The sustained attack on the environmental activists in the protected Tichá Valley in the High Tatras reminds many of the campaign against their predecessors, who dared to raise their voices against the communists and point out the sorry state of the Bratislava environment. Then, as now, state representatives did not respond with factual arguments but with invective and insults. They ask protesters who is paying them, and what right they have to interfere with professional matters that only state employees understand.
The protesters came to the Tatras because they objected to what was being done there, and took it on themselves to do something about it. This is called civic initiative, something that bureaucrats do not understand. It is the same initiative that brought people to the streets to force the communists out in 1989. No one was paying them then either.
Bureaucrats also ask the protesters who they are representing, and to whom they are responsible for their acts. These are also stupid questions that reflect an ignorance of the foundations of democracy. Citizens do not need authorization to assemble in pursuit of common interests.
In 1989, when Prague students took to the streets in protest, the communists showed them the iron fist of the state. Czechoslovak civic society realized that the country's children were being beaten up, so they decided to protect them. Slovak civic society should also realize today that the country's children are being beaten up in the Tatras for defending all of our rights. It should protect them, because this is not just about the Tatras, but about the right of citizens to participate in the administration of public affairs. Anyone who takes away that right is threatening our democracy itself.
Sme, May 26
4. Jun 2007 at 0:00 | Miroslav Kusý