“Pa glej, da ne boš nič pil! Sladkega seveda!”

For my international readers, sorry, this post is also in Slovenian. I’ll spare you our country’s idiocy this time. Next one will be in English, I promise.

Predlog zakona o davku na sladkor in sladila v brezalkoholnih pijačah mi je že pred meseci dvignil pritisk predvsem z butastim argumentom o njegovi smotrnosti. In potem ko sem bil včeraj le za nekaj ur po brci Janše s položaja rešen hipertenzije, mi je kri že danes dopoldan spet zavrela ob ugotovitvi, da Butalcev v vseh teh mesecih pamet niti poklicala ni, kaj šele osebno srečala. Današnji naslov članka o predlogu davka se je glasil tako, kot že vrabci pod pol metra snega čivkajo naokoli: Obdavčitev sladkih pijač: Za preprečevanje debelosti, zdravljenje ali proračun?

Kako da ljudstvo ne more razumeti tega zakona? Ko pa so sladke pijače ja vzrok vseh težav z jetri in želodcem, motoriko, psiho itd! Ja, prav. Pa dajmo. Strokovno. Povzročajo odvisnost, pa koliko je šele zastrupitev, kozlanja vsepovprek, omedlevanja, pa visokega pritiska! Eventuelno tudi veliko smrti! Ob uživanju med nosečnostjo pa tudi prezgodnja rojstva in poškodbe centralnega živčevja otroka! Sokovi so res izredno nevarni za zdravje, na katerega pa vplivajo tudi posledice v družbenem delovanju. Zaradi prekomernega uživanja sokov so že marsikoga odpustili iz službe, družba ga/jo je izolirala, pa zveze so se končale, zakoni razpadli! Ker so zelo zasvojljivi, si človek pač ne more pomagati. Mora se ga naliti. In zato ga je treba nekako odvrniti od te slabe navade! No, in nalivanje s sladkimi pijačami seveda povzroča motorične in psihološke težave, ki jih družba težko tolerira, služba pa še manj. Družina jih mora, otroci se od njih učijo, partnerji pa včasih še kakšno fašejo, tako za mimogrede malo, nič posebnega, le ena nepomembna malenkost učinkov sokov. O, ja, treba je postaviti neke omejitve, sploh za mlade! Ti so čisto zmešani in še najbolj dovzetni za sladke pijače. Se najdejo tudi taki, ki se ga na mrtvo nalijejo s tetrapak pakungami Pingo soka praktično kmalu, ko čez prvo desetletje svojega življenja prilezejo. Kasneje ko se poleg flaše naučijo držat še volan, so sicer samooklicano menda najboljši vozniki, a kaj ko težko zadanejo svoj pas in radi vozijo v nasprotno smer od smeri vožnje. Ledeni čaji, Coca cola, predvsem pa Fruc in ostali sadni sokovi so glavni vzrok abnormalnega pobijanja na naših cestah! Efekt teh pijač na osebnost je grozljiv. Človek se začne obnašati kot opica in te se rade obešajo naokoli, malo tolčejo vsepovprek, kaj uničijo, dokler imajo hlače gor vsaj drek ne mečejo. Za škodo pa seveda plačujejo vsi ostali. Pri nas na Planini v Kranju se recimo opice rade obešajo po rampi bližnjega Špara. Pa ni dolgo, kar so s svoje palme zlezli, že se obešajo tudi po mladih drevesih ob našem parkingu!

In če zdaj pomislite, kako na vsaki prireditvi promovirajo vse te sladke pijače! Ko si sokovski tajkuni zrihtajo napol nage hostese, da jim kao ne moreš reči ne, ker te ogovarjajo bolj joške, kot tista zadeva z očmi, nosom in usti malo višje, in ti ponujajo (po promocijskih cenah ali kar zastonj) Kokto! Sramota! In to tudi mladoletnim, predvsem na prireditvah na prostem! Kriminal! Kje je tu kakšna morala?! Tudi zato rabimo omejitve. Ker se dnevno proizvajajo novi in novi pivci. Ne bom rekel zasvojenci, ker vseh pač ne zasvoji, pa tudi časa nimajo ga pit cel teden, zato recimo govorim predvsem o rednih uživalcih, ki se ga s sladkimi pijačami nalivajo vsak vikend (po polovičnih cenah ali pač promocijskih). Konec koncev nam že v vrtcu vedno v roke porinejo tetrapak s sladko pijačo. Grozno, kako mlade že navajamo na pijančevanje! Jaz res ne vem, a si je treba tako kvarit zdravje in uničevat življenje? Pa a je treba ogrožati druge? A se je treba pobijat po cestah? Oz. a je treba pobijat trezne ljudi po cestah? Jaz res ne vem, zakaj ne more folk piti alkohola, tako kot vsi normalni ljudje v tej državi! Ne pa da se nalivajo s sladkimi pijačami in samo štalo delajo! Res, no! Samo zato, ker ti jih ponujajo na vsakem koraku? Pa ker je to slovenski nacionalni šport? Ker je kul? Slaboumnost. Res.

To je bilo mojih pet minut dnevnega sarkazma, zdaj bomo pa to naredili malo bolj novinarsko. Odlomek iz predloga zakona o davku na sladkor in sladila v brezalkoholnih pijačah se glasi:

V zadnjih letih različne študije ugotavljajo, da ima prekomerno uživanje sladkih brezalkoholnih pijač, predvsem zaradi velike vsebnosti sladkorja (naravnega ali dodanega, v obliki naravnega sladkorja ali umetnih sladil) številne negativne učinke na zdravje (debelost, zvišana vrednost krvnega sladkorja, zvišan krvni pritisk, dislipidemije). Kot posebej ranljivo skupino, kjer je zaznati še posebej veliko negativnih učinkov na zdravje, študije omenjajo mladostnike. Poraba sladkih brezalkoholnih pijač med mladostniki se povečuje. Po podatkih Svetovne zdravstvene organizacije se slovenski otroci uvrščajo v sam vrh evropskih držav po količini zaužitih sladkih pijač, temu ustrezne pa so tudi negativne posledice na njihovo zdravje.

Države z namenom, da bi omejile uporabo sladkih brezalkoholnih pijač, uvajajo različne ukrepe za ozaveščanje potrošnikov o posledicah uživanja določenih vrst pijač, pa tudi ukrepe ekonomske narave, s katerimi želijo vplivati na povišanje cen tovrstnih pijač in s tem odvrniti potrošnike od njihovega prekomernega uživanja. Kot en takšnih ekonomskih instrumentov se kaže tudi dodatna (posebna) obdavčitev sladkorja v brezalkoholnih pijačah, saj je eden bistvenih razlogov za veliko razširjenost teh pijač njihova relativna cenovna dostopnost.

Vlada ocenjuje, da je predvsem zaradi podatkov o negativnih posledicah prekomernega uživanja sladkih pijač na zdravje mladostnikov treba tudi v Sloveniji sprejeti ukrepe za zmanjšanje porabe teh pijač. S predlogom zakona Vlada predlaga, da se tudi v Sloveniji, podobno kot v številnih drugih državah, uvede poseben davek, s katerim se obdavčijo brezalkoholne pijače v odvisnosti od njihove vsebnosti sladkorja (vključno s sladili). Vlada ocenjuje, da se bodo stroški davka praviloma prevalili na potrošnike in da se bodo zaradi uveljavitve tega davka zvišale drobnoprodajne cene teh pijač in sicer v sorazmerju z vsebnostjo sladkorja v njih, kar bo pomenilo manjšo cenovno privlačnost brezalkoholnih pijač z večjo vsebnostjo sladkorja in sladil.

Dajmo zdaj cel odlomek zapisati še enkrat, samo malo bom spremenil.

V zadnjih letih različne študije ugotavljajo, da ima prekomerno uživanje alkoholnih pijač, predvsem zaradi velike vsebnosti alkohola (ok, logično) številne negativne učinke na zdravje (ciroza jeter, želodčne razjede, infarkt, uničevanje možganskih celic, podhladitev, agresija, oviranje razumnega razmišljanja in odločanja, podaljšuje reakcijski čas in s tem povzroča nesreče, dehidracija, zastrupitev). Kot posebej ranljivo skupino, kjer je zaznati še posebej veliko negativnih učinkov na zdravje, študije omenjajo mladostnike. Poraba alkoholnih pijač med mladostniki se povečuje. Po podatkih Evropske komisije se slovenski otroci uvrščajo v vrh evropskih držav po količini zaužitih alkoholnih pijač, temu ustrezne pa so tudi negativne posledice na njihovo zdravje. (JA, SEM PREVERIL…)

Države z namenom, da bi omejile uporabo alkoholnih pijač, uvajajo različne ukrepe za ozaveščanje potrošnikov o posledicah uživanja določenih vrst pijač, pa tudi ukrepe ekonomske narave, s katerimi želijo vplivati na povišanje cen tovrstnih pijač in s tem odvrniti potrošnike od njihovega prekomernega uživanja. Kot en takšnih ekonomskih instrumentov se kaže tudi dodatna (posebna) obdavčitev alkoholnih pijač, saj je eden bistvenih razlogov za veliko razširjenost teh pijač njihova relativna cenovna dostopnost.
(P.S.: ZAPOMNITE SI TALE ODSTAVEK!!!)

