Prague Pride

Postview: Take no pride in the castle

Ever the contrarian, President Václav Klaus took the predictable yet illogical step of disparaging Prague’s first-ever gay pride event.

In addition to placing himself in direct opposition to fun, this allows the president to trot out his usual rhetoric that concepts like human rights are some fictional creation.

In vintage form, Klaus is defending the comments of his adviser Petr Hájek, who referred to homosexuals as “deviants,” among much worse, in an opinion piece criticizing this week’s Prague Pride event.

Klaus, in typically contradictory manner, immediately termed all the rightfully resulting criticisms of Hájek as an “attack on free speech.” Apparently, the concept of free speech ends where people disagree with Klaus or his friends. It is selective, whereby applying to the drivel emanating from Prague Castle: Ignorant statements about homosexuality are allowed, but responses are not.

Even worse, in the Klausian world view, the mayor of Prague is not free to support the Prague Pride event.

On his personal website, Klaus criticized Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda for issuing a city blessing of the event, saying, “It is one thing to tolerate it, but to express public support on behalf of a significant institution is something completely different.”

To go one step further, for the president, free speech does not extend to diplomats, as he finds it unacceptable that 13 ambassadors expressed support for the Prague Pride event.

One need only to slightly amend Klaus’ own comments to have the appropriate criticism of his support for Hájek, a man unfit for public office. Try this one, Mr. President: It is one thing to tolerate Hájek, but to express support on behalf of a significant institution is something different.

Hájek himself is a fan of free speech, flapping his gums whether informed or not. Among other things, he notably believes that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were the work of U.S. intelligence services. This highly sophisticated opinion does not of course emanate from anything resembling evidence.

People like Hájek are the ones who used to oppose women voting and free public education. In the United States, they were McCarthyists. In France, they trumped up charges on Alfred Dreyfus. In Czech lands, they burned Jan Hus at the stake.

When Hájek says that white, Christian males are becoming a minority, he is about 50 years too late in applying the idea to the Czech Republic. In a country where less than 20 percent of people believe in God, and at least half of those people are likely women, no more than 10 percent of people could fall into Hájek’s myth of “Czechness” – a number almost surely lower as not all believers in God are Christians.

Hájek should know that based on these numbers, homosexuals might outnumber his white, Christian males. Homosexuals are at the grocery store, on the trams, and you might even speak to them everyday, Mr. Hájek.

Hájek has the right to be a bigot, conspiracy kook and so-called conservative (at press time, no word on whether he supports the Spanish Inquisition, a geocentric universe or has spotted a UFO), but that doesn’t mean others don’t also have a right to call him what he is: shameful.

The same goes for Klaus.

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