Photo Exhibit ‘National Parks: Taking Care of Nature’ Opens in Ljubljana – 18 Images

Visitors at National Geographic Anniversary exhibit in Tivoli Park Ljubljana

“National Parks: Taking Care of Nature”, a photo exhibition celebrating the national parks of the US and Slovenia through images taken by National Geographic photographers, opened yesterday in the Slovenian capital. Here are 18 images from the opening and the exhibit, enough to give you an idea without me pushing the bounds of copyright.

Nearly 100 images –half depicting scenes from national parks in the U.S. and half taken in Slovenia’s Triglav National Park– line the

Cross-posted from my blog, Piran Cafe.

Jakopič Promenade in Ljubljana’s sprawling central Tivoli park, a fitting setting for the theme. It’s definitely my favorite exhibit space in Ljubljana.

The exhibit, sponsored jointly by National Geographic, the City of Ljubljana and the U.S. Embassy, coincides with the U.S. National Park Services centenary, which is being celebrated this year, and the 10th anniversary of the Slovenian edition of National Geographic Magazine. The southern side of the promenade features images from U.S. Parks and the northern side from Slovenia. Each portion features works by 26 photographers.

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Several Hundred Rally Against ‘The Elite’ in Ljubljana – 11 Images and Notebook

Half Jansa Half Cerar posters at a protest in Ljubljana

There were two political gatherings in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana today.

The first, held this morning, was organized by Janez Janša, a former prime minister, and a coalition of right wing parties, who gathered to express their patriotism, to “defend Slovenia” and its values and rally against the government of Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

I didn’t attend that one.

Here are 11 images from the second which I did attend, an afternoon gathering of several hundred to rally against a host of grievances that include Slovenia’s growing poverty and unemployment, the exploitation of workers, the rise of racism and xenophobia, and the lack of opportunities for young people.

Music Cart leads marchers in a demonstration through the center of Ljubljana

Music Cart leads marchers in a demonstration through the center of Ljubljana

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How Ljubljana Became the 2016 European Green Capital

View of Ljubljana facing north from Castle Hill towards Kamnik Alps

 

[NOTE: This is an expanded version of my post, Ljubljana, Slovenia: The European Green Capital of 2016, that appeared last week on the popular travel blog Green Global Travel. Also cross-posted with my site Pirancafe.com.]

 

If you’re among the increasing number of people who are visiting the Slovenian capital Ljubljana these days, the loudest traffic you’ll likely hear in the heart of its old town center will be the clanging of a bicycle that’s traveling across the cobblestone of the central Preseren Square.

Or the laughter of school children as they’re guided by their teachers across the city’s landmark Art Nouveau Triple Bridge that spans the narrow Ljubljanica River that divides the old town center.

Or the chants of demonstrators voicing their grievances under the watchful eye of Slovenia’s national poet, the Romantic France Preseren whose name the square bears.

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Five Central and Southern European Mayors Meet in Ljubljana for Sustainability Round Table: Notebook and Images

Zoran Jankovic and Kadir Topbas

Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic with Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul

 

Mayors of five central and Southern European cities met for an informal round table meeting in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on Thursday (March 10) to discuss ongoing efforts in their respective municipalities towards achieving urban sustainability. (See below for photo availability.)

Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Jankovic hosted the event which was also attended by Mayor of Sofia, Bulgaria, Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Budapest Istvan Tarlos, Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas, and Sinisa Mali, the Mayor of Belgrade. Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, from Slovenia, and Erion Veliaj, the mayor of Tirana, Albania, also addressed the attendees.

Some scattered notes:

Topbas on the refugee and migrant crisis: “You must keep your doors open”

In one of the more interesting exchanges, Topbas, who has served as Istanbul’s mayor since 2004, strayed briefly from the main theme to address in broader terms Europe’s most recent response to the ongoing refugee crisis which has effectively sealed entry into the EU at the Greek-Macedonian border.

“You must keep your doors open,” Topbas said, speaking through an interpreter. “Refugees and migrants will always find a way. If one is closed, another will be opened. We have to solve this problem. If not, the planet will be facing even bigger problems.”

“It is the cities where most (migrant-related) problems arise,” he said, adding that Istanbul is hosting more than 500,000 of the estimated 2.7 million refugees that Turkey claims are now in the country.

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Marriage Equality Supporters Gather in Ljubljana on Eve of Historic Referendum

Cross-posted from my blog, Piran Cafe

Here are a dozen shots from today’s rally of same-sex marriage and equal rights supporters in Ljubljana ahead of Sunday’s referendum in Slovenia that could overturn a marriage equality law approved by parliament last spring.

