Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Bringing shame upon Slovenia

with 39 comments

Road sign just before Zagradec with graphite “Death to Gypsys” on 28.10.2006
Yesterday was an article in Demokracija magazine “Bringing shame upon Slovenia” where dr. Peter Starič is commenting also my photograph. In extremely renown newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Monday 27th of November 2006) an article “Slowenien fruchtet um sein Ruf” (Slovenia frightens for its reputation) was published. Article is illustrated with my picture of the mob marching toward Roma settlement.

In magazine Demokracija (which is largely owned by governing SDS party) Peter Starič says that yournalist Martin Woker had bad luck because Mladina and myself is far from being objective reporters. In his article Mr. Starič expresses deep disbelief in my claims that mob was yelling “death to Gypsies” (they’ve also yelled “Gypsies Raus”) and when commenting my picture lightly questions if a person on the right with stick in his hand is real or it might be digitally manipulated?
Well here is a sequence, so pay attention to a person on the right.
And_also_this guy was yelling “Ubi, ubi cigana” which means “Kill, kill Gypsy”.d164_7989_borut_peterlin.jpgd164_7990_borut_peterlin.jpgd164_7993_borut_peterlin.jpg

If you doubt in my journalistic credibility and that my pictures are digitally manipulated, please sue me. Nevertheless the whole situation of accusing journalists and especially Mladina weekly for bringing shame upon the country, resembles so much to old times of Yugoslavia when Mladina was even banned for bringing shame upon Yugoslavia.


Mladina was bringing shame upon Yugoslavia
Mladina is bringing shame upon Slovenia
Mladina will bring shame upon Europa


Written by Borut Peterlin

5 January, 2007 at 12:19

39 Responses

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  1. My exhaustive comment of the NZZ Article will be published in Slovenian in our monthly review Ampak. Also the Article of NZZ, translated in our language will be published there. The German translation of my answer will be sent to Neue Zürcher Zeitung as well.

    Anyhow, thanks for the pictures. “Ubi, ubi Cigana” is in Serbian (or Croatian) and not in Slovenian. Anyhow, I will check the pictures with the people of Ambrus.

    Dr. Peter Starič

    Peter Starič

    5 January, 2007 at 16:44

  2. Thank you for your comment dr. Starič. If I may ask, why do you doubt in my pictures and my statements? What’s the reason that lead you to doubt that guy on the picture might not be real and it might be digitally manipulated? Since I’m expert in photography I know that there is no technical reason and concerning that in my journalistic career I’ve never ever digitally manipulated a picture, that also can not be a reason to doubt in my journalistic methods.

    I presume that there might be only ideological prejudice that lead you to a suspicion in my photography because I work for Mladina. Would you believe the picture if it was taken by Demokracija’s or some other pro-government photographer?

    I’m very interested in your answer so I thank you in advance. If not on my blog, please touch the subjects in Ampak magazine.



    5 January, 2007 at 20:37

  3. Never mind Starič. He is a “special” case…


    6 January, 2007 at 01:11

  4. Dear Mr Peterlin,

    The reason I doubted in the picture (I did not say it WAS manipulated), was that you have apparently told the reporter of NZZ just one half of the truth. In his article he did not mention any other Slovenian reporter. So his report appeared biased.

    To the reporter of NZZ you probably did not mention of the previous 700 crime reports since 2000 concerning the Family Strojan, where robberies, rapings, thefts and intimidations were reported. He apparantly was not informed that from 1999 until 2001 Strojans got 4 decrees from the authorities to remove their buildings, because on the water protecting area no dwelling is allowed. You probably did not tell him of the tripple raping of a 14 years old girl, for which Marko Strojan, Miha Marinko Strojan and Roman Brajdič were accused (as per Document I K 394/99-76 of The Circuit Court of Ljubljana). So his article appeared biased as it is.

    Sum all the articles AGAINST the present Government and former Oppositions, which were published in Mladina, and compare them with those, which were in their FAVOR, which you published. If the ratio is near 50:50, one could not say Mladina reports are biased.

    Sincerely, Dr. Peter Starič

    To Anonymus:

    Hidding cowardly behind ANONYMOUS to curse one author in public is indeed a “special case”.
    Come down from your Iwory Tower if you have guts!

