O světě, který tu je i není - o věcech výjimečných i banálních, podivuhodných i trapných, temných i oslnivých, tristních i směšných, paradoxních i logických, stejně tak však i o věcech temně zářících, tragikomických, podivuhodně banálních, výjimečně trapných či zcela logicky paradoxních. A o sobě, který tu je i není stejně tak.

úterý 13. října 2020

Why is "Czech"​ spelled with a "cz"​ in English, when neither the English nor Czech languages use the letter combination "cz"​ in native words.

The digraph "cz" comes from the old Czech orthography, typical for West Slavic languages (Czech, Polish), which was later taken over by Latin and from Latin by English (Czech, Czechia) to express pronunciation of /t͡ʃ/ (IPA key). In Polish is "cz" digraph still used, in modern Czech (since the standardization of modern orthography in 19th century) is substituted by consonant "č" (however it was introduced already at the break of 14th and 15th century), usually denoting the voiceless postalveolar affricate consonant [t͡ʃ] like the English "ch" in the word chocolate. "Č" originated in Czech language, and from it was adopted in Slovak, Croatian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. It is used also in Latvian and Lithuanian.

It is necessary to mention, that English Wikipedia wrongly said (and rejected correction for very long time), that “cz” in English came from Polish at the end of 18th century (without any source), which is a nonsense, because in Czech is “cz” documented in the beginning of 2nd millennium and in Latin is “cz” documented already in 16th century (e.g. “Czechia” from 1569 in the Latin preface to the "Musica" of Jan Blahoslav) and this digraph in various forms (adjectives, nationality, name of the country) is very frequent in Latin texts in Baroque period. 

In addition, the first recorded use of a similar (however not correct) name is in English in the word “Czechians” by Peter Heylyn in 1625 in his “Mikrokosmos: A little description of the great world. Augmented and reuised.” (the second edition) on page 298, explicitly referencing Czech sources, including Jan Dubravius: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eeb... , Pavel Stránský in “Respublica Boeiema”, published in the Dutch town Leiden in 1634 or the name of the part no. XXXIII (Act 3) "Aria. Allegro. En duplo sole Czechia" of melodramatic, well known oratorial musical composition Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis conspicua orbi regia Bohemiae Corona – Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao (Under the olive tree of peace and palm tree of virtue the Crown of Bohemia splendidly shines the whole world – Melodrama of Saint Wenceslas), written by famous Czech Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka in 1723, and many more. 

Jiří Barthold Pontanus of Breitenberk "Hymnorum sacrorum, 
beatissima de Maria Virgine et Patronis S. S. R. Bohaemiae, Libri Tres,"​ 
Introducing the Virgin Mary and the Czech saints issued in Prague in 1602

Jiří Barthold Pontanus of Breitenberk "Hymnorum sacrorum, beatissima de Maria Virgine et Patronis S. S. R. Bohaemiae, Libri Tres,"​ Introducing the Virgin Mary and the Czech saints issued in Prague in 1602

sobota 11. července 2020

An Attempt at Analysis of Resistance to the Czech State's One-Word Name

One day, almost twenty years after the establishment of the modern Czech state, one of the most active fighters for the one-word name of this country said: „I wonder why such a united front opposes the name Česko and its English version. Just only the English version. We should call a symposium on this subject“. I shared both his astonishment and his exhaustion. Right, the meaning of his question was the rhetorical „Quo usque tandem…..“. Still, I decided to try a possibly thorough analysis of this phenomenon, which is surviving persistently in all layers of Czech society.

I. Reasons

In the beginning, let us examine some facts that fundamentally determine this phenomenon, even if they do not touch it directly and thus escape the standard detection methods. As we know, the attitude of the average Czech to his homeland is more indifferent than other Europeans´ relationship to their own countries. The mentioned characteristic makes the citizen less resistant to external and internal pressures and, consequently, unable to understand (let alone protect) his vital interests. If these statements are correct, we should ask about the reasons for this situation. They are the following:

 1  The historical loss of national self-confidence, a late offspring of the "Munich" complex. Back in September 1938, the lack of courage showed by the state's political representation paralyzed a large part of the nation. As a result of this psychological trauma, the people patiently surrendered to fate, and their morality disintegrated without recovery. This subject deserves a much more detailed analysis, which falls outside the scope of this article. There may be different views on how we should or should not behave at a historically significant moment. Still, one thing is sure: The decision to act so that the majority of the people survive physically, resulted in the downfall of national pride and damaging the people's characters, despite the heroic deeds done by those who did not accept the situation.

