Czech Family Quotes

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a small nation resembles a big family and likes to describe itself that way. In the language of the smallest European people, in Icelandic, the term for "family" is fjölskylda; the etymology is eloquent: skylda means "obligation"; fjöl means "multiple." Family is thus "a multiple obligation." Icelanders have a single word for "family ties": fjölskyldubönd: "the cords (bönd) of multiple obligations." Thus in the big family that is a small country, the artist is bound in multiple ways, by multiple cords. When Nietzsche noisily savaged the German character, when Stendhal announced that he preferred Italy to his homeland, no German or Frenchman took offense; if a Greek or a Czech dared to say the same thing, his family would curse him as a detestable traitor.
Milan Kundera (Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts)
When Americans think of freedom, we usually imagine a contest between a lone individual and a powerful government. We tend to conclude that the individual should be empowered and the government kept at bay. This is all well and good. But one element of freedom is the choice of associates, and one defense of freedom is the activity of groups to sustain their members. This is why we should engage in activities that are of interest to us, our friends, our families. These need not be expressly political: Václav Havel, the Czech dissident thinker, gave the example of brewing good beer. Insofar as we take pride in these activities, and come to know others who do so as well, we are creating civil society. Sharing in an undertaking teaches us that we can trust people beyond a narrow circle of friends and families, and helps us to recognize authorities from whom we can learn.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
We also learned our own history and I was so grateful that such richness comes from our family stories. Now we will forever remember the day that a Russian cellist spoke the heart of Czech people. Rostropovich loved Prague and so he viewed that performance as a personal tragedy.
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek (CELLOGIRLS: Identity and Transformation in 2CELLOS Fan Culture (The Original 2CELLOS Fan Anthology Book 1))
But one element of freedom is the choice of associates, and one defense of freedom is the activity of groups to sustain their members. This is why we should engage in activities that are of interest to us, our friends, our families. These need not be expressly political: Václav Havel, the Czech dissident thinker, gave the example of brewing good beer.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
Walter’s escape had been built on his initial conviction that facts could save lives, that information would be the weapon with which he would thwart the Nazi plan to eliminate the Jews. Witnessing the fate of the Czech family camp, and its residents’ immovable faith, despite the evidence all around them, that they would somehow be spared, had led him to understand a more complicated truth: that information is necessary, to be sure, but it is never sufficient. Information must also be believed, especially when it comes to mortal threats. On this, if nothing else, he and Yehuda Bauer might eventually have found common ground: only when information is combined with belief does it become knowledge. And only knowledge leads to action. The French-Jewish philosopher Raymond Aron would say, when asked about the Holocaust, ‘I knew, but I didn’t believe it. And because I didn’t believe it, I didn’t know.
Jonathan Freedland (The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World)
The desertion of Rwanda by the UN force was Hutu Power’s greatest diplomatic victory to date, and it can be credited almost single-handedly to the United States. With the memory of the Somalia debacle still very fresh, the White House had just finished drafting a document called Presidential Decision Directive 25, which amounted to a checklist of reasons to avoid American involvement in UN peacekeeping missions. It hardly mattered that Dallaire’s call for an expanded force and mandate would not have required American troops, or that the mission was not properly peacekeeping, but genocide prevention. PDD 25 also contained what Washington policymakers call “language” urging that the United States should persuade others not to undertake the missions that it wished to avoid. In fact, the Clinton administration’s ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, opposed leaving even the skeleton crew of two hundred seventy in Rwanda. Albright went on to become Secretary of State, largely because of her reputation as a “daughter of Munich,” a Czech refugee from Nazism with no tolerance for appeasement and with a taste for projecting U.S. force abroad to bring rogue dictators and criminal states to heel. Her name is rarely associated with Rwanda, but ducking and pressuring others to duck, as the death toll leapt from thousands to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, was the absolute low point in her career as a stateswoman.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families)
The firepower uncovered in March 2005 in Sant’Anastasia, a town at the foot of Vesuvius, was stunning. The discovery came about partly by chance, and partly by the lack of discipline of the arms traffickers: customers and drivers started fighting on the street because they couldn’t agree on the price. When the carabinieri arrived, they removed the interior panels of the truck parked near the brawl, discovering one of the largest mobile depots they had ever seen. Uzis with four magazines, seven clips, and 112 380-caliber bullets, Russian and Czech machine guns able to fire 950 shots a minute. (Nine hundred fifty shots a minute was the firing power of American helicopters in Vietnam.) Weapons for ripping apart tanks and entire divisions of men, not for Camorra family fights on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Almost new, well-oiled, rifle numbers still intact, just in from Kraków.
