Every other day there are new groups of people, and not only artists, that sign the statement to join the protest against the dictatorship in culture, against the practical decisions of only one person, the minister of culture.
What is the reason that all these people are calling for the quick resignation of Minister Ivan Hudec? It is simply because all these people feel, as I feel, that the minister himself, paradoxically using his own words, is not "a good Slovak," or not "a good enough one." Why? Because he doesn't know his own nation at all. He has lost contact with it and its reality.
He hasn't realized yet that his nation, and the people of the state, whom his Ministry serves, is in the 20th century, and that feudalism is over, even in eastern Europe, forever.
The minister is not living in the reality of the post-Bolshevik times of his own country. Otherwise, there would be no protests against his ways of decision-making, where he, by himself, as a good pupil of his party boss, likes to identify someone just by name as good enough for his support, and at the same time identify other names as not good enough, without listening to anyone else's opinions.
There are names of friends and there are more names of enemies. If someone tries to communicate, challenges for a discussion, there is no chance. Only sometimes, through the voice of his spokesman, does the minister send a mixture of lies, dilettantism and contempt that belongs somewhere in the past.
What is really absurd is that Minister Hudec has forgotten the real source of money for the Ministry's salaries and budget, which is used to support culture in this country. The minister has forgotten that the source is the taxes of Slovak citizens. Taxes of friends, but also taxes of enemies. The minister behaves as if that money were his own, or belonging to his political party, forgetting his position.
The minister hasn't realized yet that Slovak culture is developing in a pluralistic, multi-colored culture that hungers for new methods in art of any kind, for differences in cultural events. It is not pretentious to say that creators have a chance with certain types of art to communicate with inter-cultural trends abroad. They can find concrete opportunities for a real representation of original Slovak culture. What more to support in art?
During the reorganization of Slovak society, this time of creating something that we would like to call democracy, an important time of building cooperative links with other countries and cultures, a time of proving to others and to ourselves that we are not to be isolated in a gray part of the world, culture itself is tremendously important.
But by culture I don't mean only interesting theater performances, original paintings, lovely novels, emotional poetry, or true chronicles of our history, but what I mean primarily is the culture of communication, culture of understanding, culture of supporting, culture of governing, culture of creating, culture of civilized coexistence.
The recent moves by the minister of culture and the number of signatures under the document "Let's Save Culture" prove that there is none of this culture in his behavior. Is it because we all are his enemies?
Laco Kerata is a member of the Stoka Theater in Bratislava. He wrote this piece in English.
24. Sep 1996 at 0:00 | Laco Kerata