Editor's Word - Dreary November
Exactly ten years ago I landed in Sydney Australia after a turbulent flight with the girl sitting next to me quietly vomiting. On November 17th at 5.00 pm, 7 years after the Velvet Revolution, we were having a get-together in the Sokol Hall. It was a splendid meeting with wonderful people. Many of them have stayed very good friends of mine and that really means a lot to me. There was spring-type weather with temperatures rising to 25-27 Celsius. The air was scented with flowers and the birds? You can hardly say that they were singing; to be more accurate, they were screaming.
At Bondi Beach I found out the hard way what the waves can do to you when you try to take a dip. It was a great time, which may never be repeated, but it will remain in my heart and in my memories. I had also written about it in a book, which has yet to find a publisher. It really is my fault since I'm giving all my time to publishing the Czech Dialogue and there's no time left for anything else.
However, what I really would like to talk about is that in that year, 1996, I traveled for three months around Australia and visited places where our people live, met with them at friendly get-togethers and other meetings. It's difficult to translate the word "beseda" which is a kind of a friendly gettogether where there may or may not be a guest giving an informal speech and answering questions.
Well, at these meetings there often rose voices criticizing our newly developing democracy. Oh how I defended it! How I defended Vaclav Havel, Vaclav Klaus, Petr Pithart and other new-on-the- scene leaders! I explained that it was not possible to change everything all at once, that it all takes time, that they all have GOOD INTENTIONS and PROGRAMS that things will keep getting better in the next few years.
The government of that day should have paid me with gold for such propagation abroad! Instead of that, I found out upon my return, that the Czech Dialogue was more or less bankrupt. The reason for that was that the economic and political situation in the country became markedly worse. The firm with the name of the political party ODS for example had some strange dead sponsors, which enticed some of its members to divide the party into two parts, calling the new part Unie Svobody. The idea may have been noble; nevertheless, where is that party now? No matter where I look I cannot see it. To say it simply, it doesn't exist. Its former chairwoman Hana Marvanova, a very sympathetic person, left her post and gave birth to yet another child. It surely must be a lot more pleasant than sitting in Parliament among to say it mildly narcissists, or those who long for only wealth and power.
Today I received a letter, actually an article from Mr. Cestmir Hofhanzl, a former member of parliament, who describes from his own experience, the 17-year-old situation in this country. It's such a sad story that I've refused to publish it. However, I'm willing to send it by email to anybody who's interested. It is written very concisely. It's about the false Velvet Revolution and how the crooks from the past regime grabbed whatever power they could get; how they took advantage of the naďve idealists whom they pushed forward as white horses and then either corrupted them, or kicked them out. It's about journalists who had been paid off, censored television and radio. It's all a farce for the voters who are good for the elected representatives only to cast their votes; then they are looked upon as plebeians or riffraff off the streets.
All this is almost hard to believe. When I read that the Communist boss and former STB member Filip, otherwise the Vice- Chairman of Parliament( !!!), when asked whether he is not ashamed that he gets a hundred thousand a month while the workers whose cause he fights for, get only fifteen, that he answered that he's not ashamed because he deserves it, I'm struck dumb. When later on this impudent Comrade gives a speech at the grave of the mass murderer Gottwald, praising his merits while a group of mad and bitter oldsters who miss the good old days applaud him, I'm ready to faint.
If our representatives after 6 months (!!!) are not able to come to an agreement and set up a government, and each day each one of them says something else, then I shall ask, "How is that possible?" When I read in the daily news how the crooks that keep shooting at each other are interconnected with the police and the government, I can but wonder, "Is that Democracy? Is that the way to live in the beautiful state founded by Masaryk in the heart of Europe?" No, I don't want to believe that the world or the situation in our republic is all that bad. I myself know so many good people even in Parliament but mainly in the Senate, the Municipal Council, and even in Court. I also have hundreds of friends among artists, writers and a large number of dear readers and wonderful people from all professions. However, it needs to be said that they don't have it easy among the above- mentioned individuals. However, that does not mean that it's useless to let yourself be heard! Just take a look at Vladimir Hucin and how he succeeded, thanks to public support when the Comrades tried to bring him to his knees.
By the time I have finished writing this editorial, which I had to interrupt to proofread the new calendar, the Christmas holidays are almost here. So let us think more of peace and beautiful things. Let us plan pleasant moments with our dear ones. . Perhaps the next year shall bring us happier news!Eva Strizovska
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