• Tomislav S. Šola

Transitional countries forget their past


It is a rather sad fact that Croatia has done so little in protecting its industrial heritage. That is quite a gap in collective memory. Rijeka, as once a strong industrial city has had the best chance. The relative poverty and slowness of development in the former socialist regime was seemingly the best conservator of the inheritance, but the abrupt change into capitalism of primitive accumulation and ill-considered sudden privatisation endangered the inheritance to the unprecedented measures. The ongoing war contributed to neglect and devaluation of industrial heritage or in some cases to devastation and destruction. Therefore, what can be done will have to be more conceptualized than real, though some real heritage is still there but low in priorities of any policy, especially with the consequences of international and local economic crisis.

It would require a long period of sensitisation and change of political atmosphere still too intolerant to the themes that remind of former regime rhetoric. Too bad, because respect of work and understanding for the "working people" is not necessarily an ideological bias nor a concession to the past ideologies. We do need desperately institutions that would use the arguments of the past and present to render dignity to the work and correct the value system that got entirely wrong, wagging between parochial, religious conservatism on one side and uncritical and snobbish glorification of worst version of bragging, ostentatious, - obscenely selfish capitalism.

Being in the centre of development, technology is so charged with myriad of meanings and possible interpretations, almost like a perfect reminder for the spirit of time it often expresses so perfectly well. We therefore have a chance missed or to be grasped in its last moments.

(The lecture and the slide have been made in 2006. The chance has been so far missed and hardly anything has been undertaken leaving a fragmented memory where there was a splendid heritage to interpret helping local self-assurance and recovery)

#transition #industrialheritage #labour #planning #socialism

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Some rights reserved. European Heritage Association, 2016.