Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Don't have much to say about the Czech news of the week, the police crackdown on the CzechTek techno festival - except the obvious, which is that it appears to have made no sense whatsoever. Previously, I'd sort of been rooting for the new-ish Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, despite his ugly anti-civil-libertarian tendendies, only because I can't stand the alternative, the corrupt-to-the-core president, Vaclav Klaus, and his right-wing ODS party.

Note Paroubek's comments, as reported by BBC:

Writing in the Lidove noviny newspaper on Tuesday, [Paroubek] said the core of the techno enthusiasts was made up of 'obsessed people with anarchist proclivities and international links,' who 'provoke massive violent demonstrations, fuelled by alcohol and drugs, against the peaceful society'.
Note the prime minister's language when refering to the techno kids - he emphasizes their "links," their "proclivities," the drugs and alcohol, and the "violent demonstrations" they supposed "provoke" - rather than what, if anything, they actually did wrong. One might expect better from a man supposedly of the left, but Paroubek is an authoritarian at heart. I only wish the chief figure speaking out against this outrage weren't Klaus. (Note that I haven't bothered to read the Lidove noviny piece in the original, so maybe this is a misinterpretation. Doubt it.)

It's too late for Paroubek to change his mind and admit that the police might have screwed up, so he's really dug himself into a hole here. The president, meanwhile, smelled a golden opportunity. He knows if he doesn't start smacking Paroubek around pretty hard, the unthinkable might actually come to pass: A come-from-behind victory for the Social Democrats in next June's election.

See, I told you I didn't have much to say.


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