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Letter to the Editor: People and Water true Slovak heroes


Ľudia a Voda's Michal Kravčík is a Slovak national hero, according to Walter Orange of Pittsburgh.
photo:Sharon Otterman

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the article acknowledging the wonderful work of the environmental group Ľudia a Voda (People and Water) led by Michael Kravčík and Jaroslav Tesliar. The value of their work has been validated by their receiving the world's most prestigious environmental prizes. If Slovakia's politicians don't see this, then they should open their eyes.

I know a handful of young Slovaks in Pittsburgh who are very talented and well-educated. they have all been in the US less than 10 years. I asked them if they ever considered returning to Slovakia to help build their homeland, now that it's free. Each gave the same answer - a firm "no," followed by considerable laughter. They say an individiual is powerless to make a change in Slovakia.

Regrettably, such cynicism seems common as well among the people, young and old, that I have met during my five visits to Slovakia. Perhaps it is part of the lingering communist legacy.

Seen in this light, the accomplishments of People and Water are all the more remarkable. How easy it would have been for them to quit in the face of government opposition, to have resigned themselves to the same pessimism.

Too often the young look to entertainers and athletes for their heroes. I submit that Michal Kravčík and Jaroslav Tesliar are true heroes of the young Slovak state, and young and old in Slovakia and elsewhere would do well to mark their example.

I would like to see more articles about People and Water and the others who are working selflessly to build a better Slovakia. The Slovak Spectator and the rest of the Slovak media could do much to inspire, and thus empower, the people of Slovakia by highlighting such work.

Walter J. Orange
Pittsburgh, Ohio

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