The view from Union Street: from Yugoslavia to the European Union

Aleš Debeljak

The name of my home street does not simply denote a generic union, a bond that ties together “more than one” entity. Its primary meaning continues to evoke Yugoslavia, the political union of Southern Slavs (except Bulgarians), the union that emerged out of the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, and collapsed in the flames of the disintegrating Yugoslav federation in 1991. Recall: Yugoslavia was a political community that was explicitly established as a trans-national union of states/republics. For the last two decades, Slovenians have lived in an independent state, one that six years ago willingly joined another super-national Union.

Nomen est omen. How could I then fail to detect a suggestive and troubled connotation of the name of my street? Zvezna ulica orUnion Street, is a generous place for my family of five. It’s a dead-end street, though.

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