Sunday, April 01, 2007
Karel Schwarzenberg: it was expulsion
I kind of applaud the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Karl Johannes Nepomuk Josef Norbert Friedrich Antonius Wratislaw Mena von Schwarzenberg, His Serene Highness The Prince of Schwarzenberg, Count of Sulz, Princely Landgrave in Klettgau and Duke of Krummau.
Sorry for the long name. Not everyone can have a name as concise as Condi Rice. ;-)
He argues that it is nonsensical to try to avoid the word "expulsion" for what has been called "transfer" or "displacement" of the Germans from Sudetenland after the war. At the same moment, of course, he adds that one must understand this "horrible" event in its context and the lesson of the 20th century is that it is extremely dangerous to try to re-open such historic events and seek for any kind of "compensation" because we know where such attempts have led in the history of Europe.
In America, similar attempts to "compensate" for the history have only led to affirmative action and political correctness but the European experience with this concept has been more brutal.
It has been more pleasant for many Czech ears to use "human" words such as "odsun" (transfer) but "vyhnání" (expulsion) has been preferred by many Germans, for complementary reasons. The Reference Frame believes that the word preferred in Germany is more accurate as long as we realize that neither Czech nor English or German is rich enough a language to capture the catastrophe of many events that happened a bit earlier.