 2  The Czechs' high degree of identification with the Czechoslovak State. Few people are aware that the Czech National Revival was essentially all-Slavic. This movement was the intellectual center of the emancipation of Slavic peoples in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Therefore, the Czechs spontaneously adopted the feeling that they are "Czecho-Slavic" or "Czecho-Slovak". So, the Czech legions in WW1 called themselves "Czechoslovak," although we could only exceptionally find any Slovak soldiers among them. A similar situation was in the fight with Hungary over Slovakia's southern border in 1919. During the existence of Czechoslovakia, the Czechs usually did not hesitate to call themselves Czechoslovaks, but we could hardly find a similar approach beyond our present-day eastern border. The state was much more Czech than Slovak, and so its break-up affected Czechs much more deeply. We feel the results of this disillusionment up to the present day.​

 3  A "flagellant syndrome", which manifested itself in the prominent politicians' activities after the "velvet revolution“. So, for example, the Czech-German declaration in the 1990s, "solving" seemingly after years the problem between Czechs and Germans after WWII: while the German side included the expressions "we admit that..." and "we are aware of..." (six years' terror and genocide in Czechia), the Czech part says humbly and faithfully "we regret" (meaning the crimes committed during the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans after the war). Good from the Czech side, but, the term is not merely a sign of goodwill for Germans: it is a sign of weakness.

 4  Praising and admiring the incompetent multiculturalism as against the precious domestic cultural values which disappeared from people's consciousness. Getting to know one's roots is a necessary step to universal values and cannot be labeled as nationalistic. The universally proclaimed cosmopolitanism and post-positivism have never worked as a real striving for the world's civil society but as an escape from responsibility for one's environment. Only if we respect our own identity, we become a creative and beneficial part of the world. If not, we join the grey average and fall into oblivion. Still, from the viewpoint of the "citizens of the world", the feeling of being a Czech is a sort of naive, faded junk that turned into a social faux-pas.

 5  A complete departure of foreign policy from the traditional friendly relations and bonds which had inspired the international respect for our country. As we have already mentioned, it was in the 19th century that the Czechs constituted the intellectual center of the Slavic nations´ striving for emancipation. During the twenty years´ existence of the modern state, we managed to bury forever the remnants of these traditions (the official recognition of Kosovo, among others). We presented ourselves as opportunists who refuse to learn not only from negative but - beyond common sense - even from positive experiences of our past. Metaphorically, the foreign policy of the modern Czech state is the policy of a paper-boat captain on Victoria's waterfall. To put it bluntly, there is no foreign policy, there is merely servility to the powers; the only difference from the previous (communist) practice lies in the direction of its vector to one or the other cardinal points.

 6  The tragic level of education and information sources in general. The schools and the media often ignore or discredit historical and cultural milestones, personalities, and events on which a citizen could authentically build his national pride. On the contrary, education in this country resembles something like instruction in the inferiority complex. The media, nowadays a universal source of knowledge, play a significant role in this process. They find support in the current quasi-critical historiography, which emphasizes historical antagonisms and does not help the citizen to come to terms with the country's history.

As a result, national pride is mostly present when the "Czech Republic" wins a sports championship, and it lasts as long as the proud citizen gets sober and returns to everyday reality. This sort of patriotism manifests itself by the fans' jumping and shouting, "Češi, do toho!" - "Czechs, ahead!" One would expect the name of the country instead, but the Czech Republic is too long to chant, the acronym CR a bit weird, and Česko? No, the Czechs do not like it. Why? The answer is obvious: Because they subconsciously feel as if something were missing. Moreover, people do not know the real reason for their frustration and intuitive disagreement with the name. Therefore they invent arguments against its (nonexistent) linguistic and aesthetic weakness.

II. The problem "Česko"

We are finally getting to the core of the matter: Why is the name "Cesko" and the English equivalent Czechia to so many people so difficult to adopt? What is wrong with them? Is there anything missing?

 1  The citizen misses some visible and audible element of dignity and respectability in the name. Therefore he is so keen on using the word "republic" as if it were a magic wand that can provide the country with noble and distinguished character. "Česko" seems too short, and hardly worthy of notice. Where does the feeling come from? It is easy to guess: "Slovensko" is missing. The division and shortening of the name make one think of the loss of the territory, which the Czechs have never put up with. Therefore the young people, free from the weight of the past, would have no problem with "Česko" unless their teachers insisted on "Česká republika."

 2  Aesthetic euphony is another necessary quality in which the name Česko is lacking, says the general public. Some poets and writers (more or less competent) specify the complaint: “Česko sounds hard and hissing, it has not the poetic charm which is so typical of our language and country!” Sadly, they do not bring any proposal, what the name should look like. Instead, they prefer the Republic – a word whose “poetic character” might fascinate, at best, an author of ministerial circulars. In any case, a country's name is one of the terms that require accuracy of meaning, not a superficial likableness. The opponents also ignore the fact that other countries´ names originated by a similar word-formative process; maybe they think “the others” do not have to sound beautiful.

