Piran | #EuropeAtHome

#EuropeAtHome

Text: Maja Bjelica

Photos: Brad Downey

Piran 2025 | English version 


You, Rope(d) at Home

April's full moon shone in all its might, not hampered by the glittering screen of the Metropol hotel, which has been shut down now for weeks. We have already forgotten how Portorož is without this blinding light! The wind, the Burja, helps the moon in making every wave of the sea sparkle. The silence enjoyed these nights recalls the all-time ubiquity of noise, the hustle and bustle of when our touristic place is full. Only the seagulls party these nights, maybe some cats too; a grace of peace usually unrecognizable to Portorož.

Did we forget "home"? Did we really need to allow this infamous visitor, this "invisible enemy" a place, a home, in order for us to breathe again? Did we need this for the city to start beating at its own pace instead of doing it for a crowd of random visitors who come and go from year to year without looking at the suffering, overwhelmed environment? It seems that this forgotten memory, even if experienced in this moment, will not inspire decision-makers in our community to take this moment as an example of a more peaceful life, absent of daily haste and need for pompous events which aim to satisfy the demands of those who are not even present. This is not about not wanting visitors, but perhaps primarily understanding that visitors know how to appreciate authenticity - the pulse of a place that is shaped primarily by locals - and not by guessing the wishes of unknown comers.

In caring for our homes we closed inter-communal traffic precisely because of the “tourist crowds” which come to stroll along the coast. Now no one can go from municipality to municipality and we cannot visit loved ones who in these times are far and distant. But no worries! We have social networks, smart machines that take us to our neighbours, friends, family, and not least to our colleagues and co-workers. In this way, we can observe developments in neighbouring countries, in Europe and around the world. Through the news we receive and monitor pandemic "events", pain, fears, despair. Some of us, after many years, started following the news again, and again have become sick from it.

While we are not allowed to leave our homes the outside invades our dwellings through the many screens. Europe remains at home but is entering our homes despite its isolation. Europe is waiting for everything to be "normal" again. Has it ever been? Given that the biggest current concern is how the economy will recover I cannot believe it in the affirmative. Economic growth is not a normality, it cannot be, at least until society does not operate inclusively, caring, in solidarity, respectfully, hospitably.

Europe remains at home. Hopefully, even if it is utopian, there will be no return to "normality" but a difference, an otherness. The fact that we indulged in self-isolation, social distancing, with considerable ease and without much resistance, shows that we were at least tired if not exhausted from the so-called "normality". We would like to see a different normality, to move the norms beyond the environment of the economy and into the field of interpersonal concern, environmental awareness, attentiveness to being; the opening of new doors and windows.

But the windows and doors remain closed, and like Europe, you are rope(d) at home. Some of us will stay roped but out of commitment and care.


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