|| issue 5, year X, 2003
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic:
"IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW BIG A
COUNTRY IS. IT'S INFLUENCE
Interviewer Valentin Kostov page 4
The accession to the EU is not just a goal for us. In a way it is the end of a road that Czechoslovakia (as it was called back then) took after the fall of Communism in 1989-1990. To cut a long story short - we are rejoining the Europe that we historically belong to. We don't regard our membership just as an opportunity to benefit but also as a chance to contribute. We are determined to reciprocate the state member's solidarity. And I think that now is a good time to improve the relations between our two countries. Not because the Czech Republic is being endorsed membership in the EU and you are still negotiating. The truth is that after the collapse of the Soviet block we somehow went our separate ways. Our common future in Europe - both in NATO and the EU - might be explored to remind to each other how close we once were. My experience tells me that it's not important how big a country is, but what influence it has. I am sure that even a small country can have a big say in the Union, if it is able to defend its standpoint and convince the state members that it proposes the right solution. The world is now "shrinking". Nowadays many common interests link places that decades ago were far apart. However, we should differentiate between Europe as the state members of the EU and the wider political scene. I am convinced that Europe extends further than the shores of the Mediterranean and the Black sea.
THE CZECH REPUBLIC'S
Engineer Eva Rainehlova, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Department Euro integration page 6
The expected accession of the Czech Republic's to the EU on May 1st 2004 will complete the preparation for its integration. The atmosphere of relative political stability is a guarantee that the country will continue its social and economic catch-up. Czech economy has undergone a positive transformation - the European committee is happy with the speed of economic changes. The country's well-developed infrastructure and relatively cheap workforce attract foreign investors. However, they continually come across low labor productivity. The low labor mobility is another obstacle they often encounter. High taxations and corruption criticized by the EU are still a fact of life. The Czech regard the EU as an important factor for enhancing the stability in Europe. They expect that the membership will better the Czech Republic's position in international relations and would bring higher prestige and stability. The Common European market will allow free exchange of goods and commodities among the state members - that is a great challenge for Czech production. The consumers regard positively the growing competition on the market as it will improve the quality of goods and will bring down the prices. As a EU state country the Czech Republic will be able to procure on fund resources of up to 60 billion CZK a year.
H. E. PETR DOKLADAL,
AMBASSADOR OF THE
Nadia Stancheva page 9
Bulgaria and the Czech Republic will have common interests in integrated Europe, said H. E. Petr Dokladal, ambassador of the Czech Republic in Bulgaria in an interview for the "Europe 2001" magazine. According to him both our countries want stability in the EU, which will ensure that all member states are on an equal footing, that the various institutions perform smoothly within the EU structures.
Ten years after the disintegration of Czechoslovakia Petr Dokladal is convinced that this has been the right thing for both constituent countries. "Still, as both Czech and Slovak, I feel nostalgic to some extent, when looking back", he says. He believes that these two European nations perfectly complement one another. "Where we are weak they are strong and vice versa."
The Czech ambassador feels at home in Sofia. What he respects in Bulgarians is their determination to be educated and work hard. And although beer is held in high esteem in his home country, the Czech ambassador loves Bulgarian cuisine and wine.
THE CZECH PRESENCE IN
Vladimir Penchev page 14
The text focuses on revealing the participation of Czechs in raising the young Bulgarian state in the years after the Liberation in 1878. It examines the reasons of thousands of Czechs to come to Bulgaria. Many of them settled in the country and became a part of the Bulgarian society. The author describes the characteristic clash between the two different ethnocultural models and the outcome of this clash, while emphasizing the employment of a set of cognitive strategies concerning Bulgaria and the Bulgarian that have been realized on Czech territory. An attempt has been made to establish a typology of the Czech presence in Bulgaria by distinguishing several major groups: intellectuals, industrialists and entrepreneurs, craftsmen, workers and peasants. Finally, the text emphasizes the fact that it is not by chance that the revival of the Bulgarian state after the Liberation was related not so much to Russian as to Czech public figures, due to their crucial participation in building the new Bulgaria. All Bulgarians will be forever thankful for what these people did for us.
