Letter to the Editor: Beneš decrees site talk lacks perspective

The feedback provided by Slovak Spectator readers regarding the Beneš Decrees manages to cast Slovakia and Slovaks in the singularly unique role (for Slovakia) of an oppressor, yet no letter brings a more complete perspective to the whole issue of Slovak-Hungarian relations.

First of all, Slovaks do not have a monopoly on racial or any other kind of intolerance, the Tiso government notwithstanding. There is a very long period of Slovak history which saw suppression of Slovaks by the Magyars. This point is basic.

Without falling into the "victim" mentality that your newspaper claims (rightly) Slovaks tend to express, just when do injustices get corrected? And which injustices will they be?

The circumstances of history determine these "corrections", and for the njustice corrected by the Beneš Decrees, the circumstances after World War II were the mitigating ones. How can these be negotiated now? It is tantamount, to use a wild example, of negotiating India back under British rule. There is simply no force of argument available that can distil only the "injustice" of the Beneš Decrees against Hungary, to the exclusion of all the other injustices inflicted in the region since the 5th century.

And if we are to talk of "minority rights", there are far better examples of oppressed minorities in the world than the Hungarians of Slovakia, especially when one realises that the parent country to this minority resides next door with a population twice that of Slovakia and another 5 million (also oppressed?) in other countries of the world. Rather than the ethnic Albanians of Macedonia, to use another wild example, it is more like talking about an "American minority" in Canada.

Peter Knazko
Ottawa, Canada

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