Never have I thought that one day I’ll be writing about politics. And definitely not here on my blog. But I can no longer remain silent. I owe it to Václav Havel. I owe it to the generation that fought for our freedom. I owe it to democracy. And I just wanna say to the world that I did try to make a change.
I was born and grew up in an era of Václav Havel. An era full of hope for better tomorrow and newly found freedom. Freedom for which our parents and the generations before fought so hard.
I grew up in an era in which Czech Republic was seen as a young perspective country.
I was born just one year before the Velvet Revolution. I could breathe the air of freedom and grow up in a free world.
For eight years, I attended a grammar school which was very forward thinking and very West-oriented. A school that was doing the best it could in providing us what the generations before (the teachers and the headmaster included) could not have. They opened the door to the world to us.
We had many foreign exchange programs in our school, and especially in the early days they were mostly from the US and the UK. For them Czech Republic was an exciting young country. Bold. Fearless.
And when you said Czech Republic back at those times, first two things that came to mind to people from all around the world were Václava Havel and the Czech Ice Hockey Team (which at the time was striving and making us famous indeed – I’m sure even you know Jaromír Jágr..? Yep, those were the times. The times of Nagano Olympics).
Our country was respected. We were a symbol of freedom to the world. And we had a president who was deeply respected all across the globe.
When you said you were Czech, you could feel proud. People respected you and were genuinly interested in your country.
Now they come to you and ask if you’re part of Russia again and about the ‘drunken man’.
I’m sure you understand my despair and my bewilderment looking at my country now..
On Saturday, the Czechs elected a pro-Russian and pro-Chinese president, who’s anti-immigration, openly antisemitic and with whom no one wants to have any dealings with. Except Russia and China of course.
A man who calls all immigrants terrorists. Openly.
A man who has divided our society. A man who supports an oligarchic billionaire Prime Minister who’s currently facing criminal charges, and making all kinds of constitutional exceptions just to allow him to stay in charge of the government – government that failed to receive trust last week – yet again.
A man who is vulgar, constantly lying and verbally attacking all his opponents, calling everyone around him idiots.
A man who is anti-European.
Yes, it is the ‘drunken man’. And my country has just elected him to be a president for another five years.
I feel hopeless. And disgusted. I feel ashamed.
As one journalist put it so apt, my country was set to a test from democracy and it failed. Colossally.
It’s been 29 years since the Velvet Revolution. A revolution that set us free from the Soviet Union. Yes, free of Russia. And we’re back on that path again. And we’re back on the path of hatred.
I cannot believe it.
I wanted to leave my country all of my adult life, but it’s always been my free choice. I simply saw more opportunities for me in the outside world, and always knew I would return one day. But now, I feel like it’s become the only choice. Cause I can’t see any perspective here anymore. I want to leave.
How can I remain in a country that’s so full of hate? Which morales went so down hill since the days of Havel and especially in the past ten years?
Country in which people are called thieves by its own government and yet these same people elect the biggest thief of them all to be their Prime Minister?
A country that obviously does not value anything…. not freedom, nor humanity. And definitely not its own past.
My school taught us about the world and all the different cultures. We had Indian Days as well as Asian Days. It taught us to be open-minded, welcoming and to never forget our past.
We had a president who was friends with Dalai Lama!
How did it ever come to this?
I wanna remain part of Europe. I’m not saying the European Union has it all right, but I do know that a country as small as ours, cannot fight the world alone. And I also know, the only way out of this hell that’s spreading all across the globe as plague, is for Europe to unite. For the world to unite.
Have we really learnt nothing from the past?
Yesterday was The Holocaust Remembrance Day – a funny coincidence given our election results. Remember how that started..? It was with politicians dividing the people to ‘us vs. them’..
I’m trying to keep my spirits up, because as Václav Havel always said: Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred. I hope you’re right Mr. Havel. Though at this very moment, I find it really hard to believe..
I don’t know where in the world will I end up, but I will always remain in touch with my country. I will always make sure to go to the elections – whether I’m in Sydney or Alaska, because I know that the right to vote is not to be taken lightly nor for granted. And because I owe it to Havel. And I owe it to our parents and all the people who fought for our freedom. I owe to democracy.
I will never forget. And I will always care.
I did try to make a change.. And I’m sorry I failed..