Sunday Report: The weirdest things happening in Slovenia (March 9-15)

Our former Prime Minister Ms Bratušek has seen her house and several of her boltholes ransacked by armed police, allegedly over her ill-fated attempt at the position of the Vice President of the European Commission where they blackballed her faster than a herd of overfed rabbits scared shitless. Those unlucky enough to have seen her painful-to-watch confirmation hearing would have reasonably expected her to be accused of high treason over that fiasco but apparently the reasons for the house search were quite mundane. She is suspected of having nominated herself for the EC position which I understand is nothing more than a standard abuse of power that we’ve gotten used to seeing on a daily basis. Ms Bratušek herself said the police didn’t seem to know what they were looking for, which naturally makes me suspect they were hoping to at least find a cannabis factory, which would have partly explained the notable detachment from reality that the majority of our politicians have been exhibiting. Whatever, the whole thing seems intriguing and I might keep an eye on it.

A twice-vaccinated pregnant nurse caught measles from an unvaccinated infant. I hope she and the baby are going to be okay! The incident added fuel to the heated discussion on the merits of vaccination that has been raging on in Slovenia and the anti-vaxxers were quick to use the example of the unlucky nurse as proof that vaccination didn’t work (note: the nurse received her last shot in 1980, the infected infant hadn’t been vaccinated for medical reasons and none of the more than one hundred people who came into contact with the nurse or the infant has caught measles). Well, anti-vaccination sentiment appears to be about as old as vaccination itself so this doesn’t surprise me much. What’s more interesting is that apparently the authorities have been getting weary of battling the anti-vaccination movement. Now they are planning to make vaccinations voluntary and leave it up to Darwin to decide whose genes make it into the next round. While it saddens me to see a growing number of people – including some of my closest friends – reject the time-tested benefits of the modern medicine while witchdoctors and the like are making a fortune, I do agree that government should not have the right to force any medical treatment on people, no matter how supposedly beneficial. I’m not sure how I feel when it comes to children but if I had to choose between the parents deciding what was good for their offspring and the government doing it in their place, I suppose leaving it up to the parents might be the lesser of two evils. And no, I don’t extend that courtesy to decisions related to genital mutilation and such. I believe that a parent should be free to reject a scientifically-proven treatment for their child but should never be allowed to force any procedure on their child that the mainstream medicine doesn’t consider beneficial. If it were up to me, I’d ban people from even having their children’s earlobes pierced. The kids will be free to pierce/singe/tattoo/stretch/hack off any body part they want when they grow up and are old enough to make questionable decisions for themselves.

The concerned people, ostensibly spurred on by our local branch of the Roman Catholic Church, have set a new Slovenian speed-scribbling record as it took them only a few days to gather some 80,000 signatures against our newly-legalised gay marriage and same-sex adoptions, apparently to no avail as the law is here to stay. I sort of wish they had followed the lead of the tolerance-preaching rock-star Pope Francis instead and saved everybody the embarrassment but I suppose everyone has the right to their own opinion. The liberal backlash that has taken over the social media after people caught a whiff of the conservative opposition hasn’t moved me a bit; in fact I’m positively surprised by the whole thing. I’ve heard it said before that Slovenians exhibited extraordinary levels of resistance to change; I suppose that’s what helped us maintain our national identity despite us being few in numbers and occupying a strategically important, oft-invaded, not to mention spectacularly-beautiful and reassuringly-fertile, corner of the Earth. But times are a-changing fast and we may need to bring our change-aversive behaviour under control lest the rest of the world proclaims our turf a sociology museum and starts charging an entrance fee. And the fact that only a small minority of our people revolted against equal rights to marriage and adoption may be exactly the sign of the fresh, more liberal spirit that this country needs.

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