Vlada ocenjuje, da je predvsem zaradi podatkov o negativnih posledicah prekomernega uživanja alkoholnih pijač na zdravje mladostnikov treba tudi v Sloveniji sprejeti ukrepe za zmanjšanje porabe teh pijač. S predlogom zakona Vlada predlaga, da se tudi v Sloveniji, podobno kot v številnih drugih državah, uvede poseben davek, s katerim se obdavčijo alkoholne pijače v odvisnosti od njihove vsebnosti alkohola. Vlada ocenjuje, da se bodo stroški davka praviloma prevalili na potrošnike in da se bodo zaradi uveljavitve tega davka zvišale drobnoprodajne cene teh pijač in sicer v sorazmerju z vsebnostjo alkohola v njih, kar bo pomenilo manjšo cenovno privlačnost alkoholnih pijač z večjo vsebnostjo alkohola.

Zveni podobno, ne? (Sanja svinja o koruzi …) Ampak to je pri nas pač tako. Cele dneve žreš mehiško hrano in prdiš kot krava; še dobro, da nimaš štedilnika na plin, folk ne upa niti luči prižgat, da ne bi iskrica od stikala sprožila eksplozijo, ampak za smrad v stanovanju pa kriviš cimrovega cucka in zahtevaš, da ga zapira na balkon. Klasika! Egoizem, relativizem in hinavščina je pač vrhovna slovenska lastnost. In kaj je tu drugega po sredi kot to! A boš extra obdavčil alkohol? Pa da se ti upre več kot pol naroda, ki drugega ne zna piti, ko gre ven? Kar velik odstotek je tistih, ki jim na kraj pameti ne pade, da bi v družbi pili kaj brezalkoholnega in še večji odstotek je tistih, ki pač alkoholne pijače pijejo kot bi ravnokar prilezli iz tridnevnega trekinga po puščavi. Ko smo že pri tem: ste že videli kdaj 2dl Union steklenico piva? No, pa a ste videli kdaj 5dl Fructalovo steklenico soka?

Dajmo se malo vrnit nazaj na tisti odstavek zgoraj, ki naj bi se ga zapomnili. Menda želijo z dvigom cen odvrniti potrošnike od prekomernega uživanja teh pijač. Aha! Ker se v primeru enega večjih družbenih problemov (pa tudi zdravstvenih – sploh če pijandura koga fenta na cesti) o tem ne govori, razumem, da te želje v primeru alkohola torej NI! Seveda ne! Uživalci alkohola so največja masa potrošnikov v Sloveniji! Whatever, skratka, eden od  instrumentov odvračanja folka naj bi bila po njihovem torej dodatna obdavčenost sladkih pijač. Dokaj logično ramišljanje, ja. Ampak skočimo malo na drugo stran. Tudi alkohol ima trošarine. Niso nizke. Ampak meni začne obrv trzat, ko preberem tole glede sladkih pijač: “saj je eden bistvenih razlogov za veliko razširjenost teh pijač njihova relativna cenovna dostopnost” in v naslednjem odstavku “kar bo pomenilo manjšo cenovno privlačnost brezalkoholnih pijač z večjo vsebnostjo sladkorja in sladil”.

85% Slovencev že kategorično odkimava z glavo, ko je (če je) pretrpelo do prejšnjega mojega odstavka. Pričakovano. Dol mi visi. Nikoli ne bom kandidiral za predsednika. :D Ampak mogoče vas lahko malo razsvetlim. Ne vem, koliko vam pogled kdaj uide na tisti del cenika, kjer piše “BREZalkoholne”, zato bom za vas tja pokukal jaz in naredil malo primerjave. Cene so iz ene od gostiln, ki je nekako povprečje, mogoče celo še malo cenejša… POUDARJAM: gre za gostilno. Cene v trgovinah so drugačne. A razmerja so podobna. Potem pa še kaj takšnega vidiš:

pijaceskonto

Tista famozna 2dl steklenička soka recimo stane 1,60 eur. Točene sokove že težko dobiš, če pa, so pa pač 1 euro 1dl. Union steklenica je 5dl in je 2 eur. Točeno pivo (to se pa seveda dobi) za 5dl je pa celo 1,80 eur! (ok, to se še meni zdi sumljivo poceni)  Literca je 3,20 eur!!! Pa zdaj zračunajte, koliko je to za 1dl! Še bolje: Dajmo zdaj zračunati, koliko bi zapravili za en liter soka: 8 eur. A moram nadaljevat? A sem že komu malo oči odprl?

Prav, pa dajmo še malo. Za tiste, ki še niso mačka od včeraj pozdravili in imajo daljše kable. Malo točeno pivo (3dl) je 1,50 eur. Tri deci gostega soka je 2,10 eur, saj je 0,7 eur za 1dl! Pa a smo že zračunali, koliko pride 1dl Union piva? A pomagam? Če 5 deci stane dva evra, to pomeni, da je rekordnih 0,4 evra za en deci.

OK, res je, govorim samo o sokovih. Pa dajmo še malo o napol kislini, ki se ji reče Coca Cola (jaz to pijem samo, ko hočem v svojem prebavnem traktu pobiti vse ebole, kolere, trakulje, amebe in podobno – predvsem na potovanjih). 2,5 deci stane 1,60 eur. Če jo piješ v pirovskih količinah, torej 5dl, pa potem preračunano stane 3,20 eur. Pa primerjaj.

Verjetno nisem vzel najdražjega cenika in tudi ne najcenejšega, ampak povsod je ista zgodba. Zato imam jaz na tem mestu samo eno vprašanje: A TO JE ZA VAS CENOVNO PRIVLAČNO?!?!??! Že zdaj so brezalkoholne pijače dražje, vi bi jih pa še podražili! Kao, da boste mlade odvrnili od sladkih pijač. In kam jih boste usmerili? K vodi iz pipe? Resno? Upam, da vam na novinarski konferenci, ko boste jamrali o alkoholizmu, najprej tisti vaš juice na mizi pošastno drago zaračunajo (pa včasih “pomotoma” tudi kakšen smrkelj not pade ;) ).

Razlog za vse to mi je pa prav fascinanten. V redu! Vi torej predvidevate, da smo zabiti ko špor kase in da nam morate zato vi omejiti cuker. Aha, glede na to, da je z alkoholom pa vse v redu, torej predvidevate, da pijanci so pa bolj pametni. Se pravi, alkoholizem je razumna osebna odločitev, sokovi pa so vsiljeno zlo? A to prav razumem? Se pravi, jaz si ne morem pomagat, če pijem sladke pijače, alkoholik pa lahko neha kadar hoče, zato mu ni treba flaše vzet? Ja, jebemti, kako je pa potem opitost (oz. pravilno “zmanjšana prištevnost”) v kriminalnih dejanjih olajševalna okoliščina!?!?!?

Ko pa že govorimo o najmanjših otrocih, ki se nalivajo s sadnimi pijačami in ki RES ne vedo, da to ni dobro za njih, se pa vprašajmo, kdo je za to kriv. Hm… (procesiram…. ….. ….) Ma, bom kar zinil nekaj, mogoče bom pa uganil, čeprav sem res zabit in s svojo glavo ne znam misliti. Starši? A sem uganil? Saj veste, to sta tista dva spremljevalca, ki nosita zvrhane pladnje MacDonaldsovih Happy Mealov in supersize Coca Cole svojim 5-letnim mulcem, ki jih je cel MacDonald’s poln več ali manj non stop. Samo mimogrede pač povem, da je (vsaj naš v Kranju) Mac redno NABASAN z mladimi družinami, ki se tam itak nimajo s čim drugim nalivati kot s sladkimi pijačami. Kar nas pripelje do še enega šokantnega spoznanja! Sladke pijače pvzročajo debelost, ne? Aha… Khm… A sem ravnokar nekaj o nabasanih MacDonaldsih govoril… No, saj boste poštekali… Mogoče bi morali malo glavo nagnit…

