Play depicts story of Slovenia's 'erased' people

After the fall of Yugoslavia, the new government in Slovenia revoked citizenship of thousands of people. Croatian theatre director Oliver Frljic staged a play in Belgrade on Saturday night to raise awareness on the issue.

Play depicts story of Slovenia's 'erased' people

"Parasites among us – 25,671" by Frljic depicts the stories of those who were striped off their citizenship in 1992 by Slovenian government.

"When Oliver Frljic and I met for the first time we talked about creating a critical and active theatre. Frljic is very good to peek into the social traumas of the people, and this is the play we made," Marinka Postrak, a Slovenian playwright told the Anadolu Agency.

Former Yugoslav citizens who remained in Slovenia after the country seceded in 1991 were striped off their residency rights, their documents were taken away and they lost their basic rights such as to work or social security.

In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Slovenia had violated the rights of six people who appealed because their residency rights were removed and ordered the country to pass a law to pay redress to all others whose citizenship and rights had been removed.

Many of those people lived for over two decades without any personal documents, and some still do not have any legal status or any rights in Slovenia. They call themselves "the erased".

"In Slovenia, we all know about the erased people, but we pretend that we don't. While reading one book about them, I decided to try to tell that story which is very traumatic for Slovenia," Postrak said.

"These people are a kind of taboo in Slovenia. Not even intellectuals are well aware of their problems. While working on this play, I was ashamed realising I know almost nothing about them," said Mirjam Drnovsek, a director of the theatre troupe who performed Saturday's show.

"Many people refused to believe that the erased people had a real issue with the government, but they were convinced that the problem was rather imaginary. That fact forced many of the erased to be reluctant to talk about the problems they face on a daily basis," Aljosa Ternovsek, one of the actors, from the troup, said.

"We can say today it was a kind of ethnic cleansing," he said.

Up until now, 10,000 found the way to clarify their status, but 15.671 still remain "erased".

"The horrible thing is that the government offered them 30 Euro a month, and they increased it to 40, but people refused. Minimum social aid amount in Slovenia is 230 Euro a month, and that is the figure that these people should have been offered," Ternovsek said.

At one moment during the play an actor on the stage engages the audience, asking them to hand over their IDs for destruction which is aimed at making the audience to empathize with the "erased".

"Some people in Slovenia did not like the play. They told we are giving a bad picture of the country. Other come and cry and feel the guilt we all should feel," Drnovsek said, adding that the parliament members were invited to see the play in Slovenia, but none of them came.

"We will try to invite them again reminding them that this is one of the issues they have to deal with."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Ekim 2013, 15:54