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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy 20th birthday, Slovenia!


My dear fellow countrymen, my home country Slovenia,

you turned 20 years yesterday and today is the 20 years anniversary of the war, that started a day after the independence was proclaimed. We fought 10 days for our freedom, however we were very lucky - the one who died in those 10 days, may they rest in peace. Please let's not forget the so many innocent victims of the brutal war in other parts of former Yugoslavia, that followed after our and Croatia's decision to embrace sovereignty, freedom, democracy and capitalism. 20 years from today I heard sirens howl all around my hometown and my father and I hid in the basement of our block together with many other people. We had no idea, what will happen. We heard planes flying over the city and shots fired in the distance. Faces were painted with fear and hopelessness, but I was just an 11 years old kid, confused and afraid, not being able to process what was happening.

We were hiding in the basement during the day and went back up to the apartment during night. It were summer holidays, all kids were at home and most parents, too. Life stood still those days. We were watching the news of tanks rolling through our cities and battles being fought, but we prevailed. Partly, because we were 100% determined, that we do not want to be part of a failed communist state anymore, partly because the enemy's army was falling apart. Soldiers were confused about, because they had to fight people, who were previously called their brothers. Yugoslavia died.

And Slovenia was born, an independent one. The roots of our country and nation date back to the 10th century, continuing to grow in the 16th, 18th and peaking in 1848, when the name Slovenija was first used as a possible name of a state, that would unify all by Slovenians populated lands in the Austrian Empire. Throughout history we were ruled by Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, Germans and Serbs, but we survived as a nation, our language and culture persevered even through the tough times of the tumultuous 20th century. And now we are here, 2011, twenty first century, with the destiny in our own hands. Brothers and sisters, we should not fail.

For we should not disappoint our ancestors, who fought for the freedom we now enjoy, yet seldom appreciate. Let's remember all the Slovenians throughout the history, who gave their lives for what we have today. Let's remember those, who had a dream of all Slovenians united in one country and being in charge of their own destiny. Let's remember those, who died before 25th June 1991 and could not see that moment, where we raised our flag and sung our national anthem for the first time in history as an independent nation.

This promotional video remake makes every Slovenian's heart melt. The original dates back to 1986 and it's one of the legendary clips ever made about Slovenia. Check it here>>

No matter where in the world I am, Slovenia is always on my mind. My roots and my blood are from that wonderful piece of earth, my mother, who I miss dearly, is still living in the same house I was raised and missing me, too. When I think of my home country, I think of the people I left behind. I miss the environment, the clean air, the feeling of belonging. I miss speaking and thinking in my own language, but I gave all that up for something different, something I've been longing for all my life. I'm in Taiwan to learn and to grow in order to return home one day, to return a wiser man.

Those back at home, please keep my country they way I left it - keep it clean, safe and friendly. Slovenia is a precious gem that needs to be protected. Today I'm lifting my glass with the finest wine I could find in Taiwan and saying: "Na zdravje in še na mnoga leta!"

For those who want to see beautiful photos of Slovenia, please check the posts on my

17 COMMENTS:

Congratulations on 20 years of freedom as a nation. Your written words about your country were very moving. The scenery at the opening of the video clip looks very much like it does here in parts of British Columbia! Slovenia is on my list of "want to see" countries.

@kristie: Thank you so much! :-D And welcome to Slovenia any time :)

Happy Birthday Slovenia!

This is a very herart warming post bro!

Cheers

@Netster: Thank you, bro :)

Congratulations to Slovenia on 20 years of independence during which it has been by far the most successful of the former Yugoslav republics. It is good to see a country that can celebrate it's independence without indulging in the kind of excessive bragging seen in some other corners of the world.

As a Brit, I think it is a pity that, because Britain formed gradually over centuries, there is no day on which British people can celebrate their country. However, we do have royal celebrations, and these can often serve just as well.

Happy Birthday, Slovenia!