 3  Not universal but frequent is the Moravian complaint about neglecting the eastern part of the country in the state's name. The criticism does not include any proposal but only the erroneous idea that Česko is identical to Čechy. (In English, the names Czechia and Bohemia are not alike, so the confusion does not occur.) Surprisingly, the title Česká republika is acceptable. This longer name seems to substitute the traditional non-official expression “české země” (the Czech lands). We asked the Moravian movement representatives directly, why they reject Česko and accept Česká republika, but we only received an evasive answer. If I were a “moravist,” I would not be satisfied; from their point of view, the only solution would be “Čechy a Morava” (“Bohemia and Moravia”), as it was under the Protectorate.The former state´s name Československo (Česko-Slovensko in 1918) did not include Moravia, either. Why they do not mind this „omission“is a mystery.

 4  Finally, let us mention a marginal fake argument about the “wrong” spelling of Česko. It should be written as “Češsko” demanded the opponents, claiming wrongly, that the name of the country is derived from the names of its inhabitants (Čech, Češka). It was easy for linguists to disprove the claim because the names of the country are derived in Czech language from the adjective form (český - Česko, slovenský - Slovensko, polský - Polsko etc.). The form "češský" has never existed.

     Do the principal reasons for rejecting „Česko“ come from a curious remnant of national pride? Certainly not. In the first case, it is resentiment; in second one, the citizen wishes to present his homeland as a „paradise on earth,“ as the national anthem has it. A genuine patriot would adopt a name that reflects the country´s historical and cultural development. Political attributes limit the name's validity. „Česká republika“ is the title of the current state-political formation in the country and society. It does not cover the 1100 years´ statehood of the territory. Sadly, few people worry about it. So we witness tragicomic phenomena, such as a renowned historian´s wording „působení Cyrila a Metoděje v České republice“ („the activities of Cyril and Methodius in the Czech Republic“ - 863 AD!!!! and many other nonsenses arising from wrong universal use of the current political name. ​

We have listed some principal reasons for rejecting the name Česko. Now let us examine why the word “republic” meets with approval and favor. Here are some of the reasons:

 1  A “republican” tradition developed due to the establishment of the new Czechoslovak state in 1918. The term “republika” indicated people's pride in independence and freedom and became accepted usage. The following decades brought many historical and political changes; accordingly, the state´s name was changing. If we do not mention the degrading period of the Protectorate, there were the attributes Czechoslovak, Czechoslovak Socialist, Czech and Slovak Federal, and finally Czech; the only permanent element was the Republic. This fact may be a reason for mechanical clinging to this word. To some extent, it is understandable.

 2  A remnant from the communist era, when it was a routine to use only the state titles. In this way, the “Peace Camp” members differed from the others at first sight. Naturally, the primary purpose was to pretend that these states were governed on the “res publica” (“public affairs”) principle. Thus the media articles and news were teeming with People´s, People´s -Democratic, and Socialist Republics. Since the complete titles of states would need almost more space than the message proper, the writers and speakers used acronyms, such as (in Czech spelling) SSSR, ČSSR, ČSR, SSR, MLR, PLR, NDR, ČLR. A remnant of them is the frequent ČR, or in transcription CR (which makes the confusion even funnier because CR is the ISO code of Costa Rica).

 3  Many years' everyday excessive use of the word “republic”, even in small talk, makes people take it for a part of the country's proper name. The Republic means nothing else than a type of political management. Many people get astonished or excited when we alert them to the problem.We can call a person by name, or we can also mention his/her social or professional position. Sometimes we have to cite both, another time it may be highly inappropriate. We can tell the difference in everyday life. However, we fail to distinguish when the state's name is concerned. As if there were only „the accountant Mr. Karásek“, but no „Mr. Karásek“. We can imagine embarrassing and funny situations concerning Mr. Karásek's introduction; concerning the country's name, fun disappears, embarrassment and faux-pas remain. 

III. The problem "Czechia"

How easy and logical presentation proposal (of  course, rejected by institutions responsible for it) - using unversally applicable, timeless name of our country. The reasons for rejecting „Česko“ are self-evident. Still, the name makes progress and we can assume that it will eventually become accepted usage because there is no other choice. On the other hand, why is there a similarly strong resistance against the English equivalent „Czechia“? Why does a citizen oppose it so vehemently, even if his knowledge of English may be poor or zero?

