Editor’s Word - Tabor Was Beatiful!
In the previous issue of the Czech Dialogue I mentioned that I was looking forward to the Conference of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences in Tabor. The conference was truly worth the trip. The whole experience was marvelous- incredible location and wonderful people. The gathering was a little smaller than usual- there were only about one hundred participants, but also almost as many lecturers. The presentations were very scientific, many of them from the field of medicine, but there were also many papers dealing with artistic subjects.
And as expected- I met many great people. For example Cecilia Rokusek, who not only is a sweet lady and a medical expert, but also Honorary Consul of Slovakia in Florida; I also saw ex-president of SVU Mila Rechcigl, who was just celebrating his 80-th birthday, but who is still very energetic. The current president of SVU Karel Raska seemed to be everywhere, easily solving any organizational problem with a smile. I shared a pleasant apartment in the pension with Anicka Balev from New York. We could swim in an inside pool every morning (and evening).
During the day we all had a very full program. In addition to many very interesting lectures held in the hotel Dvorak (reconstructed from a brewery), we took a trip to the castle Hluboka and also to the well - known pencil factory Kooh-inoor in Ceske Budejovice (Budweis.) We visited the noisy workshops where the machines are operated mostly by women( they said they liked the work). One has to appreciate the value of this old firm (founded in the 18th century.) Its Czech owner seems to be very concerned with the quality of his factory’s products even in the present economic crisis. Did you ever think that we won’t need pencils any more because we use ball point pens and computers? No so! People buy lots of colorful crayons - working with those is fashionable again - but they also buy ordinary pencils for writing. They are irreplaceable for making notes on the margins of book pages or newspapers. Pencils are produced in about 13 grades of hardness. Every employee is responsible for the quality of his or her product. I think that all of us who visited this factory will treat pencils with more respect in the future.
But back to Tabor. It is a charming city full of old houses, inns, little hotels, galleries, and concert- and theater halls. There is a beautiful church in one of the squares where our famous concert violinist Jaroslav Sveceny played for the participants of the conference. Marta Kubisova sang for us in the Oskar Nedbal Theater. On Thursday evening we listened in the square to the Romano band Romanostilo and to a Slovak gypsy music group. I was a bit disappointed that not one of the Romano onlookers who had filled the square would do any dancing. My two dear friends-Anicka Balev and Vlasta Lazu- (the editor of radio Temesvar -, see article in Czech Dialogue, Mar./Apr.) saved the situation for me. Their dancing creations were excellent- (see picture.) Ana Bocea, who came to Tabor with Vlasta from Rumania, is also very photogenic. She is a successful businesswoman and she loved Tabor.
Tabor also has a very capable and elegant Lady Mayor who took part in all important events connected with the conference. Actually she was responsible for the fact that the conference was held in this city. I only found one fault with the beauty of Tabor- but this one is rather troublesome: Too many cars speed through the historic center and through the narrow streets. People drive like maniacs so that the pedestrians have to jump out of their way not to be run over. I have never experienced this in any other city’s historic center- and I have visited many of them! The Lady Mayor did mention this problem in her welcoming speech. But evidently she needs more help from other officials to solve this situation... For goodness sake – you city councilmen-come to your senses! You have a wonderful city and a great looking and able Mayor. Our Czech Dialogue, which is read not only by Czechs abroad, but which serves also as a tourist enticement for their friends all over the world had to point out this strange and unpleasant “attraction” of Tabor!
But back to the conference. I handed out copies of the last issue of the Czech Dialogue which contains an article by Peter Hruby- his reaction to the book by Ms Heimann which makes untrue and slanderous statements about the Czechs, Slovaks and former Czechoslovakia. Peter wrote a good and rather sharp commentary which I found very suitable and necessary. As you might have read in a recent issue- the subject was discussed in the Czech Senate- by the commission for Czechs abroad. Mr. Alois Ambruz of Canada sent his opinion, and the debate will continue. Here in Tabor the subject was discussed by Ivo Feierabend of the USA- a very interesting contribution. I hope that I will receive a copy from him by e-mail, so that I can reprint it in our journal. Ivo is the son of Ladislav Karel Feierabend, an important economist, who served as Minister of Agriculture in the First Czechoslovak Republic. Later he had to emigrate to save his life. He wrote a book entitled Agricultural Cooperatives, published by a good patriotic publisher Ivo Stehlik. Mr. Ladislav Feierabend also wrote several volumes of his Political Remembrances. And more news: Ivo Feierabend’s son Tom was also present at the conference. He created and brought a film entitled “Children of Our Fathers”- dealing with research regarding family roots. He supposedly worked on this film for 15 years. I have not had a chance to see it because I had to leave Tabor rather early. But I have it in my office and will write about it soon.
Gail Naughton is the Director of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, which suffered great damage in the floods several years ago. Her husband presented an idea which was not received too well. He suggested that people bring stones and rocks to the museum from various historical places in the Czech Republic. Strong objections were raised by Susan Seymor of Texas who felt that such action would lead to spoiling of the beautiful Czech countryside and of plundering of its historic treasures. At the end of the discussion it was concluded that the rocks might be delivered to the museum under the direction of some organization and with the blessing of the Czech government.
There were many interesting moments in the various lectures, but it is not possible to mention them all in a limited space. In short- next time come and take part in a SVU conference or congress. You will see and hear everything first-hand and experience a wonderfully friendly atmosphere.
Dear readers- you may be surprised that today I am not complaining about our political leaders.
Really, I do not have anything to complain about, and it is such a pleasant surprise that I do not want to spoil it by speaking too soon! You already know that the election results were good- that Topolanek, Paroubek, Jancik and others disappeared in the bottomless pit of political history; that the voters finally came to their senses and gave their votes to the “reformed” ODS, to the new TOP09 and to Public Affaires. And also that those three “rightist” political parties have almost reached agreement on everything or that they at least engage in polite discussions, that they haven’t yet started to argue and fight- all that is unusual and praiseworthy. Let us hope they will keep it up.!Eva Strizovska
Translated by Marie Dolanska
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