The Enemy Within


As of yesterday, prices of food in Slovenia are higher some 10 to 15 percent. A tug-of-war has erupted between the retailers and the food industry as to who is to blame, with both being equally interested to blame the other guy. Mercator, the largets retail chain in Slovenia even published a list of producers, their products and increase in prices..

Meanwhile, in his bat lair, the PM is calling upon the dark powers to help him find those responsible for this staggering increase in prices and correspondingly high inflation.

Please, read the previous sentence carefully. The PM and his ministers (Dumb & Dumber) are actually trying to find out who is to blame!!! What are they going to do? Pull out their nails? Tickle them until prices are lowered again? Make them listen to Damjan Murko? What?!?

I want my government to stop wining about it and start taking measures to curb the looming inflation shock. Instead, Janša et al. are (as per custom) busy looking for the enemy within, yet at the same time claiming that there is no cause for worry, but that they will take appropriate measures.

And while they are at socialist-speak (the last paragraph being a case in point), they might as well go for broke and reinstate price control. You know, just to get that special feeling of economic downfall we are about to experience anyhow.

Franjo Tuđman of Flanders

or Belgium explained to Croats in one slightly biased lesson

As you might have noticed, dr. Arf has stopped posting his Belgium Explained To Slovenes (And Whoever Else) In Ten Easy Lessons. I will not elaborate further on the reasons, but I’m sure you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out for yourselves.

But as if to prove dr. Arf’s point, Croatian magazine Globus ran an article about Flanders’ drive for independence. Well, to be precise, it ran an article about leader of Vlaam BerlangVlaams Belang, Frank Vanhecke, who is compared to the deceased Croatian president Franjo Tuđman.


And if the comparison is correct, then people should start worrying. Yes, Franjo Tuđman led Croatia to independence, but he also conspired with
Slobodan Milošević to carve up Bosnia-Herzegovina and would have been indicted for war crimes had he not had the good sense to die only months before. So I think Mr. Vanhecke should choose a better role-model. Oh, but I forget… He is good chums with Jörg Haider. And in my part of the world that does not look good on one’s resume.

Slovenia vs. Croatia As Seen By Boris Dežulović

Boris Dežulović is a brilliant journalist from coastal town of Split, Croatia, who always has a healthily cinycal perspective on things. When relations between Slovenia and Croatia really soured almost a year ago, he offered this witty perspective (in Croatian):

While this has to do with a particular border incident, please feel free to apply it to the entire scope of Slovene-Croatian relations.

Never in the last 15 years have Slovene Croat relations been more tense than these days. From the Bay of Piran and the River Dragonja the frontline has shifted to north-east near border crossing Hotiza on the River Mura, where the two countries have yet to draw an exact border.

It all began when Croats began building a levee in the disputed area. Slovene police have ordered the work to stop, Croatian police arrested Slovene journalists and immediately the banks of Mura and the forests surrounding it were teeming with Slovene and Croatian special police forces.

Slovenia and Croatia have thus found themselves in each other’s crosshairs, the fragile peace on Mura is approaching near bursting point of short policemen’s nerves, but even today, when an agreement [between Janša and Sanader] was reached at Otočec, noone really knows what Slovenes and Croatians are fighting about in the land and on the seas.

In the long history – especially contemporaty history – of the Balkan wars, it was always known why people were fighting: Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians and Albanians have fought with Serbs because they were attacked. Serbs have, on the other hand, fought Slovenes to save the Great Yugoslavia, they’ve fought Croatians to save Little Yugoslavia, they’ve fought Bosnians to save Great Serbia and they’ve fought Albanians to save Little Serbia. Montenegrins, however, have fought because of kitchen appliances.

These Balkan wars were more or less pointless, but they did have – what we were taught in school is called – causes and pretexts. And when a journalist would stumble upon a soldier hidden in the bushes, the latter would at least be able to tell him what he is fighting for, no matter how stupid the answer would have been.

Only in a conflict between Slovenes and Croats this question has no answer. Neither side has anything to gain in this conflict, their stupid little war has no point, no cause and no pretext.

If you asked an average Slovene or an average Croat why a new frontline has been opened, you’d be surprised to find out that no one has a clue as to what Slovenes and Croats are actually arguing about. Again. Except for the fact that both Slovenes and Croats know that – whatever it is that is – the other side is to blame.

But – as usual – the whole matter is so simple it hurts. The River Mura, a natural barrier between Slovenia and Croatia has changed its flow slightly to the south as a result of great floods some thirty years ago. Thus, on the »West Bank«, where the river used to flow, there is some Croatian owned real estate. And there you go: The same approach which Slovenes use in laying their claims on the River Dragonja, now works against them on the River Mura. And the approach, which Croatians use on the River Mura works against them on the River Dragonja.

In the media war, however, it’s all same old, same old: Slovene papers scream in big fat titles about »a resolute Slovenian response«, whereas Croatian papers write of nothing less than of »Slovene occupation«. Thus, Croats read about Slovene inspection teams stopping the works on the levees, but the papers omit the fact that Croatian workers have also destroyed forests privately owned by Slovenes. On the other side, Slovenes read about Croatians illegally building on no-man’s-land, but the papers omit the fact that this particular levee would also protect Slovene territory. Media report only half-truths, so one should follow media on both sides of the border to get a complete picture. But the problem is that Croats pretend not to understand Slovene, and Slovenes pretend not to understand Croatian.

And everything is like it was in the good old days. Journalists are being arrested, police special forces have each other in the cross hairs, helicopters are screaming over the sky, even the roads are (as per custom in this part of the world) blocked by fallen trees. Politicians are calling for calm and war-reporters are digging in. And everyone is waiting when in the bushes someone will find that scared soldier, who will squeeze the entire history of this war in one, legendary sentence: »They, like, want to build a levee, and we, like, don’t let them.«

Sorry it took so long to post, but there was a lot of text to translate….

UPDATE (re: alcessa‘s firs comment): Apparently this is another case of life imitating art imitating life…. Sheesh…

Running Scared

Janez Janša in “Running scared“. (Spoof by pengovsky, naturally)

I hate to recycle my own comments into posts, but this one, you’ll forgive, I trust.

During thursday’s cabinet session PM Janez Janša has accepted resignations (i.e.: forced them to resign) of three ministers: Andrej Bručan (health), Janez Božič (transport) and Jure Zupan (higher education) which come from parties SDS, SLS and NSi respecitevly. Also replaced is Director of Slovene intelligence agency SOVA Matjaž Šinkovec.

This is a massive cabinet reshufle, the likes of which Slovenia has never seen (or rather: has always a part of a collapse of the government). The ministerial resignations are obviously an attempt at pacifing the parties of coalition, as well as further removing people who have direct knowledge of his alleged involvement in the ongoing spy scandal.

The PM is tying up loose ends and is running for cover.

I’d say that it is pretty clear now that Janša is in deep shit and is trying to run for cover. Sacrificing three relatitvely unimportant ministers and hoping it’ll produce enough smoke to hide all the other bad stuff that’s going on is a legitimate tactic. The problem (from his perspective, that is) is that the opposition is already smelling blood and will probably call his bluff.

Slovenia is less than 60 days away from presidential elections and exactly 120 days away from start of its ever first EU presidency. I’m sure Janša has his hands full as it is and that all this shows that he lost his grip on things and is trying frantically to recover it.

It’s just that it might be to little to late.