3 October 2015, the fourth day of the cofounder of KSEVT Miha Turšič’s hunger strike.
Although it is Saturday, there is no news from the MC. Not even cynical news. Apparently, the MC does not work on the weekends. The former Minister of Culture, Uroš Grilc, on the other hand, has done some work, making his views crystal clear in the light of these extraordinary circumstances. He wrote up a statement, unlocking the invented problems of the Creativity Directorate in five points, demonstrating that the problems are not of objective nature, but a construct of a clever mind, which objectivizes its tricks by abusing a rather unpopular phenomenon that goes by the name “spending of undesignated funds”. The stances of the former minister, which are a good reference point, clearly demonstrate how unbearably lightly the current Ministry of Culture in its only answer, has gone around criminalizing KSEVT and referring to legislation that it has actually been violating itself.
The views of the former Minister of Culture Uroš Grilc:
- On 7.4.2014, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted a resolution on establishing public interest, thereby granting the Municipality of Vitanje 110,000 EUR for the execution of the program activities of PI KSEVT. This included 30,000 EUR explicitly intended for the organization and execution of the public celebration of the 10th anniversary of Slovenia’s accession to the EU. According to the definition, public cultural interest is defined as long-term provision of cultural assets as public assets, essential to the State’s cultural development. It is therefore – in line with the existent practice of analogous resolutions issued by the government over the past years according to Article 67 of the Law on executing public interest for culture – self-evident that the government should proceed to acknowledge public interest for the following years and allocate appropriate funding for the execution of the program of PI KSEVT to the Municipality of Vitanje.
- PI KSEVT carried out the entire program for the year of 2014, as defined by the resolution and the contract.
- Regarding unjustified expenses: the fact is that expenses, related to salaries, accounting, and rent are unavoidable expenses, crucial to the execution of the program, and therefore by their very nature cannot be unjustified. Furthermore, it may not be contested that the PI outsourced part of its program, as the relations between the PI and private institute Planit is regulated by an order form, and thus transparent.
- The MC was very brief in its explanation why it considered certain expenses as unjustified, as referring to “legal succession” of the private institute KSEVT cannot be an argument for unjustified expenses: all expenses created since the registration of the PI in the court register and until 31. 12. 2014, related to the execution of its program, as it is defined in the contract, should be justified.
- It is scandalous that the MC has not convened with the representatives of the PI regarding the documentation of the request, regarding their appeals. In legal terms, it may be considered as an organ’s silence: “According to Article 18 of the General Administrative Procedure Act (ZUP), an organ is obliged to respond to all correspondence that it receives in physical or electronic form, except if it is of victimizing nature, at the latest in 15 days upon reception, if, of course, the sender’s address is discernible from the letter.” According to Miha Turšič, who is on hunger strike, the public institute addressed many requests of this nature to the MC, but was granted no meeting.
I am very concerned by these events. Miha Turšič, an excellent and internationally acknowledged artist, has put everything on the line. KSEVT, which has become known as one of the most exciting cultural projects in Europe over the past years, is in danger. The facts will of course need to be clarified. But the argumentation provided by the Ministry of Culture is downright unacceptable: the Ministry’s answers are far from “providing conditions for artistic activity”, it has offered no help to the artists in such accounting-bureaucratic complications (as what we are dealing with is obviously nothing more) and has no empathy for the actors of the protest. The Ministry of Culture, and the Minister heading it have forgotten that they exist only and exclusively because of the artists and cultural actors, and not the other way around.
Today, on 3 October at 7 P.M., I was examined by a doctor, who concluded that my psycho-physical state is stable. My Body Mass Index (BMI) was 23.3 at the beginning of the strike and has fallen to 22.1. This means that I lost 4.5 kgs in four days. If all goes according to plan, my next medical examination will take place on 7. 10. 2015.
Encouraged by the realization that more and more people are beginning to understand that my decision to take this radical step is a symptom of a complete lack of understanding exhibited by the Ministry of Culture, I persevere in my hunger strike.