Pahor honours those striving for truth, reconciliation

Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor laid a wreath at the Linden Tree of Reconciliation at Ljubljana’s Žale cemetery on Tuesday, thanking all those who strove for truth, reconciliation and harmony during independence efforts and the subsequent democratisation of Slovenia.

Pahor said the Liden Tree had been planted in 1989 with the hope that it would grow into a symbol of Slovenian reconciliation.

Although this did not succeed the first time or the second, as “the Liden Tree was uprooted and damaged many times”, the efforts persisted in search of “the spirit of tolerance, democracy and joint values”.

The president also thanked those who brought soil from different parts of Slovenia in 1989, “soil that saw blood” and those who read a declaration on national reconciliation there in mid-June 1990.

He said the declaration had been the first serious intellectual, political, even spiritual document that addressed “this issue that is so complex for Slovenians”.

He also mentioned a declaration on reconciliation adopted by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) at his initiative last year.

“We will never get to the bottom of the whole truth, we will always have to look for it anew, but there must be absolute freedom to do that, understanding and also encouragement,” he said.

Janez Juhant, member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, said the SAZU declaration promoted the European standards of democracy.

If intellectuals do not act by these standards, ordinary people cannot either, he said. The declaration says that the responsibility of both sides must be stated clearly through historical facts, and the reasons and consequences of war and after-war events listed.

“The post-election situation indicates that the fight for the truth in the name of the media freedom that has been disrupted and stolen will be demanding, so the path to reconciliation and rehabilitation of victims will be difficult,” he said.