The visit of the Dalai Lama in Prague – dedicated to Vaclav Havel with love (O návštěvě Dalajlámy v Praze – věnováno Václavu Havlovi)

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Author: Kateřina Erlebachová (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

“What? The Dalai Lama arrives? I have not heard about that!” That was the answer to the SMS sent to a friend from Slovakia who texted me a week before the Dalai Lama arrived in Prague. I immediately began to search the Internet to see if this is correct, because it seemed impossible to me, that such news is not published publicly. I found almost nothing except for pages of Vaclav Havel:

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Tribute to Vaclav Havel (Pocta Václavu Havlovi)

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vaclav-havelToday, the former Czechoslovak and Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has “peacefully” passed away in his sleep in his cottage. He was 75 years old.

Vaclav Havel was the most famous Czech politician in the world. The former playwright, who was a major figure in fight against Communism, later became the president of Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic.

His motto: “truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred” will stay embedded in our hearts as well as his contribution to the freedom of all Czechs and Slovaks at home and around the world. We extend our condolences to President Havel’s family. He will never be forgotten.

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Email interview: Jan Kavalír interviews Josef Čermák (E-mailový rozhovor: Jan Kavalír zpovídá Josefa Čermáka)

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Author: Josef Cermak (CzechFolks.com PLUS)
 
 
 
 
 

 

1.
Q.: When did you emigrate to Canada and why? Was it entirely for political reasons? And why Canada?

A. I left Czechoslovakia (on my knees, secretly, “over the hillocks”) with my blacksmith friend Lada Dufek on October 28, 1949 (we were selfishly counting on the police raging in Prague). ‘Our’ ship, ‘U.S.A.T. Le Roy Eltinge’ arrived in Canada (in Halifax) on April 23, 1949. That ship wasn’t completely ‘ours’ but we Czechoslovaks formed a formidable group: 113 people. Continue reading

Petition to Reconsider the Decision for Closing the Consulate in Montreal (Petice proti zrušení konzulátu České republiky v Montrealu)

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The Government of the Czech Republic has decided to close down our 90 year old Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Montreal on March 31. 2010

For 90 years the Czech Consulate in Montreal, a landmark and relevant member of the diplomatic community in Canada and Montreal in particular, has efficiently provided consular services and placed its substantial cultural, educational, humanitarian and scientific resources, not only for the disposition of Czechs and Canadians, but also for persons and institutions of a wide array of nationalities from the rest of the world.

Furthermore its staff has been awarded various honors, the most recent granted to the present Consul General, The Honorable Ms. Jaroslava Jeslinkova, Woman of the Year 2009 by the Fédération des Caisses Desjardins du Québec. Continue reading

Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed (Československo, stát, který zklamal)

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Czechoslovakia: The State That FailedAuthor: Josef Cermak (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

The author of the book “Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed”, Mary Heinmann, is an American historian teaching at the Strathclyde University in Scotland. Her book was published by the Yale University Press.

According to the review (an example of how reviews should be written) in the Economist (Nov.21, 2009), Ms Heinmann sees the former Czechoslovakia as a political entity which was born out of trickery and died in failure; as an artificial creature, essentially a fraud, and the wily duo responsible for the fraud, Tomas Masaryk and Edward Benes, who duped the victorious Western allies into creation of a new country, which ignored the interests of all ethnic groups (particularly the Germans) except Czechs and Slovaks; its treatment of the Sudeten Germans in the first republic as the ultimate cause of the first Czechoslovak republic’s downfall and (together with reparations imposed on Germany) in large part responsible for the Second World War; following the Munich agreement, it engaged in anti-Semitism, which – in her view – was simply continuation of existing tendencies; and the work of Edward Benes and Jan Masaryk during the Second World War she sees as a story of Czech guile and Western gullibility, while describing the three postwar years before the communist seizure of power as a horrible period of racial revenge, rape, robbery and deportation inflicted on guilty and blameless Germans alike. And the Prague Spring was simply a by-product of a factional fight in the Communist Party. Continue reading

From Behind the Iron Curtain to Membership in the European Union (Z pozadí Železné opony do členství v Evropské unii)

