Destructive Forces

Photo: Peter Župník While the Senate elections have somewhat dampened the fears that the Communist Party is on the rise, we must nevertheless come to terms with the fact that the time when they will be in government is fast approaching. The problem with the Communists isn’’t so much the threat they pose to democracy (provided, of course, they don’’t garner an overwhelming majority of seats) but rather the fact that they arouse a profound sense of shame and shatter our normal trust in the rational world. The shock of being in the immediate presence of evil – which is […]

The Fall of Europe?

Photo: Emilio Morenatti / Associated Press When Nicolas Sarkozy claims that Europe will explode if the euro explodes, adding that defending the euro means defending Europe, well, his claims can be taken with a pinch of salt: the French politician’s rhetoric can withstand quite a bit and so can our European ears in our increasingly baffled European heads that have lately become accustomed to quite a lot. If, however, the pragmatic and rational Angela Merkel makes an even more dramatic statement, namely: If the euro breaks up Europe will break up, it gives cause for concern even to those of […]

Four Postcards from NYC

Photo: Peter Župník Reading books is not an innocent occupation you can indulge in with impunity. The more and the longer you read, the more you filter everything you see through everything other people have seen and said. This is most likely to occur while you’’re visiting foreign parts because that’’s when the eye has the greatest tendency to detect what is and to seek in it patterns of things previously learned. Jogging along the Hudson River in the evening I seem to hear the following words in my ears: Dehnel makes me go jogging in the evenings but jogging […]

St Wenceslas, Drive Out the Fascists!

It is a peculiar national holiday: even though the parliament had to work very hard to institute it, most people see it just as an opportunity to turn on the lawnmowers at their weekend cottages; and yet, over the past few years, Václav Klaus has been as happy to use it as a pretext for nationalistic sermonizing as he is to exploit rallies by DOST [an ultra-rightwing political initiative -tr.] or to have the skull of the saint, whose worship had until recently been limited to the most nostalgic admirers of pre-modern Catholic culture, ceremonially driven to Stará Boleslav [where […]