PAUL Hacker, the first US diplomat to serve in Slovakia after the Velvet Revolution, introduced the Slovak version of his book “Slovakia 1990-1993” in the University Library in Bratislava on April 28.
The original of the book with subtitle “Memories of a US Diplomat” was published in 2010. It presents an involved, but independent description of the situation in Slovakia in the early 1990s. Hacker came to Slovakia with the task of establishing a US representation office in the country. He personally attended the post-revolutionary euphoria, as well as the difficult process of the separation of Czechoslovakia and the first steps of an independent Slovakia, the TASR newswire wrote.
The US diplomat offers the readers his own interpretation of official as well as unofficial diplomatic meetings which he attended. The book also contains his subjective view on the events and the personalities who contributed to the break-up of Czechoslovakia.
“It is important that he managed to keep the distance necessary for the piece, which attempts to become an objective document about the era in which the future of Slovakia and its inhabitants was discussed,” the publisher wrote about the book, as quoted by TASR.
Hacker commented for TASR that the economic successes of the country are enormous. Readers can, for example, compare how it looked in shops at the beginning of the 1990s and today.
“Currently Slovakia has a normal life, like other European countries,” Hacker said.
The Slovak version of the book was published by Artforum and translated by Eva Salnerová, a collaborator of the author, who was working at the US embassy in 1991 and witnessed many of the events described in the book. According to her, the unique feature of the book is that Slovakia is seen through the eyes of US diplomat.
“It is for the first time the US diplomat wrote his memoirs,” Salnerová said, as quoted by TASR. “Some things there are sensitive, which were not talked about before, like wiretapping the embassy during the rule of [Vladimír] Mečiar.”
Hacker’s diplomatic career was also appreciated by current US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick.
“His mission here in Bratislava was essential since he was here during a very important period,” Sedgwick said, as quoted by TASR. “He contributed to establishing good US-Slovak relations in difficult times. I am glad that the relations between the US and Slovakia are exceptionally close and very positive. This is also thanks to the way Paul and his colleagues established these relations at the embassy 21 years ago.”
27. Oct 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff