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Let's unite - and not be divided!

After reading the article headlined "Ignorance leads to misunderstandings" by Mr. Viliam Schichman from Prešov, (The Slovak Spectator volume 4, Number 9), I was more tempted to react than ever before, because this article definitely dragged the subject into even deeper confusion...
I believed then and I believe now that it is unhealthy and unrealistic to initiate any unnecessary "dividing" lines" between citizens and minority groups in our country. We shall unite - not divide!
It is still hard to figure out what the author is referring to. Yes, the Slovak identity went through a very long, difficult period of suffering and oppression lasting hundreds of years.

After reading the article headlined "Ignorance leads to misunderstandings" by Mr. Viliam Schichman from Prešov, (The Slovak Spectator volume 4, Number 9), I was more tempted to react than ever before, because this article definitely dragged the subject into even deeper confusion...

I believed then and I believe now that it is unhealthy and unrealistic to initiate any unnecessary "dividing" lines" between citizens and minority groups in our country. We shall unite - not divide!

...It is still hard to figure out what the author is referring to. Yes, the Slovak identity went through a very long, difficult period of suffering and oppression lasting hundreds of years. Yes, Slovak people were poor and came close to the point of extinction in some regions. But studying history, I have never found a single Slovak leader, a single national revivalist, who would say that he is fighting for the rights of only Slovaks from such and such a region. I have never heard nor read about any concerns other than those of the destiny of all oppressed Slovaks, in all regions of Slovakia.

So, why should we create or help create any artificial problems? Does not the fact that there are Magyar-speaking Slovaks around Nitra prove that Slovaks and Magyars have lived in harmony throughout my lifetime?

Slovaks, Magyars and all remaining minorities within Slovakia have lived in harmony during the entire era of socialism. In our Magyar compatriots we have never seen anything else but our co-citizens and in Hungary we have never seen anything else but our brotherly neighboring country. It is only regrettable that after the 1989 revolution, a handful of people are suddenly trying to suggest that it shall not be this way, that we should have hostile relations with our southern neighbor and that we should have hostile feelings toward our Magyar compatriots and vice versa.

There is no reason to talk of any ethical or minority problems within Slovakia's territory. We are all Slovak citizens, living within the Slovak Republic, where everybody is free to be proud of their heritage and to speak as many languages as they wish. However, I would like to make one little remark that I also expressed in my previous contribution, that any citizen living in Slovakia should in their own interests be able to communicate in our country's national language, which in Slovakia is Slovak, just as in the Great Britain it is English, in France it is French, in Germany it is German, etc.

We have not, and we should not create any minority problems, any artificial divisions. If there is one thing to be desired in Slovakia, then it is to solve the identity problem of our Romany co-citizens as soon as possible. Our Romany compatriots were born in Slovakia and they are Slovaks. I would be happy to see their full integration into our society and see them not only as workers in factories but also as teachers in education, clerks in administration, deputies in Parliament and other social and political fields.

Ing. Andrej Filip CSc.
1 Wildwood Place
Waterloo, Ontario
Canada

In the newest issue of your Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, you speak less-than-kindly about Nové Zámky as a town in which you would not spend even five minutes. I would like to know when was the last time you were in this town? Or do you just rely on information from "would-be tourists?" Even the train connection to the town, as you can easily check in a timetable, is a little bit different from the one that you have presented. I only hope that it is not because of your aversion for the southern parts of Slovakia, which I think are interesting and often more hospitable than the the regions around High Tatras, to use an example.

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