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Pirk, Jan

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Právo - Czech Republic | 02/06/2010

Jan Pirk on his renewed sense of national pride

The Czech parliamentary elections, which will probably result in a centre-right coalition government, have been met with feelings of relief by the country's intellectuals. Jan Pirk, one of the country's leading heart surgeons, expresses his feelings of national pride in a commentary for the leftist daily Právo: "When I was studying modern heart surgery in the US in 1983/84 I was considered something of an oddity at first. Until I explained that our people has a grand tradition, that [shoe king] Tomáš Baťa was a Czech entrepreneur, the term robot was coined by the Czech writer Karel Čapek and Pilsner beer doesn't come from Bavaria. ... During our election campaign however I stopped being proud of being Czech, because it looked like a majority of our countrymen and women would fall prey to populist promises. ... Nevertheless the elections showed that most Czechs expect more from life than cheap beer, goulash and tickets to football games. Luckily my fears about our people's state of mind were unfounded. Once more I can say I am proud to be Czech."

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