Zastavení na cestě ke světlu

9 2003 Kultura česky
obálka čísla

V minulém čísle jsme uveřejnili, dle názorů mnohých, velmi zajímavý rozhovor Václava Richarda Židka se Zdeňkem Hajným, majitelem a tvůrcem Galerie ke světlu. Rozhovoru jsme dali mimořádný prostor, nicméně se nám na stránky celý nevešel. Dnes tedy otiskujeme poslední část rozhovoru a to pro změnu v angličtině...

Visiting New Horizons
(Excerpts from an interview of Vaclav Richard Zidek with Zdenek Hajny)

What is your opinion regarding emigration? To define it more precisely, it is well known that Czechs are a small nation indeed. Consequently, whenever anybody emigrates from Czech Lands, it really means a big loss for such a small country. Actually, we could start to reflect on our more distant history by first remembering Jan Amos Komensky and then conclude nowa-days by Peroutka, Skvorecky and Forman. It is also generally known that in our times, a relationship between some of our people as well as our state is a rather controversial one, because it is not one of the best. Hence, is there a reason to believe that such an attitude is mainly caused by our typically Czech dependancy on others? Have you yourself ever thought about a chance to emigrate?

Well, I myself have had such an occurrence. That is to say, my father emigrated too. He did so in 1949, when he was compelled to leave his position of school principal. At that time, some political sanctions were launched against him by various authorities. Accordingly, he did not been wait any more, and emigrated to Canada. As for myself, already as a small toddler, I had this immediate experience, so that I knew what an emigration meant for a family as well as during my subsequent life. These personal events gave rise to my specially changed style of painting. Due to political reasons, I had to adjust my motives to the possibilities which were allowed to me to paint. In so doing, my previous dreams to study at the psychiatry and medical faculty were completely destroyed. In my mind,I had to accept that children were to be blamed for their parents' activities. Besides, it was expected that I could recover my political soundness by being put as a worker in a factory. Luckily, I was at least allowed to matriculate at Prague university as a student.

However, thereafter, when I was trying to find any job, I was constantly reminded that my father was an emigrant in Canada. In addition, when I started my schooling in glider flying, I was obliged to stop it because in those days, some Czechoslovak representative in gliding escaped by flying from Brno to Munich.

Regarding your question whether I would ever emigrate, I would say that I had not ever had any feeling to relinquish my own country. Well, except perhaps if I might have been quite alone. But there was still my mother, who had not gotten married again, and consequently, she was also alone. I fully understand that some people were under pressure of their circumstances, and consequently, they were obliged to do so. For those, I have great admiration, especially when they had to forsake everything. After all, they did not know where they would end up, and besides, they were not always welcomed at the new place. In reality, it was mostly a very difficult starting, and thereafter, a hard fighing for further survival. There are though some of our people, who are looking at emigrants with disdain. That is to say, especially those persons who had always been too "flexible" to conform to the new situation and collaborate obsequiously with the new occupying authorities. On the other hand, emigrants basically refused to bow to the foreign occupants, because th new regime was completely at variance with their moral ethics. Thus, whenever such a question is put to me and I am to judge these two so different groups of people, I am at a loss. Indeed, those persons who signed the Chart, exposing themselves to a possible persecution, are another category of people to be admired. I did not belong to either of them, but I still am flabbergasted by the insolence of those, who are cruelly rejecting all emigrants or dissidents simply because they attained to keep up their very high level of morality.

As far as I know, you have had the chance to get acquainted with the monthly magazine "Czech Dialogue". You assessed its contents very favorably. Why? What has been the reason your evaluation? How can such a magazine show you its gratitude for acquiring your favors?

Actually, it has been for me an honor to establish contacts with this magazine. I say this definitely not just as a social compliment, but really,

I mean it quite frankly and with pertaining esteem. This is also due to the fact that this magazine tries to clear the ground for a better mutual understanding with those who are abroad. The latter are keenly interested in many events taking place in their home country, what kind of views their compatriots in other countries have, or which ideas are being diffused either in their home country or vice versa. In my opinion, this has an invaluable quality as regards mutual communications and rapprochements.

One has always to keep in mind the actual situations and roles, and to learn from such experiences. Taking into account the present all-out general globalization trends, one might be anxious to know how far such all-absorbing wave of thoughts might influence their thinking. Or is there any further room for confrontational discussions, still in a good sense of the matter in question? One cannot but pose another question as to whether such trends are favorably affecting even the individual governments or its members, and, in addition, to what extent are those trends mutually advantageous. In fact, one has the impression that all such conglomeration of trusts, concerns, or any other economically colossal companies might lead to some suppression of the whole negotiations omitting some rationally specific economical principles. This then could result in some rather exaggerated profitable egoistic goals, but to the detriment of many individuals.

At the same time, a magazine of this kind contributes to an increase of artistic and cultural levels. It can even be said that it helps towards a spiritual revitalization or a point of view, which might be in contradiction to the existing globally diffused effective ways of connecting individual nations or state organizations. Oh well, those questions might give rise to a large extent to a deeper thinking on whatever available hopes, and this need not be necessartily just the way which Huxley had in mind. One of such thoughts could be to find some way how best to share in all the endeavored improving trends.

What kind of message would you send to the readers of Czech Dialogue as well as to the Czech world community?

Indeed, what a rather difficult question! How to answer it so that it sounds really sincere and even not lacking of novelty. To be quite open, it always depends on quite a range of various factors.Many times, it hinges on how much time one can spend outside one's own country, where she/he has the roots, and to which extents she/he feels that those roots are to be now and then revitalized, or in what proportion she/he becomes woman/man of the world. In such a case, s/he might say that there is no need of a native land because s/he can live anywhere or his native land is everywhere, where there are good people living. It often seems to me that whenever people say this, they really mean it that way, but in reality they are still connected with the respective original native land by their ancestors' genes which exercise invariable influence on their lives. No doubt, the frequent revitalization might be helpful, and some persons can easily live without it, but they cannot completely forget all those days of beautiful childhood which are deeply rooted in their souls, and all those tender emotions have definitely a vast effect on their lives.

That is also the way I am feeling, and those are my experiences. Although I now live in Prague, I cannot forget the years of my youth. In my thoughts, I am oftentimes returning to the Moravian countryside where I was frequently running in our parts as a boy, and where I grew up.

[Translated by Charles Opatrny

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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