9 June, 2016, noon – 4 pm
Trubarjeva 72, Ljubljana

On 9 June, the Association  EPEKA, Soc. Ent., and ROMANI KAFENAVA, the first Roma restaurant in the EU to operate on the principle of social entrepreneurship, cooked free Roma vegetarian goulash at Tovarna Rog.

“As a sign of support for the autonomous Rog factory, we decided to launch this initiative from Slovenia’s second largest city. In the face of what we consider to be an unnecessary and inappropriate act by the city authorities (in this case, social capital) to vacate the premises, we consider it important to raise the following points:

the 15-18 million earmarked for the renovation of the ROG Factory

We have seen in the media that the municipal budget of the Municipality of Ljubljana (MOL) earmarks EUR 15-18 million for the renovation of the Rog factory. We have no doubt that things can be done more economically and more modestly. Especially if, as we hear, many buildings are to be demolished. It is a little strange that the City of Ljubljana should be so eager to pay such a large sum when the current state of affairs is actually costing them nothing. Of course, nowadays we are happy to invest in walls, installations and wire fences – but not in people! We are a little bit sick of this amount and the strong desire and will to put things right on the part of the head of the authority. The people of Ljubljana do not complain about the amount, which, again in our opinion, is a loss of judgement, solidarity and empathy, and in any case apathy.

Obtaining funds for the reconstruction from the municipal (state) budget

Why is the renovation not being done out of the EU purse? Is there then more control over spending? In any case, the construction and reconstruction at the expense of Slovenians is unfair, as the state (Miro Cesar) is supposed to allocate 300 million more funds to Ljubljana by 2018, probably at the expense of all other municipalities, residents, etc. What does not bother us in Maribor does not bother anyone else, because no one has disputed it. However, it would be wise to get another financier on board, such as the EU, and use the money saved to, say, complete the Stožice, now that Olimpija is the champion.

The support of the Slovenian majority for the rich and powerful

We are very saddened by the servile attitude of the people of Slovenia. To take the side of the weaker means that you have courage and do not calculate benefits, but follow justice. Those who are against the Rog Factory Users’ Assembly are, in our opinion, as our Serbian brothers say, ‘bečki konjušari’. It is easiest to stick with the stronger opponent, follow him and wait for crumbs. The Rogovci are the last pillar of the democratic system, precisely because of their autonomy and their will for non-institutionalised cultural expression. Minorities, the weaker ones, those on the margins of society, which in this case they undoubtedly are, must be protected. If they lose, sooner or later we all lose. Money rules the world, and yet in our country this is happening with public funds, not private funds. Let someone carry out the same project with private funds as the MOL is planning to do. Nobody will, because it is not wise to invest so much unless it is worthwhile or it is your way of doing business. “Yes, we will continue to support and talk, because a lot has been done in Ljubljana,” one can hear. Nobody asks whose money and on whose account. And whether it has all been done rationally and fairly, which is the task of the services that we undoubtedly trust and believe in.

The “culturalists”

We are happy to support ROG and its Community of Users. Their events, round tables, concerts, skate park, work with refugees, providing otherwise dilapidated infrastructure for artistic creation (studios, eco-construction), and the list goes on, are a great contribution to the cultural development of Ljubljana and, ultimately, of Slovenia. All of this is all the more important because it operates without the funding and control of institutions, which could promote their own interests through their activities. Why don’t we all support Roga? For example, the Slovene Writers’ Association, which is very active when it is worthwhile and when it is for its own or political gain. (In)rulers are the backbone of society, and in such cases it is noticeable how many of them are still in our environment. We believe that honesty, sincerity and integrity – in the face of greed, calculating and Slovenian parochialism – have long been lost.”

In the local Rogovil´ca Kitchen, we were very happy to cook a Roma vegetarian goulash, which was enjoyed by everyone – both current and more regular visitors.