Having created the „problem Česko,“ the Czechs transferred it automatically in the „problem Czechia.“ Why just in the English equivalent? A vast majority of the population have no idea about the natural existence and function of the country's one-word name in other languages (Tchéquie in French, Chequia in Spanish, Cechia in Italian, Chéquia in Portuguese, Tschechien in German, Tjeckien in Swedish, Tsjechië in Dutch, Чехия in Russian, Çekya in Turkish, צ'כיה in Hebrew, etc.). They hardly notice that these names are formed identically or similarly as in English. Even if they saw the fact, they would not care. But English is the universal means of communication in the present-day world; despite poor education in languages, an individual cannot but be aware of it, thus making it most relevant. For this reason, he immediately sees a problem in it, similar to „problem Česko“.

A rank-and-file citizen can influence the usage of his native language. On the other hand, the English version of the country's one-word name depends on the respective state institutions and organs. Sadly, the persons working there suffer from identical prejudice and errors or even create and spread them. They often use and misuse their power to fight against the one-word name. So, for the most part, it is the Czech political representatives' fault that the name Czechia occurs marginally, and its future is indefinite. Unfortunately, anglophone countries declared in 1993 that the choice of the English name is a matter of our government. It is then the government's fault that Czechia disappeared from the vocabulary of many foreign media and institutions in anglophone territories. In case the Czech side uses the name, the respective institutions repeatedly declared their positive attitude to Czechia. It never happened. On the contrary, "Czechia "was often blocked by Czech ambassadors. So the problem spread to countries that had adopted respective equivalents of "Czechia", which started to prefer the formal political title.

It was necessary to give some reasons for the negative approach. For this purpose, several myths were invented. They worked sufficiently; the public's dislike of "Czechia“ grows from personal feelings and emotions, and so every reason is welcome, however weak it may be. Since there are no facts to form a basis of the refusal, some distorted information must replace them. The most frequent fake arguments are as follows:

a) a dubious origin of the word
b) its overall weakness
c) maybe even an insulting character
d un-English character
e) historical inaccuracy

Medial misinterpretation plays a vital role in the origin of such myths. In the beginning, a respected authority utters a careless, irresponsible, purely subjective comment. The reporters take the words up and adapt them to attract public interest. Next comes an average reader/viewer, who usually has insufficient language knowledge but feels free to profess his opinion. 

By far the most cases result from a lack of education and responsibility. An uneducated person is not dangerous because he or she can eventually change his wrong attitude. On the contrary, the genuine enemy of the country´s name Czechia is a half-educated individual. A typical representative of this group is a politician who assumes that his position gives him the right to comment on everything. His self-confidence results from his obsessive urge to feel educated. Therefore he fights against all arguments, however convincing they may be. If he did not, he would admit that there is something he does not know. Since the half-educated (and also unscrupulous) individuals make up a considerable part of this state´s parliament and government, they will respect, parrot, and protect all sorts of stupid opinions and viewpoints. Why? Because, if they did not, they might endanger their own re-election: they depend on voters of a similar character. In this regard, these politicians are extremely sensitive; on the other hand, they neglect the voters´opinion, in their own interests (power and money) are concerned. The false arguments that they use for this purpose penetrate automatically into the public. The resulting vicious circle offers no exit and can only be cut from outside. (That is the aim of our efforts.) We can list the said false arguments in the following order according to their frequency:

 1  The name is of „eastern“ origin and thus denominates something underdeveloped or backward. (Alexander Vondra: “We [who is „we“? - author´s note] don´t want it, it sounds like Russia.“) , Mr. Vondra does not know that „Czechia“ and all similar variants come from Latin, and he is not concerned with its origin. He would hardly say what he said if he knew that the Latin form Czechia or Cechia reaches back to the ear 17th century. Moreover, an average inhabitant, missing reliable mental support, cherishes a mental rescue-crutch: a feeling of superiority over everything that exists to the east of him. It is the other side of his inferiority complex. As far as the names are concerned, he cites, for example, Bulgaria, Latvia, Armenia, but forgets Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Australia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Columbia, and others. It is one of the unfortunate consequences of the absence of Latin in present-day secondary education.​

Concerning this category, we can mention the (artificially produced) "Chechnya affair". Rumour had it that the names Czechia and Chechnya were similar enough to be confused, and if so, it could damage our tourism. Who would visit a country where a permanent war is going on? In reality, Chechnya not only sounds quite different but also does not constitute an independent state. In the end, the real story emerged: In comments on the Boston marathon bomb attack in 2013, Chechnya was confused with the Czech Republic, not with Czechia. The myth was dead, but it survived in the media and in the heads of its inventors, who never interpreted the Boston story truthfully. In any case, an individual's lousy knowledge of geography is no argument against a government's option for the country's name. There is always someone who confuses cocaine with caffeine, astronomy with agronomy, or, among countries' names, Austria with Australia, Slovakia with Slovenia, but hardly anybody would require a change. By the way, if we were not confused with the incriminated far-away part of Russia but, say, the highly developed Sweden, hardly anybody would complain. This all results from the notion that our country is not sufficiently prominent or respectable on a global scale.

