20 February 2022 > 28 February 2022 Kindly invited to the exhibition "30th Anniversary of the Erasure: Atrocities do not Become Statue-barred: We won’t Forget the Erasure, nor Rog, nor Comrades that are no Longer Among us", in the Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto. The exhibition will be open to the public from Sunday, February 20, 7 p.m. onwards. The exhibition will be open each day, Saturday and Sunday included, until February 28, between 11 a. m. and 7 p.m.
On 26 February, 30 years will pass since the erasure of 25,671 inhabitants from the register of permanent residence of the Republic of Slovenia. Three decades have passed of countless fights for survival and fights to restore the stolen rights. Erasure, a systematic violation of human rights, has left people on the brink of survival and pushed some to their early death. Many were left with severe health problems and other consequences. For years, they couldn't work legally and travel abroad – even visiting relatives or taking care of documents was impossible. They’ve lived under the pressure of deportations, persecuted and hated, misunderstood and invisible – until the fight for the restoration of rights and dignity – when they have come together, joined hands, showed a mirror to the society and demanded their rights back.
It has been also eight years since the death of the legendary Aleksander Todorović, a longtime rights activist for the human rights of the erased, who has shaken the Slovenian public since the beginning of 2000 with his interventions and analyses. At that time, he founded the Association of The Erased Residents of Slovenia (DIPS) in Ptuj, together with other co-workers, and later the Civil Initiative of Erased Activists – The Association for Human Rights (CIIA). Despite the violence he experienced first in administrative units and later, when he publicly exposed himself in the media and on the street, he never bowed to the pressures of being likable, moderate and humble. On the contrary, his comparisons of criminal regimes, the demands for criminal liability of politicians and the urgency for apology, social reflection and correction of injustices have always been edgy and courageous.
At the same time, this year has been the first anniversary of the violent illegal eviction of the Autonomous Factory Rog, where the CIIA association was registered. At the Social Center Rog, on the street Trubarjeva 72, for many years, the erased activists and their closest allies and accomplices worked together to create a heterogeneous community within the fight for a better world. Eviction means the destruction of the home of this community, which has made an important contribution to local and international social dynamics in the interests of a freer and fairer world. The illegality of erasure is thus repeated by the illegal demolition of the Rog; as erased were once at the windows of administrative units told to the face ‘you are not here’, so a year ago the mayor claimed ‘there was no one in Rog’, while security guards, accompanied by anti-riot police, were pulling people out of their homes in Rog, destroying and looting the property of individuals and collectives, and finally, as in the case of erasure, spreading false propaganda.
Despite completely different circumstances and motives, we can draw parallels with the mechanisms that the authorities use when they are violently structuring social reality to fit the capitalistic-nationalistic paradigm. Despite the decisions of the Constitutional Court, the European Court of Human Rights, despite the testimonies of many persons with experience of erasure, scientific studies on erasure, convictions of erasure by international and domestic human rights organizations, the Public Prosecutor's Office never claimed responsibility for the erasure. Nor does it appear that the mayor and his soldiers will ever be forced to answer for the illegal, violent destruction of the Autonomous Factory Rog. At the same time, the impunity is spreading and continuing at the borders, as police daily push (push-back) migrants at the Slovenian-Croatian border. If Aco was still alive and if the Autonomous Factory Rog was not destroyed, today we would be all together exposing crimes at the borders and putting our bodies in line on the streets for the right for freedom and protection of everyone.
With this exhibition, we want to warn that we will not forget and will not tolerate collective amnesia of injustice and crimes of the authorities. This is to keep the spark of rebellion alive, in the hope that in the future, we will prevent the erasure of people, spaces and communities.
The initiative for the preparation of the 30th anniversary of the erasure