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Archive for July, 2009

Rolnicka

Friday, July 24th, 2009 by Alena Kottová

Nadherny koncert detskeho pevecekeho sboru z Prahy ROLNICKA, ktera ma vice nez tricetiletou tradici, jsme v Torontu zazili v utery 21. cervence. Zastavil se v Torontu, aby dale pokracoval na ceste do USA na festival pisne.

Fotky najdete zde

Unique Monument celebrates it’s 20th aniversary

Friday, July 10th, 2009 by Alena Kottová
"Crucified Again" Monument

"Crucified Again" Monument

A Monument to the victims of communism – the only one of it’s kind in the world, was unveiled on July 2nd, 1989 in the Masaryktown Park in Toronto. Today it is already twenty years since the monument was erected … the world has changed, the iron curtain has fallen, but we can never forget the evil communism brought to countries and people alike. Tens of millions of people were murdered or tortured to death by communists and the count is still rising… This monument serves to remind us of that.

The monument, named “Crucified Again” was created by czech artist Josef Randa. It shows a man, suffering on a “cross” made of a hammer and sickle – the symbols of Communist Russia. The idea was brought forward by group K-231 ; an exile group of political prisoners from former Czechoslovakia. They also organized the fundrising through the community of political ex-prisoners, political refugees and other victims of communism in the czech and slovak communities in Canada.

The result of this effort is now standing in the park, reminding us never to forget and overlook the suffering of people in communist countries from Cuba to China. The monument is protected and maintained by the Masaryk Memorial Institute in Toronto. It is worth a visit for everyone – remember to cherish and protect the freedom we have in Canada, as not everyone enjoys that opportunity. Visit www.masaryktown.org

Výročí unikátního monumentu v Torontu

Friday, July 10th, 2009 by Alena Kottová

Je to již dvacet let, co v neděli 2. července 1989 byl v Torontu na Masaryktownu odhalen monument Znovuukřižovaný, který postavil sochař českého původu Josef Randa. Monument byl vybudovaný díky sbírce bývalých politických vězňů a pozůstalých obětí komunistického systému. Svého času to byl jediný a první monument postavený na uctění památky obětí komunitické diktatury na světě. Foto z oslav najdete ZDE.

If it’s July, it must be about visas

Sunday, July 5th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

Less than a year ago, I argued here that a reinstated Canadian visa requirement for visitors from the Czech Republic may happen soon. Since the beginning of 2009, over a thousand Czech Romas have landed in Canada (mostly Toronto), seeking refugee status. In recent weeks, Czech media have published several (so far speculative) reports that visa requirement is imminent (original articles here or here). The Globe and Mail editorial from July 4th calls for exactly such step.

As Canadians of Czech origin, we might assume that our community would be consulted. I don’t know if anyone from the Canadian government bureaucrats is interested about what we have to say about the matter, or whether they have contacted any of our community organizations. Since our numbers are not in hundreds of thousands, and blocking major highways is not our way to get our politicians’ attention, I sincerely doubt it.

It has been documented elsewhere that the Czech Roma do not suffer significantly higher discrimination than in other European countries. They do not go to the USA or the EU, they come specifically to Canada. Why is that? One explanation, although far too convenient and difficult to prove, is that the Czech Roma asylum seekers are part of a well organized human trafficking network run from Toronto and Hamilton. The other explanation is that the Canadian immigration and refugee system is so easy to abuse, it just calls for this to happen – especially if there is a Canadian connection to the whole scheme.

Should the Canadian government move to reimpose visas on the Czech citizens? Absolutely not. This has been, it is, and it will continue to be a Canadian problem first (witness similar problems with citizens of Mexico). Even considering a Czech Roma refugee application is a slap in the face of legitimate asylum seekers, never mind the cost to the taxpayers and the waste of good will among Czechs and Canadians alike. The only solution to this is for the Canadian government to accept that twenty years after the Velvet Revolution, the Czech Republic (with all its failings) is a free and democratic state, and stop accepting these bogus refugee applications.

Mr. Jason Kenney, the current Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, is a great friend of Czech Republic and a promoter of closer ties between the two countries. I doubt it would be his wish to reimpose the visa. But maybe he needs our help to deal with the situation. If you think that Canada should not punish thousands of legitimate Czech visitors of Canada for the greed of a few Canadian-based organizers and the government bureaucracy ineptitude, tell him so. You can e-mail Minister@cic.gc.ca or send a letter to:

The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Let our voice be heard. We, Canadians of Czech origin, should be consulted, and we should let our politicians know that reimposing visas for our families, friends and business associates is not the way to deal with this problem.

Floods in the Czech Republic

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 by Alena Kottová

floods113 dead and almost half a billion dollars in property damages as a result of Floods in the Czech Republic

Dear friends of the Czech Republic,

Last week saw big parts of our country struck by catastrophe. Flash floods in Moravia and Southern Bohemia took 13 lives and caused almost half a billion dollars of damage. In the middle of the night, hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes, many of them with nothing else but the clothes on their backs.
We are asking you to extend a helping hand.
Czech Canadians in Masaryk Memorial Institute, Sokol Canada, St. Wenceslaus Church and Hearts Open Toronto with the support of the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto, have created a trust fund to help the victims of the 2009 Floods

We thank you in advance for your generosity.

Please make donations by sending a cheque payable either to:

1. Hearts Open Toronto, re. Flood 2009
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 436
Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 1X3

2. Czech and Slovak Association in Canada
P. O. Box 564, 3044 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y8
(Trust fund created by CSAC has our support)

Please note that the financial donations sent to abroad are not eligible for charitable receipts.
For more information, please contact +14169721476, ext. 11 – Michaela Vaclavinek at the Consulate General of the Czech Republic