    Peter Starič

    6 January, 2007 at 07:32

  5. Mr. Staric,

    “Ubi” could be easily a Slovenian dialect. If you’ve ever heard how people in the region of Dolenjska talk, then you could easily figure this out. The proper term “ubij” (oobeey) is more then likely pronounced as the “ubi” (oobee) in the area where the conflicts were escalated to the lynch mob like activities.

    Could you please tell us which one of the 700 reports were the members of the Strojan family really been found quilty off (not just accused) as well as let us know if they were found quilty on the rape charges or not. This is what is important. Why is this important? Because the whole story really is pointing against incapable Slovenian government and judicial system and the people of Ambrus should really go on strike against government and judicial system that put them in such position due to their inadequacy to act in a timely fashion. Stojan family is not to blame for this. If they perpetrated crimes for which they were not convicted and punished is not their fault, it is the fault of judicial system. This does not allow anyone else outside the mentioned system to act upon themselves and endanger mentioned family (guilty or not of the mentioned crimes).


    6 January, 2007 at 14:35

  6. I will not discuss anything more with people, who do not clearly identify themselves, as I did. Please, include the name, family name and phone number, where I could prove your identification.

    Dr. Peter Starič

    Peter Starič

    6 January, 2007 at 18:28

  7. Iztok ima v vsem, kar je napisal, prav.
    Ker se oseba Starič izgovarja, da ne bo komentiral z anonimno osebo je prav to dokaz, da nima kaj več za povedati.
    Ah ja, zakaj oseba?
    Gospod je po eni strani primeren za korektne ljudi in odgovor Stariča ni korekten.
    Osebno zame je gospod negativno obremenjen in ga ne uporabljam nikjer.
    Niti danes, kot tudi ne na fakulteti, kjer je bil pred mnogimi leti že vpeljan.
    Ker je NYT tu omenjen, potem je vredno brati kaj piše Slavoj Žižek tam. O toleranci namreč.


    6 January, 2007 at 20:55

  8. Mr. Peter Staric, what is the difference if you know the name or not? The questions are still valid and you are still expected to answer them. Your arguments just don’t hold without further classification and explanation of the facts. Until you do answer the questions you are just another person whose sole task seems to be to justify the racial discrimination of the Roma people in Slovenia and trying to give it a legitimate support. Crystal Night comes to mind!

    But then again, I don’t expect socialists to understand what personal and financial freedoms are and support them fully.



    7 January, 2007 at 00:17

  9. Oh well, I guess I submitted too soon.

    Iztok Umek

    (evo, podpisal sem se tako kot ste se vi. sedaj pricakujem odgovore)


    7 January, 2007 at 00:18

  10. viole maribor sing “ubi, ubi, ubi zabara!” on matches against olimpija ljubljana.


    7 January, 2007 at 19:59

  11. Concerning “Ubi, ubi Cigana” (Kill, kill Gypsy) I understood it in Serbian or Croatian language and it’s very popular among football and other kind of hooligans. On the area of former Yugoslavia was very often used racial remark against Serbs, Croats, Romas, etc. Another racial remark “Cigani raus” (Gypsys raus) has a fascist roots, but obviously Mr. Starič speaks much better German as I do.

    Concerning objective journalistic reports let me ask you if you consider yourself, your column and magazine Demokracija as an objective and non biased writing?

    The criteria of objectivity by counting how many words pro / contra was written in the magazine is ridicules. Please ask for second opinion some other journalist, but I think that journalism has a completely different role, then to be outlet for different opinions. It’s DUTY is to warn when things go wrong and when things go wrong concerning human rights SHOUT!

    Of course you did not say that my picture was manipulated, because I could sue you under slander charge (and it would be childishly easy to prove it’s authenticity), but you’ve said that it MIGHT be. That’s really weak don’t you think?

    If you would know author of article in NZZ, you would know that he’s permanently living on the area of former Yugoslavia for years and he knows what’s going on in Slovenia probably better then myself. Not to mention that he is really experienced journalist working for Neue Zürcher Zeitung which is one of the most credible european newspaper. (but I guess you know that)

    A lot of foreign journalists turn on me concerning Strojan story and I’ve gave all of them phone numbers of Roma’s and leaders of revolt from Ambrus. I’ve even ask Austrian journalists that when they will talk to Andrej Šinkovec they should mention that it was I who point them to him. So my conscience concerning that is clear.

