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Advent Challenge calls on Czech society to defend itself against hatred and populists

3.12.2015 18:42
The mock-ups of gallows that were brandished at a demonstration  on 1 July 2015 in Prague against immigration and quotas and in favor of the Czech Republic leaving the EU. (PHOTO:  Facebook.com)
The mock-ups of gallows that were brandished at a demonstration on 1 July 2015 in Prague against immigration and quotas and in favor of the Czech Republic leaving the EU. (PHOTO: Facebook.com)

The Post Bellum organization has issued an "Advent Challenge" warning against the abuse of concerns over the refugee crisis, the situation in Russia, and the division of society. The text was written in response to the events that have been occurring all over Europe in recent months.

According to the authors of the challenge there is no instruction manual for how to resolve the international situation, but we should stick to our ideals while we find a solution. "We are disturbed to follow the aggressivity, fascisizing tendencies, and hatred now being expressed by no small part of society," they write.

The challenge is endorsed by Czechoslovak veterans of the Second World War, by resistance fighters, by Holocaust survivors, by former dissidents and political prisoners, and by others. News server Romea.cz publishes the text of the Advent Challenge in full translation here:

Advent Challenge 2015

We, the signatories to this challenge, are hereby warning of the danger to which our society is now exposed. Once again, not just our circumstances but false leaders are dividing us into two opposing camps.

The aim of this challenge is to warn against the repetition of what we experienced during the 20th century and against the relativization of the values for which our friends and loved ones fought, suffered and died. We are disturbed to follow the aggressivity, fascisizing tendencies, and hatred now being expressed by no small part of society.

We are disgusted by the mob behavior of those who have fallen into angry nationalism, shouting the slogans "Bohemia for the Czechs", "Death to Collaborators", and brandishing a gallows over their heads as a sign of revenge. These people call themselves patriots, but genuine patriotism is connected with the humanistic tradition of T. G. Masaryk and with respect for the democracy and freedom that this nation fought for and won during World War I, World War II, and the era of communist totalitarianism.

We do not know how to stop migration. People seeking safety and a better life are now on the road, begging for aid.

We know this scenario from the interwar period, from the Second World War itself, and from the postwar period. We are calling on all of you to maintain a humanist position at this time:  Go towards those who are suffering and do your best to aid them.

It cannot be ruled out that along with the refugees, criminals and enemies who want to abuse our hospitality will also come to Europe. While screening the migrants is complicated, it is possible.

We appeal to EU representatives to take rapid action in accordance with respect for human life. We call on politicians not to isolate our country, but to seek, together with our allies, an effective solution to the refugee crisis, and to face up to the threat of terrorist attacks.

Naturally we do not wish to see sharia law introduced into Europe. Naturally we require of those to whom we offer asylum that they adopt as their own the practice of honoring and respecting the freedom of others.

We also call on politicians not to close their eyes to the annexing of foreign territories and other violations of international law. We are hereby warning against Russian nationalism, propaganda, and the disparagement of the victory over communism.

Let's now defend ourselves here against the populists inciting intolerance and violence. Let's not allow the imposition of this inverted, upside-down nationalism and or of this ersatz patriotism.

In the Christian tradition, Advent is a time of anticipation and hope. We will be able to face down this demagoguery, terrorism and violence once we return to the values that have made us significant as a nation:  The defense of democracy, freedom, and fundamental human rights. 

The Board of the Memory of Nations project (Paměti národa)

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lidská práva, Nacionalismus, Populism, Post Bellum, výzva



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