"Small country" complex: stop telling Klaus not to bother the EU

5. 11. 2009 / Fabiano Golgo

If France could spend years fighting to forbid Germany to call tartar sauce "mayonnaise", during the pre-history days of the European Community, why cannot Klaus dispute national sovereignty issues?

What is this understanding in Europe -- accentuated in the countries of the former socialist bloc -- that there is the need for a One Voice? Klaus is right to go against such frighteningly reminder of Kremlin-inspired puppet voting in the satellite countries.

A Czech version of this article in CLICK HERE

In the U.S., because of the conservatism of southern states, which are heavily influenced by puritan values, the ordeal to pass certain federal laws is epic and well known, from the desegregation legislation to the current fight for homosexual rights. Such prolonged processes have not kept the country from developing and thriving, though.

Why is it that bureaucratic-minded Europeans feel that there is the need for unanimous opinion on whatever issue? Why is it that Europeans think that discordance is aggression? So what if Klaus is fighting windmills with Jana Bobošíková as his Sancho Panza? Have not the French fought for their food and other traditions that often seem to us as silly?

What is wrong with Klaus being a populist and profiting from the psychotic aversion Czechs have towards the spectre of Sudeten Germans returning to their stolen homes? The fact that innocent German girls were raped (sometimes to death), underage German kids were submitted to horrors and even the sick and elderly were often barbarically and unfairly punished in the euphoric lawlessness of the immediate post-War months by cowardly Czechs, more often looking for material profit than justice, is a undefeated taboo subject in this nation.

Democracy without the freedom of believing stupid things and saying them out loud is not democracy. I consider any laws or cultural norms that come from fairy tales like the Bible or any other magical beliefs in superbeings as ridiculous, illogical and dangerous, but I cannot keep those who like such superstitions to believe or talk about them. If Klaus believes or pretends to believe that the Lisbon Treaty document would allow those horrible Germans to fight back for their rights, this is his right. A right given to him in the name of all Czechs by their parliamentarians. The fact that the group choosing and the persons available to be chosen are like from a Fellini comedy is your fault. It is the fault of every Czech who finds whatever alibi to not go out and vote.

Klaus is the president and we all knew he is against the EU, that he does not believe in human influence on global warming and that he is a Hussite. To then tell him to not be himself is at least contradictory.

We should not forget that the Lisbon Treaty is the fruit of political arrogance and is but a trick. It is a light re-issue of a democratically rejected proposal. It is a new name for a slightly manicured European Constitution project, which was refused in referendum by the French and the Dutch in 2005. That shows how undemocratic is the way of thinking in the high structures of the EU -- if the "People" refuse something, wrap it up again and try to sell it once more. It looks to me too much like Hugo Chavez and his referendum for his socialistic constitution -- after being defeated once, he waited a bit longer, put some make-up in the text and... new voting.

Not that I have anything special against the Lisbon Treaty. Like the vast majority of inhabitants of this continent, I have not had the time and patience to read it. And I never agreed ideologically with Klaus. But on the principle that he has the legitimate right to not agree with whatever he finds suitable we do actually agree.

I often meet Czechs who say they agree with Klaus, but thought he should not make waves and simply sign it. I guess it is a certain subconscious feeling that Czech Republic is too small or unimportant to stop a process wanted by so many much more important countries.

If Sarkozy disrespects all rules of EU diplomacy and acts independently of the institution's guidelines, as when he flew to deal with Israel early this year, so why cannot Klaus also act controversially and independently?

If the EU wants to change Klaus opinion, they should not have resorted to force. It looked like all wanted to purge Klaus as a dissident was in the Soviet bloc. What else could Klaus want but to gain the status - for future generations - of a rebel against a suffocatingly politically correct institution? Democracy is about trying to convince those who have different views, not forcing them to pretend they have them. That is for dictatorships.

Klaus made his name known all over the world with each new episode surrounding his signature of the Treaty. In a twisted way, he put Czech Republic in the map. He acted with an air of superiority that makes some more powerful and richer countries see it as petulance, exposing their feeling of superiority. In a way, he stylized himself as Czech David against the imperialistic Goliath of Brussels. In a country with a history marred by foreigners telling you what to do, Klaus may have a point. But even if not, he should be allowed to make it openly and without the peer pressure that turns him into a pariah for seeing things differently. We should always beware of any general consensus. They tend to mask and disregard the details...

Havel signed, going beyond his powers and local public opinion, a document in support of George W Bush and his war against Iraq... Havel in some known cases took as much time as possible before signing a bill he was not happy about. Presidency, in parliamentarian systems, is all about symbolisms, once said Havel himself, comparing his role to that of an actor in a silent movie. Klaus is just playing his character and portraying the "Hommo Cechus" in the way this nation is known for: as a Herectical Czech, lending from the title of a The Economist article in January.

Klaus is representing well the small town Czech, who is suspicious of foreign authorities and distrustful of institutions. And who also love a conspiracy theory... If Italy can have a Berlusconni, why cannot Czechs have their own version?


Obsah vydání | Pátek 26.2. 2010