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Miha Rekar

👨‍💻 Software Developer
🎙️ Podcaster
☕️ Home Barista
🏃 Runner
📷 Photographer
📖 Aspiring Stoic
🦄 Incurably Curious

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Zdravljica A Toast (official translation) A Toast (my translation)
Žive naj vsi narodi God’s blessing on all nations, Long live all the nations,
ki hrepene dočakat’ dan, Who long and work for that bright day, that long to see the day,
da koder sonce hodi, When o’er earth’s habitations, to where the sun goes,
prepir iz sveta bo pregnan, No war, no strife shall hold its sway; conflict will be banished from the world,
da rojak Who long to see that every compatriot
prost bo vsak, That all men free shall be free,
ne vrag, le sosed bo mejak! No more shall foes, but neighbours be. not devil, only neighbor shall a border be!

This is the national anthem of Slovenia. The official translation was done in 1954 by Janko Lavrin. It’s written in a slightly weird language, plus, it includes references to god, which are nowhere in the original, so I’ve also translated it myself. While definitely not as poetic, it does convey the original point much better, in my opinion.

I remember coming across this post a while ago with this map:

It was the first time I actually thought about the lyrics of our anthem and how special they are. They’re not about the Slovenian nation, not about a battle, not about the flag, nor Slovenes. The poem by France Prešeren is simply a toast. A toast to all nations. A toast against war. A toast to freedom. A toast to friends/neighbors.

I continued the train of thought towards pride. You often hear Americans how proud they are to be American. This concept was always strange to me. Not because I’m ashamed to be Slovenian or something. But simply because I had no say in it.

Had I been born a few latitudinal degrees to the north, I’d be Austrian, a few to the south, Croatian or Bosnian. A few longitudinal degrees to the east Hungarian, a few to the west Italian.

I was actually born in Yugoslavia, so technically, I’m Yugoslavian. I’d be a true Slovenian if I were born a bit later. But a couple of decades earlier, I’d be Austro-Hungarian.

The dictionary defines pride as:

a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

My actions didn’t affect where or when I was born. I didn’t achieve it. Nor would I say that simply being born in a place at a time is something to be widely admired. That’s why I always found it hard to relate to this kind of nationalism or patriotism.

And that’s why I find it so extremely sad and incomprehensible when I see countries invading other countries in the name of nationalism.

I wish more countries had anthems like Slovenia.

I wish more people in 2022 would think as Prešeren did in 1844.