The Chief Editor´s Message: Back from Amerika

7-8 2003 Slovo redakce česky
obálka čísla

I have just returned from the USA where I presented, at the conference of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, a paper "How We See You, Czechs and Slovaks In America, From The Other Side Of The Ocean" (see page 16). I tackled, inter alia, the phenomenon that while the United States has enjoyed a democratic system for over 200 years and Switzerland even about 700 years, Czechoslovakia had an opportunity to build democracy only for 20 years, from 1918 till 1938.

Six years of Nazi occupation followed and then 40 years of communist devastation of all positive, noble, reasonable, cultural, honest, cultural values. Only a few spiritually strong individuals withstood the pressure to bow and scrape.

It seems they do not have their say even today. As soon as I landed back home I gathered that not the desire to eliminate consequences of the communist past, not the endeavor to investigate "tunnels" of state money to the pockets of fraudulent people, not the efforts to upgrade appreciation of teachers and professors make the day, but...

..salaries of policemen are to be augmented by a third and legislators turned down a draft aimed to restrain their immunity, which is the biggest in the world. Media pay great attention to the case of count František Oldřich Kinský who has 40-million-crown (1,5 mil. USD) possessions to be returned to him by our courts. The government held a session and feverishly drafted a constitutional (!) bill to avert it. All the lawsuits on 157 Kinský´s claims have been subsequently suspended as if the judges ceased to believe the jurisdiction is independent on the will of state authorities.

Now, let us proceed to noncontroversial items. On July 5, 893, missionaries Constantine and Method came to our country from Greece to spread the Gospel and to introduce written Slavic language. The very next day we reminisce one of the most brave men of our history, Master Jan Hus (John Huss follower of English religious reformer John Wycliffe; his teaching sparked the Bohemian War), who was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415 as he stood for his beliefs challenging privileges of those in power.

Crown jewels are currently on show until July 12 at the Prague Castle. People line up starting from 4 am to behold the regalia of Czech Kings. We have rich history and immense cultural heritage. A friend of mine recently accompanied a group of American tourists as a guide. As she related why and by whom was the Charles Bridge built in the 14th century, a visiting lady exclaimed: "It is impossible! Even the United States did not exist at that time."

Eva Strizovska

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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