JÚLIUS Satinský has died. How simple and how painful to those who loved him. As simple as his humour, which everyone could understand, and as painful as one's cheeks in a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
Half of the legendary Slovak comic duo Lasica and Satinský, Slovaks used to call him one of the most "human" of men, a big character with a big heart. But his humour, which always made people feel better, was not enough to cure his cancer.
Satinský's death is even harder for Slovaks to accept at this point in time, when nations across the globe observe with fear as the US prepares for war with Iraq. Neither war nor cancer choose their victims, but unlike most forms of the disease, war can be prevented.
Try telling that to terrorist groups and some world leaders like George W. Bush, who seem to think that the only way they can get anything done is by employing violence. Sometimes the gaps between opposing political forces can be bridged peacefully only with immense effort.
The power of Satinský's humour was overwhelming, and capable of building bridges. He became popular with everyone in the country, bringing together workers and intellectuals, children and the elderly. For all of them, he made life easier, happier, richer.
When we talk about Satinský, we should not forget his partner in humour, Milan Lasica, who is still here to remind us of him. In order to grasp how huge a loss this is, Lasica says, we have to give it some time. Meanwhile, some of his fans ponder the notion that if every country had a man like Satinský, there might be no more war.
13. Jan 2003 at 0:00