MON, 17 OCT 1994 20:14:32 GMT
Early works of young Jelincic
Summary: In the course of the discussion and decision-making in the State Chamber of the Slovenian Parliament on the Law on Local Self-management and Definition of the New Territorial (Municipal) Division of Slovenia, an amendment was passed, as it turned out primarily due to the overwork of the deputies (the session lasted until three o'clock in the morning). The author of the amendment, Zmago Jelincic, a deputy and the President of the Slovenian National Party, demanded that four villages (Skrlje, Mlini, Buzini i Skodelini) at the border with Croatia, in Istria, be alloted to the minicipality of Piran, for the sake of the forthcoming local elections. A protest of Croatia followed, stressing that this was wrongful claiming Croatian territory. Soon after that, the Croatian Post Office in these villages switched off the telephones from the Post office in Portoroz in Slovenia, and switched them on in Umag in Croatia. Then the Slovenian party protested. The victims are the 31 inhabitants of these villages. They are constantly forced to say whether they are Slovenes or Croats, and there are in fact 15 Croats among them, 10 Istrians and Italians, 5 Slovenes, and 1 Yugoslav, who was even forced to get a certificate that he was insane in order to be able to live normally. And the man is everything but insane. Quite a large portion of the population in Slovenia does not support the decision of the State Chamber. The Minister of the Exterior, Peterle, asked for the opinion of the Constitutional Court, President Kucan warned that the state must not materialize its interests on account of the interests of the others. The public is not too gracious towards the ideas of Zmago Jelincic either. And finally, this is an example of how things can be solved - as reconcilable and wise fishermen and policemen solved their problem at sea over a good drink.
A journal called the "Slovenske novice" from Ljubljana, recently published a cartoon which deserved to become part of an anthology of political cartoons in Slovenia. After the session of the Slovenian Parliament, on October 4, and the American landing in Haiti, Aljana drew Zmago Jelancic, the President of the Slovenian National Party and the deputy in the State Chamber, decorated with guns, rifles, rocket launchers, bombs and other appropirate instruments, running and yelling to Drnovsek: "Janez, hurry up, things have started to happen in the Gulf!" The answer is short: "Slow down, not in the Gulf of Piran!"
The Early Works
In order to keep to the schedule of the local elections in Slovenia planned by the Constitutional Law for December, a session of the State Chamber began on Sunday, October 2, because the deputies were supposed to adopt the Law on Local Self-management and to define the new territorial (municipal) division of the Republic. The job was almost completed in the night between Monday and Tuesday. That October 4 showed that it was possible to make the deputies vote in favour of almost anything. They just had to be driven into a state of stupor. Jelincic served his "early works" to the stunned deputies, in the form of an amandment which placed 4 small villages in the Dragonje valley (Skrilje, Mlini, Buzini and Skodelini) into the municipality of Piran, for the sake of the forthcoming local elections. These villages already caused trouble between Slovenia and Croatia last spring. The stunned deputies raised their hands voting in favour, and - that very same morning, the Slovenian Ambassador in Zagreb, Matija Malesic, after the morning coffee, was summoned to the Croatian Ministry of the Exterior where, diplomatically speaking, in a freezing cold atmosphere, he was handed a protest note and the demand that Slovenia explain this wrongful claiming of Croatian territory.
Aljana published her caricature, the deputies went to bed, convinced that they had done their constitutional duty and that the local elections would not be delayed (although to this day noone can tell how these four villages will vote), the Minister of the Exterior, Lojze Peterle, returned to Slovenia, the Croatian Post Office switched off the village telephone lines at the Portoroz (Slovenian) Post Office and switched them on in the Umag (Croatian) Post Office, the Slovenian Ministry of the Exterior summoned the Croatian Ambassador in Ljubljana, Miljenko Zagar, and handed him the protest and the demand that Croatia explain its wrongful claim of Slovenian telephones. Expeditions of deputies, representatives and journalists, set off again to the four villages, which were, until recently forgotten by both men, and God, and state, and statesmen. Some thirty people who live there, reconciled to the fact that they were forgotten by both men and God, started to beg the states and the statesmen to forget them again (at least until the next elections) and leave them to live in peace, to stop asking them whether they were Croats or Slovenes, when there were about fifteen Croats, ten Istrians and Italians, five Slovenes, and one (1) Yugoslav among them. The man who declares himself to be Yugoslav, told the journalists that until recently he had not been allowed to be that, but that now he dared even say it publicly, because he had got a certificate in the hospital in Pula that he was - insane!