    Concerning the document concerning the tripple raping of a 14 years old girl, for which Marko Strojan, Miha Marinko Strojan and Roman Brajdič were accused (as per Document I K 394/99-76 of The Circuit Court of Ljubljana) you don’t mention that THE PROSECUTOR (!) and not the judge drop the charges. Well I presume even prosecutor estimated that he do not have enough evidence against Strojan. Do you (and Slovenian National Party) have any other evidence that Strojan brothers are guilty? If you have please give them to the police.

    The problem is that you’re talking about criminal and I’m talking about human rights. I guess you think that if police and institutions don’t work, people should take law in their hands.

    By my opinion we were close to the solution when government offered Strojan family a permanent location above Stranska vas (very close to an ash dump) and Strojan accepted, but then police knelled under pressure of racial mob and failed to secure the area which was owned by government.

    Here’s my report about that.

    On the end of the day even if Slovenian government, majority of Ivančna Gorica and yourself might think that it’s acceptable to sentence someone purely on rumors and allegation I guess even all of you must recognize that Strojan women and children (that’s about 25 people) physically could not commit “robberies, rapings, thefts and intimidations”.

    B5 (Borut Peterlin)


    7 January, 2007 at 20:28

  12. “To the reporter of NZZ you probably did not mention of the previous 700 crime reports since 2000 concerning the Family Strojan, where robberies, rapings, thefts and intimidations were reported.”

    I find it deeply offensive for Mr. Starič to suggest that Slovenian authorities are so criminally incompetent that they couldn’t successfully lock up a family that has 700 (!) crime reports to its name. I can only pray that foreign reporters don’t stumble upon your insulting comments here on this great blog and get the wrong idea about Slovenia’s justice system. Just to be safe: if any foreign reporters are reading this, please ignore the crude Slovenia-bashing comments of Mr. Starič, which only serve to put the whole country in a bad light.

    Slovenija gre naprej!

    Michael M.

    Michael M.

    8 January, 2007 at 10:38

  13. You have to remember that similar pogrom against Roma was already preparing purely on the basis of PREJUDICE AGAINST ROMA. If you understand Slovene please read this article:

    To sum up, this article is talking about a rape that happen in Elementary School in Šmihel for which a Roma boy of 14 years old was charged. The article is mentioning that a petition of 600 people was signed to remove the boy from the elementary school of Šmihel. This psychosis was governing Novo mesto (and Slovenia) for more then a year and after more then a year judgment was adopt that the boy was innocent and the rape didn’t happen at school at all, but it happened at her home.

    Rapist was a close member of the family, but to protect the victim and the consequence of who the rapist was, the whole case was kept secret. I’ve been researching the story and I know much more, but it’s best for the rapped girl not to tell it publicly. (if you are a journalist and you need contacts of lawyer, the court and other involved (except the raped victim), write me an email)

    First that nobody publicly apologized the boy and it’s family although he was really good student and his childhood was ruined.

    And secondly, that there was lynch preparing, but luckily authorities didn’t knelled under the masses. Well those were different times with different people in charge.


    PS: But this prejudice against Roma is getting even more grotesque. I’m working on a case that you would not believe it’s true, but I will publish on my blog only on Friday.


    8 January, 2007 at 13:54

  14. Dr. Starič

    I wouldn’t underestimate the number or the power of voters who simply do not want to live in a country where minorities, especially Roma & Co., are guilty (mostly of atrocities) per default and everyone else are innocent victims – per default again.

    Katja Marič

    8 January, 2007 at 15:02

  15. Just on the subject of rape. Kids of the mentioned age if they are sexually aggressive are most likely victims on their own. I can assure you that there are plenty of fully blooded Slovenians that molest their kids or kids of their relatives. Until you really get involved and work with the system to help some of these kids, you do not know the horror stories these kids go through and don’t know any better. Every nation is facing this, has nothing to do with Roma, Slovenians, Americans or any other nation, it is unfortunate human behavior kids are sometimes exposed to.

    P: In process of adopting one or more of such kids.