 2  The name lacks respectability (see above the passage "why Republic ") and may even be insulting. Those who share this opinion are not able to explain it. It comes from what we cite under 1) and also from would-be expert claims of some linguists or historians: they say that it is either derived - or directly translated – from the German "Tschechei. " In their opinion, this word is pejorative because Hitler used it, although it had existed long before. The pre-war editions of the German national Brockhaus encyclopedia define it as the standard "name of the western part of Czechoslovakia. "It survives in the vocabulary of border-area inhabitants, who naturally do not feel it as pejorative. After the negotiations with Czech representatives in 1993, the Germans diplomatically opted for "Tschechien“. The respective theorists probably based their proposal on materials from the early stage of the Protectorate when the name "Böhmen und Mähren "was not yet introduced. "Czechia", on the other hand, is 75 years older than Tschechien. In the 1920s-30s, the American media used it as a natural denomination of the Czech state in its historical context.

  3   The name is un-English or sounds „weird“ in English. This opinion also occurs, especially with those opponents who prefer „Czechland“ or „Czechlands. “ Yes, this alternative would sound more natural in English. However, contrary to „Czechia,“ it is an artificial neologism without any historical background. iI cannot „come from nowhere“, unless the English-speaking experts opted for it If they did, we would not object to their request. Some North-American names of non-English (Indian) origin, such as Saskatchewan, Idaho, Kansas, Wyoming, Massachusetts, do not sound English, but everybody uses them. And how about Lithuania, Chile, Zimbabwe? Do they sound natural? They are non-English names of non-English countries, so they do not have to sound natural in English. One more conjecture has appeared in the press: the name Czechia is linguistically wrong because it suggests the pronunciation [che-chi-ya] (chi like „chip“). This false argument is irrelevant. In many words, the written ch sounds k: architect, technic, archive, ache, chimera. Spelling is one thing; the correct pronunciation is another one: it is necessary to learn it. 

 4  The name does not correspond with history. Czechia never existed „de facto.“ This claim is the least frequent but the most dangerous. It originates among half-educated intellectuals who feel sufficiently qualified to force their opinions upon the public. They find a breeding ground on anonymous internet databases, such as Wikipedia, where they can modify the content like censors. Almost all of them rank among heart-and-soul bureaucrats. They cannot see a state in its historical and cultural continuity or distinguish between the letter of the law and its spirit. They argue that it is impossible to apply the name Czechia retrospectively to the „Kingdom of Bohemia“ or the „Crown Lands of Bohemia.“ They fail to notice that other states do so routinely; for example, Germany has existed as an integrated state only since 1871. Due to this absurd approach, the mentioned source of information inspires authors to produce absurd deductions as already was demostrated above (Prince Bořivoj and Charles IV. - extracts from a book on Czech history, written in English and based on information from Wikipedia.) Some of Wikipedia´s writers and administrators became aware of this absurdity. After long and thorough deliberation, they replaced this nonsense by another, even worse one: „...now the Czech Republic, previously the Crown Lands of Bohemia consisting primarily of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Margraviate of Moravia.“ This muddle occurs in many articles dealing with Czech history.

The protagonists of this creed refuse to accept the following apparent facts:

 1  A simplified term is necessary for a nonprofessional recipient to understand the information; moreover, it is valid generally. Many books had the title „History of Czechoslovakia“ or „Czechoslovak History, “ although none of them covered only the period of the state´s existence, starting in 1918. On the other hand, the first „post-November“ team-work historical synthesis (also published in English) bears the title „A History of the Czech Lands, “ although this collocation has never been the Czech state´s official or political name. The authors did not apply the relevant, correct, and logical title „Dějiny Česka“/“A History of Czechia. “ However, it is a standard way the countries present themselves, even if some periods of their history do not apply the particular name. This sensible method helps the recipient to keep his bearings. We can see the difference when we compare the two headings: „A History of Czechia“ vs. „A History of the Czech Republic. “

 2  Their peculiar interpretation of terms is inconvenient: it baffles the standard recipient and inspires such informational gems as "Prince Bořivoj and Charles IV. "

 3  It is beneficial to offer a clear and transparent definition of our state and its continuity.

All kinds of information trying to set the myths to the right have insufficient coverage. The chief editors of the most popular media usually reject them; thus, the articles only appear in professional periodicals, on the websites of the Civic initiative Česko/Czechia and on the web of English Wikipedia (where they are systematically deleted by Czech administrators).

