SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Jama

SLOVAK has a proverb for every conceivable situation. So it’s little surprise that there are dozens to describe the hole (jama) in which Robert Fico has just found himself in. The prime minister is finding out that it is indeed the case that “He who digs a hole for another, himself falls in” (Kto druhému jamu kope, sám do nej padá), and that “Those that cut by the sword fall by the sword” (Kto mečom zachádza, ten mečom schádza).

Robert Fico's party is facing accusations of murky financing.Robert Fico's party is facing accusations of murky financing. (Source: Sme - Vladimír Šimíček)

SLOVAK has a proverb for every conceivable situation. So it’s little surprise that there are dozens to describe the hole (jama) in which Robert Fico has just found himself in. The prime minister is finding out that it is indeed the case that “He who digs a hole for another, himself falls in” (Kto druhému jamu kope, sám do nej padá), and that “Those that cut by the sword fall by the sword” (Kto mečom zachádza, ten mečom schádza).

In January Fico called a series of press conferences where he accused the opposition SDKÚ of using dirty money to finance the party, basing his claims on years-old transactions involving a network of Cyprus-based firms and Swiss accounts. Well, “Never yell hop, before you have leapt over” (Nekrič hop, kým nepreskočíš).

Now documents published by the media and testimonials by Smer co-founder Bohumil Hanzel indicate that before the 2002 election campaign, Fico himself not only took hundreds of millions of crowns in donations, of which only a fraction appeared in the party’s books, but also promised donors that they could put people on the party’s ballot, appoint people into the administration after the elections, and receive state funds in return once the party was in power. And they allegedly even signed written agreements where all this was agreed. Knowing that “To speak is silver, to keep quiet is gold” (Hovoriť je striebro, mlčať zlato), Fico is ignoring most questions. But one is reminded that “Who keeps still, admits his will” (Kto mlčí, ten svedčí). Hanzel says he is prepared to prove all his claims in court. Fico usually feels that “Iron must be forged while hot” (Železo treba kuť zahorúca) and is always quick to file criminal charges and civil complaints against any opponents.

This time he has not yet announced plans to do so, even though no journalist or opposition politician has ever said anything remotely as damaging as his former colleague. Has he finally learned that “No soup gets eaten as warm as it’s cooked” (Žiadna polievka sa neje tak horúca, ako sa varí) and it’s better to “Measure twice and cut once”? Or is it just that the hole he has found himself in is frighteningly deep?


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