May 11, 2019
The City Council of Piran finally adopted a budget for the year 2019 this Friday, following a series of unsuccessful sessions that at certain point included the Mayor's making passing of the plan conditional on him staying in office.
Mayor Đenio Zadković had a difficult week after the commercial TV station POP TV found out about his website and some letters he had sent two years ago to various world leaders, including Pope Francis, former General Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and then US presidential candidate Donald Trump. As Zadković, whose interests are philosophy and spirituality according to his autobiography, later explained, the letters were part of his art photography project.
In his 2016 letter to Donald Trump he proposes that his pictures be exhibited at Ground Zero in New York for the following reasons:
“When George W. Bush became president of the US I saw tragedy in his eyes. That was 9/11 and in that period the Idea of exposing my photopoems at GROUND ZERO started to rise. It may sound too ambitious, but that is the only place where I want to see them exposed. I'd like to find out if the initials of my name and surname have some kind of connection with those of the place where once the twins were; I want to know if Jung's synchronicity exists (now, not now or never?); and finally if the language of the unconscious still works in the name of love.”
To Ban Ki-moon, he proposed the solution for the “B zone”, the post WWII name for the coastal area that eventually became part of Slovenia and which during the related negotiations belonged to the so-called Territory of Trieste under direct responsibility of the UN Security Council:
“My plan is to establish a bank of United Nations in the Free Territory of Trieste/zone B in Koper and I would like you Mr. BAN KI-MOON after retiring from the presidency of the UN to undertake the presidency of the bank, the priority of which will be the introduction of a Universal Basic Income for everybody, starting with Africa and thus solving the problem of the current and likely future massive exodus. I trust you understand my plan and that there is no need to extrapolate into the future with further examples. Thank you for reading my letter and being sensitive to the problem of refugees (and I would like to add, the welfare of women).”
These letters, however, only came out after several of mayor’s unconventional Facebook posts that were directed at the more extreme of his GZOP party members caught the public’s attention. The Mayor laughed at the Pop TV report, thanking them for the free publicity and repeating his previous suggestion that Piran would make the best place for big international meetings. In translation:
“Ahahaha, POP TV, thank you for the advertisement. (…) Perhaps Putin and Trump will come to Piran after all. It is not too late yet.”
“Following this POP TV news I have a green light now to invite to the next philosophical duel our Slavoj Žižek, who is also from Portorož, and Jordan Peterson.”
And then several posts on the importance of understanding before criticizing, including:
“My world is pure, immaculate. My life is my pride. (…) I haven’t got a single enemy among those who know me. People who hate me are some of “my people” from the GZOP party because they didn’t get enough, hmmm. At the very beginning, when we started with the Portorož Movement forum, I wrote: "If we take our gold (victory) as our prey, then the collapse of the system will follow". And what you see is the collapse of the system, because of the hawks. What else should I tell you? The infamous letters you mentioned were written 3, 4, 5 years ago. I’ve been creating my photos for 10 years. Only a few can understand me through these photos, unfortunately. (…) I am here to make this municipality the most beautiful municipality in the world. How? Nicely, with your help, "the media", rather than with destroying of a mayor who you do not understand because you can’t, unfortunately.”
Although initially praised for its spontaneous democratic value, the Facebook group turned formal with the establishment of the Movement for the Municipality of Piran (GZOP) party, and has been struggling to remain united after gaining power. Five out of eight GZOP councillors voted against the budget proposed by Mayor this week, and when the proposal finally passed some of the members accused the mayor of “playing solo”.
The Mayor’s lack of political background, although considered a good thing by some as it appears to stand against corruption, seems to be causing serious operational problems due to lack of general political skills, including an understanding of administrative procedure and the use of proper channels and modes of communication.
The mayor concluded his string of Facebook posts with an explanation of the text accompanying a photo that POP TV used, in his view, inappropriately:
“Here I am delivering text, which will interpret my photograph named UP TO YOU, from which certain sentences that POP TV published were taken. The whole thing is written to improve understanding of the photo, which is full of symbolism, archetypes, archaic symbols and carries a strong message, which is so complex that without any explanation and knowing the symbols (the vocabulary of the unconscious) hardly anyone can understand it, while the photo I leave to your personal perception and, of course, imagination. I’ve always been saying, “If one person will understand what I think, I have won.” I am overjoyed that there are so many of you who understand. Thank you, dear Nejc [person who was commenting on Facebook], and thank you, who in these times and for many this unreasonable position, support me.”
Gibanje Portorož is a Facebook group that played a crucial role in last local elections in the Municipality of Piran. It has a little over 5,000 members, some of whom express quite extremist views on the political process, and the Mayor has struggled to distance himself from these since running the office. The group was closed several days ago.
For those who live and work in Piran, now that the budget has finally been passed perhaps the Mayor’s real work can begin.