IV. Common Problem

The common problem concerning both Česko and its English equivalent Czechia is the would-be aesthetic assessment, "I do not like the name," declared without any justification. This irrational personal attitude is, by far, the most frequent. It would not be noteworthy if it only occurred with "rank-and-file "citizens. Surprisingly, we find an even higher percentage of this unprofessional approach in persons and institutions responsible for public affairs. The country's geographic name is not a mere object of aesthetic pleasure. First of all, it must serve the state's basic needs. Who else should be aware of this essential request, if not the state's representatives? 

The difference in meaning and function between the Czech state's geographic vs. political name is the core of the matter within its professional sphere. Oddly enough, some persons are unable or unwilling to distinguish, be it on account of ignorance or arrogance. We could hardly imagine a member of Parliament of the French Republic (République française) who would not know that his country, apart from the political title, also can be called France. In our country, however, we often witness the very opposite.

V. Substitutes

In daily life, the one-word (short, geographic) name is a natural and logical necessity. While the responsible persons or institutions ignore this need, the do-it-yourself public can invent a name. Since the upper circles reject the correct name, the people create a wrong makeshift: a simple (or rather foolish) abbreviation of the political title by omitting the "republic. "The resulting "Czech "works as an adjective, but not as a proper name of the country "Česko." In English, adjectives are never identical with the countries' names. It would be inconvenient, apart from other reasons. It is easy to succumb to the illusion if well-known institutions offer it. We adduce an example from sports: The Czech Olympic Committee and the Czech Ice-Hockey Union placed the wrong form on the sportsmen's outfit; as a result, many other unions believed that it was the adequate equivalent to the word Česko. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (who distribute hundreds of millions from the state budget to particular sports and mainly to state representation) shared this trend. After long-lasting protests, the unions replaced "Czech "by another, but no less inappropriate inscription "Czech Team. " In vain were the logical objections that the "Czech Team "applies to the national representatives and equally, say, to Sparta Prague or the local Sports Club in Kotěhůlky.

The brusque „Czech“ survives in the names of many business companies and organizations (for example, Synlab Czech, Toyota Motor Czech, Huyndai Motor Czech, Gillette Czech, and others). It shows lack of knowledge and interest on the part of the corporations but also indifference and disregard on the part of Czech authorities.The gravest harm comes from the the world-renowned Pilsen Prazdroj brewery who have been labelling their export production „Pilsen – Czech“ for more than ten years now; they insist they do not mean the country but an attribute of the product – it is „Czech beer“. True or not, the wording of the message does not prove it. „Czech“ also decorates sports hats and T-shirts, and a variety of tourist souvenirs. This would-be name of the country does not result from anglophone speakers´ usage, as some of its advocates try to make us believe; it is typical „Czenglish“, a genuine product „Made in Czech“ (language). Understandably, its creators´ knowledge of English is low or limited to a narrow field of practical usage. On the other hand, it is alarming that some professionals in the field of English language sometimes accept it.

Thus it is no wonder that an average citizen takes this erroneous form for the correct translation of "Česko" into English. Contrary to the fuss over "missing euphony and dignity" in the word Česko, the public does not apply aesthetic criteria. People accept the one-syllable, brusque "check "-sound without reservation. Moreover, they use it as a source of would-be witty puns, such as "Czech it out "or the official ( ! ) Czechpoint. According to the law, the state's essential symbols must not be altered or abused; the name is undoubtedly one of them. However, this principle is often infringed even on international occasions, including the Olympic games. Examples: Individual and wilful versions of the name in the media; a sports team wearing T-shirts in the form of flags with reversed color order; heraldic errors in the state's coat of arms; wrong sizes of color parts in the state flag; the fans' ugly attributes made of incredible variants of the state's name, its flag, or coat of arms. All these occur every day.

The Czech politicians have tried hard to eradicate the country's correct name; they have done nothing to stop spreading garbles. They only wake up from their lethargy when somebody uses the proper form. At that moment, they open a fierce discussion. With a bit of exaggeration, we could interpret their approach: "Treat the country's name as you like, damage it as you wish, every atrocity (Czech Republike, Czech Rep, Team Czech) is permitted; only don't admit the correct title."

VI. Consequences

Linguistic, historical, and geographical arguments and political and social relations show that the one-word name is necessary and cannot be substituted by the political title. Every avoidance of this necessity leads to verbal and terminological chaos; it reduces the country´s ability to identify itself. This situation harms the state from outside and inside. In domestic politics, it contributes to disunity and dispute. On the international scene, it evokes intuitive doubts about such a unit; the more so because we are the only exception from Europe´s standard and one of four exceptions on a global scale. Symptomatically, our partners are the Dominican Republic, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Česko/Czechia is not a country of considerable prominence, concerning the size, the number of inhabitants, and the actual influence (let alone the long-time political indifference and minimal international activities of its representatives). The country´s image becomes the hazier, the less it can conventionally define itself. This handicap harms all spheres, particularly economics. Stability, reliability, and visibility are necessary for a trademark. The good old brand „Made in Czechoslovakia“ has logically one possible heir: „Made in Czechia“.


