Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Sad End of the Prague Spring

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

Toronto – Today, the Consul General of the Czech Republic in Toronto Mr. Richard Krpač hosted an informal press conference at his residence, titled 1968, August 21: Sad End of the Prague Spring.

Among the guests were leading Canadian journalists, writers and diplomats connected with events in Czechoslovakia of 1968: former chief political correspondent for CBC Joe Schlesinger, publicist and translator, member of 1970’s underground rock band Plastic People of The Universe Paul Wilson, author and publisher Josef Škvorecký, Czech community leader Josef Čermák, and a former diplomat at the Canadian Embassy in Prague Peter Bakewell. (more…)

Is Czech-Canadian Honeymoon Over?

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

It’s been less than a year since Canada lifted visa requirements for citizens of the Czech Republic. Last February, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were excitingly positive about Czech-Canadian relations. (more…)

Beijing Olympics And Human Rights

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

The picture says it all:

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
The Chinese police state doesn’t like the world to see inside China – and rightly so. According to this article in The Globe And Mail, some 400,000 police informants and ‘security volunteers’ are being recruited to ensure the ‘safety’ of the Olympics. Of course, the communist regime in Beijing highest concern is the well-being of the athletes and the visitors. That’s why this top headline is on the Czech Radio website today:

China complains about Czech PM wearing Tibetan flag badge

The Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic has complained about Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s decision to wear a badge bearing the Tibetan flag at a news conference last week. Mr Topolánek wore the badge when he announced to journalists that he would be visiting this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, but not attending the Games’ opening ceremony. On Saturday, Mladá Fronta Dnes reported that the Chinese ambassador to Prague, Huo Yuzhen had lodged a formal complaint about the incident with the Czech Foreign Ministry. Last week, the Czech ambassador to China was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, to talk to officials about Mr Topolánek’s conduct. According to a Czech government spokesperson, China was concerned that Prague might have changed its political position and begun to advocate an independent Tibet. The spokesperson stressed that this was not the case.

So – what to do about the Beijing Olympics? All past attempts at boycotting the games seem to have been outmaneuvered by the Chinese, even as they keep tightening up their grip on the country.

It just so happened that I spent part of today assembling some furniture for my living room. I bought it at Leon’s – the quintessential Canadian furniture store. Guess where the furniture was made? Right, in communist China. And here lies the problem – as long as we are willing to buy Chinese products, no boycott of any sort will achieve anything. Sure, the Chinese people have better standard of living today than ever before. But they are as enslaved as they have been for the past sixty years of the communist rule.

The only way to achieve anything with China is to stop buying their products. Easier said than done, I am afraid.

Bastille Day

Monday, July 14th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

Today is the anniversary of the storming of Bastille, the prison that symbolized the absolute rule of the French Monarchy. 14th of July 1789 marked the beginning of the French revolution, and the end of belief that kings and aristocrats had divine right to rule. The citizens themselves would take the matter of the state in their hands, and liberty, equality and fraternity would become the ideals upon which future societies would be built.

Right? (more…)