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Category: Issue 6 2017

The Czech paradox

Czechs are by definition more western and European (although not necessarily pro-European), more democratic, more liberal, wealthier and more emancipated than other Central Europeans. This megalomania, to a great extent, contributed to the success of the Czech transformation.

What did the Czechs give Europe? It would be much easier to answer this question if we knew what Europe is. If we think of it as the European Union, then the Czechs might be seen, for instance in Timothy Snyder’s view, as simply one of “ancient Habsburg peoples who abandoned great national projects of the 19th century in order to embrace the European idea of the 21st century”. Similar to other countries in the region, the Czech Republic, is a country too small to be able to conceive the notion of a sovereign existence; too poor in resources and educated elite to be able to survive in the times of globalisation; they aim for unification [since today] the indication of national success is not an independent state but EU membership, Snyder wrote in 2008.

October 31, 2017 - Aleksander Kaczorowski

At peace with ourselves

An interview with Martin Palouš, Czech diplomat and philosopher and one of the first signatories of Charter 77. Interviewer: Łukasz Grzesiczak

October 31, 2017 - Łukasz Grzesiczak Martin Palouš

Millennials versus statistics

The image which emerges from statistics depicts a Czech millennial who is similar to his or her peers in other European states, but not identical. Young Czechs differ from their European peers in terms of life priorities: enrichment and chasing certain trends are not as important for them. They are also quite tolerant and open to other nations, which is an exception in the Central European context.

Millennials, also called Generation Y, Generation “What?” and the “lost generation”, is a generation often thought of as the bogeyman for big corporations. Yet this is the generation which is beginning to set trends and have a real impact on global affairs. It encompasses those who were born between 1980 and 2000. It is a generation that has been shaped by social media and horrifying historical events: terrorist attacks and mass migration issues. Millennials are described as being flexible (e.g., frequently changing their careers and location, and easily adapting to new circumstances) and are critical, especially towards information and media. They are also referred to as the “relational” generation; they choose their friends by filtering them on Facebook based on common interests in music, literature or politics.

October 31, 2017 - Kinga Motyka

Czech-Polish relations. Past and future

The Czech-Polish relationship has been a very important one in building Central Europe’s success. Václav Havel already understood it in 1990. But the question is how much of Havel’s belief in Poland’s contribution is reflected in European politics today?

“We also know, of course, that the Polish Solidarity movement, led by Lech Wałęsa, was the first to find a peaceful and effective way to offer continuous resistance to the totalitarian system. Nor will we forget that it was you, the Polish Senate and the Sejm, who were the first – in the summer of last year – to condemn the shameful invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Allow me therefore to use this occasion to thank you and the entire Polish nation.” Václav Havel speech in the Polish Sejm and Senate, January 25th 1990

October 30, 2017 - Vít Dostál

Nothing has really changed

For me going back to the 1990s is a means to revisit my childhood memories. I have a lot in common with the characters of Cobain’s Students (Cobainovi žáci), my book about adolescence which was just published in Poland.

I was born in 1986 and grew up in a small town near the Austrian border. Until the age of eight, I lived in an estate block and I had lots of friends. I remember an old abandoned house which (at least in my imagination) was inhabited by some dark power. We used to send someone up there and they had to show up in the window on the second floor to prove that they had walked through the whole building. Today it is a veterinarian practice. For me the 1990s were not a decade of great transformation, or great history. I simply lived in those times and watched the world through the eyes of a child. Once our town was visited by Václav Havel; we saw him waving from the train and laughing. Never before had I seen such a crowd.

October 30, 2017 - Miroslav Pech

A friendship that bore fruit

An interview with Mirosław Jasiński, an activist of the democratic opposition in communist Poland and one of the leading activists of the Polish-Czechoslovak Solidarity. Interviewer: Zbigniew Rokita

ZBIGNIEW ROKITA: When did the post-war contacts between Polish and Czechoslovak opposition start?

MIROSŁAW JASIŃSKI: They started as early as 1948, when the communists took power in Czechoslovakia. That was the same year as the first meeting of Czechoslovak national socialists and the Polish People’s Party. In the next decades their co-operation included different areas: meetings at the highest level, smuggling literature and printing equipment, and active engagement with Polish students of the FAMU Prague Film Academy during the Prague Spring – Agnieszka Holland was among them. Artists who were banned in Czechoslovakia often had exhibitions in Poland. For decades the churches worked together and Czechoslovak priests and nuns were secretly ordained in Poland.

October 30, 2017 - Mirosław Jasiński Zbigniew Rokita

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