Traditie Tegen Tirannie (deel 2)

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Eerder verscheen deel 1 van het interview met Tradicija Proti Tiraniji, de etnonationalistische beweging uit Slovenië. In deel twee bespreken we de Sloveense geschiedenis en cultuur vanuit nationalistisch perspectief.

Looking at history, Slovenia has always been on the crossroads between Slavic, Roman, Magyar and Germanic tribes. Do you and most Slovenians strongly identify as Slavic peoples and why?
That’s true, our country lies on important historical crossroads between different European cultures, and between southeastern and central Europe. Many of our cities were in fact first founded as Roman Empire´s trading or military defense settlements, such as our capital Ljubljana (Emona), Celje (Celeia), Ptuj (Poetovio), or Kranj (Carnium), among others. And before that our land was also inhabited by Celtic tribes.
Slovenians generally consider and identify themselves as a Slavic nation. With that being said, there are also many Germanic aspects within our culture. We have many cultural similarities with our Austrian neighbors, and with Germans, which can be seen in our folk music, national customs, food, folklore and so on. This can also be observed in some of our customs and holiday celebrations, so we can find both Slavonic elements, such as of course our language, and Germanic elements, in our culture. This is partly due to the fact that our nation was a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire for a long time, and was under its cultural influence. And even thou we find ourselves geographically on “cultural” crossroads, as one might say, we belong mostly to the cultural sphere of middle, or central Europe. Moreover, this is not the only connection we have with the Germans or Austrians, as a lot of Slovenians have some German ancestry and there are many German sounding surnames. This is of course most visible in the northern part of the country, while in our seaside region, in the Slovenian part of the Istrian peninsula which was in the past both under Austrians and Italians at different times, we can also notice some Italian influence, and so on. But broadly speaking, our culture and nation consists mainly of both Slavic and Germanic elements. We accept it as such, and consider ourselves first and foremost a white European nation.

Neighboring countries like Austria have built their identity around the battles against the advancing Ottomans and the Magyars during the Middle Ages. What role did the Slovenian people have in these or other famous battles?
During those clashes our people were part of the Habsburg or the Austrian Monarchy and as such took part in the battles against the Turks. At the time, present day Slovenia was divided into different provinces which had their own armies. Turkish incursions into our lands began in the 15th century and lasted until the end of the late 16th century when the Ottomans suffered a defeat in the Battle of Sisak in present day Croatia. On these incursions Turks would usually burn villages, kill or enslave our people and steal their cattle and crops. This went on for about 200 years until the outnumbered Austrian forces, including Slovenian armies from different provinces, defeated the Ottomans at the fortress Sisak. Slovenians and their commanders such as Andrej Turjaški (Andreas von Auersperg) and Adam Ravbar (Rauber) gained great renown as warriors in that battle, so it remains an important event in our history.

