Being the new kid on the blo(g)ck essentially comes hand in hand with a nagging sense of responsibility to avoid an embarrassing failure at the very first try and so I better spent a full week contemplating and wondering about the topic for my premier entry. After victoriously fleeing from the post-exam Italy and halfway to completing the sleeping marathon, the world news solved the conundrum pretty much on my behalf. “Italy’s parliament starts long-awaited debate on gay civil partnerships.” (Reuters). Born in Slovakia and, I repeat, just flying back from Italy; and having published the very first article on Slovakia´s Same-Sex Referendum… I have been obviously somewhat fatalistic and paternalistic. Not talking about the MA thesis that should be written before anything else.
The first thing to notice- and simultaneously the difference of a significant resonance- is the way the referendum is framed. While Italy´s conception suggests a more positive attitude of the Referendum´s architects- whether same-sex couples should be granted a legal recognition; Slovakia could have hardly masked its persistent post-Soviet, conservative and slightly obstructed mentality by devising the Referendum to confirm the veracity of 3 absurd statements: do you agree only the union of a man and a woman can be called marriage? Do you agree that it should not be permitted for same-sex couples to adopt children? No, I don´t agree and let me first suppress my emetic reflex. You just could have asked before spending those €6 million. This, actually, marks also a grave difference in objectives the two countries are actually trying to achieve; and so while the proposal to legally frame gay civil partnerships has met a resistance by religious unions and some political parties(as one could have expected in a predominantly Christian country) ; the absurdity of the whole attempt in Slovakia provoked a massive upsurge and a series of demonstrations featuring the soberly- thinking and now also aggravated population. The framing arguably reveals not the difference between Slovak and Italian mentalities, rather the misperception and ignorance and an acute miscalculation by Slovak organisers of popular mentality and mood.
On one hand, I feel considerably proud and relieved knowing my fellow nationals are rational and progressive so as to water down ridiculous excesses of our glorious government. On the other hand, I am also a little worried whether this is enough. We, the Slovaks, are still harbouring the legacy of inferiority and submissiveness and these will by no means set the ball rolling. Our own perception of who we are and where we belong holds us back and prevents us from voicing the disapproval and objections. By this logic, once we are not able to stand up and reverse our bad political decisions, we are doomed to drown in the mud of their consequences. If the acceptance and internalisation of the Western identity is the way out, the time is ripe for the EU to start working properly. Ideally before the time runs out and Slovakia transforms into a monstrous conservative and closed system living on the non-freedom of expression.
In any way, it also feels so good to move to the perceived West. Not that I would be running away as a traitor. Rather, governments usually do not automatically assume the idiocy of population. I already wonder what´s my next stop.