Kučan warns of signs of Fascism revival

Milan Kučan

Dražgoše – A ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the WWII Battle of Dražgoše was held on Sunday, with former President Milan Kučan as the keynote speaker. He stressed the importance of resistance and warned of increasingly many signs of revival of Fascism. Despite the epidemiological situation, a large number of people gathered.

Kučan said the battle and sacrifice of Slovenians during the Second World War had made a “disproportionate contribution to the defence of the human civilisation against barbarianism brought by Fascism”. He also stressed the importance of resistance to Yugoslavian Army during Slovenia’s independence.

He warned that as the world deals with Covid-19 there were increasingly many “worrying interferences in the value foundations of modern democratic society and the international legal order”, which were being undermined by populisms, nationalisms and egoism, “with increasingly many signs of revival of Fascism”.

According to Slovenia’s first president, all this is also happening in Slovenia. But some say this is exaggeration and are critical that people who have not experienced Fascism speak of it as if “there were no Trieste’s Narodni Dom, Bazovica, Dražgoše, Osankarica, Begunje, Gramozna Jama in the nation’s recollection”.

“It is important to say where the dismantling of the constitutional order can lead to, attempts to rule by means of decrees, the evasion and extortion of laws, the encroachment on the principle of the separation of powers, attacks on the judiciary and judges, on the independence of prosecutors and the police, on oversight institutions, on the freedom of the press, on human rights and dignity, the use and promotion of hate speech and obscenity, the disrespect for the separation of church and state, the attitude towards refugees, the misuse of historiography and the equation of patriotism with the demand for support for the current government and the policies of the largest party in government.”

He also pointed to dividing of Slovenians and aspirations to moving the entire social structure to the right, extreme right even. “Recognising these aspirations is what causes resistance. This cannot be covered and blurred by distribution of pre-election presents,” Kučan said, adding that the price of the seemingly short-term benefits would be high.

He said the actual situation needed to be assessed realistically and those painting a false picture should be resisted to. “We will give an answer as to whether we are ready to do that in the upcoming election.”

About 1,500 people attended today’s ceremony. The organisers decided to carry out the event despite criticism given the epidemiological situation. Last year, the ceremony was held in a virtual form.

Representatives of several political parties also attended along with parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič and President Borut Pahor, who joined some other officials in laying a wreath to the nine Partisans and 41 locals who were killed in the Dražgoše battle.

Yesterday, Pahor also laid a wreath at a memorial on the Pohorje Plateau dedicated to a Partisan unit slain by Nazi forces in 1943, the site of a major annual ceremony that was cancelled this year due to coronavirus.

The Dražgoše battle saw a 200-strong Cankarjev Battalion fight some 2,000 Nazi German troops in deep snow and freezing cold to prevent them from taking the village and deporting the locals.

Reaching the village, the Nazis killed twenty locals and another twenty in retaliation after the Partisans retreated, completely destroying the village and driving the survivors out.