Sladkor je pač glavni krivec. Vse, kar povzroča, očitajo sladkim pijačam. O, mater, še dobro, da smo našli grešnega kozla, ki ga lahko “podražimo”! Se pravi, vsi debeli in z visokim pritiskom in podobno, se nalivajo s sladkimi pijačami? Noro! Mislim, noro, kako omejeni ste! A jedo pa ti ljudje ne nič? Mogoče v butastih medijih za butaste ljudi to poenostavljanje pali, ampak nekateri pa imamo več kot eno sivo celico v glavi in vsak, ki jih ima dve ali več, bo dojel, da je sladkor še v tortah, pecivih, bombonih, skratka sladkarijah itd.. A je treba tukaj gor nabit spisek vseh jedi in pijač, v katerih je sladkor? A bo kdo ta neskončen seznam sploh bral?! In od vsega tega ste vi znanstveno dognali, da zdravju škodi prekomerno pitje sladkih pijač? Ja, čestitam! Saj verjetno bi bilo težko ljudem prepovedat več kot pol jedilnika. :) Konec koncev pa očitno sladkor enačite z alkoholom, kot sem že dokazal v tem epu, ker ko govorimo o alkoholu, pa razen rum kuglic, pa določenih peciv z rumom, nič drugega ne vsebuje alkohol kot res samo pijače. Se mi samo zdi, a vam je res alkohol kot sladkor! Ha! To bo to! Nooo, pa sem le dojel to mentaliteto. Uf! Končno. Sem se že ustrašil, da je nekaj narobe z mano…

Ampak jebiga, vsakomur svoje. Malim otrokom starši sladke pijače, velikim otrokom gostinci in alko proizvajalci alkohol. Zdaj pa pretehtaj. Aja, ste že! Gostinci vam bolj koristijo, ja, logika. Pa več jih je in proizvajalci imajo večjo moč. Pametnejše starše sproducirati pa raje ne. Folk mora biti neumen, da je lahko vodljiv. Kapitalizem slabo funkcionira, če ga hočeš na pameten narod aplicirat.

Na vodi čutim (vse se lima od sokov), da tu ne gre za kakšno skrb za zdravje, pač pa zato, da se spet služi na stvareh, ki jih bodo ljudje kupovali v vsakem primeru. Tako kot z zdravili. Folk jih rabi, dajmo jim nabit ceno, itak jih bodo morali kupiti, če jim je všeč ali ne. Enako velja za hrano, enako velja za bencin, in enako tudi za pijače. Ampak ne bomo višali cen alkoholu, ker ne rabimo novih vstaj, dobiček pa je super že ob teh cenah, saj ga žene masa. Brezalkoholnih pijač se manj proda in manj je uživalcev in manj “goreči” fani so (tako da ne bodo ravno zažigali transparentov, če jim vzamemo njihov vsakdanji sok, ne), zato je tu najprimernejše dvigovati cene, predvsem za zaslužek.

In zdaj vas, Vlada (zakaj si pa zaslužite veliko začetnico?), logično vprašam:  Kaj bodo torej tisti ogroženi mladi, ki se ne zavedajo posledic sladkorja v pijačah, s katerimi se menda dva deci po dva deci nalivajo cele vikende, pili v prihodnje? Mogoče pir pol litra po pol litra, ker bo znatno cenejši! Konec dileme! Aja, pa še to: tudi od pira trebuh raste! No, pa joške tudi. ;) Ampak to že veste.

30 min Sfukenije

Pozor: popizdil sem! Takšen bo tudi moj zapis spodaj, ker imam poln kurac tega naroda zagamanega! Ne bom več tiho. Za pol ure sem šel ven. In to je zgodba teh 30 minut.

Sedem v avto (ki ni moj, jaz si svojega nikoli ne bom mogel privoščiti) in zamenjam vinjeto (ki so mi jo morali kupiti starši, ker je precej hud finančni udarec to zame) in se odpeljem do stanovanja stare mame, ki je preminula avgusta. Najprej na prvem križišču tip izsili nasproti vozeče pri zavijanju levo. Malo naprej: prometna nesreča, zastoji. In ker so zastoji, drug debil od zadaj prehiteva kolono kar po sredini ceste. Brez žmigovca levo v križišču, brez spet malo naprej desno, nato spet brez levo in tam celo polkrožno obrne, da če ne bi tega od debila pričakoval, bi se mu seveda pravokotno v bok zabil. In ko se je obrnil, da sem retardiranca za volanom videl, je seveda govoril po telefonu. 20 metrov naprej avto parkiran z dvema kolesoma na pločniku, a z več kot polovico avta na nasprotnem voznem pasu, zaseda 3/4 pasu. Če bi imel tank, bi šel čezenj. Pridem do stare mame. Zadnjih pet let je kot marsikdo nasedala vedno bolj nategujočim kretenom raznih Readers Digestov in Tomarka in vseh pokvarjenih kurcev, ki pošiljajo “obvestila o možnem dobitku”, če seveda pošlje en kup enih pizdarij nazaj njim, da kao sodeluje. Teden za tednom. Pa čim hitreje a ne? Pa včasih bo še kaj naročila. Mama je to počela zame, ker je vedno mislila, da bo dobila tisti avto ali tisoče evrov in mi bo omogočila, kar bom rabil. Kar precej (lepih) knjig mi je  iz enega od teh naslovov kupila. A vsa tista jebena sporočila in potrdila o možnih dobitkih in napredovanju v nevem kateri kurčev nešteti krog tekmovanja so itak navadno nategovanje folka in zavajanje lahkomiselnih ljudi, ki tega govna od naroda niso navajeni, saj v tem sistemu pokvarjencev ne živijo dovolj dolgo, da bi znali na vsakem koraku (kot je zdaj treba) filtrirat ves izkoriščevalski, egocentrični bullshit nagnitega naroda Sfukenceljskega. Seveda mama še po smrti dobiva ogromno teh “potrdil”. Vedno več različnih firm, ki jih bom jaz začel zbirat in bom na neki točki šel osebno tja in vsakemu “direktorju oddelka za podeljevanje nagrad” razbil gobec. Danes pridem tja in evo novo kuverto. Faking Ideal Servis sporoča, da je zadela prvo nagrado in da je že vse potrjeno, tudi cel seznam drugih nagrajencev zraven, uuuuu, noro, kar izžrebali so jo, ker je nekaj nazaj poslala, verjetno 7 dni od prejema pred kakšnima dvema tednoma, a? Nagrada je torej njena!

Le na hrbtni strani naj označi, katere izdelke hoče prejeti v poskus. … Khm… Na tem mestu faše “direktor bullshitanja” te firme moj levi kroše, nos se prelomi v levo, oko mu zalije kri, trije zobje mu odletijo iz goflje, eden pristane v njegovem kufetu. In ko na hrbtni strani vidiš še malce drugačno grafiko o prvi in drugi nagradi, kjer piše, kako bo prva nagrada podeljena pač samo enemu (čak, a ni že podeljena, govno jedno!?), serviram še desni kroše. Nos se poravna, očesa sta zdaj oba iste barve, škrbast je na obe strani, en zobek je pa v dekolte svoje drage obleke dobila še njegova joškasta tajnica. Tokrat samo v moji bujni Tarantinovski (ja, za veliko krvi in zmaličenih udov in obrazov je najprimernejši) domišljiji, a nekoč, ko bom popizdil še malo bolj kot zdaj, čeprav se zdi skoraj nemogoče, boste videli, kako zna moja bujna domišljija pisano zaživeti v resničnosti!

A to še ni vse! (a ne ga srat, če moram pa še nazaj domov se pripeljat, a ne?)

Mirno je bilo le 500m do prvega rondoja. Tam se mi je pa stemnilo. Pri nas imamo namreč fotografa – sicer so fotografi ponavadi res skromni ljudje, skoraj da ne najdeš vzvišenih egocentrikov med njimi, a ne – in ta je res filantropist! On razume stisko velikih firm, ki zaposlujejo fotografe, zato se jim s sočutjem ponuja zastonj! Saj je vseeno, če ne zna niti fotke pravilno osvetliti, njegov adut je, da je boljši od že zaposlenih fotografov, ker je ZASTONJ! Magična beseda. Ne uspe mu sicer vedno, ker določeni ljudje pa še radi opravljajo svoje delo, kot naprimer šefi, katerih navodil se ne drži, verjetno zato, ker raje dela, kar on hoče, da ne obremenjuje nadrejenih!

Ne, denarja pa ne rabi, ker ga serje. V rondo se ta skromen človek z milim izrazom gangbangerja pripelje v novem BMW-ju serije 1, se prilima drugemu vozniku na rit, ker je 40 kmh v malem rondoju čisto prepočasi in ga bi bilo treba malo poriniti, če ne bi bilo škoda težko prigaranega avtomobila. A ko se nesposobni voznik brez občutka za avto umakne izpred nosu vsemogočnega, zacvilijo gume, BMW pospeši in zdivja skozi center mesta mimo gimnazije, a kaj ko naleti na novo oviro. Še enega počasneža, ki skozi mesto pelje 50 kmh. Nezaslišano! Gas pa sredi mesta v križišču čez vse polne črte prehitet budalo in je problem rešen!

A sranje! “Najjaći” je lahko spet samo ene 50m, ko naleti na novo kolono. Spet se zalima za rit (zgleda, da ima fetiš) in ko se pelje stran in se svet postavlja nazaj v svoje tirnice, ga vidim, kako s polovico avta v svojem klasičnem strpnem pristopu ponižneža z avtomobilom čez polno črto vijuga na polovico nasprotnega voznega pasu in nazaj in se trudi prehiteti kretena spredaj, ki v mestu ne zna peljati hitreje kot 50 kmh. Prav zasmilil se mi je. Tak poštenjak in talent, pa samo BMW-ja vozi.

