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Posts Tagged ‘English’

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

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

CZECH AND SLOVAK TV STATION ” NOVA VIZE ” IN CANADA

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 by Alena Kottová

Find out, what is happening in the czech and slovak comunities. News and entertainment for everyone. Check here.

Czech-Books.com

Monday, June 22nd, 2009 by Nový Domov

b_listy5 Subscribe to the buletin, to keep informed about new books.

Odpoledne plné leteckého dobrodružství

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 by Nový Domov

edenvaleSokol Toronto ve spolupráci s Edenvale airport připravuje  pro děti den plný dobrodružství, jak nám o tom napsal hlavní organizátor a kouč Mirek Janda z torontského Sokola :

Dear parents, kids and our friends, 
Sokol Toronto is inviting you to an afternoon of fun at the Edenvale Aerodrome for Sunday, May 24, 2009. 
We would like to introduce the kids, their parents and all the other participants to the activities at the Edenvale airport, explain some technical aspects of flying, see a short movie about airplanes, tour the hangars and be able to experience the real airplanes, and with the permission from your parents or spouses, you might be able also to participate in sightseeing flights. Please join us for lunch at the newly opened Cafe to start the amazing day.

It is important to confirm your participation in advance.  Please send me (mirekjanda@yahoo.ca) an e-mail confirmation with your full name, indicating adult or kids meals and if you would like to sign up for the sightseeing flight.  
I have to receive your confirmation no later than MAY 1, 2009.

Free speech under attack

Friday, April 17th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

United Nations wants you to shut up

United Nations wants you to shut up

With all the brouhaha about the state of the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the political crisis in Czech Republic and so on, I almost missed one piece of disturbing news coming from the United Nations. In a recent resolution passed on March 26th, the UN Human Rights Council urges the member States (that includes our beloved Canada and one of the few countries with free speech actually guaranteed by Constitution, the USA) to provide legal “protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general.”
(more…)

Full text of Barack Obama’s speech at the Prague Castle

Sunday, April 5th, 2009 by Jerry Kott
Barack Obama deliver a speech at the Prague Castle

Barack Obama deliver a speech at the Prague Castle

Today, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered in Prague his  first major speech of his foreign policy. Speaking in front of a crowd of over ten thousand people, he referred to the founder and the first President of independent Czechoslovakia, Tomáš G. Masaryk, and to important events that shaped European and Czech history of the 20th century.

He also laid out a framework for his foreign policy, in a bold and ambitious call for a ban on nuclear weapon tests, strenghtening of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and a guarantee of every nation’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Using Prague as the setting to engage the world’s nuclear nations, Obama’s speech is symbolic on several levels. Although the country itself never acquired nuclear weapons, Czechoslovakia was a major supplier of uranium for Soviet military during the Cold War. Thousands of its citizens were imprisoned, tortured and used as slaves in inhuman conditions of its uranium mines in Jáchymov, Příbram, and other uranium mining centres. And finally, in the year that marks 20th anniversary of the unravelling of the Communist rule in Eastern Europe, 10th anniversary of Czech Repubic’s admission to NATO, and the first-ever turn of Czech Republic to hold the EU presidency, it signals that Czech Republic, after centuries of foreign or oppressive rule, is finally firmly in a community of free nations that, despite their occasional differences, treat each other as partners in a peaceful co-operation. (more…)

Barack Obama will give a public address while in Prague

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 by Nový Domov
US President Barack Obama Visit to Prague

US President Barack Obama Visit to Prague

The itinerary of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Prague has been made public. Mr. President arrives to Prague tomorrow (Saturday, April 4th) around 5 pm. On Sunday morning, he will give a public speech at Hradčanské náměstí, in front of the historic entrance to the Prague Castle.

More information available at the US Embassy in Prague web site.

Communism and Nazism in the European Union

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 by Jerry Kott
Communism and Nazism in European History

Communism and Nazism in European History

One of the many complaints Czech & Slovak Canadians have about the post-communist era in their old homelands is that the new governments have not been effective in dealing with the countries’ communist past.

