre. Crikey.

  8. At least they live elsewhere. In Belgium, well, Flanders mostly, they are a political force within the country, unhindered by their subjective, old fashioned (conservative doesn’t necessarily constitute revisionism, does it?) and even false romantic hindsight on modern day society’s make up, which require modern day answers to modern day problems. Orf wiv’ their ‘eads, I say… :mrgreen:

  9. @lisa: Typical… Although Thompson surely deserves a post of its own..

    @ARF: Only today we ran an interview with one of Slovene actors who is performing songs by Jacques Brel, who apparently ran into serious trouble for his statement that Flemish separatists were “fascists during both wars and Chatolics in between” 🙂

    BTW: Letreme is in town. Does he still need a new liver?

  10. Very interesting post! My mother (who left Ghana some 35 years ago) and her Ghanaian expat community also try to be behind the scenes “puppet masters”, meddling in Ghanaian politics, and it really gets on my nerves. OK, they all intend on going back to spend their retirement years in Ghana so they do have some valid concerns, but a lot of the “tribal conflicts” that they stir up in their newspapers and online forums has already been negotiated back In Ghana. Lucky for us that Ghana is a super peaceable nation, otherwise all the fire and brimstone that the expats raise from their safe perches (in places like Toronto, New Jersey, and London) would really be explosive.
    I agree. Expats, Diaspora, enjoy your cultural dance and dress and bring your “native dishes” to multicultural parties if you want to, but leave the running of the country to those people who actually live there.

  11. Croatian ex-pats were the first to carry out terrorism in Sweden, back during Yugoslavia..

  12. FYI, Brel kicked the shins of both regions. He claimed to be Flemish in Wallonia and vice versa in Flanders, just to spite the hypocrisy on both sides. A man after my own heart, Jaqcues Brel…
    Eve doesn’t need a new liver, but maybe he can ask Jansa or Rupel if they have a government to spare, because his ain’t really working, its cabinet members of various parties – not in the least his own – rather rolling over the floor trying to campaign for next year’s regional elections rather than actually govern. And in the mean time, both regional PM’s agree to further hollow out the power base of the federal government if they’ll win it. It’s as bad a comedy as you’ve ever seen. No wonder I’m moving to Slovenija soon (if those expat fascists let me, of course :twisted:)…

  13. Pengy, I see you are again raising up your idiotic head, so perhaps it is time for me to put the records straight again. To start from the beginning….

    ***Put less politicaly correct, we are talking about the people who fled (or were fled, so to speak) the post-WWII socialism and now feel it’s payback time.***
    I think there are three or four important things here which you have deliberately or undeliberately fail to emphasize or shall I say point out.

    First I have no idea what “post-WWII socialism” are you here talking about. We had “stalinism” and “communism”. I didn0t see much socialism, but perhaps in your vlosxe inner circle the situation was different from the rest of Slovenia.

    Second very few Slovenes who left Slovenia in May 1945 came to Australia. Most of them left for Argentina, Canada, USA and a couple of them even for Venezuela. All of them, including their children and grandchildren, succeeded in their life. And believe it or not they succeeded without any significant help from their “mommies” and “daddies”. Or perhaps thanks to their family or political connections like it has been usually (and is still being?) done in Slovenia.

    Third most Slovene immigrants in Australia originate from the Littoral and Triest region. They fled from the “socialist paradise” to immigrate to Australia in 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I am not going to discuss here why or how they fled because I know it would be completely useless to explain such complicated strings of life to a boy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and ass. So they were certainly not warmongers and most of them were not even the wartime supporters of the domobran side in WW2, brushing aside the fact that the Landwehr was virtually non-existing in the Littoral region. But all of them were disappointed by the new “socialist regime” which offered to the common people so many chances to suceed in their lifes and equally many opportunities for their children. So before you talk get your facts straight, please.

    Fourth add to this also the personal stories of some, who lost their homes and all their property which was STOLEN from them by the communists in the first months of peace, when the new elite grabbed everything and as much as it could. I am sure you are familiar with these facts.

    As for your statement about Australian Slovenes not doing anything for this country….
    a.) Australian Slovenes are investing into Slovenia (Neboticnik, TUBA etc.). Many of them would have done this sooner if they would be allowed, but I think that topday, when looking the Srot brothers, Jankovic’s empire and some other tycoons from Forum 21 we can all get a picture why the market was so closed for foreign investments.
    b.) many Slovene companies who have come to compete to Australia and New Zealand have often been helped by Australian Slovenes
    c.) When Slovenia was fighting for its independence in 1991 it was the Australian Slovenes who helped to open doors for many Slovene politicians to meet the important Australian and Kiwi politicians. Without their help you would still be meeting the Under-Secretaries of the British and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    The last but not at least I don’t know why they should not get inolved in the politics in Slovenia. Maybe you are still living under the impression of the communist times, when a small clique of despicable people (Kardelj, Macek, Kidric, Kucan, Ribicic), supported uncritically and without any prejudices by a slightly wider pool of hypocritical aparatchiks, who were doing those dirty jobs for the communist secret police or simply sitting in the legislative branch of the communist parliament in Ljubljana, where they helped to carve the laws and regulations which denied the citizens of this country their basic human rights and liberties.

    Sounds familiar?


  14. Charlie!!! 😀 Late as always! How was the detox centre?

    Right now I’m much too pleased with myself to be bothered by the likes of you, so let me just point out that apart from the last paragraph your entire comment has no connection whatsoever to the post at hand.

    As for the last paragraph, the answer to your question is simple. Diaspora should leave the politics to politicians within the country. Janša, Peterle, Šrot, Podobnik, Tanko, what-have-you… I think the political right wing within the country is perfectly capable of holding its own and the country does not need politics of people whose only connection to the country are ages past. If they want to do politics, they should come back first, settle here, pay taxes here and then go politicking.

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