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Kraus, Ivan

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Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | 13/05/2009

Kissing ban for politicians

In these times marked by swine flu, the parliament of the German state of Saarland has recommended people refrain from kissing visitors. The writer Ivan Kraus goes a step further in the conservative paper Lidové Noviny and calls for a general "kissing ban" for politicians: "I remember the days when communist functionaries kissed each other at international meetings, which I found repugnant even at the time. Alexander Dubček [leader of Prague Spring] and [Soviet leader] Leonid Breznev even exchanged brotherly kisses when they met. There's something very strange about kissing someone who overruns you with tanks, all the more so as it was really the kiss of death. But kisses are also all the rage in the West. ... Meetings between heads of state remind you of kissing songs on May 1. The only people who don't kiss each other are Nato generals. Obviously they're clear on the fact that such images wouldn't exactly inspire their troops to fight. Really, it should be enough just to shake hands, even for politicians."

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