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June 26, 2022



Commentary: The opponents of racism are racists - current and former Czech Presidents show their anti-democratic colors to the world

4.7.2020 10:48
Former Czech President Klaus (left) and current Czech President Zeman (right) on the Czech presidential standard with its slogan
Former Czech President Klaus (left) and current Czech President Zeman (right) on the Czech presidential standard with its slogan "Truth prevails" (Pravda vítězí). (2020) (Collage:

A great wave of resistance to racism has been swelling worldwide, so strongly that those who dislike it feel the need to speak out against it and to call it dangerous. This is not just about condemning incidents of destruction, looting and other violence - one could agree with such condemnation - but rather goes directly to the essence of the problem: Will our cultural circle continue to destroy democracy, or will it return to continuing the work of those before us who built it?

Democracy as a danger

Miloš Zeman, when visiting the American Ambassador, criticized the "opinion leaders" associated with these protests against racism, saying he doesn't need any new "Big Brothers" to tell him which values to hold. We are not surprised that Zeman said he needs no "opinion leaders", since he himself has an entire herd he is busy leading.

He then labeled the slogan of the American protests, "Black Lives Matter", a racist slogan. No, that is not a misquote.

Zeman consciously attacked those opposed to racism. Proof of that is his allegation that "society" in the Czech Republic and in the United States is currently facing attacks on the "independence" of their citizens.

"We cannot ignore this danger, we must counter it," Zeman said. This alleged "attack on the independence of citizens" actually consists of the fact that some citizens have had enough of racism and xenophobia, which of course is in accordance with the vision of democracy expressed by the Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in this country.

Zeman, therefore, sees "danger" in democracy itself and in those who advocate it, to put it simply. Former Czech President Klaus also made a similar appearance this week, giving a speech to the politicians of the populist/xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Berlin.

Among other things, Klaus commented on current events. "What we have been experiencing in recent weeks - this rewriting of history and destruction of monuments and statues of important figures in our nations, which has never happened before - is a silent revolution that is destroying us," he said.

"I believe the AfD knows this all just as well as I do, maybe even  knows it much better that I do," the former Czech President said. Really those extremists in Germany do see it the same way, but not better - because Klaus himself knows everything best of all, of course.

"All Lives Matter"

The demonstrators against racism understandably also know that all lives matter - i.e., that "white" lives also matter; they chose the slogan "Black Lives Matter" because they are, in their view, currently more endangered, not because white lives matter less to them. What's more, roughly one half of those demonstrating are "white", as we can see from the footage of almost each and every such event.

The entire protest was begun by yet another murder of a Black man by police, and for that reason, the slogan speaks of Black lives. These protests, therefore, are not about Black racism against "whites", but about defending the Black community against the institutional (police) racism aimed against Black people, which also angers many "whites".

Twisted thinking

To label those opposed to racism as "racists" or as "enemies" of democracy is the speciality of today's twisted thinking, and people afflicted by some form of extremism and those who do their bidding can be recognized by such statements. Today, many powerful people are among them, and others are breaking through into power both in Europe and the USA.

These are not just psychopaths or sociopaths, but above all populists who are oriented in a racist or xenophobic direction. Democracy is thus gradually transforming itself into a variety of an authoritarian regime.

When those who advocate for this transformation - including Klaus and Zeman - see a danger in democracy being able to defend iself, they come out of hiding into the public arena and pump another dose of hatred into their audience. For that reason, we prefer it if the outside world were to ignore the ex-President and the current leader of his herd.

In other words, the lives of Klaus and Zeman matter too. Actions not taken are mistakes not made.

František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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