Some countries in the Balkans seem to have a problematic relationship, especially among nationalists. For example, between the Croats and the Serbs. Slovenia has many neighbors. Can you describe the relationship between Slovenia and its four neighbors?
Our land was part of bigger Empires for a long time, and at some points different parts of our territory were controlled by different countries. Because of that there are some complaints about stolen territories coming from certain nationalistic circles both in Slovenia, and in our neighboring countries. For instance, after the First World War when Slovenia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia, a bigger part of the region Koroška (Carinthia) decided on a plebiscite to stay within Austria. This was an important loss, as Karantanija (Carantania) which is considered by many to be a “first Slovenian state” was established in this region in the 7th century. Then there are some issues regarding already mentioned Istrian peninsula where the Italian influence is quite strong. Some Italians will claim that Istria was stolen from them and that it doesn’t belong to the Slovenes or Croats. Now on the other hand some Slovenes, either of the Yugonostalgic or of the chauvinist variety – the former does not exclude the latter- claim that Istria and especially Italian city Trieste belong to us. In the other part of our country there is a region called Prekmurje, where Hungarian influence is strong as it borders Hungary, and since this region was once under Hungarian control, some Hungarian patriots, mostly of the chauvinistic type, see it as a part of a greater Hungary. All of these regions were inhabited both by us and by our neighboring nations, so we have indigenous minorities from these countries, and they have Slovene indigenous minorities living inside their countries. This minorities were also at times a source of disputes, as for instance some national-chauvinistic politicians would oppose the two-language signs in the areas where the Slovenian minority lived, etc. But currently this “disputes” are mostly limited to different historical debates, or can be found in some groups with elements of “old nationalisms”. Apart from that, the only bigger dispute that we have concerning our border is with Croatia, mostly regarding the bay of Piran and some other border locations. This dispute about our sea and land border has been going on for years and has affected diplomatic relations of our countries. Finally the EU “stepped in”, and the decision was made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2017, but the Croatian government refused to recognize the decision of the court, so the issue is still not completely solved.
With that being said, our relations with our neighbors are quite good and more or less completely normal. Many Slovenian tourists regularly spend time in those countries, and we get visits from their tourists, etc. So, apart from some individuals or small groups with national-chauvinistic attitudes, we get along well. Many of us have visited beautiful cities such as Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg or Venice, or have spent summer at the Croatian seaside, and there were many contacts and even some cooperation between Slovenian identitarian and nationalist groups with fellow nationalists and identitarians from those countries over the years.
We would also like to stress that we as a group distance ourselves from the chauvinistic attitudes mentioned above. Now, do not get us wrong, we in no way want to give impression that our history is unimportant, and that we should forget our past or dismiss every claim about some parts of land where historically our nation lived. But we must understand that the other nations may as well have same credible claims about the same piece of land, and we think that such claims should be researched with the utmost considerations and objectivity, keeping in mind that we are all Europeans and that we should deal with such subjects calmly and with mutual respect. Unfortunately for that to happen we must first understand that today we face common threats as one family of nations and as a specific race. If we can deal with this threats and prevail in our current struggle for the future of our continent, than hopefully one day we can deal with such border issues and historical claims not as adversaries and rivals, but as racial brothers and allies. Until that day this issues will sadly only breed chauvinistic hatred and will reignite old grudges, or will be used by politicians on both sides to gain votes and parade around like great patriots and defenders of the land when they will want to increase their public support.

Can you tell me some more about Slovenia’s most important writer or other historical figure of importance?
Just like other European nations, we have our share of poets and writers, some of whom nurtured our national consciousness and identity, and whose works became part of our historical and cultural identity. Most well-known, and generally considered the “greatest” Slovenian poet, would be the 19th century romantic poet France Prešeren. The seventh stanza from his poem Zdravljica (The Toast) is the national anthem of Slovenia. From his other poems, we can mention the great heroic epic Krst pri Savici (The Baptism on the Savica), which talks about the Christianization of the pagan Slavs and of a brave commander of the pagan forces, and has taken an important place in our cultural heritage. Another important Slovenian poet was the priest Simon Gregorčič, whose most known poem is Soči (to Soča), an ode to a river flowing through western Slovenia that has many patriotic aspects. Gregorčič expressed his patriotism in his other poems such as Domovini (To Homeland) and Znamenje (A Sign) as well.
Some of the other well-known and generally seen as important literary figures and poets were the representatives of Slovenian modernism, such as neoromantic poet Dragotin Kette, symbolist poet Josip Murn, poet, playwright and translator who translated works of Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, Balzac, George Bernard Shaw and Knut Hamsun, and other authors of Western literature into our language, Oton Zupančič, who was also quite an opportunist, supporting Yugoslav monarchical “nationalism” before the second world war, and after the war showing support for communist victors, a writer and a playwright Ivan Cankar who was also a political activist and a socialist, writer Ivan Pregelj, playwright and writer Fran Levstik, who was a big influence on Slovenian writers and poets that at the time held “national-liberal” views, such as romantic realist Josip Jurčič, priest Anton Aškerc who was known for his epic poems, and historian and writer Janez Trdina who also collected folk tales. All of the mentioned authors worked mostly in the 19th and early 20th century. There were also other authors such as the Enlightenment era poet Valentin Vodnik, modernist poet Srečko Kosovel, or writers Fran Saleški Finžgar, Janez Jalen, Anton Martin Slomšek, and others.
When talking about historical personalities, which were important for the development of Slovenian national and cultural identity, we must also mention Primož Trubar from the 16th century, an adherent of the Reformation movement and a Lutheran protestant priest, who is the author of the first Slovene language printed books, and is considered the father of our language. His first published book , and the first book printed in Slovene, was Katekizem ( Catechismus), which is sort of a manual written in the form of questions and answers, dealing with religious practices and such. And his second book, because of which he is considered the “founder” of our language, is called Abecednik (Abecedarium) and was meant to help ordinary people learn how to read and write.
Regarding the historical personalities who, for better or worse, left their mark in political developments of our nation, there was Dr. Anton Korošec, who was elected to the Austrian part of the parliament in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where he read the May Declaration which called for the unification of all South Slavs in one state unit within the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. After the First World War he was vice-president in the first government of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Later on he was also the Prime-Minister in the kingdom of Yugoslavia in late 1920s. He held other positions in the government during his political career, and campaigned for the greater autonomy of Slovenes within the Yugoslavian monarchy. He was a member of Slovenian´s People Party, which was Catholic and Conservative. And we should also mention writer and a politician from the 19th Century, Janez Evangelist Krek. Concerning the events around First World War and the establishment of the kingdom of Serbs, Slovenes and Croats, which later became Yugoslavia, some Slovenian patriots also admire Slovenian General Rudolf Maister, who at the end of the war prevented the German forces to annex city of Maribor to Austria, and ensured the northern part of Slovenia to stay within the newly formed kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. He is thus hailed by some as “defender of the northern border”. And about more recent historical events we should at least briefly mention that another May declaration was read in 1989 and called for a sovereign Slovenian state. This was followed by a plebiscite at the end of 1990 that was attended by more than 90% of Slovenians who voted for independence.
Finally, we would also like to say a few words about a Slovenian general and a politician Leon Rupnik. Rupnik started his military career in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and fought in the First World War as Austro-Hungarian lieutenant. After the war he was active within the army of the kingdom of Yugoslavia, where he gained the rank of a major general. He fought in the brief April war in which the kingdom of Yugoslavia was swiftly defeated by the Axis forces. He was interned as a war prisoner and after his release he decided to take on the “ungrateful” role of the representative and a leader of his people in dealings with the occupational authorities. He became the mayor of our capital Ljubljana under the Italian occupation in 1942, and later the President of the Provincial Council of Ljubljana. He was also one of the founders of the Slovenian Home Guard, which fought against the reds alongside the Axis forces. He was a divisional general of the Home Guard, and in 1945, before the end of the war he was the chief commander of the Slovenian Home Guard. Rupnik was not only fiercely anticommunist, he also regularly warned about the dangers of the organized international Jewery and freemasonry in his speeches and writings. He was also a great patriot who wanted to ensure a rightful place for his nation in the creation of a New Europe. After the war, the communists slaughtered tens of thousands of members of the Slovenian Homeguard and threw them in the pits of the forests of Kočevski Rog in the southeastern part of our country, where many Serbian and Croatian anticommunist forces also met their fate. Leon Rupnik himself was tried for treason and shot in 1946. His last words were: “Long live the Slovenian nation!” His grave remains unknown, and in 2020 the Supreme Court in Slovenia annulled his death sentence.

