Ljubljana – Marking Day of Uprising Against the Occupation, President Borut Pahor said it celebrated the rebellious spirit that was part of the Slovenian identity, noting Slovenians had twice stood up to occupiers in the past century. Speaker Igor Zorčič highlighted Slovenia had great development potential and that efforts should be made to realise it.
“The rebellious spirit, it seems, has become part of our national character as we have matured as a nation,” Pahor said on Wednesday as quoted in a press release by the president’s office.
Hosting an open day at the Presidential Palace to mark Day of Uprising Against the Occupation, which is observed today, he stressed that a nation that was morally right would always win the fight against the occupier in the end, regardless of its military strength.
“This is true today and it is true for the war in Ukraine, where the Ukrainian nation is morally right,” he added.
Slovenians wish for the war and suffering there to end as soon as possible and for all the conflicts between Ukraine and Russia to be dealt with in a peaceful way, the president said.
He sees this year’s Day of Uprising Against the Occupation as an opportunity to make an appeal for “solidarity with the Ukrainian people, but also a call for peace and a peaceful resolution of this conflict and all conflicts around the world, so that Europe and the international community can enjoy the peace and security that children deserve so that they can develop their talents and dream their dreams.”
Pahor believes it is important not to forget the most glorious days of Slovenia’s history, because from them the nation draws its national courage and moral credo. These “glorious historical events” include the Slovenian anti-Nazi resistance movement or the partisan movement of the middle of the last century.
During the Second World War, the nation was divided, but it came together in the time of independence efforts, he noted. “It was then – knowing the risk of a repeated fratricidal struggle – that we stood together and defended our homeland, our country, which today we are preserving and developing for the interests and dreams of our children and their children,” he said in his address to citizens.
Pahor was joined by the head of the ZZB WWII veterans’ association Marijan Križman, who said that today’s holiday taught and reminded Slovenians that they had always achieved their goals when they had collectively decided to do so. He stressed the importance of historical figures and movements for Slovenia’s independence, including the actions by General Rudolf Maister (1874-1934), who at the end of WWI secured what later became Slovenia’s northern border, and the anti-Nazi resistance.
Before the ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Pahor and Križman laid wreaths at a memorial dedicated to the movement in Rožna Dolina borough.
In his message marking Day of Uprising Against the Occupation, parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič said that Slovenia had great development potential and that efforts should be made to realise it.
In a changed international environment increasingly marked by the consequences of climate change, migration and now the war in Ukraine, this task will be challenging, but Zorčič has no doubt that “this time, as always in difficult moments, Slovenians will be able to unite on a sustainable development path”.
Describing Slovenians as a nation committed to the ideas of peace and freedom, mutual respect and solidarity, he noted that Slovenians had been on the right side of history when they “stood together with the Allies against the threatening terror of Nazism and fascism in 1941.”
Day of Uprising Against the Occupation is a symbolic way to say thank you to the fallen heroes of the resistance, he said, adding that the memory of them should never be forgotten.
Commenting on the recent general election, he said its outcome showed that Slovenians had voted for “democracy, a respectful and just government and media freedom” but also against historical revisionism, against “the denigration of the [WWII] national liberation struggle and the glorification of collaborators” with the Nazi and fascist regimes.
In light of the war in Ukraine, he finds this year’s holiday all the more meaningful as it reaffirms the importance of peace and cooperation. He also noted Slovenia’s expressions of solidarity with Ukraine and diplomatic efforts to help establish peace there as soon as possible.
Zorčič laid a wreath at the Tomb of National Heroes in Ljubljana in the morning, a memorial for the heroes of the World War II resistance struggle.