    8 January, 2007 at 15:07

  16. Katja you are completely right! Let’s not underestimate the power of voters! BUT that goes in both directions. Hitler got on power by democratic means. Democracy and fascism are not exclusive systems and if history is any teacher we could be afraid because sometimes are even compatible systems!



    8 January, 2007 at 18:03

  17. Hitler was a socialist (national socialist to be more exact). He falls in the same basked as most of other socialists that were and still are trashing human liberties. What history teaches us that we should value our freedoms (both personal and financial) above democracy. There should be safeguards built into any democracy to prevent democracy to trump freedoms.

    You know the saying: A wolf and a fox democratically decided to have a rabbit for dinner and are wondering why rabbit is opposed to this democratic decision.

    Slovenia is good example of democracy and popularism trumping over financial freedoms on a daily basis, yet no one seems to be upset about it, not even Mladina Weekly. People are dis-proportionally taxed based on their income, yet the wealth accumulated in real estate is not counted and taxed. So you have very rich old people with small income that are “social cases” renting out their apartments and houses to young “wealthy” families paying 50+% in taxes and contributions.


    9 January, 2007 at 05:04

  18. Dear Mr. Peterlin,

    After thoroughly examining all your photos concerning Ambrus & Strojans, let me say that I believe all photos to be genuine and not manipulated in any way. I apologize to affect your professional integrity.

    However, I still believe the Article in Neue Zücher Zeitung was biased, for it did not explain the TRUE reasons, why the people of Ambrus are against the Gipsy family Strojan. The Ambrus revolt errupted not because Strojans are Gipsies, but because of their associal behaviour, which escalated so far that now no other Gipsy entity is willing to give them the asylum.

    Dr. Peter Starič


    Dear Ms Katja Marič,

    You might be right, Ms Marič. At the same time I would say, we can not underestimate the number of people, who would disagree to have a Gipsy Family, with over 700 criminal records since the year 2000 for their neighbors. Those records include robberies, thefts, intimidations and even rapings. Would YOU Ms Marič like to have Strojans, who are accused of all those deeds, for your close neighbors?

    D. Peter Starič

    Dr. Peter Starič

    9 January, 2007 at 17:23

  19. Mr Staric,

    you never actually told us how many out of these 700 records actually ended in conviction. Please in Slovenia you have presumption of innocence. So when you are telling the numbers, give us also the number of convictions and severity breakdown so we can truly have a non-biased picture from your side.

    Possible? Or are you just biased and pimp up the numbers for better effect?

    Iztok Umek


    9 January, 2007 at 17:57

  20. Dr. Starič,

    I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t know. I think I wouldn’t. But let me tell you why:

    You see, I’ve lived long enough to see a criminal deed or two happen in Slovenia (not done by Roma), in my neighbourhood, and I did wish they hadn’t happened, because to tell you honestly, they hurt. I’ve had enough, thank you.

    But you see, I never thought I should grab something hard and threaten to hit my non-Roma neighbour on the head because he wanted his little daughter to take her clothes off. Every time they were home alone. (She only told me after it was all over. Who knows how many others…).
    I’ve also lived in the direct vicinity of Roma and can’t remember ever having suffered because of that.
    But OK, one person’s experiences shouldn’t be projected upon a whole nation.

    What I’m sure of, is: there is more than enough crime in Slovenia on the whole. Roma are just a medially exposed minority. There is people- and drug-trafficking, paedophilia and murders, robberies, physical threats, alcoholism and psycho-terror etc…. In other words, there would be enough criminal targets for Slovenians to attack if they wanted to be just, if they had wanted to protest against crime, wouldn’t there, even without the tiny Roma minority, let alone the Strojans.
    It is not lawful, is it, to threaten someone physically because of the perceived threat this person is supposedly posing. That’s what courts and lawyers are for. That’s what police is for. That’s what a democratic, constitutional state is for. To punish its CITIZENS lawfully for the crimes they DID commit. That’s not what mobs are for. I know I don’t have to tell you all this, but this part of the story does not get enough mentioning, that is all.