Can you tell us some more about your religious and spiritual tradition? Are you interested in Christianity and Slavic or European pagan traditions?
Religion has always played an important role in human history, not only as a set of believes about the creation of the universe, our world and about the purpose of life, but also as a moral guideline and a set of values setting apart the good from the bad, right from wrong etc. From this perspective it is important for every identitarian group dealing with topics of tradition, culture, history, and so on, to know the religious influences and views that shaped the general values of their people, and the way in which they perceived themselves and their surroundings through history.
Because of that we are especially interested in the old pre-Christian European religions that can give us a glimpse in the mind of our ancestors and in how they perceived the world, what they considered to be good or bad, what were their values. It also shows us the similarities between different white peoples and tells us that their religions, traditions and cultures came from the same racial soul, as religion itself is in a way, just like customs and traditions, a mirror of our collective racial soul and spiritual characteristics. This can also be seen in the “Europeanization” of Christianity, as the majestic cathedrals, art and the battle spirit of medieval and Christian Europe obviously differs from the early Christianity that arose in the Middle East. Since Christianity, although imported to Europe, also played a huge part in our history and culture, we are also interested in Christianity, which in our opinion had both some positive and negative aspects.
We have within our group both people closer to “paganism”, and those who are, especially in the cultural sense, Christians or Catholics, as Slovenia is a majority Roman Catholic country. Most of all we try to approach religious questions objectively and with an open mind, as unfortunately religious differences between pagans and Christians can be a source of disputes and division within nationalist circles. As a group we welcome both Christians and those orientated towards our old gods such as Svarog, Perun or Veles within our ranks, as long as they have developed a healthy racial consciousness and want to join our metapolitical cultural struggle for the rebirth of Europe.
There are a few interesting roman and pre-roman archaeological sites in Slovenia, and in some parts of the country where local old beliefs survived in some smaller communities up until modern times there were also places of worship of the old ways. And of course many customs and traditions within our culture are rooted in paganism, just like in other European countries.