Latest stories from Quick Reads + Slovenia
Rick Falkvinge, the founder of Pirate Party, reinterprets the wars of religion that devastated Western Europe in the XVI and XVII centuries in terms of the current struggle to control information through overbearing legislation related to copyright and freedom of expression:
The religious wars were never about religion as such. They were about who held the power of interpretation, about who controlled the knowledge and culture available to the masses. It was a war of gatekeepers of information.
Dozens of bloggers [sr] from Serbia, as well as from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia, attended Blogomanija [sr], a regional blogging conference that was held in Serbia on Dec. 7-9. Among other things, they discussed [sr] the impact of blogs and social networks on social and political life in Serbia and the region.
[...] [PM Janez Janša] already controls the parliament. He controls the economy. And as of last Sunday, he also controls the president of the republic. [...]
The only unknown in this scenario are protests. The political class, even down to “middle managers” is shit-scared and they honestly don’t know how things will turn out. I don’t think anyone does. [...]
[...] At the moment protests in Slovenia are directed against many different targets. Mayor Kangler, Mayor Janković, prime minister Janša, interior minister Gorenak, the failed industrial and construction tycoons, the banksters, even the president-elect Pahor already found his way to the “Gotof je” (He’s Done With) posters. But there is a common message to these protests. The people realised they’ve been robbed of their own country. And they’ve come to take it back. [...]
Balkan Buro, a Dutch non-profit “dedicated to providing a platform for artistic and cultural encounters between Western and Southeastern Europe,” announces the Balkan Snapshots Festival 2012, which will take place in Amsterdam on Sept. 21-23: “three nights of music, creativity, movies and inspiring debates!”
Russian collective “Chto Delat? // What is to be done?” published an essay by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, who considers Pussy Riot “conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea,” and fight against the cynicism of power-mongers who strive to return Russia to the tsarist level characterized by Leon Trotsky (1905) as “a vicious combination of the Asian knout [whip] and the European stock market.” The text has been translated into various languages [en, ru - middle of page, it, sr, sr, mk, gr] and reprinted by bloggers and progressive portals throughout Europe.
In “Libricide,” Ante Lešaja has documented the process of “purging” of “unsuitable” books from Croatian schools and public libraries by the right-wing HDZ government in the 1990s. According to a Jutarnji List interview [hr] with Lešaja, the “purging” was based on ideological and ethnic criteria and affected books “written in Cyrillic [script], [Ekavian dialect], books by Serbian authors and publishers, by ‘suspicious’ Croats, by leftists…” As a result, 2.8 million books (13% of all the library material) and 3,000 monuments of the anti-fascist struggle were obliterated. Comments on the link by Macedonian Facebook users suggest that similar processes are taking place in other ex-Yugoslav states, with janitors throwing “obsolete” books into trash.
Spotted by Locals: Experience cities like a local features a few dozen locations, including CEE cities of Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Krakow, Ljubljana, Prague, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw, and Zagreb. A random sample post from Zagreb, Croatia: Hrelić Flea Market – The Aleph of Zagreb; from Bucharest, Romania: The Haunted House – Armenian Neighbourhood; from Sofia, Bulgaria: Nissim – A True Old-School Bookstore.
Updates on the upcoming Dec. 4 parliamentary elections – by Dr. Filomena and Sleeping With Pengovsky (here, here, here, and here). Pengovsky concludes: “The way it looks right now, Janša seems poised to win on 4 December. However whether or not he will be able to form a coalition remains a mystery [...].”
Stefan Geens of Dliberation discusses how photography is under legal attack in Slovenia, since the country's information commissioner has decided that all faces in published panoramic photography should be blurred out – a decision with great consequences for the Slovenian photo scene.
Sleeping with Pengovsky analyses opinion polls for the upcoming December 4 parliamentary elections in Slovenia.
This week, PIRAN CAFÉ has been posting updates, photos and video from the OccupyLjubljana protest, which is taking place in front of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, Borza: “BORZA is Slovenian for bourse, or stock exchange. At yesterday’s demonstration, the R was knocked off the archway. Today it was replaced with a J. BOJ ZA translates to, ‘Fight For'.” BORUT PETERLIN in a rabbit hole of photography posts a 5AM photo from the Ljubljana Boj za camp (“For eleven years I’m working on a 5am project where I take pictures around 5am in different places of Europe and hopefully once it’ll be a book.”)
PIRAN CAFÉ posts photos from Ljubljana's recently renovated Congress Square and writes that this is where the #OccupyLjubljana gathering is expected to take place on Oct. 15 – “one of dozens, if not hundreds planned around the globe that day.”
Dr. Filomena writes that Janez Janša, “the man considered most likely to form Slovenia’s next government,” has blocked her as well as a few journalists on Twitter, but hopes that Janša's SDS party wins in the Dec. 4 early parliamentary elections: “[...] For three years, these people have spared no insult, no insinuation, have not missed any opportunity to question the credibility and even legitimacy of the team that governed Slovenia during the worst period of the world economic crisis. It is time for them to show they can do better.” Sleeping With Pengovsky also comments on the upcoming elections, here and here.
Sleeping With Pengovsky reports that the government of PM Borut Pahor has lost a confidence vote in parliament.
Sleeping With Pengovsky writes about Andrej Bajuk, Slovenia's former PM, who died at the age of 67 this past Monday.
Sleeping With Pengovsky comments on the riots and looting in the U.K.: “But I must say I got the heebie-jeebies when I heard on the BBC that some people were thinking of bringing in the army. Please, don’t. [...] I come from the part of the world where there was – not so long ago – plenty of army on the streets of its own accord. [...] The army, no matter how well meaning, doesn’t play by civilian rules. And it’s much easier to bring it to the streets than to take it off of them.”
At Balkan Travellers, Sarah Hucal writes about Yugo Yoga performance that took place on a makeshift stage at Belgrade's Museum of Yugoslav History in July 2011; more of Hucal's Balkan travel writing and photos are at her blog, Solo in the Balkans. Jana Orsolic's Istria Week travel photos and journal [sr] are here, here, here, here, here and here. Piran Café‘s latest entry on the June 2011 trip to Sarajevo (plus links to earlier posts) is here; the blogger also links to the New York Times’ recent travel piece on Slovenia, Slovenian Rhapsody.
Piran Café‘s updates the blog's somewhat neglected “self-absorbed bike lane-parking morons” section with a vivid example from Lithuania, where the mayor of Vilnius Arturas Zuokas drove an armored personnel carrier over a Mercedes, which had been acquired specifically for the stunt and parked in a bike lane. “The best use of a tank I’ve ever seen,” wrote the Slovenian blogger.
Sleeping With Pengovsky posts an update about new developments in Slovenia's scandal over bribery in the Patria affaire concerning purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers from a Finnish company.
Edward Hugh of Baltic Economy Watch argues that Central and East European economies are more exposed to risk in case of a Eurozone crisis than what financial ratings say.
Sleeping With Pengovsky explains the current political situation in Slovenia and concludes that the early elections aren't likely in the near future.
Sleeping With Pengovsky reports that “a law establishing a conflict of interests between holding an office of mayor and MP at the same time” has been passed in Slovenia, and also writes about the attitudes towards “the new Family Code which – among other things – was meant to allow same-sex weddings and child adoptions.”
Dragan Varagić published his analysis of the most influential Twitter users [sr] from Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro, done through manual selection and consulting ratings services.