TO je mentaliteta ki je sicer državo s potencialom spremenila v navadno govno. Kjer ti nek pofl brez delovnih navad, brez profesionalnosti in le z navadnim dumpingom (če se delu ZASTONJ sploh lahko tako reče) živi ko bubreg v loju in zraven fura tak ego, da v njegovi auri na 50-ih metrih mobiteli ne vlečejo! Kaj nam pa morejo in nam je vse dovoljeno, a ne?

 

V manj kot 30 min sem bil nazaj doma, vesel, da imam mir v svoji sobi in da v njej lahko ustvarim povsem svoj svet. Ker tale zunaj je navadno sranje.

Images of 2012

The story of 2012 is more like a lesson. An act of doing all I can to make progress. The truth is nothing beats ignorance. Except for straight out provocation or an international incident, but I’m not the one to do it. Instead, I invested my energy in quality. That eventually doesn’t make a difference, but it does to me. This is a look back at 2012, another seemingly pointless year. However, this year has an extra component. Something we all know, but never demand proof for ourselves. We know global media doesn’t care about this country. They probably wouldn’t care if an alien invasion started here instead of the highly intergalactically popular United States. A window gets smashed during a protest in The Middle East and everybody’s reporting on it while two thirds of a flooded country go by unnoticed. It may make no difference for most, but I needed to know for sure, because I realized there’s no place for my photojournalism in Slovenia a long time ago. 2012 was a test.

JANUARY

As always January is a blur. I need some time to get started again, usually to get my hopes high as well. I need a goal. Because when you reach the goals you set for yourself and nothing changes, it is normal to set even higher ones. I’ve known for  a while now that the problem isn’t in not being good enough. It’s in the media market. So I shifted into a higher gear and actively covered news from Slovenia for Demotix Wire and Imago. Exhausted and relatively at a minimum budget, I risked a lot. That higher gear was practically something my car at that moment couldn’t handle well, but I knew it could and I knew it could make a better car so … I went for it.

FEBRUARY

A protester in Kongres Square during the protests against the signing of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Ljubljana, Slovenia, February 4, 2012

MARCH

Robert Kranjec (SLO) competes in the Sunday's individual competition at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup finals in Planica, March 18. 2012., Slovenia.
Robert Kranjec (SLO) competes in the Sunday’s individual competition at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup finals in Planica, March 18. 2012., Slovenia.

APRIL

A woman rides a bike past signs criticising governments budget cuts in kindergartens after a public sector unions' strike march to the parliament building in Ljubljana, Slovenia, April 18, 2012.
A woman rides a bike past signs criticising governments budget cuts in kindergartens after a public sector unions’ strike march to the parliament building in Ljubljana, Slovenia, April 18, 2012.

MAY

Slovenia hosted the UEFA U-17 European Championship. I was comissioned by Imago to cover the matches in Ljubljana.

Joris Voest of Netherlands in the air during the UEFA U-17 European Championship final match between Germany and the Netherlands at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 16, 2012.
Joris Voest of Netherlands in the air during the UEFA U-17 European Championship final match between Germany and the Netherlands at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 16, 2012.
Marian Sarr of Germany is challanged by Anthony Martial of France during the UEFA U-17 European Championship final tournament group match between Germany and France at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 10, 2012.
Marian Sarr of Germany is challanged by Anthony Martial of France during the UEFA U-17 European Championship final tournament group match between Germany and France at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 10, 2012.
Marc Stendera of Germany catches the ball during the UEFA U-17 European Championship final tournament group match between Germany and Iceland at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 7, 2012.
Marc Stendera of Germany catches the ball during the UEFA U-17 European Championship final tournament group match between Germany and Iceland at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 7, 2012.
Hjortur Hermannsson of Iceland stands disappointed as his team lost against Germany at the UEFA U-17 European Championship final tournament at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 7, 2012.
Hjortur Hermannsson of Iceland stands disappointed as his team lost against Germany at the UEFA U-17 European Championship final tournament at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 7, 2012.
Nathan Ake of Netherlands strikes the ball during the UEFA U-17 European Championship semi-final match between Netherlands and Georgia at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 13, 2012.
Nathan Ake of Netherlands strikes the ball during the UEFA U-17 European Championship semi-final match between Netherlands and Georgia at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 13, 2012.
Nick Olij, Netherlands' goalkeeper, jumps as Team Netherlands celebrates winning the UEFA U-17 European Championship final match between Germany and the Netherlands at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 16, 2012.
Nick Olij, Netherlands’ goalkeeper, jumps as Team Netherlands celebrates winning the UEFA U-17 European Championship final match between Germany and the Netherlands at the SRC Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 16, 2012.

JUNE

The entire fly fishing world visited Slovenia in June to participate in the World Fly Fishing Championship. Again, I covered it in full for Demotix Wire and Imago, as well as magazines from South Africa, England and our own Fisherman magazine.

Henrik Enslin of South Africa catches a fish in river Kokra during the first competition of the World Fly Fishing Championship in Slovenia, Jun 6 2012.
Henrik Enslin of South Africa catches a fish in river Kokra during the first competition of the World Fly Fishing Championship in Slovenia, Jun 6 2012.
Art Ritmeester of The Netherlands competes on the river Sava Bohinjka during the fourth competition of the World Fly Fishing Championship in Slovenia, Jun 8 2012.
Art Ritmeester of The Netherlands competes on the river Sava Bohinjka during the fourth competition of the World Fly Fishing Championship in Slovenia, Jun 8 2012.
Ulli Schneider of Germany competes on the lake at Most na Soci during the third competition at the World Fly Fishing Championship, Slovenia, Jun 7, 2012.
Ulli Schneider of Germany competes on the lake at Most na Soci during the third competition at the World Fly Fishing Championship, Slovenia, Jun 7, 2012.

JULY

I was one of two official photographers of Ana Desetnica street arts festival in Ljubljana again. The photos went global. And I love it, because this festival deserves it. It’s awesome.

KUD Ljud (Slovenia) perform during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 30 2012.
KUD Ljud (Slovenia) perform during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 30 2012.
Theaker von Ziarno performs during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 28 2012.
Theaker von Ziarno performs during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 28 2012.
Mr Pejo's Wandering Dolls perform during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 28 2012.
Mr Pejo’s Wandering Dolls perform during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 28 2012.
Firefingers (Israel) performs during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 30 2012.
Firefingers (Israel) performs during the Ana Desetnica international street arts festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jun 30 2012.

July was also the year when I finally showed the multimedia piece on Lyra, the amazing border collie that was a pioneer in dog frisbee in Slovenia. The multimedia won the hearts of many at the Fotopub’s Thursday Award screening.

AUGUST

I spent my summer visiting my grandma in a nursing home at the seaside. I wasn’t taking many photos or covering news, just a few shots with my iphone… She passed away in mid August.

SEPTEMBER

After visiting the Visa pour l’Image Festival in Perpignan, France, I was doing sporadic work on my stories until I visited Venice with a journalist to do a story on safeguarding the Venetian lagoon for Terre Sauvage Magazine. For more about this story go to “The Lagoon” and “Return to the Lagoon

OCTOBER

Athletes compete in the 17th International Ljubljana Marathon on Oct 28, 2012 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Athletes compete in the 17th International Ljubljana Marathon on Oct 28, 2012 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

NOVEMBER

The story about the Venetian lagoon ended with extreme flooding in the city.

In other news:

President of Slovenia and presidential candidate Dr. Danilo Turk speaks to his supporters after the first round of presidential elections in Slovenia.
President of Slovenia and presidential candidate Dr. Danilo Turk speaks to his supporters after the first round of presidential elections in Slovenia.