If the “za”, or “yes” campaign triumphs, Slovenia will become the first Central European and post-Communist nation to enact full marriage equality. There has been, predictably, a massive scare campaign, based mostly on outright lies and hysteria, waged by opposition groups to prevent Slovenia from making that step forward. (Aljaz Pengov Bitenc aka Pengovsky has listed a number of anti-equality faction’s fallacious and discredited arguments here.)

Slovenian parliament passed a law in March that legally recognized same-sex marriage, granting same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.

However, a conservative group who call themselves ‘Za Otroke gre’ (rough translation ‘Children are at stake’) temporarily blocked the law, collected enough signatures to bring the motion to a referendum and appealed to the Constitutional Court.

Supporters of the law say that Slovenian referendum legislation doesn’t allow for human rights issues in general and those on the rights of a minority in particular, to be decided by popular vote. But in a widely criticized 5-4 decision, the Constitutional Court essentially disagreed, arguing that gay rights cannot necessarily be considered human rights, at least not until the court considers the question. That paved the way to Sunday’s referendum.

Eleven images below. For editorial use, please check out the images filed for Corbis and Demotix or get in touch.

MEP Angelika Mlinar in LjubljanaEuropean Parliament member Angelika Mlinar speaks to a rally of marriage equality supporters in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana ahead of a referendum which could overturn a marriage equality law.

MEP Tanja Fajon in LjubljanaEuropean Parliament member Tanja Fajon addresses a crowd at a rally of gay marriage supporters ahead of a referendum in Slovenia that will decide the fate of a marriage equality law.

Actress Ana Dolinar in Ljubljana, SloveniaSlovenian actress Ana Dolinar speaks to a crowd of marriage equality supporters in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

Marriage equality supporters in LjubljanaSupporters of marriage equality in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana gather below a statue of the country’s national poet France Preseren during a rally ahead of a referendum that could reverse a marriage equality law.

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2015 People’s Climate March in Ljubljana – 13 Images

 

Cross-posted from my blog, Piran Cafe

About 300 climate change activists gathered here in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana today, joining hundreds of thousands of protesters who are taking to the streets in more than 2,000 demonstrations around the world this weekend to demand action when global leaders converge in Paris for the UN Climate Change summit COP 21 which begins on Monday. [Here are links to live global coverage of the demonstrations via the BBC and The Guardian, and the Twitter hashtag #ClimateMarch. ]

The Ljubljana event was organized by the Slovenian foundation for sustainable development Umanotera, Greenpeace Slovenia and other community groups, and featured a variety of speakers including Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, Ljubljana Auxiliary Bishop Msgr. Dr. Franc Šuštar as well as other activists, scholars and academics.

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Slovenian Activists Publicize Anti-Migrant Hate Speech Facebook Posts

From a Facebook post: “On trains. Freight trains heading towards Dachau.”

Just days after activists in Slovenia began collecting anti-migrant hate speech posts found on Facebook for a shaming website, posters allegedly identifying the individuals, and linking them to their remarks, began to appear in the capital Ljubljana.

Vile text from posts and comments suggesting the heinous ways in which the tens of thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants now passing through Slovenia should be slaughtered appeared next to images of the individuals who shared them, in most cases snapshots of the proverbial ‘guy or gal next door’.

It was an action that left me uncomfortable on two extreme levels: on the one hand it had a smell of vigilantism and mob rule that always rubs me the wrong way; and on the other, it clearly illustrated the confidence and comfort with which “everyday” people now openly share and support what is ostensibly modern day Nazi era rhetoric. (For the record, the latter bothers me much more than the former in this case, but that doesn’t mean one concern necessarily outweighs the other.)

The site has since removed most of the images (after asking those portrayed to make public apologies), its editors deciding to cease with the updates. It attracted a fair bit of local media attention and did stimulate some meaningful debate.

A little more on my blog here and a brief follow-up here.

Images for editorial use available via Corbis and Demotix. – or get in touch.

 

Slovenia: Student Petition Delays Law Granting Army Police Powers

Petition aimed to block policing powers for army in Slovenia

 

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA – A referendum drive organized by a student radio station temporarily blocked a bill passed last week that granted the army police powers to help with the refugee and migrant crisis currently overwhelming Slovenia. Organizers were collecting signatures in several cities around the country. Here are a few of my images of the petitions available via Corbis and Demotix.