HomeArticlesJanez Drnovšek: great president of a small country

"Become the change you want to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi

Well-known world leaders, which include politicians of all countries, can and, undoubtedly, should set an example of service to humanity and all living beings. After all, if the guarantors of social values ​​do not do this, then who else can be expected to assume such responsibility? Fortunately, such personalities are known to the world, and not only from historical references, the origin of which is often doubtful, but also from our contemporaries. It is not at all necessary to go to distant India (Mahatma Gandhi) or Africa (Nelson Mandela) for such examples - just look at Slovenia in the late 20th / early 21st century and its president Janez Drnovšek ( 1950-2008 ) .

Politics, illness and new views of Janez

Janez, being a member of the Communist Party, led Yugoslavia in 1989. Soon Slovenia gained independence, and from 1992 to 2002, already representing the local party "Liberal Democracy of Slovenia", he was the prime minister of the country, and from 2002 to 2007 - the president. In political leadership positions, Drnovšek sought (and quite successfully) to lead the country out of the crisis of communism, following the Western model of development and greatly contributing to the inclusion of Slovenia in the European Union and NATO.

However, Drnovšek's presidency turned out to be difficult: even at the very beginning, when his relations with the government were still developing smoothly, he rarely appeared in public. The reason for this was a serious illness. In 1999, Janez underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney, and in 2001, doctors again recorded the development of a tumor (already on the lungs). This prompted the President of Slovenia to significantly revise some of the principles and change his lifestyle. This was most noticeable to the general public in the fact that Janez became a vegan (completely refused food of animal origin) and moved from the capital (Ljubljana) to a country house (in the village of Zaplana). Janez explained this unusual “behavior” for the leader of the country by the fact that nature is his best medicine .

Returning to the public in 2005-2006, Drnovšek did not hide his changed worldview and actively took up the promotion of universal values ​​both in his country and abroad (an attempt to provide humanitarian assistance to the participants in the Darfur conflict in Sudan, a proposal to resolve the political crisis in Kosovo) . However, the majority of Slovenian politicians did not support the president's new views. Already in January 2006, Janez left the party, and in June announced that he would not run for a second term.

Janez Drnovsek in nature

The end of Drnovšek's political activities was marked by the expression of numerous claims against the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša. The president accused his colleague of "strengthening proto-totalitarian tendencies." In December 2007, Drnovšek left the presidency.

Gandhi of Slovenia and the Movement for Justice and Development

Shortly after leaving the political party, in 2006, Janez created the "Movement for Justice and Development" (Gibanje za pravičnost in razvoj). The President declares that the new organization has no political overtones, and despite various speculations, these words are only confirmed over time.

The created Movement aims to " progressively raise people's awareness of the need to make the world socially and environmentally more balanced and more just." Among the activities of the organization that exists to this day: helping children and the elderly, healthcare, caring for animals, healthy eating and organic food production, caring for the environment and preserving nature, ecological construction, social justice, positive thinking. All these questions well reflect the values ​​that Janez put at the forefront at the end of his political career. They made such an impression on the audience that one reviewer called Drnovšek the " Gandhi of Slovenia ".

Veganism and Presidential Values

The new views of the President of Slovenia combined elements of different traditions, among which the influence of the philosophy of Hinduism and the Buddhist doctrine of non-attachment is noticeable. At the same time, Drnovsek respected the different cultures of the world - for example, he attended the inauguration of Evo Morales, who became the first representative of the indigenous population of America to lead Bolivia.

Janez Drnovsek and the 14th Dalai Lama

The President of Slovenia adhered to a strict vegetarian diet - veganism. He himself, in an interview with the Slovenian edition of Animal Liberation (2005), explained his choice as follows:

I believe that vegetarian food is better, of higher quality. We eat meat because we were brought up that way. For several years I was a vegetarian, and recently became a vegan - I stopped consuming milk, dairy products and eggs. The choice is huge: there are various vegetarian products, which are enough to satisfy our needs. I did so, obeying my inner feelings . Some people think that vegan food is very diversified and boring, but this is not true. Possibly a lot of variety.

The ethical side of the issue was one of the main reasons for the choice of vegetarianism by politicians. On October 4, 2005, World Animal Day, he called citizens for a discussion about liberation and animal rights :

I invited them mainly to draw public attention to this day. We are not always aware of how we treat animals, how we treat them. They are living creatures. I would say that people treat animals this way because they very rarely ask themselves the question “what are we doing”. If we think about how man treats animals, how he hits the world of animals, then we would say that he is not a man at all. Just think of all the slaughterhouses and beef production or poultry farming where the animals are kept in appalling conditions. Often animals are transported in vans without access to water, which is extremely cruel. It's not so much because people are cruel, but because they don't think about it. When the final product is in front of them on a plate, they do not think about what it was before and how it turned into what they see.

On the eve of Easter in 2007, Janez Drnovšek appealed to the people of Slovenia to think about food of animal origin on the holiday table:

Janez Drnovsek with his dog

We can refuse ham on the festive table: chocolate eggs will be enough to create a festive atmosphere. Isn't it strange that we associate religious holidays with ham and other things far from spirituality? Is it really necessary for the death of so many animals in order for us to glorify the higher mind and embark on the path of spiritual development? The answer is obvious: of course not.

Feasts have nothing to do with spirituality , quite the contrary. Suppose we can understand that in some eras, when food was almost a luxury, religious holidays were celebrated with magnificent feasts, but today it is time to leave these material relics. True spirituality does not need them, and even vice versa: they only demonstrate that religions that demanded approval through such traditions reached a dead end even at a relatively low level of consciousness. So this time we will try to celebrate in a different way. We will take the opportunity to take a walk in the bosom of nature, to cleanse ourselves spiritually, to find peace in the soul. We will be kind to our loved ones, neighbors and all those who suffer on this earth. Also for animals. Today we will rid them of our craving for meat by trying to break out of the traditional patterns of behavior. We will do something good both for our spirit and for our body.

Drnovšek died of cancer on February 23, 2008 at the age of 57. To this day, he remains one of the most prominent political figures who has shown the modern world an example of following universal human values, a conscious attitude towards living beings and the environment.



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