Zuzana Hlávková is a whistleblower. She has worked for Transparency International Slovakia.
I devoted three years to the presidency. First as a Foreign Ministry staffer responsible for cultural presentation, then I investigated the reasons for blown-up prices, and finally as a member of the Transparency International team. A clerk turned activist, quite unexpectedly and outside my plans.
Speaking up about the EU presidency scandal was a question of freedom rather than a question of courage for me. The freedom to think, act, decide, freedom of consciousness. If we do not have it, we live under totalitarianism - at least mentally.
But now is the time to withdraw and reflect upon what has happened, and what it has changed. Silently, alone, away from the spotlight. To take a step back, take a look at things from a different perspective and move on.
For three years I have had Palo Szalai, my colleague and friend, to support me. We sat in one office, we decided to leave the ministry together, we managed to keep in touch even after our departure and together we decided to contact Transparency.
The silent majority can checkmate corruption. All it takes is for them to speak up.„
We have several circumstances to thank for the fact that our life did not fall apart after we published the suspicions. The great education that we both got, our healthy relationships with friends and family, the self-confidence that we can do better than help someone engage in fraud.
But most of all the fact that we - first Pavol, then me - got in touch with Transparency, and later the public and supporters who had our back, businesspeople who offered us jobs, lawyers who wanted to represent us, students, and many others.
For me, it is a story about what people can do together when they join forces.