Final Word from Thursday, May 6, 2010

Perhaps if the Velvet Revolution hadn't been so velvet, Czech society wouldn't find itself in such a predicament today. If heads had rolled, things might have turned out differently. Some people think that nothing will change until crooked politicians and businessmen literally start fearing for their lives. It's impossible to condone violence as a way to settle a petty dispute, but for bringing about major political change it has often been the most effective tool. The drunkard who punched ČSSD Vice Chair Bohuslav Sobotka yesterday might not even know why he chose his target. Yet Bohuslav "Suitcase" Sobotka in some ways represents the very worst of Czech politics. Unlike Miroslav Kalousek, Aleš Řebíček or Ivan Langer, who fool absolutely no one, Sobotka uses his boyish, geeky countenance to cover up some really nasty stuff. A messed-up face might better match the image to the reality.[Czech Republic corruption]

Glossary of difficult words

Scarface - the title of two well-known mafia films; (according to press reports, Sobotka is actually not likely to have a scar from the attack yesterday);

velvet - (in this sense) non-violent;

predicament - a difficult, unpleasant situation;

heads would have rolled - (in this sense) people would have been executed; (normal usage) people would have been dismissed or forced from their positions;

to condone - to accept and allow behavior that is considered wrong to continue;

petty - of little importance; trivial;

drunkard - one who is habitually drunk (we do not know if the drunk person in question was actually a "drunkard");

geeky - (slang) intelligent but also introverted or socially inept;

countenance - a person's face or facial expressions;

messed-up - physically injured or damaged.


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