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Pahor,very peculiar birthday,without looking like 107 at all

'It's the time for Italy-Slovenia friendship'

24 August, 16:55
(by Francesco De Filippo) (ANSA) - TRIESTE, 24 AGO - Boris Pahor had to wait until the age of 107 to appease his caustic wit and be able to describe a sort of friendship league that finally characterizes the relations between Italy and Slovenia. The Grand Old Man will be able to celebrate his birthday on August 26 in a more satisfactory way. He makes it clear in a relaxed, if not enthusiastic statement. "It's a very peculiar birthday," he told ANSA.

Why? "Especially due to the Italian-Slovenian relationship that the two countries established." President Mattarella, he said, "gave me a big prize: Europe should now be aware that Italy is capable of great deeds. By giving the Narodni Dom back, Italy proved breadth of views. I receive this big prize and offer it to the victims of all dictatorships. Nobody expected it." "It was a great deed," he added, reiterating what he had already said on July 13 speaking with Italy's Head of State Sergio Mattarella, and meeting the Slovenian President Borut Pahor, on a historic day, the centenary of the fire of the House of Slovenes in Trieste, the Narodni Dom, and the day of its restitution to the local Slovenian community. Pahor is today the only living witness. "I was seven years old when I saw the Narodni Dom burned by the fascists." On the eve of the ceremony, on July 12, Pahor specified that "tomorrow, when Italy will return the House of Culture to the Slovenes, I will be there, mission accomplished." Pahor appears happy, lucid, lively, and he's always "against": against Communist Yugoslavia that persecuted the Catholic White Slavs, against Italy which did not clarify what the Fascists did against the Slovenes and then obviously against Nazism, Fascism, and Communism. Animated by an uncommon force, Pahor's very existence in life is an act of heroism: amid Covid-19 crisis, it is significant to remember that he survived the Spanish flu (unlike his sister), the fascist persecutions, the war in Libya, some concentration camps where they imprisoned him, and the French sanatorium where he spent a year and a half suffering from tuberculosis. Finally, he survived the ailments and pathologies of his age. On the eve of his hundredth birthday, he had been in the hospital for a month for drinking a cold drink, whereas the following year, he had suffered from a sort of heart attack.

Friendship is okay, but according to him the great foiba of Basovizza is nothing more than a "symbol," the refugees who left Istria "left voluntarily," and he then invites you to study the report of the Italian-Slovenian Commission that investigated into the years from 1880 until 1965, which according to many observers was a compromise agreement. Anyway, the hands of Mattarella and his counterpart Pahor shaking right in front of the Basovizza foiba and then in front of the memorial stone commemorating the four murdered Slovenes are a step toward the future. All the disagreements should become distant echoes from the past.

Pahor will spend his birthday in his house in Contovello, on the Trieste Karst, "with three Slovenian friends of mine, those who put a statue of me in the Tivoli Park in Ljubljana. I'm happy, and even more so because my statue is close to that of my friend Edvard Kocbek" (1904-1981), poet, and a prominent personality of the Slovenian Catholic-social wing. Pahor wrote his degree thesis on him (published in Italy two years ago) and translated his poems into Italian. On the following Sunday, however, the Slovenian-speaking Italian writer "with the doctor's permission" will meet "his children and relatives: I will go out and go to a restaurant for lunch." Pahor wrote dozens of works translated all over the world, all with social content, and he was nominated for the Nobel several times, although due to political ostracism, he has achieved a belated success. Could he ever sit idle and not have any trunk novel or literary work ready to be published? He has three, to be precise. "The ship of Theseus will publish a short story of mine, A fire in the harbor, that will be the title of a book which will be re-published. The same book will also come out in Slovenia. Soon my new novel, Darkenings, will be published again by the same editor. Three new books, it will be a novelty. Many young people today will be able to buy this new edition," he announced. Pahor has a strong will to pass on the truth of history to young people while passing them the baton because what happened must never happen again. Being 107 years old and not realizing it: when he celebrated his 99th birthday, he had told ANSA: "I'm not yet a hundred, I don't know if I'll get there, I have many ailments," and laughed. Long live Pahor.


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