Everyone has gone mad, it seems

Although the President Klaus was trying as hard as he could during the state visit to Austria, it was eventually revealed he cannot behave himself. To put it bluntly, the Czech-Austrian relationship is fragile and delicate and it is not hard, though without wanting, to prove it. At the press conference in Hofburg in the morning of the first day Klaus spoke – in connection with the nuclear power utilization – about the „irrational fanaticism of some European activists.“ If he had wanted to infuriate the Austrian Greens even more than they’ve been so far, he was probably successful: during his afternoon visit at the parliament the Green MPs were protesting with banners. Someone might have told the president something. Nobody poured chocolate icing all over him, nobody was shooting plastic balls at him. Afterwards, Klaus declared the Green party was behaving in the manner which was so aggressive that he’d forgotten something like that is possible a long time ago and that the doggedness of Austrian Greens has no limits. In the course of being a bull in a china shop he also touched upon the so-called “resettlement” of Sudeten Germans. Although the President Fischer spoke almost in a too diplomatic way – evidently to take precautions – about the need to consider the past events in the historical context (on the other hand, the historical context shouldn’t serve as anyone’s excuse for behaving like an animal), Klaus asserted those are relatively marginal wartime events and he would be willing to speak about them only within the scope of a discussion about Nazism and Austria (naturally, Nazism and the Austrian people should be blamed for everything). And the president’s conclusion? “I must admit what many people say about me, what I rejected at first but now I’m beginning to feel. I wonder who’ll become a strong defendant of our interests after March 2013. I’m becoming to worry about it.” That is: “Oh, my poor chicken, what will you do without me!”

The slightly paranoid fear of Mr. President has a pragmatic aspect which makes it more understandable. Undoubtedly, he would appreciate if his controlled fall from the Castle was headed elswhere than the one of Vilém Slavata from Chlum and Košumberk (fell on a rubbish dump and broke his arm), so he needs to underline his indispensability. In spite of that, his proclamation fits in the crazy and hysterical atmosphere of today.

The people are convinced they suffer in poverty and are able to survive only with utmost effort. Irresponsible politicians from all parties (especially the left one) and their media pressure groups do all they can to feed the paranoid hypochondria. Self-proclaimed saviours appear and Mr. President is now joining their ranks with much noise. The opposition is doing its best to goad the Czech public, hoping that people will ovethrow the government on its behalf and not caring whether it will be able to calm them afterwards. This reminds me of an American horror movie from 1960s (I saw it on TV at that time). There’s a revolt of inmates in a mental asylum. They take over the management of things, they kill the main doctor and hide him into a desk and lock the guards in the cages for raging patients in the attic. The position of the main doctor is taken by a sexual murderer and a notorious poisoner becomes the cook. In the meantime, the killed doctor’s young niece – unaware of the state of affairs – is coming for a visit.

Eventually, everything turns out well in the movie (at that time film horrors still used to turn out well). The police help brotherly and seize the asylum, the niece is rescued, the guards let out of their cages and the rebels put back to their beds. But who will help us today? We have bad experience with brotherly help and don’t seem to be able to help ourselves on our own.

Originally published in the Czech language in the Reflex journal on the 15th November 2012

published: 16. 12. 2012