UNDP Bulgaria page 22
The Global Compact was first announced in 1999 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It calls upon companies to adopt nine universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards and the environment. Since its national launch in January 2003, and with the personal support from Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, UNDP has been actively working with the companies from around Bulgaria to expand the network of businesses committed to the global principles. In September 2003, UNDP continued to build on the momentum of the Global Compact with the signing of the 55th member. To learn more about the Global Compact please visit: www.undp.bg/globalcompact.
THE TIMELESS PILGRIM TO
THE WORLD OF HUMAN DIGNITY
JAn interview by Ales Benda page 25
Arnos Lustig is the most popular Czech writer, nominated for Pulitzer Prize, president of the Nine Gates Festival, president of the Organizational Board of the Czech Head Competition, a university professor, the honorary chairman of the Franz Kafka Association, president of the Terezin Film Festival. He is also the winner of the Karel Capek Prize of the Czech Pen Club and has been declared the most popular writer for the previous month in Britain. This is what he has shared with us: "I consider Bulgarians extremely brave, because they have managed to develop and mature during the Ottoman rulership. But for me, one of the most important reasons for my love for Bulgaria is Emilian Stanev's magnificent book, The Peach Thief. I use it in my lectures at the American University as an example of a short novel - longer than a short story and shorter than a proper novel. I am convinced that if Stanev had written it in English, he would have received a Nobel Prize… By saving Jews from the Holocaust Bulgarians have placed themselves at the most prominent place in the map of goodness." "I see Europe as one family. Europeans don't always bear with each other, they aren't equally gifted, they don't necessarily share the same inclinations, but any family functions better than its individual members." "The writer's most important quality is modesty. Not the modesty you wear on your lapel or demonstrate by a declaration, but genuine modesty, which comes when you compare yourself to the best things that have ever existed."
TELC - THE CZECH JEWEL
OF RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE
Violeta Mitceva page 29
Perhaps in the whole of the Czech Republic there is no other city with such a
unique square and such distinctive buildings largely faithful to medieval town planning, once made of wood, some rebuilt in stone in later periods. The square with its Renaissance interlocking archways, baroque houses and Gothic style castle and church add to the beautiful panorama of the lake-surrounded city. On August 15, 1999, a grand celebration marked the nine hundredth anniversary of what is traditionally considered to be the founding of the town of Telc. This small Czech town only has 6000 residents, but it is an extremely popular tourist spot with Czechs and foreigners alike. The sightseeing of the square is an unforgettable experience. Besides its traditional layout, the structures make quite an impression - pointed arches and brightly colored houses with richly ornate facades. The tribute to awesomeness is made even greater by the Marian column, the town drinking fountains (once wooden, now made of stone), numerous limestone sculptures and the city wooden gates. The city outskirts - a hilly side with scattered woods, lakes and rare wildlife species and plants, are a natural sanctuary. Beside the historic monuments modern Telc offers to the visitor various music festivals, exhibitions, sport events, balloon rides, boating and carriage trips and many other attractions.
CRETE, THE ISLAND OF MINOS
Ivan Marazov page 34
The Cretan mythology (as it has come to us today through the Greeks) does not tell us about many military heroes, but it is unthinkable without the figure of Daedalus. The name itself is a personification of artistic objects beautifully crafted by a master's skilful hands. These objects are called daidala and are usually fancy, exotic items with a sophisticated make: incrustation, combination of various materials, rich decorations. Due to its characteristics, like false glitter, diversity of colour, duplicity, alien or exotic nature, hidden danger, the daedalon (both as a concept and an object) became the synonym of deceit. Larnaka, the boxes where sinful mothers and their illegitimate offspring were put to be sent into the open sea and thus chase them out of the community, were also described as daedal. DADALEME is the inscription on three magnificent silver vessels found in the Basho Thracian mound. The inscriptions are similar to the name of Daedalus and the precious objects both phonetically and functionally - the vases were placed in the tomb and the gilded phial with a picture of galloping horses was used to keep the ruler's remains. Another ancient myth is the one about Pandora, the first woman, a symbol of the evil that was brought upon the people, and the gifts provided by the goddesses in her honour were defined by Hesiod as daedal. The meaning of the daedalon as a means of deceit is also seen in the myth about the marriage of Zeus and Daedala. In order to make fun of Hera's jealousy, the ruler of Olympus declared that he would marry a young woman, called Daedala. So he dressed up a wooden plank as a bride and placed it on the marriage chariot.
THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL
BY GEORGI MARKOV:
AN EXCEPTION AND A KEY IN THE
CONTEMPORARY BULGARIAN THEATRE
Tsvetanka Elenkova page 38
Last year The Salza i Smyah Drama Theater staged a play by Georgi Markov, called The Archangel Michael. It is the author's most recent play to be staged on the Bulgarian stage, and it is the last play in his career as a playwright. It was written in London in 1970. The play received the first prize for dramaturgy in 1974 at the Edinburgh Festival. In October 1976 it was broadcasted by BBC International. The Archangel Michael is a play that constantly equates the existential with the transcendental and vice versus, by showing them as the two sides of the circle. The circle itself can be a Bogomil one, a Buddhist one, or the well-known Yang and Ying with the invariable wave of movement between them. This is not a typical drama, as there are no events in it. It is existentialist drama - the Space, the Change seen as Non-Change and vice versus, the many layers of the drama displayed in a linear fashion - these are the greatest merits of the production. The staging is done in a traditional fashion, with the behavior and clothes that were typical for the time and the various social groups, which provides a balance with the stylized set design. This is a production that reaches its potential and the potential of the text, but what is more important, it proves that if there is a crisis in the theatre, it must be due to a crisis in the text. There is more to cultural life than mere show.
THE CZECH CONNECTION OF WIKEDA
SIvaylo Kitsov, Rhythm Magazine page 40
This spring Wikeda - one of the most outstanding Bulgarian bands - released their new album "Get class-conscious". After they promoted it in Bulgaria at several concerts and shows, the jolly musicians packed their new repertoire tight along with their old hits, saddled their sense of humor and rode off to present them in Germany. After which they went to the Czech Republic where the band toured in August and September. The audience in Plzen, Usti nad Labem, Smrzovka, Mikulov, Litomerice, Prague, Kostelec nad Cernimi Lesy and other towns witnessed the glaring musical and scenic ideas of the Bulgarian guys, whose music mixes together in one shaker the power of rock, the frankness of punk, the revelry of ska, and the brass of jazz. The Czech connection of Wikeda gave the band a feel of what it's like to be an internationally renowned group - through all the fun and the sad moments they experienced; through the way the audience and their colleagues welcomed them - they won the approval of the legendary Czech rock group Sto Zvirat.
The tour was also a test for the two new members of Wikeda - Alexander Borissov and Sando Valentinov.
"The Czech audience is an excellent critic who doesn't care whether a song is from your first, second or seventh album, but whether it is good", says Wikeda unconventional frontman Erol Ibrahimov. "To them it doesn't matter where you are from and how famous you are - they welcome you as long as you are good. The Czech tour has charged us with energy, we're full of plans for new songs, a new album", he promises.
THE BULGARIAN TRADITION IN
ANGEL ANDONOV'S JEWELRY
Dochka Kisiova - Gogova page 46
The jewelry, created by Angel Andonov, is a combination of exquisiteness, precision and originality. His creative works of art combine the ancient with the contemporary.
LITART PRESENTS: Karel Siktanc
Karel Siktanc is one of the most popular contemporary poets of the Czech Republic. He was born on July 10, 1928 in Hrebec, near Kladno. After he finished his higher education, he worked as an editor in a daily paper and in the radio, and as a chief editor of the Mlada Fronta Publishing House. Since 1971, when his work was banned, until 1990 his books have been published abroad and by underground publishers in Prague. He was awarded the Jaroslav Seifert Prize in 1989 and the State Prize for Literature in 2000.
LITART PRESENTS: SILVIA CHOLEVA
Silvia Choleva was born in Sofia on 30 October 1959. She graduated from the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" with an M.A. in Bulgarian Studies. In 1994 she received the "Iujna Prolet" award for her first book of poetry "The Child of the Deaf-Mute" /1993/. Then come "Entrance" /1996/, "Going and Coming" /travel notes from Prague - 1997/, "Winters and Summers" /2001/ and "Careful" /2001/. Some of her works have been translated in Greek, Serbian and Lithuanian.
She writes articles for the literary press. Presently she works as an editor in the Bulgarian National Radio and hosts a show on cultural and literary issues on the Hristo Botev Radio.
CZECH PRESS PHOTO -
AN INDEPENDENT PICTURE
WITNESS OF LIFE
Czech Press Photo is a yearly contest that invites photographers from the Czech and the Slovak Republics. Its ninth edition in 2003 is held under the personal auspices of the President of the Czech Republic and the Mayor of Prague.
Photographers with permanent residency in Czech or Slovak Republic can enter the competition with their photographs taken for publication purposes between September 30th 2002 and September 30th 2003. The following materials can be submitted into the competition: individual black & white and color prints/slides, or series of black & white and color prints/slides.
The contest categories are as follows:
Spot news, General news, People In The News, Sports, Daily Life, Portrait, Nature And Environment, Arts.
The competition is judged by an International Jury. The jury members are different each year in order to achieve greater objectivity.
JIRI MENZEL: "I LIKE CLEVER PEOPLE"
An interview by Ales Benda page 57
Jiri Menzel was born in the year 1938 in Prague. He graduated director studies in FAMU and is one of the co-creators of the "new wave" in Czechoslovakian cinema. His filmography includes more than 20 titles among which is the popular comedy My Sweet Little Village that was nominated for an Oscar Award. Jiri Menzel celebrated his latest cinematic success at the International Cinematic Festival in Venice in 1994 with his film Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin. His first full-length feature film Closely Observed Trains (1966) was awarded an Oscar Award for best foreign movie and foresaw the perfect symbiotic relationship he later established with writer Bohumil Hrabal. An important creative influence on him is the co-operation with the Prague theatre Cinoherny klub, where he met playwright Vaclav Havel. "Worldwide directors stage plays that no one goes to see. They are usually staged at privately sponsored theatres. Then there are the commercial theatres - they opt for averagely good pieces - famous works and box-office hits, manifesting a bad taste, I would say. I miss the normal theatre - the one that has always been my objective - theatre for the people. Theatres now only stage plays that draw upon hatred for mankind. I simply do not accept this", shares the famous director in his exclusive interview for Europe 2001 magazine.
THE VILLAGE OF BULGARI -
THE CAPITAL OF FIRE DANCING
Rumen Stoichkov, BNR page 59
This article in the "Ethnoculture" section will take you to the world of an old pagan tradition - the nestinari dancing, or "fire dancing", as it is known throughout the world. No one knows how far back the tradition goes. One theory suggests that its origin can be traced back to the Thracians whose civilization thrived in these lands since the 8th century BC. The Christian religion later marked the ancient Thracian custom. But the uniqueness of the Bulgarian traditional fire dancing comes from the imprint of the Turkish and Greek influences in the region. Local legends and tales corroborate this and enhance the special mysticism of this enchanting custom. I found it important to describe the inner feelings of the fire dancers, their strength of character, the purification they undergo before they step onto the embers. And also the respect and esteem for the tradition they inherited from the ancestors - the Thracians and Bulgarians who once lived in the region of the Strandja mountain.
THE NATIONAL EMBLEM
OF THE CZECH STATE
Violeta Velikova-Kosheleva page 62
The black eagle with outspread wings appeared for the first time as a symbol in Czech heraldry during the reign of king Premysl Otakar I in 1192. Later on, in the 13th century, king Otakar II /1253-1278/ introduced new charges to emphasize the might of the Czech State. The new element was a silver lion on a red shield and the greater national emblem included a helmet with black eagle wings, surrounded by a gold wreath of linden branches.
Today the national emblem of the Czech Republic combines the basic old heraldic symbols in a modern context.