Who is insane, and who is smart
This "suspicious character" does not appear to be what the certificate says, judging by what he does - at the time of the severest conflicts, he was in Vukovar and organized convoys of aid from Italy for the citizens of Vukovar under siege. He tried to do it again this year in Sarajevo, but two convoys of aid from Italy did not manage to enter the city, because they had no papers. The "catch" is that he, with his certificate that he is insane, does what he does, and those who are arguing, not for the sake of the people, but for the sake of a few square kilometres of land, have no certificates, and especially no certificates that they are sane.
Naturally, after the Slovenian State Chamber, the Croatian Assembly also sat. Just like in the State Chamber, demands could be heard in the Croatian Assembly that soldiers be sent to the disputable region, or at least to its vicinity, just to show who is ready ... not for everything - because there were no volunteers among the deputies and the representatives who would lead or at least accompany the soldiers, they remained to sleep or to write new amandments for laws and laws which will need amandments. This was all happening on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 4 and 5. The second chamber of the Slovenian Parliament, the State Council, entered a trace of reason into the whole confusion. Namely, this chamber whose role is more of an advisory, controlling nature than legislative, at its session on Wednesday, October 5, put a suspension veto on the controversial amendment. The State Chamber, however, sat again on Wednesday night and voted down the veto of the Council, in other words, it verified its initial decision. The State Council demanded protection of the Constitution and announced a constitutional court proceedings. The Minister of the Exterior, Lojze Paterle, also said that he would seek the opinion of the Constitutional Court, because his Ministry did not agree with the amendment either. Namely, the constitutional provisions and laws concerning the proclamation of the independence of Slovenia, especially the Declaration of good intentions which is a constitutional document, all emphasize that Slovenia has no territorial aspirations, and that it will resolve all possible disputes by agreement within the scope of internationally adopted obligations, laws, conventions, without taking any unilateral steps and actions. President Kucan also spoke about it in his recent interview on TV Slovenia - the state must not materialize its interests on account of the interests of others. Kucan also warned that should Slovenia and Croatia be incapable to solve their disputes by agreement, and should they intensify the conflict and ask internationalization of their disagreements, they would have to be satisfied with the role of Balkan (in the mental sense) states, and would be unable to play the role of claimants of the membership in the European Union.
Even before this intervention of the President, numerous deputies and deputy groups of Slovenian parliamentary parties became aware that "early works" such as the amendment of Jelincic could give them a haedache. Majority of them felt relieved after it was decided that the Constitutional Court should give its opinion concerning the controversial amendment.
Numerous letters of the readers in Slovenian press showed that they do not approve of the decision of the deputies, probably because they are aware that the easiest thing to do is to fire the first shot, but noone knows who will fire the last. People are aware of the fact that there are various ways to end the border dispute and protect the interests of the people on both sides of the border, and also in the four border villages, regardless of the state they will live in. The people there do not mind too much what side of the border they live on if they live well, just as it is in the interest of any man to live on the side of the border which is better for him.
Policemen (both Croatian and Slovenian) and fishermen (Slovenian) showed how issues should be resolved. A ship belonging to the fishermen from Izola, according to what Croatian patrol police boat claims, was fishing in Croatian waters. Croatian police stopped it, and its captain anchored his fishing boat and called the Slovenian police which arrived in its boat. Then, the captain of the fishing-boat, as an experienced seaman who knew how conflicts should be resolved, invited them and they all sat on board his fishing-boat, and over a drink of cognac, it was agreed that fishing would continue, and that the police would not scare the fish with their fast motor-boats. Then each of them sailed away to their side, the Croatian policemen to Umag, the Slovenian policemen to Izola, and the fishing-boat to a new fishing site.
This issue is certainly a good cause for some people to sit down and have a drink together - for those who make decisions what the police will do and where the fishermen will fish.
ZORAN ODIC, AIM