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Letter to the Editor: "Why we Slovaks prefer living in our own state over one with Czechs"

After reading a letter to the editor by Mr. Cernek from Homosassa, Florida ("Štefánik was a hero, Tiso was a traitor," Vol. 2, No. 15, September 11-24, 1996), I see no choice but to react.

Firstly, I would like to explain to Mr. Cernek that there is no such thing as a "Czechoslovak language." A Swede and a Norwegian understand each other, yet no one speaks of a Swedo-Norwegian language.

Secondly, it is vital that the people he spoke to in Plzeň most likely were Czechs. A man due to be hanged is likely to regard another man supposed to be hanged - but pardoned - as a traitor. So it is likely that Czechs, whose land Hitler occupied, regarded Slovaks, who, pressed by circumstances, founded their own state and survived WWII almost unharmed, as traitors. Such a view is illogical, but try explaining that to the Czechs!

Thirdly, Mr. Cernek calls President Tiso a traitor. What or whom did President Tiso betray? You haven't told us! Surely he did not betray the Slovak nation. Instead, he lead us through that turbulent period with as little damage as possible. And even if people like you regard him as a traitor, let me tell you on behalf of much of the Slovak nation: Thank God we had such a traitor!

Fourthly, I remind "the editor" that "I heard many stories about" is no proof of truth. (I heard many stories that Stalin was the world's best and wisest man.) It is easy to besmirch one's name and honor; I need not know anything about a man to call him an idiot. Let him break his back proving it false. With a dead man the case is even safer. Why does The Slovak Spectator support attacks on men whose memory is honored by - even sacred for - most Slovaks? (Mr. Cernek has the nerve to speak about "Tiso and his gang, including Hlinka." If he does not know better, The Slovak Spectator should.)

Lastly, to give Mr. Cernek a crude idea of why we Slovaks prefer living in our own state over sharing a common state with the Czechs, let me share an anecdote I read in one of the most influential Czech newspapers, Mladá Fronta dnes, in 1992 or 1993:

John comes home from school and asks his mother: "Mother, why is it that my classmates do not know any letters of the alphabet and I know almost all of them?" "It is because you are a Slovak," she says. The next day, John asks: "Mother, why is it that my classmates cannot write their names, but I can?" "It is because you are a Slovak," says Mother. On the third day, John asks: "Mother, why do all my classmates have such small penises, but I've got such a big one? Is it because I'm a Slovak?" "No, John," says Mother, "it is because they are six and you are 15." Well, Mr. Cernek, if you are of Slovak origin, I hope you are laughing now the way I was when I read this. I have not forgotten it since. And if someone tells me about Czechoslovakia, I say: No, thank you!

Ivan Hudec, Trnava

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