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August 19, 2019
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Commentary: Czech President spouts reassuring nonsense to ultra-nationalists

18.7.2019 7:58
Tomio Okamura (left) a Miloš Zeman (right). (2018).
Tomio Okamura (left) a Miloš Zeman (right). (2018).

Czech President Miloš Zeman has distinguished himself yet again. In the greeting he gave recently to the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement's program conference, he assured the members that they are not extremists, but "radicals".

This statement can be interpreted two ways, neither of which makes any sense. The term "radical" means something that gets to the essence or the root of a matter.

The SPD under Czech MP Tomio Okamura decidedly does not focus on the roots of anything. They are engaged in Fascism, proclaim the coarsest kind of populism, and are so xenophobic it is horrifying.

Their communications have nothing to do with any kind of principle. Okamura & Co. are actually just all about what they claim everybody else is seeking: power, a seat at the pig trough, fiefdoms, benefits for themselves and money in their own pockets.

There is a reason the SPD has been called a movement trafficking in xenophobia. They will do literally anything to acquire power, in particular, persistently proclaiming their hatreds and inciting others against minorities and refugees.

Okamura's followers do not care that they are feeding and stimulating fear in our society - acquiring those fiefdoms is more important. The expressions "radicalism" or "radicals" are also being used in another sense today, though, and that is instead of the terms "extremism" or "extremists".

Journalists, for example, call the neo-Nazi Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS) a "radical" party. Sometimes we read that a follower of a "radical movement" is being investigated for committing a bias crime against somebody Romani, for example, instead of such people being called what they actually are, right-wing extremists.

If that was the meaning Zeman had in mind for the term "radical", then his message was that the SPD is not extremist but radical - i.e., de facto extremist. The statement "You're not extremists, but extremists" is, of course, absurd.

Unfortunately, we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that this is far from the first time Zeman has spoken nonsensically and certainly will not be the last. After all, he has to go down in history for something, right?

František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Miloš Zeman, radikálové, Tomio Okamura



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