Final Word from Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Time magazine's choice of the "American soldier" as its collective person of the year inspired us to identify the "not-so-common Czech" as the person of the year in the CR. If there's a stereotypical Czech, it's someone who abuses the system, blames his problems on others, and envies his neighbor's success. We'd like to tip our hat, though, to the "atypical" Czech, whether a soldier, doctor, secretary, politician, businessperson, coal miner or housewife. These are the people who are moving the country forward by taking responsibility for their actions, working to improve themselves and their environment, instilling values in their children, and loving their country against all odds. Czech society tends to reward those who expect something for nothing, and the government isn't making it any easier for those who give everything and expect little. Yet a growing number of Czechs, especially young professionals, are breaking out of the stereotypical mold and are rising above the crowd. In many cases, they're sacrificing short-term gains for less-than-certain long-term benefits. These are the ones most deserving of our respect and admiration. These are the people of the year.

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