Matica should give up search for enemies
I want to respond to the article about Matica Slovenská ["Controversial Matica Slovenská girds for battle again," By Matthew J. Reynolds, Vol. 6 No. 20, May 22-28]. I do think that this institution has played an important role in our history, but at the same time I think that they have remained somewhere back in mid-19th century.
It seems to me that people around Matica Slovenská still have their minds set backwards and are ready to serve any ideology that gives Slovakia the appearance of a stubborn child that no one wants to listen to and obey, who always has to fight against something. And that reveals the close relationship between Matica and the HZDS [opposition party of three-time Slovak Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar], not only because of the tremendous amount of money being wasted on the activities of both these organizations, but because of the backwards attitude they share towards the rest of the world and also towards Slovakia itself.
You wrote in your article the following sentence: "Many Slovaks - especially a whole generation of young people more interested in things like travel, the EU, and mobile phones - seem to be wondering what Maticaşs mission exactly is, and why they should care."
These are simply big words used to exaggerate the attitude of the younger generation. Here are some more big words which may be closer to the mark: Why should we care about people who want to live outside the civilised world, beyond clear rules and the EU, who want to live a century in the past? Why should we want to be controled by anyone claiming to be the 'father of the nation'? Why should we be interested in people who glorify war criminals, who support public xenophobia, racism, nationalism and who seem to lack esential values? Who gave Matica the right to call themselves the chosen ones?
Last Christmas, while I was trying to buy a book on Slovak classical literature as a present for my father, I found that there were only two titles available, both published by Matica. Unfortunately, I didn't like either of them, so after hours of fruitless shopping I gave up, wondering: "Is this all that Matica can offer after all the money it has been granted by the government?"
I think that Matica as an institution should be maintained on condition that it will withdraw from its political activities and that its budget and activities will be reduced. A final condition should be that they drop their search for the enemies of the Slovak nation and state. It's the 21st century, after all, and the rest of world is speaking of globalisation, not nationalism.
5. Jun 2000 at 0:00