Reader feedback: Where's the self-love?

Re: Slovakia no "dream country", Flash news, August 22, 2005

Being born in the USA and having visited Slovakia about 25 times as a tourist and visitor with my wife's relatives; and having the perspective of one who has travelled extensively to other nations as well as having lived abroad; I am so disappointed that the majority of Slovaks feel inferior or bad about being Slovak.

I am not Slovak, but let me remind you of the many things Slovaks may take for granted or not realize about themselves:

1. You have a country not only filled with great natural beauty but one in which each area has distinct ancient dialects, customs, kroj (folk costumes) and music. Western, Central and Eastern Slovaks, for example, each add to the cultural diversity of Slovakia and this diversity is original, it is rooted in, and able to be traced to, the earliest Slavs.

2. You have a culture that developed a beautiful language with so many distinct and exact words and ways of saying things.

3. You have a culture that historically developed a distinct identity and preserved that identity despite invasions and almost 1,000 years of Magyarization (Hungarian rule). Nations who have suffered less have lost more than Slovaks ever did!

4. You have beautiful customs and folk music that are diverse and hauntingly beautiful that no one can surpass, considering the small size and history of the country.

5. Historically, Slovak hospitality and regard for family unity is distinct in that strangers can easily find help even when they don't speak Slovak - I have seen it over and over.

6. I have never seen so many naturally beautiful men, women and children as in Slovakia: balanced features, large eyes, attractive builds. Most have a genuine curiosity about others and willingness to learn about others.

7. Slovak craftsmanship and cultural "sikovnost" still exists and is valued; this is so refreshing.

In closing, let me say that Slovaks don't realize the treasure they have. Slovaks need to wake up!

Chuck Hipp,
Ohio, USA

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