Vaclav Havel: “People, your government has returned to you!”

From documentary "Citizen havel", source

Vaclav Havel was a great inspiration for me, I guess just as for any other child of post-communist transition. If I had to pick one of his essays, speeches, articles that I admire much, I would probably go for either “The Power of the powerless” or his  January 1, 1990 New Year’s Address to the Nation. Here is a full text of his speech and I wish to share it with you. My deepest condolences.

“People, your government has returned to you!”

Vaclav Havel’s New Year’s Address to the Nation, 1990

My dear fellow citizens,

For forty years you heard from my predecessors on this day different variations on the same theme: how our country was flourishing, how many million tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us.

I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you.

Our country is not flourishing. The enormous creative and spiritual potential of our nations is not being used sensibly. Entire branches of industry are producing goods that are of no interest to anyone, while we are lacking the things we need. A state which calls itself a workers’ state humiliates and exploits workers. Our obsolete economy is wasting the little energy we have available. A country that once could be proud of the educational level of its citizens spends so little on education that it ranks today as seventy-second in the world. We have polluted the soil, rivers and forests bequeathed to us by our ancestors, and we have today the most contaminated environment in Europe. Adults in our country die earlier than in most other European countries.

Václav Havel in Prague in 1988, the year before he led the Velvet Revolution. The Teleghraph photo

Allow me a small personal observation. When I flew recently to Bratislava, I found some time during discussions to look out of the plane window. I saw the industrial complex of Slovnaft chemical factory and the giant Petr’alka housing estate right behind it. The view was enough for me to understand that for decades our statesmen and political leaders did not look or did not want to look out of the windows of their planes. No study of statistics available to me would enable me to understand faster and better the situation in which we find ourselves.

But all this is still not the main problem. The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension, and for many of us they represented only psychological peculiarities, or they resembled gone-astray greetings from ancient times, a little ridiculous in the era of computers and spaceships. Only a few of us were able to cry out loudly that the powers that be should not be all-powerful and that the special farms, which produced ecologically pure and top-quality food just for them, should send their produce to schools, children’s homes and hospitals if our agriculture was unable to offer them to all.

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10 Steps to Becoming an Euroblogger

EU. Eternal love affair for East Europeans. I was just reading some analyses about region’s post-crisis perspectives and realized how much in fact I post about EU on Ad Astra Per Aspera, which was actually originally created to cover Georgian and Caucasian issues. Did I turn to EU-blogger or something? well, not really, however I know few who have such attempts. Guess following post will be very useful for them.

This hilarious post concerning the 10 simple steps to becoming an Euroblogger, was published  last year at Julien Frisch. I kept it in my internet browser bookmarks. Time to share, Enjoy:

photo from European Geostrategy.

1. You need to become crazy.

If you are not crazy yet, start reading the consolidated Lisbon Treaty from the first to the large page. If you finished reading and you are still not crazy, please apply for a job in one of the EU institutions.

2. You need to make the first and most important choice.

If you finished reading the Lisbon Treaty, you think it is crap and you don’t like the EU because of that, you need to call yourself a “eurosceptic”. If you think it is crap and you still like the EU you are now called “federalist”. As a Euroblogger you will belong in one of the two categories, and officially there is nothing in between.

3. You need a good name.

If you are lucky, you already have a good name or nickname that is easy to remember. If not, invent something. And since you are crazy, don’t hesitate to think of really strange animals when choosing your nickname.

4. You need to write a first post.

It doesn’t matter what you write, just use “Europe” and “EU” several times, first in the title and then in the text. Since normal bloggers don’t use these terms you will be clearly identified as a Euroblogger. Be aware that from now on you are an outcast in the general blogosphere.
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(in)Dependent State?!

A man hangs out flags representing the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and of Russia and Nicaragua on top of the burned hotel and restaurant Abkhazia in Sukhumi. Russia and Nicaragua are the only countries to have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and south Ossetia. (Photo by Sophia Mizante)  from eurasianet.org

I was born in Abkhazia, Sokhumi. There is a little I remember about it but it was something my parents and relatives gentely installed in me. It was growing with me all these years. Now its 22 years old. Not a child anymore. It’s much more mature then others in this age and pretty independent. Yeah independent, not like the real Abkhazia that claims being idnependent. You know what? I would even leave the idea of bringing back Abkhazia forever and would let them to leave, if only they were really independent. But I can’t close my eyes on the reality and lie to myself. If only somebody was happy after this war, I would be glad, but was it all for super-power struggle and interests? yes, it was indeed and that makes me to feel more sad about fatality of my country’s history. 
I am a political scinces student and despite it I never manage to look at Georgian conflicts from a an academic point of view. But it’s not just about me, it’s enough to attend any conflict subject class at any university and when it comes to your own country or feelings it’s always hard to keep yourself in academic frames and idealistic principles. But this is what it is, it’s all about real people transforming idealistic and sometimes surealistic scientific and well written values into real life where it’s is never perfect as it sounds in the books.
yestarday I was asked to answer some questions for Macedonian (yes, say Macedonia) newspaper and one sounded like this: how do Georgians look at Abkhazians? If you want general attitude of society I would say, for them Abkhazia is taken-away home. Georgians feel like betrayed by a family member for a promised gold. Yes, Georgians feel sorry for Abkhazians and call them as victims of Russian politics. You will often  hear Georgans saying that one day Abkhazians will understand what a huge mistake they did and wish to be with Georgians again. The hatred that exists today is a result of this coflict and not the reason for this, it was long time ago planned conflict (like other conflicts in the caucasus) by soviets that appeared to have a far reached results.  

I am not sad, I am just sad, as  well as I am not pessimistic , just not optimistic as well…. just now, for a moment……

Russian oil and gas export interruptions

August 28, 2008

RUSSIAN FEDERATION – LONDON – Russia has cut oil and gas supplies to neighbours and indirectly to onward customers in recent years.

The following is a list of some supply interruptions and the reasons offered for them. The Swedish Defence Research Agency, a government-linked body, said in a report in March 2006 that Russia had cut off exports on around 40 occasions. Moscow denies that it uses energy as a political tool.

 

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Putin, We Remember Beslan

It has been exactly four years since that horrific event that outraged the world, the bloody siege of North Ossetia’s Beslan School No. 1. More than 1,000 hostages were taken at the Beslan school in the early hours of September 1, 2004, by guerrillas demanding an end to the war in nearby Chechnya. Survivors of the Beslan hostage massacre called Monday for an international enquiry on the fourth anniversary of the tragedy, saying the Kremlin is suppressing the truth.
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