Roberto Saviano (Gomorrah)
The identification we feel towards the places where we live or were born can give us an anchor in a chaotic world and strengthen our connections to family, community, and the generations that preceded and will follow us. At their best, such feelings are a celebration of culture and all that comes with it in the form of literature, language, music, food, folktales, and even the wildlife we associate with our homelands--the eagle in America, for instance, or in the Czech Republic what's left of our lions, wolves, and bears. There is, however, a tipping point, where loyalty to one's own tribe curdles into resentment and hatred, then aggression towards others. That's when Fascism enters the picture, trailed by an assortment of woes, up to and including the Holocaust and global war. Because of that history, postwar statesmen established organizations to make it harder for deluded nationalists to trample on the rights of neighbors. These bodies include the United Nations--hence Truman's speech--and regional institutions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
Immigrants' resistance to formal and informal pressures to Americanize their food habits varied. Only the most frugal could resist taking advantage of the greater availability of high-status foods which had rarely graced their tables in Europe. They commonly ate more meat in America, particularly beef but also poultry, lamb, and pork. They also indulged more in sweets, particularly sweet cakes and rolls, something many regarded as a peculiarly American habit. Coffee drinking, which perplexed reformers, was in most cases an American-acquired habit. In much of central, eastern, and southern Europe coffee was a high status drink which the poor, especially the peasants, could hardly afford. Slavic immigrants seem to have manifested a particular weakness for coffee. In their homes it was customary to have a pot of coffee on the stove all day long, with members of the family helping themselves at will. Asked if she had changed her diet upon coming to America, a Polish woman replied, 'Naturally, at home everyone had soup for breakfast, and here everyone has coffee and bread.' A Czech immigrant who arrived in 1914 perhaps exemplified the most common attitude toward the presence of all of these old-country luxuries on the table when he recalled that his family thought that in America 'we ate like kings, compared to what we had over there. Oh, it was really heaven.
Harvey Levenstein (Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet (California Studies in Food and Culture, 7))
Late in the nineteenth century came the first signs of a “Politics in a New Key”: the creation of the first popular movements dedicated to reasserting the priority of the nation against all forms of internationalism or cosmopolitanism. The decade of the 1880s—with its simultaneous economic depression and broadened democratic practice—was a crucial threshold. That decade confronted Europe and the world with nothing less than the first globalization crisis. In the 1880s new steamships made it possible to bring cheap wheat and meat to Europe, bankrupting family farms and aristocratic estates and sending a flood of rural refugees into the cities. At the same time, railroads knocked the bottom out of what was left of skilled artisanal labor by delivering cheap manufactured goods to every city. At the same ill-chosen moment, unprecedented numbers of immigrants arrived in western Europe—not only the familiar workers from Spain and Italy, but also culturally exotic Jews fleeing oppression in eastern Europe. These shocks form the backdrop to some developments in the 1880s that we can now perceive as the first gropings toward fascism. The conservative French and German experiments with a manipulated manhood suffrage that I alluded to earlier were extended in the 1880s. The third British Reform Bill of 1884 nearly doubled the electorate to include almost all adult males. In all these countries, political elites found themselves in the 1880s forced to adapt to a shift in political culture that weakened the social deference that had long produced the almost automatic election of upper-class representatives to parliament, thereby opening the way to the entry of more modest social strata into politics: shopkeepers, country doctors and pharmacists, small-town lawyers—the “new layers” (nouvelles couches) famously summoned forth in 1874 by Léon Gambetta, soon to be himself, the son of an immigrant Italian grocer, the first French prime minister of modest origins. Lacking personal fortunes, this new type of elected representative lived on their parliamentarians’ salary and became the first professional politicians. Lacking the hereditary name recognition of the “notables” who had dominated European parliaments up to then, the new politicians had to invent new kinds of support networks and new kinds of appeal. Some of them built political machines based upon middle-class social clubs, such as Freemasonry (as