I just read about the language situation in Slovenia. It's unique and very interesting. So, is the offical language Slovene used for law and government, and for businesses, shared with other languages?

Do you feel homesick at all? Why is that video special? It's nice I just didn't understand.. It it like the first tourist commercial?

Happy SL20VENIA Birthday!!!!

HAAAAAAAAAPPY BIRTHDAY SLOVENIA!!!!!!! ♬

Happy birthday to Slovenia. :)

"20" may is still a young age,but I can feel from your words that the spirit of the country is remarkable and admirable. We're damn lucky that we don't have to experience the horror of wars now in Taiwan but you did get that terrible memories. So you definitely can appreciate more the values of freedom than we do. And that's the thing we should learn from you and your country fellows. Thanks for reminding us we shouldn't take the freedom in our life for granted. Cuz It's very fringe and precious.

Happy Birthday again to Slovenia,a young but great country. Cheers. Na zdravje in na veliko let!
:)

@FOARP: I see. But do you feel more as a Brit or more as an Englishman/Welsh/Scotsman/(Northern) Irish? Kinda hard to understand your country's situation in regards to identity, but definitely interesting.

@Keiko Amano: Slovenian is used everywhere in all aspects of life, only in some parts with the Hungarian and Italian minority we have everything bilingual, from official documents to street signage (by law).

@Traveling Hawk: Thank you :)

@Carina: I feel homesick, of course :) I miss my mom, sisters, my hometown. But I try not to think about it too much, so I don't get sad. The video is a remake of another video from 1986, which was meant as a tourist promo for Slovenia, an at that time federal republic of Yugoslavia, but became a sort of a clip for independence. People begun to see Slovenia more as a country and less as part of Yugoslavia. 5 years later, we made it :)

@Bananazஇ, Gnetchy: Thank you both :))

@Daniel: Thank you for your nice words and I completely agree with you :)

Send my belated Happy Birthday to the noble Slovenia. I do feel the special connection between me and your country, and I am really appreciated your great country, because it nurtured such a great national like you.

@Lily: Thanks for your cute comment :)

To think that you were there when the war broke out, the memories must hv entrenched so deeply in your mind, as if it just happened yesterday. Every war takes away thousands and even millions of souls. We can only pray for peace, forever and ever.

Am so happy for your country's progress since independence. It has done well! Reading this gives me the urge to lift up a wine glass and shout "Na zdravje in še na mnoga leta!" with you! :)

@MKL - I've always seen myself as British first, English second, and European third - and, perhaps also as a Lancastrian born near Liverpool if we start talking about football or cricket. Other people in the UK might put a different order on their loyalties, but the combination of home country identity (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) and a British identity is there for most.

True, someday the Scots, the Welsh, or the English might prefer independence, or the Northern Irish might prefer unification with the Irish Republic, but this has not come to pass, won't happen in the foreseeable future, and may never happen. Polls (at least those with realistic questions) show not more than about a quarter of people in the Scotland or Wales want full independence. Support for English autonomy (but not independence) is a bit higher, but is still not a majority opinion. Whilst the overwhelming number of people on the UK mainland (75%+) say they would like to be rid of Northern Ireland, the majority of Northern Irish have always voted against unification with the Irish Republic.

Were Britain's history different, things might also be different, but the current arrangment works reasonably well. Of the last six prime ministers, one was Scottish (Brown), one was born in Scotland but of English descent (Blair), three were English (Major, Thatcher, Cameron), and one was English-born but of Irish descent (Callaghan). Given that 90% of people in the UK live in England, this is about the balance you would expect to see, and a similar mix of origins (as well as more besides) is seen at all levels of British life.

@kyh: Memories are deep, but luckily I haven't experienced or seen anything brutal, like many people in Bosnia and Croatia at that time. I was lucky, hence I see my "war experience" as very modest.

@FOARP: Thanks for explaining. That seems a very complex yet interesting topic, probably hard to relate to for me, who comes from a homogeneous small country that struggled to get recognized by the world for so long. Thanks for sharing.

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