Thursday, March 23, 2023

Czech senator promises ‘never again’ to communist totalitarianism

Czech Senator Promises 'Never Again' To Communist Totalitarianism

Milos Vystrcil, leader of the Czech Senate, was little known to the world until in the fall of 2020 he led a Czech parliamentary and business delegation to Taiwan, which faced threats of severe retaliation from Beijing. And that’s just how his late father would have preferred it.

“He will always insist that we lead a normal, average life, not too visible,” Vystrcil told VOA during a visit to Washington last week.

Vystrcil was born in the town of Telc in 1960, 12 years after the Soviet-backed local communist party took control of the then Czechoslovak Republic. For him and his sister to lead such a normal life as possible, “my dad created this kind of bubble,” Vystrcil recalled. “It was not right for me.”

Only when he was about 15 did his father tell him their family was on the wrong side of the communist revolution because Vystrcil’s grandfather had set up a factory that manufactured agricultural machinery and fire extinguishers. As a result, theirs was a family of “exploiters” and was closely watched by the nation’s new guardians of perceived equality and egalitarianism.

“My father was afraid all his life that someone would come and forbid us to do things or they would actually force us to move to somewhere else,” he said.

Vystrcil’s father became so pessimistic about life that “he did not even want to get married at some point because he knew his children would have a very difficult life,” he said through an interpreter. “My father was afraid that his children would suffer just by being his children.”

On November 17, 1989, everything changed. Or almost everything.

That day marked the beginning of a series of mostly peaceful protests known as the “Velvet Revolution”, which culminated 11 days later when the Communist Party announced that it was relinquishing power.

A father’s fear

The 29-year-old Vystrcil embarked on a new path – a path that his father watched with considerable discomfort.

“I remember writing an article after 1989. My dad read it and he came up to me and said, ‘Why are you doing this? What will they say now? ‘”

The younger Vystrcil went on to rise from a high school teacher to principal to mayor of the city of Telc, where the family lived for generations. He continued to become governor of the region.

By the time his father died at the age of 92 in 2017, Vystrcil had been elected as a federal senator; three years later he became leader of the Senate.

It was in that capacity that he led a delegation to Taipei in 2020, which showed his nation’s support for another victim of communist intimidation, and later invited Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu to Prague, which provoked fierce Chinese threats of retaliation.

But, Vystrcil said in an interview with The diplomat during his visit to Washington he personally did not feel any additional pressure from Beijing after the trip, partly because “the whole democratic world actually stood up for us and stood up behind our mission to Taiwan when we passed through the People’s Republic of China. “

“On the other hand, it certainly does not mean that the Chinese have forgotten something or will do nothing,” he added.

In the same interview, he said that “being able to keep our backs straight” and not give in to pressure is a politician’s inherent duty to help build a “strong and proud nation” that is capable of to resist challenges.

When asked by VOA if his father ever overcame his anxiety while watching his son’s political rise, Vystrcil shook his head. “To answer your question, I’m afraid he failed to let go of his fear, even until the end of his life, he could not do it.”

Vystrcil said his father “was always scared because [he would say] “the more you go up the ladder, the stronger your enemies are, the more visible you are.” He would always warn me, ‘Be careful.’ ”Vystrcil’s eyes widened as he remembered his father’s warning and love. But he did not allow himself to linger over it.

“Now that we’ve discussed it here together, it’s probably one of the reasons that convinced me ‘never again’ – we should never let it happen again,” he said of his country’s term of one-party rule.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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