Gambetta’s Radical Party did in France); others, in both Germany and France, discovered the drawing power of anti-Semitism and nationalism. Rising nationalism penetrated at the end of the nineteenth century even into the ranks of organized labor. I referred earlier in this chapter to the hostility between German-speaking and Czech-speaking wage earners in Bohemia, in what was then the Habsburg empire. By 1914 it was going to be possible to use nationalist sentiment to mobilize parts of the working class against other parts of it, and even more so after World War I. For all these reasons, the economic crisis of the 1880s, as the first major depression to occur in the era of mass politics, rewarded demagoguery. Henceforth a decline in the standard of living would translate quickly into electoral defeats for incumbents and victories for political outsiders ready to appeal with summary slogans to angry voters.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
But Haresh stood alone: Umesh Uncle, Simran, his foster-father, all these figures whom she felt she knew, could turn out to be entirely different from what she had imagined. And his family of conservative Old Delhi khatris: how could she possibly behave with them as she behaved with Kuku or Dipankar or Mr Justice Chatterji? What would she talk about to the Czechs? But there was something adventurous in losing herself entirely in a world that she did not know with a man whom she trusted and had begun to admire — and who cared for her so deeply and steadily. She thought of a paan-less Haresh, smiling his open smile; she sat him down at a table so that she could not see his co-respondent shoes; she ruffled his hair a bit, and — well, he was quite attractive! She liked him. Perhaps, given time and luck, she could even learn to love him.
Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy (A Bridge of Leaves, #1))
On July 1, President Calvin Coolidge signed the measure into law. With the act’s ratification, the country was set on a course to, by its own definition, “maintain the racial preponderance of the basic strain [of] our people” and “stabilize the ethnic composition of the population.” The act proved so restrictive for Asians and eastern Europeans that in 1924 more Italians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, Greeks, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Chinese, and Japanese left the United States than arrived as immigrants
Adrienne Berard (Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South)
It also brought to light some striking resemblances between Sanskrit and the more familiar language families of Europe, i.e. the Romance languages, the Germanic group (e.g. German, Danish, English, Dutch) and the Slavonic (e.g. Russian, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian). As the table below demonstrates, these similarities were far too common and regular to be the result of mere chance.
David Hornsby (Linguistics: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself (Ty: Complete Courses Book 1))
My grandfather Alexander and my grandmother Shlomit, with my father and his elder brother David, on the other hand, did not go to Palestine even though they were also ardent Zionists: the conditions of life there seemed too Asiatic to them, so they went to Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, and arrived there only in 1933, by which time, as it turned out, anti-Semitism in Vilna had grown to the point of violence against Jewish students. My Uncle David especially was a confirmed European, at a time when, it seems, no one else in Europe was, apart from the members of my family and other Jews like them. Everyone else turns out to have been Pan-Slavic, PanGermanic, or simply Latvian, Bulgarian, Irish, or Slovak patriots. The only Europeans in the whole of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s were the Jews. My father always used to say: In Czechoslovakia there are three nations, the Czechs, the Slovaks, and the Czecho-Slovaks, i.e., the Jews; in Yugoslavia there are Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and Montenegrines, but, even there, there lives a group of unmistakable Yugoslavs; and even in Stalin’s empire there are Russians, there are Ukrainians, and there are Uzbeks and Chukchis and Tatars, and among them are our brethren, the only real members of a Soviet nation.
Amos Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness)
The Czechs say, "The longest journey is from the mother to the door." At the end of his childhood, a young man breaks from the hard tears of his family and follows his own way. Wherever he goes, he carries their name. After three or four generations, all of the brothers and sisters have scattered, and the sons of the brothers and sisters, and the sons of the brothers’ and sisters’ sons, each following the shimmering tracks of his own fortune. And the years fly by, click clack click clack/
Ted Kooser (Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (American Lives))