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Czechoslovakia's 98th birthday: Klaus' speech

I realize that these utterly national topics attract a very small number of readers but I do think that there are – and there should be – people in the West who are following things like that in some detail and someone should translate such things. You may learn how the historical events are being framed in the context of the ongoing political developments including the EU and the migration wave.

Czechoslovakia was founded 98 years ago, on October 28th, 1918, on the ruins of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. President Zeman had a celebration at the Prague Castle where he named new generals etc.

Because the Prague Café was offended when he decided not to award a Canadian Czech Holocaust survivor George Brady (whom I have never heard of) because his nephew, minister Herman, met Dalai Lama (while Zeman wants to keep friendly relationships with China) – a story that is insanely overreported given its absolute insignificance (which doesn't mean that I would behave in the same way as Zeman) – the Prague Café organized a "competing" event at the Old Town Square.

Ex-president Klaus attended an event at the National Memorial at the Vítkov Hill (see the photograph above), a place that the heretical Hussites defended in the famous 1420 battle against the much stronger crusaders. The neighborhood beneath the hill was named Žižkov after Mr Jan Žižka, the Hussite "general" who led the 1420 victory.

Here is a translation of Klaus' speech – which is obviously and by far the best speech that was offered to the Czech audiences on the today's anniversary. The Czech original and a video are available.

My first post-presidential October 28th speech

Dear distinguished guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen, TV viewers,

I am thankful to the Czech Association of Freedom Warriors [formerly Anti-Fascist Warriors] and its chairman Mr Jaroslav Vodička [Littlewater] for the invitation to your regular annual gathering. I haven't enjoyed the opportunity to give a speech on this day for 4 years and I must admit that I was missing it. (I was carefully listening to the nice talks by the two previous speakers and let me add some thoughts, too.) The 28th of October should – despite its being belittled by an artificially created dangerous and risky political conflict of recent days – remain an extraordinary opportunity to talk about our homeland and to think about her importance in our lives and about our pride that we belong to it.

The national holiday of October 28th isn't being celebrated because we have gotten used to – because of some random coincidences – the award ceremony involving the country' most precious medals at the Prague Castle, even though this ritual is a part of the holiday, too. And this ritual shouldn't be disparaged. Instead, this holiday is primarily the day when we commemorate the moment when the independent Czech statehood was reborn. It is the day when we humbly and thankfully return to the events and personalities who are connected with the efforts to regain our statehood and national sovereignty. It is also increasingly a day when we are meditating, somewhat anxiously, about the meaning and purpose of our country within the current atmosphere of the contemporary Europe that isn't friendly or supportive of historical territories and nation states in them.

During the last quarter-century, we began to get used to the meme that the memory about the struggle for sovereignty and freedom of our state has been reduced to a mere glimpse to our history, a topic that is still emotionally strong for the older generations but no longer relevant for the younger ones. We were slowly and gradually reconciled with the view that the restoration of freedom and democracy that took place after the fall of communism and the subsequent Czech entry to the NATO and the EU have solved and permanently guaranteed everything that our parents and grandparents in the 20th century tried to achieve and they were bringing their sacrifices to – sometimes the ultimate sacrifices.

A majority of the citizens wants to believe (and perhaps has already bought into the belief) that the existential crises and the threats for the nation have become a matter of the past and that we're standing at the beginning of a straight road towards a stable, safe, and prosperous future. A not so small part of our public has embraced the illusion of the unstoppable social progress, the ever increasing prosperity, and the security of the country and its citizens that is guaranteed in the long run. Illusions of this kind are absolutely flawed.

Exactly today when we remember the anniversary of the birth of our republic which was born out of the ruins, massacres, and decay of the First World War, and when we praise the historical contributions that Prof Thomas Garrigue Masaryk and Dr Edvard Beneš gave to our statehood, we should say very assertively that even these days, we have reasons to be worried about our statehood and the well-being of its citizens and we must still be ready to protect and defend them. Those of us in this hall know about this duty. Especially a couple of recent years have convinced us that Europe – including us – is once again standing on a dangerous crossroad and that newly coming threats must be confronted and we must be prepared for them. I know that the members of your association know about it and they are often reminding themselves about it on various occasions. That's why I have always had a great respect for them.

Masaryk and Beneš gave us examples of the courage to rely primarily on our own strengths, to stop being a province controlled from abroad, and to begin to govern ourselves. We have already forgotten about many of these things. Many people have bought into the massive propaganda that the cure for all the national worries is our membership in the European Union. They have been persuaded that the Western European countries are wealthy and democratic because of their EU membership even though they were wealthy and democratic long before the EU was created. For a couple of years, it's been rather clear that, on the contrary – despite their EU membership – these countries have been dropping in the international competitiveness and they were getting poorer in the relative sense. Some of them are getting poorer even in the absolute sense.

Once again, it's necessary to remind ourselves that the wealth must be created before it may be redistributed. That the road to prosperity doesn't go through subsidies but through competitiveness, productivity, and profit. That we won't be helped by an explosion of newly invented entitlement rights while the duties and responsibility are being suppressed. That the solution won't be provided by the attacks against the basic building blocks of our society, attacks that are getting stronger all over the whole European realm – attacks against the family and the traditional human relationships. The policies of our country's top political institutions usually don't defend us against this unwelcome trend, sometimes they even seem to be encouraging it. Especially in the education.

The proliferation of the political correctness is making the free discussions impossible, it prevents us from calling the problems by the right words, it blocks the solutions. The ideals of freedom on which our country was erected and that have mobilized the citizens' resistance against two horrible totalitarian systems of the past century were apparently replaced by the chimera of equality that is often being pushed to the most absurd corners and that takes the most absurd forms. Instead of our care about the whole, the dominant ideal is a notion of the society as a conglomerate of minorities.

These negative developments aren't Czech specifics. The whole European Union and, in a more general sense, the whole Western civilization is ill, too. It turns out that the dangers for our country, our nation, and our way of life doesn't have to come from the geographic direction that we have been trained to consider dangerous. Some people don't want to hear and understand it, however. They insist on fighting the wars of the past. They don't want to see that the growing tension in the world is also increasing the threat of a major war conflict whose consequences could be fatal.

The decline of the West and its separation from its own traditional values have created the room for the ongoing migration crisis. This crisis is just getting started. It is not a threat that came quickly and will end equally quickly. The mass migration represents an existential threat for Europe as we know it and as we want to have it. It is a step towards a change of the national, ethnic, and cultural conditions and values on our continent. We are disturbed that the governing elites of the European countries either don't know it or don't want to know it. They don't think that the migration of millions of people from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa is a threat. Instead, they see it as an opportunity to change the contemporary Europe to their image. The destructive social-engineering ideology of multiculturalism provides them with the ammunition. This ammunition has the capacity to decompose not only the European Union but also the conditions in the individual EU member states.

None of the achievements that we have gotten used to in the recent 25 years should be considered irreversible or eternally guaranteed. We must start to rely on ourselves once again. We should view the founders of our statehood to be the role models but we may also be inspired by others who weren't hesitating to defend the freedom and sovereignty of our nation throughout the 20th century. The modern Czech state is an amazing value. It is our duty to defend it, preserve it, and transfer it to the future generations. Let us use this day to fully realize the gravity of this task. It's necessary because in two years – when Czechoslovakia will celebrate its 100th birthday – there should better be something left for us to celebrate.

Thank you for your attention.

Václav Klaus at the ceremony commemorating the 98th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, Czech Association of Freedom Warriors, the National Memorial at the Vítkov Hill, Prague, October 28th, 2016

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