We are arriving at the core of the question that we asked at the beginning of this paper: Why does a part of the Czech population (with the political elite at the head) refuse so stubbornly and permanently to solve the issue?

After years of work in our Civic Initiative, after hundreds of articles, press conferences, requests, appeals (mostly without response), we can give a plain answer: The public does not feel a necessity to appear as a well-established, locally and historically anchored state. Thus, the state´s management takes an opportunistic, inconstant line without a vision and idea, as if the leaders had lost or reversed the essential scale of values. 

Some time ago, the President used the name Czechia in a conversation with a foreign politician. The media faced it as a novelty and opened discussions on the (non-existing) choice „either the political title or the one-word name. “ With only minor exceptions, a vast majority of the renowned authorities showed that they were far from understanding the proper crux of the issue. (Let alone the journalists, the would-be „experts“ in various professions, a crowd of bloggers and internet chatters.) The most contributions to this dump of opinions consisted of vague emotional responses whose authors could not understand WHAT was said and WHO brought up the old problems.

In an imaginary vote (based on the wrong task „either-or“and resulting in the relation 2-3: 1), we proudly declared that common sense gets a bad deal and that we do not want to have a name. The future will show the consequences. The vital issue is more profound and broader than our ignorance of the problem in its linguistic, historical geographic and political context; it is the fact that we do not feel the necessity of possessing a permanent value. Because, if we did, we could easily understand the partial attributes of the matter. 

Vladimír Hirsch (2013)
Translation: Eva Horová


čtvrtek 5. března 2020

Why is atheism so prevalent in Czechia?

Reading standard templates of the explanation of Czech history and roles of historical personalities of Czechia, based on protestant (later “coronated” by the communist, strictly anticatholic regime) historical point of view, it looks, also some Catholic opinion should be mentioned (and I would highly recommend the work of great Czech historian Josef Pekař O smyslu českých dějin to people, who is able to read Czech). It is already an awkward cliché to say Czechs are "most atheistic" of all. It's not true. We are, in fact, a nation of believers. But, after certain historical experiences of religiously motivated violence, we are also very cautious about any manifestation of devotion, being very reserved to church institutions. However, when it comes to the crunch, we head to the monument of St. Wenceslas or to the cathedral. At first, it is necessary to say, we were first Christinianized Slavic nation (863 A.D.) and more, we Czechs, namely St. Vojtěch (Adalbert of Prague), Christianized Poles, Hungarians, and Prussians.

The causes of the situation have deep historical roots and the long "development" of its consequenses has resulted in very complicated sociological problem in Czechia of today: Religious wars and politic issues during centuries (Hussite wars in 15th, Thirty Years' War in 17th century) with popular misinterpretation, done by some historians (Palacký who was protestant) and politicians (president Masaryk, sympathizer of Hussitism, and one of ideological founders of so called "Czechoslovak Hussite Church", but with personal history of being Catholic), where still exists some simplification and false templates of the issue by system: 
(1) Czech Hussite movement in 15th century was right reformistic anti-catholic movement. However, Jan (John) Hus did not want to establish a new church, he wanted to reform Catholic church suffered by vacant seat and abuse of the power by the church at that time. The movement became anticatholic only thanks to radical Hussites (btw. today is Czech Hussite church much more close to Catholic than to protestant churches as well as it was in its genuine requirements); 
(2) Austrian Empire = Germanization = catholicism / Czech national revival = anti-catholicism. Yet the main representatives of national revival were Catholics. So, nothing is more far from the truth, that these myths. 

Anti-Catholic propaganda started already during so-called “first republic”, supported by Masaryk, however only in non-violent contours. The main suppression of Catholicism in Czechia started by persecution of the Catholic church during Nazi occupation of Czechia (according to the English Prosecutor Col. Leonard Wheeler there were imprisoned in our country 487 Catholic priests, 70 of whom were executed), and all was “coronated” by huge antipropaganda (communist mister of culture Nejedlý, film director Vávra and his propagandistic films) and persecution of catholic church in Czechoslovakia by communist time. It is also highly important to say, that the Czech catholic church was only one from countries-satellites of Soviet Union, which never officially recognized communism legal regime (bishops in their pastoral letter of March 4, 1948, refused to recognize the legality of the new regime) in the country with terrible consequences (torture, executions, murders, cancellation of orders, imprisoning of priests and nuns, stealing of all properties, cancellation of many churches, etc, etc.). Individuals have been subjected to judicial and less institutionalized murders, imprisonment and torture, which killed or destroyed their lives so much that they died shortly after release, and to severe and systematic discrimination against Catholics in access to higher education and more important positions in society. All was accompanied by continual hysterical propaganda against the catholic church. The hatred crimes towards the Catholic church in Czechoslovakia committed by the communist regime were much more significant than in other countries of the Soviet block. The persecution took many forms and involved both the Church as a whole and its individual members. In the church, as an organization, it was the complete liquidation of an independent church press, the expulsion of the church from society into churches, the submission of a series of purely ecclesiastical matters to the state curator, the destruction of orders and religious congregations, the unjustified internment or the imprisonment of high church dignitaries and intervention in the occupation of ecclesiastical authorities making it impossible for them to be named. The Communist regime also attempted to rewrite and modify the history of the Czech nation so that the Catholic Church acted as a negative agent, which effort was successful and its consequences are present even today.

