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Julius Zajac: Let's defend Europe together, beginning with unity

15.11.2015 23:23
Julius Zajac (PHOTO:  Personal archive of Julius Zajac)
Julius Zajac (PHOTO: Personal archive of Julius Zajac)

After the terrorist attacks in France, antagonism in the Czech Republic is growing against the so-called "optimists" ("sluníčkáři"). Who are they?

While a precise definition of this term does not exist, I believe it is meant to refer to people who do not judge groups of people according to their religion, and who do not judge entire nations, but who believe that it is individual people who are good and bad.

The optimists are willing to help their fellow human beings, even on the other side of the globe. Precisely because they offer a helping hand, they are even being labeled as traitors.

What is interesting is that such reproaches are made by those who have never participated in any charity or volunteer work. I explain this by the fact that there has always existed a group of people in this society who hate anyone and anything that behaves differently than they do.

I don't know whether the anti-optimists also consider the Greek and Italian authorities and police officers rescuing refugees at sea, or even Doctors without Borders, to be this kind of optimist. Dear anti-optimists, please believe that those who are the optimists are not to blame for terrorism.

They are not responsible for the chaos in Iraq or Libya and they did not create Islamic State. Let's not look for an enemy where none exists.

Let's defend Europe together and let's begin by being united. That is certainly necessary if we are not to tear each other apart.

Let's not succumb to the opinions that have been publicly expressed by, for example, heavy metal singer Aleš Brichta, who after the attacks in France posted the following to his public Facebook profile:  "Excellent, you multicultural optimists. More terrorist attacks in Paris (at the French-German football match, in a club at an Eagles of Death Metal concert, etc.), more than 60 dead already. France is announcing a state of emergency and closing its borders. Is that what you want, you cretins? If something happens in our country, then you should all be strung up by your balls in the open air and your entire families should be shamed so that everyone will see what it is they raised!!!"

This status update is redolent with the atmosphere of the 1930s. If Brichta had said he wanted to string up the terrorists, I might give him the benefit of the doubt, but to say you want to string up people just because they hold a different opinion, and to want to shame innocent members of their families - that has nothing in common with democracy and Europe in the 21st century, Mr Brichta!

For me personally it is also sad that a musician is capable of such an outburst. I express my deep condolences to the bereaved survivors of the victims of the terrorist attacks in France and hope the surviving wounded heal quickly. 

Julius Zajac, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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