Steve Vai performs live in the Cvetlicarna Club in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Steve Vai performs live in the Cvetlicarna Club in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
People protest against austerity measures in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Nov 17, 2012.
People protest against austerity measures in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Nov 17, 2012.
Advent wreaths are on display in the underground tunnels in Kranj, Slovenia.
Advent wreaths are on display in the underground tunnels in Kranj, Slovenia.
Advent wreaths are on display in the underground tunnels in Kranj, Slovenia.
Advent wreaths are on display in the underground tunnels in Kranj, Slovenia.
Disney's Mickey Mouse mascot greets children in Ljubljana, Slovenia,Nov 20, 2012.
Disney’s Mickey Mouse mascot greets children in Ljubljana, Slovenia,Nov 20, 2012.
The U. S. ambassador in Slovenia Joseph A. Mussomeli meets Disney's Mickey Mouse mascot in Ljubljana, Slovenia,Nov 20, 2012.
The U. S. ambassador in Slovenia Joseph A. Mussomeli meets Disney’s Mickey Mouse mascot in Ljubljana, Slovenia,Nov 20, 2012.
Disney's Mickey Mouse mascot takes a final look at Ljubljana from above before leaving Ljubljana, Slovenia, Nov 20, 2012.
Disney’s Mickey Mouse mascot takes a final look at Ljubljana from above before leaving Ljubljana, Slovenia, Nov 20, 2012.
Mina Markovic of Slovenia competes during the IFSC climbing world cup finals in Kranj, Slovenia, on Nov 18, 2012.
Mina Markovic of Slovenia competes during the IFSC climbing world cup finals in Kranj, Slovenia, on Nov 18, 2012.
People protest for justice and peace in Palestine holding signs demanding the end of Israely blockade of Gaza during the pro-Palestinian protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
People protest for justice and peace in Palestine holding signs demanding the end of Israely blockade of Gaza during the pro-Palestinian protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Finally, people had enough. Just like Gorazd Utenkar wrote in a Delo newspaper article: “The fourth year of the crisis proved that Slovenians aren’t ready to die from starvation before they take to the streets, but that they do that just a little before that.” And so they did. Too late, if you ask me, but better late then never. I started covering the entire uprising. For more on this, go to “Covering Recent Protests

Protesters burn a poster of Slovenian prime minister Janez Jansa  during anti-government protests in Kranj, Slovenia.
Protesters burn a poster of Slovenian prime minister Janez Jansa during anti-government protests in Kranj, Slovenia.
People protest during anti-government protests in Kranj, Slovenia.
People protest during anti-government protests in Kranj, Slovenia.
Protesters shout slogans during anti-government protests in Kranj, Slovenia.
Protesters shout slogans during anti-government protests in Kranj, Slovenia.
A protester carries a signpost with several accusations against the government during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester carries a sign with several accusations against the government during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester hands a flower to a policeman in a police blockade in front of the parliament building during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester hands a flower to a policeman in a police blockade in front of the parliament building during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A man pauses behind the police blockade on his way home from the grocery store during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A man pauses behind the police blockade on his way home from the grocery store during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester tries to evade a water canon jet during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester tries to evade a water canon jet during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

In November, National Geographic Junior published the story about Barbara, a special 11 year old girl with a severe case of cerebral palsy. The story continues. For more, go to “The Girl Inside“.

DECEMBER

What was more like X factor or some vile reality show ended in triumpf of gullibility. Old story. I covered the presidential elections runoff, and then continued covering protests.

Policemen clash with the protesters during protests against the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia.
Policemen clash with the protesters during protests against the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia.
Fireworks go off in a group of policemen making an arrest during protests against the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia.
Fireworks go off in a group of policemen making an arrest during protests against the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia.
A protester carries a smoke bomb to throw to the police during protests against the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia.
A protester carries a smoke bomb to throw to the police during protests against the mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia.
Protesters shout their discontent during protests against the mayor of Kranj, Mohor Bogataj, and the government in Kranj, Slovenia.
Protesters shout their discontent during protests against the mayor of Kranj, Mohor Bogataj, and the government in Kranj, Slovenia.
Protesters carrie a large sign denouncing dictatorship during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters carrie a large sign denouncing dictatorship during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters march through the streets as people watch from their windows during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters march through the streets as people watch from their windows during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters march through the streets seen through a bus stop window during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters march through the streets seen through a bus stop window during anti-government protests in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Students from Faculty of arts listen to a lecture in the lobby of the Cankarjev dom cultural center during a protest against cuts in education system in the city center of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Students from Faculty of arts listen to a lecture in the lobby of the Cankarjev dom cultural center during a protest against cuts in education system in the city center of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Students from Faculty of arts listen to a lecture in the National Gallery as a sculpture lies on the floor during a protest against cuts in education system in the city center of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Students from Faculty of arts listen to a lecture in the National Gallery as a sculpture lies on the floor during a protest against cuts in education system in the city center of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester wears an octopus mask referring to the system of local corruption during a protest march against the mayor and the local government in Maribor, Slovenia.
A protester wears an octopus mask referring to the system of local corruption during a protest march against the mayor and the local government in Maribor, Slovenia.
People protest outside the Maribor prisons demanding the release of protesters watching from the windows during a protest march against the mayor and the local government in Maribor, Slovenia.
People protest outside the Maribor prisons demanding the release of protesters watching from the windows during a protest march against the mayor and the local government in Maribor, Slovenia.

The end of the world on December 21 brought around 11,000 people to Ljubljana, but it didn’t even vaporize our government, let alone the entire planet.

A war veteran wearing a veteran's cap and a carnation protests during a countrywide anti-government protest in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A war veteran wearing a veteran’s cap and a carnation protests during a countrywide anti-government protest in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters carry stickers that read "Give us back our spring" on their coats during a countrywide anti-government protest in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters carry stickers that read “Give us back our spring” on their coats during a countrywide anti-government protest in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

But we did almost have a zombie apocalypse. The ruling party called the protesters on December 21 zombies so the next day they rose.

Protesters carry a zombie cardboard cutout during a protest staged by cultural workers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters carry a zombie cardboard cutout during a protest staged by cultural workers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester in zombie makeup carries a carnation and a candle as signs of peaceful protest  during a protest staged by cultural workers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A protester in zombie makeup carries a carnation and a candle as signs of peaceful protest during a protest staged by cultural workers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters wear paper masks of prime minister Janez Jansa as a skull during a protest staged by cultural workers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Protesters wear paper masks of prime minister Janez Jansa as a skull during a protest staged by cultural workers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

After that, holidays kicked in and we had another nationwide uprising, a general attack on shopping centers, drink stands in Ljubljana etc. Some would say it was just another zombie apocalypse.

In the last days of December, the annual street arts festival Ana Mraz was held in Ljubljana again. It’s fun, it’s as awesome as Ana Desetnica in the summer, but it’s cold. So this year, they had a day dedicated to fiery performances.

Marijana Hadzic performs during the annual Ana Mraz street theatre festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Marijana Hadzic performs during the annual Ana Mraz street theatre festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

And then I dropped. Well, not exactly. I still had to shoot a New Year’s party for children and the nine pin Kranj Cup competition, but haven’t really had the energy left to edit … :)

Most of the news stories pictured here ended up being at the top of Most read section at Demotix News, but there were no sales. Instead, on the day of some of our most violent protests even Corbis that takes news from Demotix (and doesn’t have many of their own) failed to add any of the photos from Slovenia to the News photos of the day gallery, but it did include a photo of cars, wet road, and first snowflakes in the air from Germany. I rest my case.

Nevertheless, I did something this year that I haven’t done before. I proved to myself and to others that I can do it. I can reach the desired quality and go beyond. I can cover all sorts of news, even violent protests. I even put Slovenia on the map for thousands of viewers a story at Demotix. Several times each week for two months… I could keep going. I probably will. And I am still available for assignments of course. But with selfcomissioned news and stories… I’ll have to shift down a bit.

2013 will be different. A lot different. I won’t put my hopes on photojournalism anymore. I have a bigger project to start. For my family and my friends and just about everybody that ever made a difference in my life. More on that some other time…

So thank you all and I wish you a happy and successful 2013.

Covering Recent Protests

Lately there has been a lot of accusations against the media regarding their reporting on the protests in Slovenia. Whereas I agree to some degree, I don’t think it’s as simple as people want to make it.

The cartoon spreading around Facebook that shows a mass of peaceful protesters behind TV crews and photographers taking pictures of a single violent protester smashing a car is utterly misleading and simplistic. In short, riots and peaceful protests never happen simultaneously. So the problem lies elsewhere, not in what we take pictures of in the first place. It’s about what gets published.

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If you only see our photos of violent hooligans throwing stones and flares and pyrotechnics in the media, that doesn’t mean we waited in a bar for the shit to hit the fan and then walked directly into a battle between the police and a group of hooded protesters. We are there when the protest starts, taking pictures of peaceful protesters, the worn down faces of people tired of their situation in this country, the signs telling the elite to go etc. Personally, my favorite photo of these protests is that of an old lady wearing a big sign around her neck and carrying a big, but obviously empty shopping bag. She was calm, but determined. She seemed content and joyful, but she protested against the same things. And she looked like she just came by on her way from the grocery store where she obviously couldn’t afford to buy much.

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Violent protests are not really protests anymore. They’re simply riots. And when they start, the peaceful protesters move away and mostly go home. But no matter what the protests turn into, we must cover it. So it’s not our sensationalist nature to cover them, it’s the quest for truth, to show what was really going on. On the ground level, that’s exactly what we do. What happens up in the editorial offices is different. They decide what’ll make the news, not us, photographers. So it’s a little rude to present us as some sensationalist thrill seekers jacking off on violence and narrowing the protests down to just rioting.

