Rudolf Chmel

Rudolf Chmel (1939) is a literature scholar living in Bratislava. He chairs the Institute of Slavonic and East European Studies at the Arts Faculty of the Charles University in Prague and edits the journal OS. His most recent books include two collections of essays, Moja mačarská otázka (My Hungarian Question) and Moje slovenské pochybnosti (My Slovak Doubts).

Tu máš nič a dobre ho drž! / Esej

Pokúšam sa odosobniť, hoci to celkom nejde, aby som neupadol do jednostranného subjektivizmu pri posudzovaní toho, ako ľavicová vláda naložila s ľudskými právami. Presnejšie – ako sklamala v agende, v ktorej by sa od nej očakávalo práve posilnenie, a nie výrazné oslabenie či zúženie tejto štruktúrovanej témy. Žiaľ, vláda svoj program nepostavila na dôraze na princípy ľudských práv, hoci neskromne hovoriac, by možno stačilo, keby pokračovala  v niektorých už naštartovaných inštitucionálnych zmenách a politikách. Dokonca by mohla, napríklad v oblasti sexuálnych menšín presadiť také politiky, ktoré sa ani mne v bývalej konzervatívno-liberálnej koalícii nepodarilo (je to totiž ľavicová téma par […]

Don Quixote and a time bomb

What does Slovakia mean to Slovaks? It means a country, a land, a homeland, a nation, a society they identify with – some intensely, others less so – based on ties, particularly some newer ones that bind them to their formative period or, as the case may be, the period that preceded their birth and is thus part of the world they can perceive as their current awareness and that is not beyond their powers of navigation. It means a period of 75 years or a century at most, a historical arc aligned with their identity which has been, to put it simply, shaped by the memory […]

Pub Talk Has No Place in Cafes

I’’ve had enough and I have been saying this and writing this for some time now. I’ve had enough of constantly commenting on Slovak-Hungarian relations, on this unfortunate so-called Hungarian or rather, anti-Hungarian, card, on the fear of autonomy, of Orbán, the Carpathian parliament, the Hungarian Guard and other irredentists, of a Hungarian irredenta, to comment on the phobias and traumas of a Trianon revision or annulling of the Beneš decrees, on fear of the past which every idiot believes himself or herself to be competent to make pronouncements with an arrogance that is possible only in pubs since we Jánošík’‘s children have […]

We have to keep pushing the stone of Sisyphus

Although I have tried to look at Slovak-Hungarian relations from an almost cosmic vantage point, whenever it seemed to me that they have reached rock bottom it turned out that I was wrong, and the bottom had not yet been reached. For most of my life I have approached this issue with scepticism but while handing over to Hungary’’s President Árpád Göncz my letters of credence as Ambassador of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic to Hungary with Václav Havel’’s signature, I must have succumbed – at least for a while – to the magic of the day and started believing in democracy of almost […]