Re: Police to reopen Mečiar file, News Briefs, Vol. 8 No. 21, June 3-9
Having lived in Slovakia for almost seven years, my job allowed me to 'hobnob' with famous people and politicians in Slovakia. Therefore, I know many of these people (Fico, Knažko, Dzurinda, etc.) and I know them well enough to know their personal lives and even some of their "dirty dealings".
The problem is that most Slovaks are the same. If the average Slovak (in Bratislava or anywhere else) suddenly became a cabinet minister, they would do the same things in their position. The opportunity and temptation to do those things is there and makes it very easy. American politicians do it too, but in a much milder way and within the law (most of the time). So the Slovak politicians fall victim to what any Slovak would. It's a kind of ingrained selfishness and envy ("I have more money than my neighbor" or "I can be on the same level as Ján who drives a new BMW").
I like Slovakia. I even married a Slovak girl. But it will take a long time before Slovak politicians get it into their heads that they need to focus on issues instead of whether or not the construction workers laid the right color of tiles in their villa on Kramáre (right, Kňažko?). The general public needs to focus a little less on faces and a little more on deeds.
Fico was one of the politicians whom I thought had promise. His record on human rights is excellent and he has earned an excellent reputation abroad. Unfortunately, he's made some statements and decisions in recent years that make me believe that he has been tempted by the 'dark side'. Too bad, but not too late for him to turn back and do some good for his country.
Mečiar is the evil one. While ministers take advantage of their positions and power, at least they feel a level of restraint. Mečiar belongs to that group that knows no boundaries (along with Slota and a few others). When he had power it only took him a few minutes to perform an "emergency pardon" for all his old cronies. He should be in prison, but instead he is running again and will probably win elections because of all those 'babky' in central Slovakia who think he's Cary Grant.
The fall elections will decide the fate of Slovakia; politically, financially and morally.
17. Jun 2002 at 0:00