Watching the recent uprising in Egypt and seeing how the army refused to use tanks on unarmed civilians is a sight I won't soon forget.
That was not the case back in '68 in Prague.
Who is to say how nations should remember acts of brutality?
It's not about having longer memories it's about learning to move on...43 years later.
Tomas is one of my favorite skaters and I personally have no problem with him skating in the country with perhaps the world's most repressive regime. Tomas has the right to skate wherever he pleases and in this case he broke no ISU rules.
If some of his countrymen feel differently that is their right. A right they bled and died for.
i am sure Tomas has more supporters than detractors but a liberal faction in the Czech Republic has every right express their feelings.
Sorry if you don't like it. Reading this board it is clear bad feelings remain between Korea and Japan, much of it over actions that occured more than 43 years ago.
Too much is being made over this but censoring free speech, and the right to protest will never be a viable solution for me.
To say that Tomas should get a pass because he was unaware of how his performance would be received is to make allowances for a (my) generation that is so political uninformed as to be disgusting. In a world of instant access to a wide breadth of information that would be Socrates giggle with enthusiasm and da Vinci's eyes go wide, ignorance is no excuse.
To say that the people who vilified him were right to do so in the manner they did reminds us that actual debate, in the day and age of anonymous internet posting, is about as prevalent as ice in the Sahara.
I'm sorry that Verner was attacked the way he was, but equally as disappointed that the debate progressed the way it did.
Who were the other "elite" skaters who skated in this show? I don't dispute Tomas' right to skate wherever he wants, but I also think that skating in North Korea was ill-considered.
On the other hand Yuna has tried to be a force for good and I suspect we will see her doing charitable work for the Japanese people before she gets involved with an outlaw regime that has recently killed so many of her countrymen.
If you are as big of fan of his as you claim you are you would have known about all the hurtful things that have been written about him, things that were sent to him via his website even people waiting for him at the airport. If they have a problem with what happened in 1968 they can take it up with the people from 1968 not some skater who was born some 20 years later.
Thank God Yuko Kawaguchi was so sweet to me when got a picture with them, she didn't push me away and say no way! I can't forgive you for dropping two bombs on us!
Walls some down, Soviet Presidents shake hands with American President...times change, I'm not censoring free speech, if they had a problem with him going they should have said something after Euros when he announced he was going. But no one seemed to have a problem until he came home.
Push, K/S, P/B, Surya Bonaly, Verner, I can't remember the rest off the top of my head
To me, protesting a trip made by a relatively obscure private citizen for a non-political purpose seems a little beside the point. It seems like the protesters should instead be writing to the Czech government to recall their ambassador, or circulating petitions for increased trade sanctions or something.
Having lived in the Czech Republic I am not the least bit surprised there was a protest about Tomas skating in N. Korea and seriously doubt that he was either.
I agree with you in principle and think old wounds can be forgiven with the passage of time.
But the continued provacative actions of the totalitarian N. Korean regime have an affect on the whole region and even the world.
It was interesting reading what Tomas had to say. I think cultural exchanges are a good thing and certainly don't blame all N. Koreans for the actions of their government.
I don't blame Tomas either but I also respect the right of his countrymen to protest what they see as support for a totalitarian regime.
I have read alot of Kundera and Havel and am aware of the influence their writing has had on many Czechs. 1968 was not the end of it and the "Velvet revolution" happened over 20 years later.
43 years for you is a number but is neither accurate or meaningful for many Czech people.
Do hard feelings about Soviet repression matter whether it was in '48, '68, or '88?
^ Setting aside what Tom Verner choses to do or not to do, the question of whether the good guys should participate in cultural exchanges with the bad guys is not so obvious, IMHO.
In 1976 the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics because Russia invaded Afghanistan. Passing over the irony that Russia eventually managed to get out, while it looks like we will be stuck there forever, it is not clear whether this boycott hastened the demise of the evil empire, gave comfort to the victims of oppression, or accomplished much of anything except to allow Russia to win a few extra medals. In any case, the Russians got even by boycotting the wicked capitalists the next time around.
The Iranians won't participate in any sporting event that Israel also attends. Presumably if an Iranian figure skater (Armin Mahbanoozadeh?) skated in a show in Israel, his life wouldn't be worth a plug nickle when he got back home.
I don't know what to think about it all. I am glad that the U.S. State Department did not act to prevent Shen and Zhao from presenting their Turandot program at 2003 Worlds in Washington because of concern over human rights violations in China.
The North American natives certainly never curse at any artist, athlete, and entertainer choosing to perform in the U.S. and Canada, desite genidcides, land grabs and occupations, biological warfares and child and sex abuses commited against them, as well as all the signed treaties and agreements dishonoured. And meeting the Pope is still regarded as a privilege rather than a damnable act despite decades of pedaphile crimes by Catholic priests tolerated and covered up by the Vatican.
The Japanese committed unspeakable cruelties against the Chinese but today the Chinese fans mob the Japanese skating and pop superstars. Somehow Russia, China, Japan, and the USA are able to be friendly trading partners despite historical animosities.
Or should the long historical and continuing warfares with mutual vilifications going on in some parts of the world be the model for the state of Homo Sapiens? Should holding on to decades old hurt and misplaced vengeful sensitivities be more respected than establishing relationships among equal human beings of today's generation? Should oppressed people be shunned when it's been shown over and over that reaching out and connecting, opening their eyes and minds, and letting them know of support and caring from more fortunate fellow human beings lead them towards their liberation more than military actions, sanctions, and condemnation of their nation and people?
Is being non-political and connecting with oppressed people through sharing a beloved and beautiful sport more reproachable and unforgivable than spewing hateful obscenities at a young talented skater who has done nothing but honouring his country?
eta. A beautiful irony from the Cold War is the treaty between Russia and USA such that the uranium from the old Soviet missile warheads is providing 10% of the Americans' electricity today! However, the treaty ends in 2013 and is unlikely to be renewed.
Last edited by Violet Bliss; 03-17-2011 at 10:27 PM.