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This is the title of a presentation given by Peter Petrik on November 2nd, 2009 at the University of Texas, Dallas. Mr. Petrik was born in the former Czechoslovakia giving him the insight and experience to deliver a great presentation accompanied by his personal photographs and stories that kept the audience entertained. The lecture describes the transformation of Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War and its impact on international business. If you are interested in the history of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other European countries, you should watch the video below. Continue reading

A Slightly Unconventional Thanksgiving (Trošku nekonvenční Den díkuvzdání)

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Today is Thanksgiving, a harvest festival celebrated in the United States and Canada. On this day people give thanks for the harvest. Even though Thanksgiving is not celebrate in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, many Czechs and Slovaks express their gratitude while living in the USA and Canada or other democratic countries. For them, living in a free country brings with it more appreciation than just during this holiday. Many of them left the country, while it was still controlled by the Communist party and found their freedom far away from their homes, while risking their lives during their escapes. The article named “Giving Thanks for Freedom, Remembering the Czech Revolution” posted on the San Diego News Network by Marketa Hancova, the dean of education at Platt College, San Diego School of Art and Design, speaks just about that and more. The English version can be found HERE and its translation is posted below. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving! Continue reading

The Velvet Revolution and how the Czech public perceives it today (Sametová revoluce a jak to dnes vidí česká veřejnost)

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Ilustrace pro CzechFolks.com © František FrK KratochvílReaders of CzechFolks.com PLUS have been following a series on what foreign radios broadcasted in last weeks of the totalitarian regime and the early days of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. As the recent surveys have shown, it was the media and especially foreign radio broadcasts that had a major impact on sharing information with the Czech and Slovak population. This was confirmed by 86% of respondents in the research, which was done early in the autumn of this year by the staff from the Center for Public Opinion Research (part of the Institute of Sociology of the Cs. Academy of Sciences). Miroslav Sigl was invited to the final data presentation from the investigation of a large sample of 1046 respondents from the age of 15 and older. Continue reading

Totalitarian Regime Does Not Belong to the 21st Century! (Totalita do 21. století nepatří!)

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This is the title of a social event that is taking place in Prague. Some of you may think it is an ironic title since the Communist party rules in the current Czech Parliament; however, the event is reminiscent of the communist era of the last century, when both countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were united as Czechoslovakia and the country was “sheltered” by the powerful Iron Curtain. The event itself is directed to the public of all ages; however, the major contributors to the event are in fact children and young adults that did not live during this era in Czech and Slovak history.

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Jakub Cermin – a Political Prisoner and a Symbol of Freedom and Humanity (Jakub Čemin – politický vězeň a symbol svobody a humanity)

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The number of people with deep national values and knowledge of Czech and Slovak history over the last half century is shrinking. One of the people that fell in this small margin of the Czech and Slovak population just passed away. Jakub Cermin (May 2nd, 1917 – August 27th, 2009), the former head of the Freedom Fighters, could really say a lot about his life experiences. As a matter of fact, he wrote hundreds of articles reflecting his memories, feelings, views, and hopes about our nation. His blindness, towards the end of his life, however, did not stop him as he still continued in sacrificing his life and dignity for our liberty until his passing. Continue reading

1968 – A Year Without a Summer (1968 – Rok bez léta)

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Today, like every year, Czechs and Slovaks commemorate the infamous anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. On that day the former liberator put an end to Dubcek’s effort to build “socialism with a human face.” The invasion reflected the disapproval of the rebirth of social and political freedom known as “Prague Spring.” On the night of August 20 to 21, 1968, the country was invaded by five Warsaw Pact countries. On that day the Prague Spring ended and was followed by the cold “Brezhnev’s Doctrine” that brought a new chill to the Cold War. The “Détente” was over. Continue reading

A Czech Song Mocks Putin (Česká píseň se vysmívá Putinovi)

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The Russian song, set to a popular 1970s Czech tune Jozin z Bazin (Joey of the Marsh) by a Czech singer Ivan Mladek, is becoming trendier on YouTube in recent days. Today, over three million people have seen the video. The Russian lyrics say, “Putin, Putin goes to Pikalyovo. Putin, Putin will make it cool for us… Putin, Putin is quick to do justice. Putin, Putin is our Prime Minister… Jozin z Bazin is the people’s choice … oligarchs, miners and even cops know that Jozin z Bazin will be our new president.” The spoof song was made to make fun of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, who was ineligible to run for a third consecutive term as President in 2008 and became Prime Minister. Continue reading