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We’re not dumb. We actually see and understand a lot more than most citizens, because we’re in the middle of the information flow. We don’t narrow ourselves down like that. And besides, we’re not that keen on putting ourselves between the rioters and the police, you know. A cobblestone can penetrate a police helmet, let alone the helmets we wear (if we wear them! We didn’t when violence broke out in Ljubljana.). And it’s very unpleasant to be exposed to teargas. Your eyes sting and water up, your nose is running, esophagus, trachea and lungs burn, you caugh like crazy, you can’t see, you can’t run… In severe cases you get badly poisoned, starting with passing out… But that’s if you’re not protected and you don’t run from teargas…

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I wish I could draw. I’d draw a more realistic drawing of what is happening when we are photographing a violent protest. Mostly, we run. Protesters run all over the place, we run from one cover to another in all directions, teargas smokes on the ground, we can’t see, we can’t breathe, nobody is taking pictures when they can’t see, peaceful protesters are long gone, violent ones run away, but come back soon, now we’re here, half a minute later we’re on the other side of the street and another half a minute later we’re somewhere in the middle, all the time evading cobblestones from one side, police stampede from the other or from several sides. It’s chaos.

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I don’t approve of violence, but the fact that it is happening should tell you something is really wrong in this country and people have had it. Honestly, you reap what you sow.

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I graduated from journalism (when it was still thorough and high quality), so I know exactly how the media filters information, how they simplify it lately, how they make over simplistic and a lot of times wrong causal connections. I agree that there are way to many of such journalists lately, especially in commercial television that fuels itself on simplicity that the masses understand. So whereas a journalist decides what to write, the photos that make the cut are decided by the media, not the “workers” who made them.

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We all have editors. And editors have people above them. And people above them have political tendencies. Ownership of our media is tightly linked to all sorts of economic and political entities that most of us don’t know about. But if you really want to understand what you’re watching, whose ideology you are gulping down when you read utterly unobjective battering, try reading one of Sandra Bašič Hrvatin’s book on ownership of Slovenian media.

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I’d also suggest a book on how to view the media, how to understand the filtering process, how to critically watch the news etc. Media education (Vzgoja za medije) by Manca Košir was introduced to elementary schools as an optional course. I think it should be obligatory. Because in twenty years, the media, along with parents not doing their job or mostly having too little time to raise their kids (so the media do the job for them), dumbed the nation down so much you could actually spread any news and make people believe it. They don’t read or view content critically enough, they soak it in too much. Which is why unobjective, politically biased and most of all unethical and immoral media are dangerous. Because we’re not used to such manipulation. And they’re spreading.

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There’s no regulation, so any media can make false accusations, assumptions, rumors, or even causal connections bent to meet the media’s interests. If done on a daily basis, who would actually bother suing them every day? Especially, if that’s in the most busy time for the person affected, like elections. That shit can turn the elections around! It’s assumed that people would recognize a shitty magazine when they see one. WRONG! They won’t. They’ll believe it. They’ll adopt their thinking patterns. Only a part of the nation will recognize them for the scum they are.

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So now you see how that cartoon jumped down several levels to actually show how our readers and viewers simplify media. Because they were never taught to understand how it all works. Firstly, it simplifies the work of media down to taking pictures and video, only a part of the journalistic process and one bar in the entire media ladder. Secondly, it simplifies violent protests to present them as violent on one part and peaceful on the other. It also simplifies the work of photographers and cameramen making you believe we only take pictures of violence. And what it represents by this over simplistic drawing is total failure to understand how the media works. Simplifying the media structures, work etc.

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I have one advice to the people who try to be smart about it. Be there. See what it’s like. It starts peacefully and can turn into total violent chaos in five minutes. I don’t care what certain scum of our media uses the protests for. It’s all politics. That shouldn’t be there anyway. I take pictures of what I see. I can’t influence what they’ll use. Someone else is making that decision. And if you know I am a freelance photographer, I think you’re aware that by writing all this, I am mostly defending my fellow photographers who work for Slovenian media, and other agencies. They don’t need defending anyway, they’ll do their job whether you love or hate the media. But I think you need some insight. It’s not as simple as you were made to believe. Which applies to a lot of new beliefs and thinking patterns imprinted on way too many people by our media in recent years and months. Unfortunately, only time will show how they got screwed over. It always does.

Return to the Lagoon

The second part of this lagoon assignment was quite a lottery. On my first visit, I realized the weather in Venice is completely unpredictable. And in October, you cannot rely on any of the long term forecasts. Hell, you can’t even rely on short term forecasts.

I spent most of October comparing long term forecasts for Venice, trying to figure out which of them might be right. And each one of them was different. They even opposed each other. It was important to aim for a period of sunny weather. I planned on staying in a hostel again and doing all that I still needed to do, including aerial photography. But I was going nuts over the forecasts. One day, they predicted clear weather during my preferred week, the next day it showed the whole week full of clouds and rain. What the hell?!

When it stabilized and I finally knew when the sun will come out, it was a week before my departure. But making a room reservation a week before is again a lottery. And I’m the kind of guy who can’t get two numbers out of seven right at a lottery, so the hostel was full. But since an Indian summer was predicted I figured a longer period of sunshine was ahead, so I simply postponed my departure for three days.

The lagoon floor…

As it turned out, the forecast changed and the date of my departure coincided with an onset of a long period of nearly cataclysmic weather. Yap, that sounds like my luck.

So I cancelled my reservation and went to plan B. Going broke. Best way to do it is to drive to Venice and back for as many times as needed during the only week that will still have any sunshine. But the good part is that I went bankrupt in company. Nina joined me when I went to the North Lagoon on Tuesday. Summary of the day: a hundred thousand mosquitos.

We drove very deep into the lagoon, surrounded by mudflats and salt marshes. I know now why there’s so few people outside there. Because it’s literally a horror movie scenario. Imagine stepping out of the car and immediately getting swamped by swarms of mosquitos trying to suck you dry from every patch of exposed skin. A mosquito repellant here doesn’t even work the entire time it should. It just wears off half way through. And the minute it does, the bloodsuckers are all over you. So it took soaking myself in the repellant. In addition to that, it took dressing up as a ninja at dusk. Good thing I don’t smoke, because I’d seriously risk bursting in flames with so much flammable repellant on me.

 

We drove around using small roads meandering through the lagoon, stopping along the way to photograph the patterns and birds. Everything went according to plan. I knew all the stops and all the locations even though I’ve never been there. Google maps satellite imagery is awesome.

A few days earlier, we came to a solution about the helicopter flight. We were of course looking for very good visibility, sunny weather. I dropped the idea of doing it while I’m there for a week. That plan failed anyway. So the pilot was supposed to inform me a day earlier that we can do the flight the next day, any day, and he did. Right when we were in the middle of the lagoon that Tuesday. I expected it, because that week was practically the last sunny week of the autumn. In fact, the weather in Italy has been catastrophic ever since.

I got the message in the evening, when Nina was mostly hiding in the car and I was taking pictures while fighting demons. At least that’s what it looked like when I kept slapping myself and waving my arms around to fend off continuous attacks of mosquitos.

We left for home when it went dark and we took some of our bloodsucking friends with us. We killed them one by one. My stupid gps wanted to go to Trieste again, but I ignored it (I learned my lesson) and went straight to the highway. That didn’t stop me from cursing the hell out of the stupid thing.

The next day we drove back again, the both of us, because assistants of course are allowed to join me on the flight. And we were right on time. The Nicelli Airport is on Lido island and I have to say Heliair Venice is quite busy flying people around. It’s really something to see the lagoon from the air, although most people only take the five-minute flight and see the real lagoon only from afar, but they see Venice. Well, my focus was on the lagoon and other islands. They removed the door for us and we took off so gently that I didn’t even notice when we started lifting. In fact, the flight was extremely calm, which is something I wasn’t used to from a helicopter. But then again I did only fly in the Bell 412 helicopters. This was much smaller. It looked like something you get in a Kinder Surprise.

Helicopter fuel is extremely expensive, which is why we had a stop watch in the cockpit. In those thirty minutes or a bit more we had to cover everything I needed, the patterns of the lagoon, mudflats, salt marshes, the islands of the north lagoon, barrier islands, the murazzi wall and especially the MOSE project construction sites on the lagoon inlets.

That was basically the end of the story. The rest of the day was mostly relaxing and enjoying Venice. We had our twelve-hour vaporetto tickets and a whole day ahead of us, so we decided to go see the place I liked the most. Pellestrina. After sunset, we went back to Venice in the quest for the runner-up in our best pizza competition that has now extended beyond the borders of Slovenia. Unfortunately, the best things do not come easy. Again, we missed the day that Gianni restaurant is open. But I overheard the waiters in the restaurant next to it talking about how they take turns, so now I know which days I’ll be able to get that number 2 pizza. :) Not that I’ll be travelling to Venice very often, especially because of what happened next.

