Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Storočná voda

THE RELATIONSHIP between nations and nature can take different forms. Some countries live in constant fear of earthquakes, tornadoes or volcanoes. For others, oil, gas, or metals represent their main source of income. Slovakia’s relationship is not so passionate. Its main commodity and its main threat are the same – water. It has rich underground reserves in the south. And from time to time floods strike all across the country. This week it was Bratislava’s turn. The Danube reached record levels, there was justified talk of a ‘hundred-years’ water’ (storočná voda). The other thing which becomes visible at such moments is just how well the flood-protection system, the latest parts of which were built over the last decade, handles the pressure – very well, at least so far.

THE RELATIONSHIP between nations and nature can take different forms. Some countries live in constant fear of earthquakes, tornadoes or volcanoes. For others, oil, gas, or metals represent their main source of income. Slovakia’s relationship is not so passionate. Its main commodity and its main threat are the same – water. It has rich underground reserves in the south. And from time to time floods strike all across the country. This week it was Bratislava’s turn. The Danube reached record levels, there was justified talk of a ‘hundred-years’ water’ (storočná voda). The other thing which becomes visible at such moments is just how well the flood-protection system, the latest parts of which were built over the last decade, handles the pressure – very well, at least so far.

This proves two important points. Firstly, that there are some areas where you really can’t do without the state. Seeing the local courts, hospitals or schools it is easy to forget that public institutions are usually created to be the solution, not the problem. And secondly, sometimes the state can do its job right. Which naturally leads to the question – why not more often? Why is dysfunction so prevalent? The answer is simple. There are no natural barriers preventing waiters from being more helpful, bureaucrats from being less corrupt, and repairmen from doing their job on time. It’s all about people. And sadly, it often seems that even a hundred years is not enough to change the local mentality.

Top stories

Several Christians disagree with Church’s stance towards extremists

The extremist ĽSNS party drafted a bill limiting abortions in Slovakia, creating an awkward situation for the Church.

Illustrative stock photo

“I will not be playing ice-hockey anymore,” says Hossa

Health issues have caused the NHL player to withdraw from matches and consider moving back to Slovakia.

Marián Hossa kisses the Stanley Cup won by his Chicago Blackhawks team in June 2015.

A happy marriage? Both simpler, and tougher, than we realize

If experience is the mother of wisdom, why aren’t second and third marriages more successful?

Babiš at Globsec: Immigration quotas will not protect our continent

Immigration, innovation and security were some of the topics discussed during a panel discussion at the 2018 Globsec conference.

Czech PM Andrej Babiš at GLOBSEC 2018