Almost twenty years after the Velvet Revolution, many of the former ardent communists are still in their posts in the judiciary, in the police, in the military. Many have converted into the new capitalists, “tunneling” billions of Czech korunas into Swiss bank accounts or offshore jurisdictions. School history textbooks are lacking any serious description, nevermind analysis, of the communist era, and the current economic environment leaves many wondering if the communist state, with its centrally planned economy, was not a better alternative to the Eastern European version of laissez-faire capitalism. Those responsible for the worst crimes against humanity in the 1950s are either dead, very old, and it’s difficult to bring them to justice. Those responsible for the less extreme but still lawless oppression in 1970s have used their resources to successfully evade prosecution. The restitution program designed to return properties confiscated by the communist regime is considered by many as bureaucratic and ineffective. (more…)

Prague Made a BEST BRUNCH List

Monday, March 30th, 2009 by Jerry Kott
Chlebíčky - a favourite Czech culinary creation.

Chlebíčky - a favourite Czech culinary creation.

The Toronto NOW magazine publishes a list of the best places in Toronto to have a brunch. Most people in the Czech community know Prague Fine Food Emporium under various names (U Pichlíka, Prague Deli, Pražské uzenářství, …), depending on when they first arrived to Toronto. Notwithstanding the differences in name, they will agree on one thing: that the inclusion of The Prague in a recent BEST BRUNCH list is well deserved. Great food, reasonable prices, and friendly atmosphere  have made it a regular destination for many Czech & Slovak expatriates, Czech NHL hockey players, celebrities, diplomats, the list goes on.

My favourites: chlebíčky, rohlíky, věnečky, and laskonky. Everything else on the menu is not far behind.

Congratulations to Tom and Helenka, to their parents and grandparents, on keeping Prague Deli a true oasis of Czech and Central European food in downtown Toronto for over four decades.

Site Maintenance

Friday, March 27th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

We did some maintenance and upgrading last night, making more use of the screen space, and hopefully making the user experience a little more pleasant. Over 96% of the site visitors have screen resolution of at least 1024 pixels wide, so we changed the default layout theme and made the pages wider. This also means that we had to re-work some of the graphics. It is a work in progress, and we appreciate any comments we get on the site readability and design.

Vernisáž výstavy obrazů New New Painting

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 by Nový Domov

[nggallery id=12]

Vernisáž výstavy obrazů umělců kontroverzního malířského směru New New Painting se konala 21. března  v soukromých prostorách tohoto jediného muzea snad i na světě, které v Torontu založil malíř českého původu Joseph Drapell. Ten umí o malířství jako takovém vyprávět velice zajímavé, taže pokud se chcete dozvědět více nejen o této skupině jedenácti new new malířů, zajděte si do muzea New New. Každý výstava trvá zhruba dva měsíce, je dobré předem zavolat a domluvit si schůzku – v každém případě se to vyplatí. Joseph Drapell je i výjimečný společník.
123 Bellwoods, Toronto, ON,  416-603-4111

This exhibition is devoted to only half of the artists in this hot & controversial artistic movement. It includes recent developments of Lucy Baker, Steve Brent, Joseph Drapell, John Gittins, Graham Peacock and Jerald Webster. Most of these works have not been exhibited previously and are excellent examples of the challenge this movement presents to the status quo (that being conventional, established taste). Innovation alone is not enough—the work also needs to have a formal power to communicate its non‑verbal content successfully. These artists have renewed the discipline of painting in the last two decades following their launch in Paris in 1991.

When in Prague…

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

…beware of Kafka International Airport.

The most trusted source in online entertainment news, the ONN, reports numerous systemic problems with travellers not properly following proper protocols. The problems the news report cites will be difficult to rectify, though, as they are deeply rooted in the absurdity of the Central European history, and are possibly the result of Czech & Lech (the founding fathers) travelling too far, too fast, in their search of a land full of milk and honey.