The Czechoslovak persecution of the Catholic Church is commonly referred to as the cruelest within the part of the post-war communist regimes, not directly annexed to the USSR.
Anti-propaganda in schools from an early age has lead to some kind of religious tepidity of Czechs and was the main cause of increase of atheism in Czechia. Due to all false historical explanations from that time that mentality remains unconsciously in people until now.

Quora, Oct.26, 2018

úterý 4. února 2020

"Final Solution"

On 27th May 1942, Jan Kubiš from paratrooper group Anthropoid threw a bomb on the car carrying Reinhard Heydrich, The Reich´s protector, general of police and the third-highest man within Germany's "Third Reich", resulting in the death of "the "hangman of Czech nation" or "the butcher of Prague".

Heydrich arrived in the "Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia" on behalf of Adolf Hitler in the autumn of 1941 with the primary aim to break the resistance of the Czech people. At a meeting of Nazi officials a few days earlier later, he said: "Czech territory must never be left in such a state that would allow the Czechs to say that it is their space .... the final solution is to Germanize them or directly kill them at the wall." It was called by him “final solution”. Heydrich left a bloody footprint in Czechia and its history: in just four months of martial law which was ordered by Heydrich, hundreds of Czechs were executed and thousands killed in concentration camps. Heydrich attempted to decimate the resistance, but as was soon shown, not quite.....

The assassination of Heydrich was one of the most significant moments in the history of the resistance in Czechoslovakia and is considered to be the strongest act of defiance throughout occupied Europe. The act had such a big impact in the world, that it resulted in the immediate dissolution of the Munich agreement (in Czechia called the "Munich dictate") from 1938 assigned by Great Britain and France, but also by Germany's ally Italy. The Munich Pact could have annexed a third of Czechoslovak land. As accurately Czech philosopher Václav Černý˝ wrote: "Heydrich came to kill Czech nation and the Czech nation killed him for that". The act was not (as is usually called) "assassination", but regular execution of a criminal, inhuman creature.

All those heroes died in unequal struggle against 800 Germans. Fighting in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius took place on 18 June 1942 between members of the SS and the Gestapo and seven Czechoslovak paratroopers. Among them were Jozef Gabčík, and Jan Kubiš, who assassinated Heydrich. The fight was divided into two parts. First, it was the defense of the empire and the bark of the church by three paratroopers, which lasted about 2 hours, and the second German conquest of the crypt defended by four paratroopers. The entire fight lasted seven hours and cost the lives of all skydivers versus 800 German soldiers - six committed suicide, one died from injuries suffered.

From great film by J.Sequens "Atentát"
Jan Kubiš
A memorial plague on St.Constantin and Methodius Orthodox church with holes of bullets, Resslova street, Prague, Czechia, where all 7 members of paratroop group died in the unequal fight against 700 Germans.
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úterý 28. ledna 2020

Vladimír Hirsch - Hymn: Do Not Let Us Perish (St.Wenceslas)

Variations on Old Czech chorale „Svatý Václave“, op. 96. "St.Wenceslas chorale" originated probably in the end of 10th century or in the beginning of the 11th century. It is a church hymn, which is sung regularly also today. The authorship of the original song is sometimes attributed to another Czech saint Vojtěch (St.Adalbert of Prague), the bishop of Prague, missionaire and martyr.

Vladimír Hirsch' s variations Hymn: "Do Not Let Us Perish" is a composition for integrated techniques, created in 2015 for the thematic album “Katagenesis” which will be released in December 2020 by Old Captain label.

Saint Wenceslas (or Wenceslaus; Václav in Czech), Prince Wenceslaus I (907-935), Duke of Bohemia from 921 until his death in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel. His martyrdom, and the popularity of several biographies, quickly gave rise to a reputation for heroic goodness, resulting in his being elevated to sainthood, posthumously declared king, and seen as the main patron saint of Czechia.