No, I wasn’t banned from entering Venice for some reason. I had one part of the story yet to photograph. The reason why we were actually addressing the issue of protecting the lagoon. The floods. One of the worst floods came quite early. I actually didn’t believe it’ll happen so soon. I was monitoring the tides on my Venice tide forecasting app on my cell phone, and when the alert showed red for Wednesday, November 1st, I couldn’t really believe it. So again I waited and when it became clear that it really would be extreme (140 cm), I decided to go. Logistics was pretty tricky this time. Because I couldn’t park very far from the city. For the sake of carrying all the gear. My camera in an underwater bag, another camera … I had to put on my neoprene waders that I use for fishing. So this time we parked at Piazzale Roma which only has full day fee of 24 eur. Well, not a problem generally, but I did kind of went bankrupt a few hours earlier…

Yeah, well… I realized I had 11 eur in my account when I stopped at a gas station. Luckily I had enough cash on me. It turned out that the whole story, although so close and although I kept to the cheapest options, was still devastating for someone working as a freelance photographer in Slovenia. Old news, I know, but I never had proof. I do now.

On November 1st, the tide in Venice was at about 130 cm. 50% of Venice or more was flooded. It took us almost an hour to get to Piazza San Marco. Tourists walked on boardwalks. Some were wearing boots, others wore plastic waders that could be purchased all over Venice. Most of them were taking pictures of the square and other sites, but almost half of them were taking pictures of an idiot submerging his camera in the water. They stopped next to me or in front and stared at me like I’m some natural wonder. They just couldn’t get their heads around it. Not only did they stop and stare, they actually came closer and started taking pictures of me. My hobo feeling is not yet entirely developed (but will have to develop soon when this country finally destroys all the unconnected little people, without relatives in high positions that could provide them with jobs) so it didn’t occur to me to start collecting money. :) Every show has tickets, right? There you go.

And if I could’ve made some money in show business, Nina could’ve made some in services. :) For some reason, everybody thought she was the best person to ask if she could take a picture of them with their camera. Well, they would’ve asked both of us, but since most of the time I was pointing my ass at them while bending over dipping my camera in the water, they targeted Nina. Some asked for a whole photo session.

If you think that’s funny, try taking some really good pictures when someone in the photo keeps staring at you. I don’t want that. I’m not here, remember? Fly on the wall. A seagull in a flooded square. A pigeon. Stop starring at my gear! :)

Despite all the precautions not to get wet and not to get the camera wet, only the camera got out dry. I was wet, Nina was soaked, and I was tired as hell, because wading through all that water in those clumsy waders is not a walk in the park.

The entire story consisted of around 8650 photos. Imagine editing this thing down to a hundred or less.

The Girl Inside

This is a working title of a story I’ve been working on for about a year. Back then I was doing a story on dog assisted therapy and I met an eleven-year old girl with severe cerebral palsy. Her name is Barbara and something about her just seemed different than with other people so heavily handicapped. She is severely spasmic, her body just convulses all the time, she can’t speak, she can’t even sit up straight, her arms keep flying around, her head wobbles most of the time. But from the very beginning I had a feeling that intelectually and emotionally she is quite normal. Which was scary imagining being fully aware and caught in such a body. When they asked me if would do a story about her, I agreed, but to be honest, it was on a hunch. I knew she was special, I just could figure out how. But the amazing effect of dog assisted therapy was enough to make an amazing story alone. So that’s how my friendship with Barbara started.

I lost count of how many times I’ve visited her in the rehabilitation center in Dornava since then. But sometime early in the story, when I needed to do research on how special she is, they told me her story and I’ve been hooked ever since. Immediately I got the urge to tell the world about Barbara and how special she is, not only because she’s one of few, but because this girl inside such an unresponsive, out-of-control body, radiates so much happiness and life energy.

Barbara is probably the happiest girl I’ve ever met, smiling all the time, joking … She’s extremely kind, communicative, social, friendly. Everybody loves her, play with her even in brief few seconds when they meet her in the hallway… And she loves them. She grows on you, creeps in to your heart, because she brings a message. Most of the time when I was driving home from Dornava, I was left competely numb. Overwhelmed in thought, staring in front of me, just trying to come to grips with her condition and her immeasurable happiness and kindness. And at the same time comprehend the fact that she’s smart and practically normal psychologically, but caught in that body. Knowing that, I couldn’t help thinking about her future and with all that positivism came sadness. And with the mixture of both came an enourmous wish to let the world know and provide support for the future.

 

Barbara is special, because despite severe cerebral palsy that heavily affects the brain as well, she’s smart, communicative, social and not that different from healthy girls her age. But her condition doesn’t allow much of that to show, because she can’t control her body. She can’t write things down or show them with her hands, and of course she can’t speak. Which is why the girl inside found a way to bypass her body. And this is even more rare and special. She communicates with her eyes, the looks, a bit of mimics. When she needs to show anything, she looks at it. And she’s so good at it, that she easily qualified for a communicator that she can control with her eyes.

If someone told me before I’d be able to normally communicate with Barbara, I wouldn’t really be so sure. But after a visit or two, I knew everything she was trying to tell me. I knew when she wanted to give me her vegetables at lunch, because I told her before that I don’t like them. She didn’t either so she had to give it to someone. And of course I was the perfect candidate. Very funny. She was laughing of course when she suggested it. And that was just one of many funny moments. You know the clay pendant I wear on my camera strap? She gave me that.

 

I followed her life in Dornava, her therapies, activities, lunch time, brushing teeth, after lunch siesta … Their gatherings with other users of different communicator (that was really fun).

She may seem quite calm, but in fact her muscles cramp so much that her physiotherapist needs quite a lot of strength to move her body into positions that Barbara cannot reach herself.

In fact, she’s so smart that she even goes to a regular elementary school in Dornava. She joins first graders twice a week and they’ve accepted her as one of their own schoolmates. They talk to her very much the same way everybody does. Through signs and reading her eye movement and slight mimics.

She comes from a big family. She has two brothers and three sisters. Her father works most of the day for a very low wage. Physical work, despite having serious health problems. But since her mother lost her job, someone has to earn money. They live in a farm on the border with Croatia… And they used to have cows and all, like a farm should, but with the country falling to pices and money flowing to personal pockets of the scum in high positions, the little people are left with almost nothing. They had to sell the cattle, they only have a small corn field now. But the house needs work. It lacks insulation, humidity inside is a big problem, creating moss and well, you know what humidity does to furniture – and health. Barbara comes home during holidays. She’s home for Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, summer holidays… And this is where she’s most happy of course. They love her, they play with her… They don’t use the wheelchair much. On the one hand, because living quarters are on the first floor and only narrow wooden staircase without a railing leads up there, so they have to carry her, but also because she feels great if her brothers and sisters are carrying her around in their arms. It seems that she’s a lot calmer when they hold her. And this struck me the most. A girl with so much life in her, and her family having so much perseverance, so much love despite all the problems. All that hardship and one very strong link. This little girl and her love of life.

 

Needless to say, my wishes grew as I got to know her life better. I was hoping for a step further than just letting the world outside Dornava know. I want to help them fix the house now. So that Barbara can come into a home where living conditions would closely match the love that lives there. I don’t know how I’ll do it. How we’ll do it, I have good friends helping me on this matter. But let’s just finish the story (we’re a few shots and interviews away) and see what we can do. The story (in colour) is already published in the November issue of National Geographic Junior. What follows are exhibitions and a multimedia and a campaign, a plan to start some sort of an action to find those who care to help in any way. I can only do so much. I don’t have much myself and the costs of this will be much higher than what I’ll ever get back in money, but I already got back much more, thanks to that girl inside.

 

Barbara spends most of her time in Dornava where her defectologist takes good care of her and spends most of her time with her. They spend a lot of time in the classroom, but also leisure time, coffee breaks :) , cooking brakes, ice cream brakes … :) It’s quite a warm domestic and friendly atmosphere.

In June, Barbara received her communicator. It is a portable device that is attached to her wheelchair, a computer monitor with cameras beaneth. Those cameras record the movement and the exact aim of her look. Wherever she looks, that’s where the pointer will be, just like with a normal computer mouse. When she stops for a few seconds at a certain point, that will be a click. It’s not an easy task . Her speech therapists tried it and it’s tiring. But Barbara aced it. The communicator has opened up an entire world to her. It contains folders of practically everything a person needs to communicate, and more can be added. The existing and new ones can be adjusted specifically for the user, photos of family members added, words or phrases that she knows, or things that she likes added… The sky’s the limit. By clicking on a symbol with a certain sentence or word, the communicator speaks instead of her. It just released the girl inside at least partially from the grips of her condition. She can read books, watch photo albums, go on the internet, write emails, listen to music … She can type her own words and a computer generated voice will pronounce the word she wrote down. The possibilities are almost endless.

I will produce a multimedia in the coming months, that extra effort to make her story heard for her and her family’s benefit. And hopefully, I, we will make a difference.