Looking for “Winton Kinder”

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 by Jerry Kott

We recently informed about an event presented by the Consulate General of Czech Republic in Toronto named “How We Escaped Hitler”. The evening is dedicated to commemorate an historic rescue effort to save Jewish children of Czechoslovakia. The programme was initiated by Nicholas Winton, from London, UK. The children then became known as the “Winton Kinder” (Winton’s children).

This may be  a little last-minute notice, but the Consulate and some of the co-organizers are looking for Winton Kinder survivors that they may not be aware of. This came via Facebook from one of my friends there:

Hello my friends of Czech (or nearby) background;

This past Friday, I was contacted by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto. They are currently organizing an event called “How We Escaped Hitler”, which is dedicated to two historical events that took place in Czechoslovakia in 1939 – the 70th anniversary of the Nazi Invasion of Czechoslovakia on March 15th, and, the 1st rescue train transport of Jewish children from Prague to London, UK organized by Nicholas Winton (my father was one of those Czech children who was so fortunate to be saved).

This event is to take place less than a month from now, on Thursday, March 26. They have asked me to help them to find any Czech-Canadian “Winton Kinder” survivors that may not be on the “lists”, so that they can invite them to this very important event. So if you happen to know any of these people – or the child of a Winton Kinder (like me), please get in touch with me here and I will make sure that their contact info is forwarded to the Consulate (with these folks’ blessings only, of course.

Chances are, some of our readers may know one of them. The Czech Consulate in Toronto will be able to provide more information.

Nazi Occupation of Czechoslovakia

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 by Jerry Kott
Nazi troops enter Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939

Nazi troops enter Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939

Today marks the 70th anniversary of one of the saddest events in modern history of the Czech and Slovak nations.

On March 15th, 1939, the German troops entered what remained of Czechoslovakia after the Munich agreement of 1938. It also began the long period of political exile that ended fifty years later with the fall of the iron curtain in 1989.

Among the people who left Czechoslovakia in the wake of the Nazi occupation were award-winning Canadian journalists Joe Schlesinger and Peter C. Newman. Don’t miss an opportunity to meet them in person on March 26th at 7pm, 2 Sussex Ave. in Toronto. In a conversation hosted by another noted Canadian journalist of Czech origin, Hana Gartner, they will recount their childhood experience of leaving Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. The evening is presented by the Consulate General of Czech Republic in Toronto.

Radio Prague: Czechs abroad RSS channel

Monday, March 9th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

Radio Prague web site has an RSS channel dedicated to issues of concern to Czechs overseas – that includes us, Canadians of Czech origin, I presume. The channel is in (the horrors!) English language.

The feed for the RSS channel can be found here.

Issues with Feedburner

Sunday, March 8th, 2009 by Nový Domov

Those who subscribed to the RSS via Feedburner may find it not working. Apparently, Feedburner only supports WordPress version 2.5. Sorry… we recomment re-subscribing by clicking this link.

Blog Upgrade

Sunday, March 8th, 2009 by Nový Domov

We have upgraded to WordPress 2.7.1. There should be no difference, and as far as we can tell, all permalinks and posts work. If you find any problems with the site, please leave a comment to this post.

Will Central And Eastern Europe Be Cast Aside?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 by Jerry Kott

Funny I should mention nationalism and protectionism just a few days ago. Yesterday’s summit of EU leader in Brussels reveal two worrisome developments: that the recession in Europe threatens to be more severe than in United States, and that the Western Europe has not quite yet come to terms with its commitments to the Central and Eastern parts of the EU. With Czech Republic holding the EU presidency, the war of words between Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Hungary and Ukraine being on the verge of an economic collapse, EU’s future looks “interesting” – to use the words from a famous Chinese curse.

What is the greatest danger in all of this? It’s not the recession itself, of course – that will pass sooner or later. Nor is it the possibility of an EU “unity crisis” – that seems to be an ongoing problem. The greatest danger is that the neo-communists will take advantage of hard times and stir the emotions of those less fortunate to try to destroy the weaker democracies in Eastern Europe.