    So what many of us have seen enough of, too much, really and without overdoing it, is discrimination and oppression of some minorities. Are you sure, can you swear on anything sacred to you that Roma have always had the same chances for education/work/residence etc.? Do they get the same chances we supposedly get? From the very beginning? So that we could safely claim: they have always had enough possibilities to get integrated, but they didn’t want? What if they didn’t?

    Why don’t we all just grab a piece of wood, a steel tool or anything and drive away ANYONE publicly accused of having committed an atrocity? Because it is not lawful, maybe?
    And if children have to pay for something others did, it gets even worse. (Do not tell me they are not children, they are stealing machines or something already, the little Strojans. I stole as a child, who didn’t? I didn’t have to sleep in the woods because of that.)

    Katja Marič

    9 January, 2007 at 19:21

  21. Dear Mr. Peterlin,

    Your additional pictures to my Article of 18th January in Demokracija might help identify the boy with the beam in his rising hands, who had joined the crowd of Ambrus. Thank you for publishing them. However, these pictures neither confirm nor deny that the boy is a provocator. So this question is still open until, Mr. Muhič says more about.

    Since I put a question mark after the title of my Article “Provokator v Ambrusu?”, this does not mean that I am accusing you of anything. Nothing similar appeared also in the text. So I do not think I must apologize for anything I have written.

    Since I have this Gipsy matter already full head, I will stop discussing the matter any further. All the same I apologize to some other correspondents, whom I did not answer. The turn is on Mr. Milan Muhič, who has promissed to take over.


    Dr. Peter Starič

    Peter Starič

    21 January, 2007 at 15:40

  22. This is a very good article and unfortunate situation but I commend you for your courage in addressing this social problem. It’s an unhappy topic but someone has to bring it up. It is sad gypsies make locals this mad but two wrongs do not make a right and a lynch mob is not the solution, the recent wars in this area only show how much pain and suffering is caused by such actions of hate and small-mindedness towards others that are a little bit different then ourselves.

    I would very much like to do anything I can to help (with connections to humanitarian groups). There must be understanding on both parts, I have worked on addressing these issues in Northern Croatia where they also have a large gypsy minority and display this same social lack of understanding and have worked to address this. I would be interested in meeting the parties involved for constructive dialogue, we can not ignore it, we can not try to brush it out of the media, if we do we are just Photo Shopping our minds from the reality that is real and present and that is only delusional. I know the gypsy lifestyle can be less then desirable but so can social stereotyping and ostracism be undesirable to them, not to mention a mob of men disrupting there village with hate slurs and sticks as if they were dogs. There must be middle ground and programs put in place for the long and short term to educate and eradicate such social tensions in both camps.

    Solutions can only be made if people are willing to talk (and not yell, or steal and be social-loafers) and if people are big enough to stand up and buck trends, old mindsets, racism, discrimination and social misbehavers so that you all can get along and contribute to this great nation of Slovenia together. If you allow race and hate for one social group there is never an end, once the gypsies are gone it would be the Muslims and then all non-Catholics and so forth, hate never ends if left to grow.

    Thank you for bring in this problem to light and I hope there are people reading your articles that have the courage and means to really stand up and make this nation proud and make it the tolerant, understanding nation it can be. I will be following this blog with great interest.



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  34. people are fed up with crime and so they have the right to fight. the eu is designed to protect the criminals and destroy the decent majority peoples. enough is enough! people have every right to stop this onslaught and protect not only their culture everywhere in the West, but apparently their own lives…the “politicians” we have in power do not represent the majority of people anywhere in the West…quite the contrary.!
    however, the gypsies are yet small beans compared to african immigrants, god forbid if some “EU” bureaucrat figures out that slovenia needs more “diversity” …look at paris and london and see what “diversity” means!
    ne, hvala!


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  38. […] Customarily xenophobic Slovenes were recently at the center of a scandal over the forceful removal of Gypsy families from their homes, when Slovenian officials (including the above mentioned Janez Jansa) allowed the vicious racist mobs yelling “Gypsies raus!” to intimidate and physically attack their Roma neighbors, ending in uprooting entire families and forcing them to trade their legally owned houses for the army barracks. All Slovenian Premier Jansa was concerned with back then was his country’s image, so he lashed at the human rights activist, accusing him of “denigrating Slovenia’s name” by raising the issue with the Council of Europe. […]

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