The Lagoon

Thousands of people flock to Venice each day to endulge themselves in romantic strolls and views of the canals, the bridges and the piazzas, and the overpriced food and ice cream. I guess somewhere in the back of their minds there’s a vague recollection of a documentary or news or tiny bit of extra info served along some seasonal news about Venice, that mentioned this historical city sinking. Watching the sites, minding the crowd they forget about it. And honestly, why not. They’re tourists, what can they do. It’s the way things have been done for ages in Venice. Crowds of people trodding on uneven streets that are sinking beneath their weight, and water buses and taxis (and gondolas of course) going back and fourth every minute of the day, creating waves that pound the cracked walls of buildings and weaken the foundations.

Venice is just an island built on wooden poles. Most of the wood came from Slovenia’s Karst region. But the island is only the heart of a very big body. And as we know the heart is affected by other parts of the body. When things aren’t well elsewhere in the system, the heart will suffer as well. Kill a vital organ and the heart dies as well. In that sense, the Venice lagoon is the entire body. It covers 550 square kilometers. So I guess the famous island is almost in proportion to the human heart and it’s body. Only 8% of the area is land. Everything else is shallow waters.

Speaking of mere anatomy, the head, sort of the thickest organ and the frontline of the protection of the lagoon are probably the barrier islands of Lido and Pellestrina. They protect the lagoon from high waves coming from the Adriatic. They are also enforced by a strong coastline and a high breakwater wall called the murazzi. There are more than 50 internal organs – the islands, and 1,500 km of vascular system – a network of canals. Sure, it looks like the rest is the sea, but you could be standing in the middle of a vast body of water and have the water up to your chest, because the avarage depth of the lagoon is only 1,5 m.

The mouth of the lagoon are the inlets Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia. Like a human body, this one also ingests a lot of junk food like oil tankers and excessively huge cruise ships that displace a lot of water and cause waves that are damaging in the long term. And the long term is pretty much over. The body has too frequent digestive problems, the reflux in this case could just as well be the acqua alta or high tides, and the disappearing salt marshes or barene, together with the deepening shallow waters and mudflats or velme could be described as gradual liver failure. So here comes the diet.

My mom tried tens of diets in recent years. All of them had fancy names and not that much effect. But then again, the diet itself wasn’t to blame. So when she came up with another one, I aptly named it “GOBBLELESS”. A bit of a tonguetwister in English, but quite a nice name in Slovenian: “Manžri”. And it sounds French and fancy. Didn’t work though. But that’s the same diet used for Venice.

The Consorzio Venezia Nuova has been doing work around the lagoon to protect the islands, the salt marshes and mudflats for decades. Their biggest project however is the controversial MOSE project of the barriers. It’s like shutting the overeater’s mouth. Four barriers will be installed in the three inlets. The barriers consist of gates that can be independently raised to protect the lagoon from high water. Otherwise the gates lay safely flat on the bottom of the inlet. So that’s the new diet, but we kind of know that the ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising and … In the very long run, our dieter will probably start overeating again and I guess nothing will save him from heart failure eventually. But you never know.

I realized a while ago that many of my documentary stories have something to do about saving. “Saving the Sad Lake” – a story about saving lake Cerknica in Slovenia from permanently drying out. “Saving the Marble Trout” – saving the autochton Marble Trout from extinction. And now I’m doing a story about saving the Venetian lagoon, a large ecosystem fueled by the channels and consisting of the same velme and barene that are disappearing. In fact, the first two stories are the reason I’m doing this one at all. And I really like it.

However, my visual style and editing changed a lot since then. I always seem to embark on a sinking ship and even when I’m bailing out I get on a leaking liferaft. So two years ago I decided to keep to my own recognizable style, the one that got me Slovenia Press Photo Awards, but it’s black & white, strong contrast, high structure, grain – basically Kodak black & white films, usually 400. That’s all fine and dandy, but since monochrome images have always been harder to market and are next to impossible to market now, unless you’re one of the crème de la crème from VII, Noor, Magnum and maybe some other (VU, Getty Reportage), a relatively unknown photographer like me has a snowball’s chance in hell to make it. Yes, it’s important, because my last name isn’t exactly Trump. I have to make money and this is how I do it. And no, I am NOT doing all these stories for money (of course not! I’m happy to get half of what I spend on them.), but if I want to continue producing them, well, I need to get money from somewhere. Anyway, even though I have an edit in colour, a distinct aesthetic style in that version as well, it’s still hard to let go of BW. It’s easier now, though, because I have a colour style that is really great. And I really like these kinds of stories whether they’re in BW or colour.

The work for this story for Terre Sauvage magazine should have three phases, now it seem it’ll be four. The bulk of all the work was done during my first visit in mid September. I was there with a French journalist and I have to emphasise right away that I’m not used to such professional journalists here. Everything was at waaaay higher levels of professional skills. The questions, the detailed understanding of the story, the conversations, interviews …

Pretty long way from our country where national television sends a cameraman to a press conference to film it and hands him a piece of paper with questions on it, because they don’t have “money” to send a journalist, and a stills camera to take some pictures for the website as well. It is also very far from too many journalists here, who ask downright dumb questions and then accept whatever answer they get without any subquestions or clearing out of stuff that maybe isn’t really explained enough.

We’ve seen practically everything on our first day. We didn’t mean to, but we were actually looking for a map of the lagoon. Amazingly, it’s like searching for a map of Vladivostok in Rio De Janeiro. We went to gas stations, a tourist information centre in Marghera, then we went to Venice itself, to the railway station, then to Marco Polo airport and to some three or four information desks and kiosks… No success. We even drove to a shopping center in Mestre to try and find it in a book store, but again without success. So we just gave up. Well, that was a good start.

The people were very kind. Two days into our stay we were locals. We found a great restaurant in a nearby village, later we found a place where they make awesome sandwiches, and a place with homemade sweets to kill for. I think they put some drugs into those doughnuts, because I’m genuinly addicted. I’d drive from Slovenia to Venice in the morning just to have that doughnut for breakfast. When we were there, I even braved the dangerous crossings of a road where one wrong step would get your mind off those doughnuts and on all over a big speeding truck! The biggest obstacle on our way was the most horrible road I’ve ever seen. It’s the Venice – Chioggia motorway. Cars and even the biggest trucks go almost a 100 km/h, there’s no traffic lights, no crossings no sidewalks and not even any margins for cyclists. That would still be ok, but there are villages and bus stops along this extremelly busy road. And a lot of suicidal people! They actually ride bicycles along it, some even with small children. (Ok, sometimes I’d get that.) But I’d cross it a hundred times for that doughnut. :)

In four days we took a tour of the lagoon, visited the WWF park, went patroling with the police and took a tour of the MOSE construction site of the flood gates. I stayed another three days after the journalist left. I needed shots of some areas that are important in the story of the protection of the lagoon. What happened was that I walked more than I walked in two years combined. In three days, I covered some 40 km on foot. Oh, sure it doesn’t sound much, but consider the time in which I did it (up to 15 km in 3-4h) and the fact that I was carrying a shitload of equipment! After two days, I wanted to saw my legs off, but I abandoned the idea, because I wasn’t going to search for a saw in the entire Veneto area (who knows, they don’t even have maps :)).

On my final day, I went to bid farewell to my love, the vanilla cream filled doughnut, and I was on my way to the north lagoon. Little did I know that the entire population of Venetian mosquitos was planning an ambush. So I got very deep into the lagoon, among the canals, the barene and the velme, and all the rotting vegetation. It was almost dark. Perfect timing. You could hear the thousands of mosquitoes laughing. After five minutes feeling like a punch bowl with the entire party sticking their straws in me and drinking I was anemic. :) Luckily I had a scarf. For all of those who make fun of photographers wearing a scarf, well, good luck with the bloodsuckers without it. The last time I took so many non-action pictures so fast was on a plane over a carthusia when I could hear the costs piling up with every minute in the air. :) So after the speed shooting I jumped in my car and drove off.

It turned out getting into the lagoon by car wasn’t as difficult as getting back on the A2 highway towards Slovenia. Especially if you have a navigational moron in your car. My GPS navigation is totally demented. She (because it’s a woman’s voice, don’t have a fit, please) gave me problems on my way to Venice as well. Wanted to see Gorizia for some reason, so she kept insisting I get off the A2 and head there. I was almost parallel to the lagoon, when she still insisted I go back to Gorizia. Hopeless romantic. This is the gps that used to go EVERYWHERE over the Loibl pass. Fears dark places. It used to demand a U turn in the middle of the Karawanken tunnel. Vengeful. Out of spite, it didn’t want to find the Loibl pass – when we were in Klagenfurt!!!! You can imagine I’m quite pissed off with this thing.

So here I am, my legs begging me to cut them off, trapped in a dark small metal casket with a couple of mosquitoes hiding in dark shadows, three hours to get home and the bitch decides she wants to see Trieste. And she wanted to see every single village on our way there. Finally I told her to go f* herself and just followed the first sign towards the A2 when I spotted it. And I was home in no time. Well, not exactly. I was in Slovenia in no time, but Slovenian highways are more like noways. I waited in traffic for over an hour. Typical. And the story is far from over. There’s still many things to photograph.